The NBA and the National Basketball Players' Association will meet this weekend to resume talks over a new collective bargaining agreement, a players' union representative said.
"We're going to meet with the league on Saturday," Roger Mason Jr., a NBPA executive committee member, told reporters. "It's just going through where we are and just getting together."
The session in the often contentious talks would be the first in eight days.
The season, which was scheduled to start this week, has been canceled through at least November 30, the league announced last week.FULL STORY
Friday might be a day when huge strides are taken to end the NBAâ€™s three-month lockout, with both the leagueâ€™s commissioner and the director of the playersâ€™ union indicating the sides are closer than ever to clinching a labor deal.
â€śI think weâ€™ll get there tomorrow,â€ť NBA Commissioner David Stern said Thursday, after the sides negotiated for 22 hours over two days, including a 15-hour session Wednesday.
The sides are meeting Friday in New York. Sternâ€™s outlook was in stark contrast to the mood among union and league officials last week, when disagreements over how to split revenue between owners and players suspended the negotiations and had the league â€“ which already had canceled the seasonâ€™s first two weeks â€“ threatening to call off more games. If a deal is struck on or near Friday, games could begin in early December, according to SI.comâ€™s Ian Thomasen.
â€śI think weâ€™re within â€¦ striking distance of getting a deal,â€ť Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told reporters after Thursdayâ€™s negotiations.
Here are just some of the issues separating the sides and an explanation of why the sides may be close to a resolution:
- The league says it lost as much as $300 million last season, with most of its 30 teams in the red. Team owners want to address this by keeping more basketball-related income for themselves. Last year, the players took 57% of the pool, with the owners keeping the rest. For the new deal, the owners want a 50-50 split, but the players havenâ€™t offered anything less than 52.5% for themselves, CNN partners SI.com and NBA.com have reported. The gap equates to tens of millions of dollars.
Three things you need to know today.
NBA lockout: The start of the NBA season could depend on what happens at a pivotal meeting Tuesday between the owners and the players in New York.
National Basketball Players Association President Derek Fisher put it like this Monday: "We are aware of the calendar. We know our backs are against the wall in terms of regular season games and what those consequences will be."
Added NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver: "We can only say we are running out of time so many times. We are getting close to the point where we are going to lose the rest of the preseason and have to start canceling regular season games."
The sometimes bitter NBA labor struggle and lockout has now stretched to three months.
Meanwhile, some of the league's top agents are urging players not to back down in the negotiations, SI.com's Sam Amick reports.
Tuesday's meeting starts at noon ET.
California weather: Temperatures in inland areas of California could be 15 to 30 degrees lower than normal over the next few days as two weather systems moving down the West Coast from the Gulf of Alaska hit the state.
The first on Tuesday will bring light rains and snow above 8,000 feet in the mountains, the National Weather Service says.
The second storm moving into the state Wednesday and Thursday will bring the big temperature drop as well as light to moderate rain west of the mountains, gusty winds and snow at elevations above 6,500 feet, forecasters said.
School surfing: Surfing, which is synonymous with the culture of Hawaii, is expected to get formal approval Tuesday as a sanctioned sport when the state board of education meets.
The proposal, if approved, would sanction surfing as a sport available in all 46 high schools in the island state.
"High schools have had surf clubs for years with informal competitions," explained Alex de Silva, a spokesman for the State Board and Department of Education.
The idea was originally proposed in 2004 but didn't go far "because we are in a tight budget situation like nearly every other school system," said de Silva. But now the plan is to seek outside corporate support for the program.
NBA fans might know by the end of the weekend if the regular season will start on time November 1, with team owners and locked-out players gathering in New York for crucial talks aimed at a new labor deal.
Deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters this week that the league is â€śgetting very closeâ€ť to having to delay the regular season if significant progress isnâ€™t made in this weekendâ€™s talks, which began Friday.
Commissioner David Stern may have gone further, warning Wednesday of â€śenormous consequencesâ€ť if progress isnâ€™t made.
â€śThen it wonâ€™t be a question of just starting the season on time, it will be a lot at risk from the absence of progress,â€ť he said.
The ownersâ€™ labor relations committee and a playersâ€™ committee â€“ joined by some stars who arenâ€™t on the playersâ€™ panel, such as LeBron James - were meeting Friday, and could meet Saturday and Sunday, according to NBA.com.
Team owners have locked out their players since July, when the last collective bargaining agreement â€“ a contract between the teams and the players union which outlines the rules of the playersâ€™ pay â€“ expired. One key issue has been the ownersâ€™ demand for a hard salary cap, driven in part by claims that 22 of 30 teams lost money last season.
Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace was charged with a felony concealed weapon count,Â which carriesÂ a penalty of up to five years in prison, after police pulled him over on suspicion of drunken driving over the weekend, police in Michigan said Thursday.
Wallace, a four-time NBA defensive player of the year, was driving erratically when a police officer stopped him about 3 a.m. Saturday in Bloomfield Township, police said. The officer arrested him on suspicion of operating the vehicle while intoxicated.
An unloaded pistol was found in a backpack in the vehicle, Bloomfield Township police said in a news release.
A breath test at the police station showed Wallace had a blood-alcohol content above .08%, the stateâ€™s legal limit for driving, police said. The police department declined Thursday to reveal the exact percentage.
Wallace, 37, was charged with unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon and a misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of up to 93 days.
It's not top of mind for casual sports fans - especially since the NFL just settled its lockout without much damage to players, owners, or fans - but the NBA is also in the midst of a labor dispute that's getting ugly.
After a meeting with the players union Monday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said he saw no reason for optimism, and on Tuesday, the league filed two lawsuits against the players, fueling fear that the NBA lockout could result in games or possibly the whole season being lost.
If you want to delve into the issues that divide the players and owners, NBA.com breaks it all down, but there's actually a positive basketball story with really cool highlights trending on Twitter right now featuring the league's leading scorer.
Kevin Durant, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, scored 66 points in an exhibition game in New York's famed Rucker Park Monday night. ESPN has the details of the game and the significance of the storied court in Harlem.
In the trending video, you see what the game is really about and the joy it can bring to fans. Durant, wearing No. 21 in orange, drains 3-pointer after 3-pointer, the thrilled crowd gets on the court to celebrate with him, and you remember for these two minutes that sports is supposed to be fun.
The NBA and its players union still have time to make a deal and have a full season. NBA fans can hope that both sides will look at the video from Monday night and realize the value of their game goes beyond the billions they are struggling to divide among themselves.
The NBA said Thursday it will recommend a lockout after the professional basketball league and players failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The current agreement is set to expire at midnight tonight.
"What we told the union at the conclusion of todayâ€™s session was that we would recommend to our labor relations committee in a call later today that we lockout at the conclusion of this deal, which is at midnight tonight,â€ť league Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday at a press conference.
"Needless to say, weâ€™re disappointed that this is where we find ourselves," Silver said.
In the collective bargaining agreement that is set to expire, players received 57% of basketball-related income.Â The NBA owners want to restructure the revenue-sharing agreement, which includes player salaries.
Union Executive DirectorÂ Billy HunterÂ Â has offered 54.3% Â on the basis of projected growth over 10 years. But the league is losing money and the owners have basically offered a deal based on projected losses, Commissioner David Stern said.
During his tenure he has seen the average player salary go from $250,000 to $5 million, Stern said, â€śand I never felt that I had to apologize for the playersâ€ť because the money was being generated by the system but now Â "itâ€™s time for there to be a return on the investment thatâ€™s being made."
Stern solemnly told of the side effects a league shutdown would cause to workers in NBA cities.
"It is with some sadness that weâ€™re going to recommend this to the committee because a lockout has a very large impact on lot of people, many of whom are not associated with either side and there are a whole raft of people who make their living on our industry.â€ť
Stern said there will be some changes to the way NBA teams will be expected to operate with a lockout in place.
"A lockout has its impact," he said. "Our arenas will be closed to the players. Our practice facilities will be closed. There will be an entire set of rules out there. And to the extent that there are payments due and owing for the coming season, those will not be made. Payments that are due and owing for the past season will be made. Thatâ€™s where we go."
The last time the league had a lockout was in 1998, which wiped out the first two months of the season.
A league also had a lockout in 1995 before the season started.
On Thursday, Stern said he expected the sides to try to set up a meeting some time next week, but he wasn't optimistic.
"There will be collateral damage as we go through the summer,â€ť he said.FULL STORY
Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Ahmad Rashad did it for religious reasons. Chad Ochocinco did it because he's funny, loves attention and doesn't know Spanish too well. Baseball cards companies in the '80s co-opted Rock Raines' and Doc Gooden's nicknames because, we have to assume, Rock and Doc are way cooler names than Tim and Dwight.
Then, there's World B. Free, who once prompted Herb Smith - the cat who correctly thought Dr. J was a better name than Julius Erving - to call out "All-World!" after the Brooklyn baller pulled off a 360-degree dunk ... in junior high. Free would later say he also thought highly of world liberation.
But why would NBA-bad-boy-turned-rapper-model-citizen Ron Artest want to change his name? The answer: Why does Artest do anything?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers forward has filed paperwork in Los Angeles County Superior Court to dispense with his given name, Ronald William Artest Jr., and adopt the name Metta World Peace. The back of his jersey, then, would read, "World Peace."
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday.
Irving, who averaged 17.7 points a game in his only season with the Duke Blue Devils, Â is Â from West Orange, New Jersey.
He played in 11 games last season, scoring in double figures each time and averaging 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds, before being sidelined with a toe injury.
The last time the Cavaliers had the No. 1 pick in the draft they selected Lebron James in 2003.
The oft-outspoken owner of the Dal - er, sorry - "the World Champion Dallas Mavericks" has never shied away from confrontation, so no one should expect that he would have quietly accepted Ross Perot Jr.'s allegations.
As is his trademark, Mark Cuban took it a step further.
Last year, Perot, who in 2000 sold a controlling interest in the club to Cuban for $285 million, filed suit to have Cuban removed as the team's owner. Perot, son of the billionaire businessman by the same name, claimed that the Mavs were losing money and were the "worst franchise" in sports, according to CNN affiliate KDAF-TV.
Well, the Mavs actually turned out to be the best franchise in basketball this year when they trounced the heavily favored Miami Heat in six games this month.
Dirk Nowitzki & Co. did their talking on the court; now, Cuban's attorney is talking in the court, filing a motion for summary judgment to have Perot's case thrown out.
With just hours before the 2011 NBA Draft kicks off in New Jersey's Prudential Center, speculation continues about the fate of this year's class. Will Jimmer Fredette experience a major falloff in the pros? Will Kemba Walker be able to mold his skill set into one that is valuable in the NBA?
SI.com's Seth Davis offers up a collective scouting report on 40 of this year's draft prospects. Player breakdowns include:
- "Kyrie Irving, 6-4 freshman point guard, Duke. Just a great kid. He has only an 11-game body of work, but he has an incredible ability to get in the lane. He's a pass-first point guard, but he can also score. He's not a freak athletically like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. His game is more of the Chris Paul variety, but I don't know if he'll be that good. His lateral mobility is probably his biggest question."
Rep. Anthony Weiner's future in Congress continues to be a sore spot on Capitol Hill, as House Democrats contemplate this fate.Â Meantime,Â members of Congress are tangling with President Obama over the legality of U.S. involvement in Libya.Â CNN.com Live is your home for the latest news and views from Capitol Hill as they happen.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - The defense presents its case in the trial of Casey Anthony, accused of killing her young daughter.
Three things you need to know today (special all-sports edition).
U.S. Open golf: The U.S. Open, the second of golf's four major tournaments for 2011, tees off Thursday morning at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
With Tiger Woods, a three-time winner of the Open, not playing because of injury, determining a favorite is difficult, writes GOLF magazine's Cameron Morfit.
Much of the focus will be on Phil Mickelson, who has four victories in major tournaments but has yet to win a U.S. Open. Mickelson has finished second five times in the U.S. Open. But Mickelson has never fared well at Congressional, Morfit writes.
Other players to watch include Briton Luke Donald, the world's No. 1-ranked player; Steve Stricker, currently the highest-ranked American in the world and a winner at last weekend's Memorial Tournament in Ohio; defending champion Graeme McDowell, and Hunter Mahan, who shot 62 in the last competitive round he played at Congressional, Morfit writes.
Mavericks' parade: The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks have their official victory parade in downtown Dallas on Thursday. The Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat on Sunday night in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, 4-2.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. and takes a 1.6-mile route through downtown Dallas, CNN affiliate WFAA reports.
Police are warning the expected crowds could create gridlock in Dallas, with as many as a quarter-million people turning out to salute the NBA champions.
Officials are also warning parade-goers to be ready for the summertime Dallas heat and bring plenty of water to the event, WFAA reports. The forecast is for 85 degrees and sunny when the parade begins.
Salute to LeBron?: While Dallas salutes its champions, a minor-league baseball team is acknowledging the Heat's LeBron James on Thursday.
The Peoria Chiefs, a Class A minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, will give every fan attending Thursday night's game a replica of James' NBA championship ring. That means as each fan passes through the turnstiles of O'Brien Field, he or she will be handed ... nothing.
The Chiefs said in a press release they'd also like to skip the fourth inning in Thursday's game, a jab at James' NBA Finals performance in which he scored a total of 21 points in the fourth quarters of all six games combined.
When the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, the happiness in Dallas may have been eclipsed in only one place, Cleveland, the city that Heat star LeBron James left to take his talents to South Beach.
CNN affiliate WOIO-TV in Cleveland had a one-word headline on its sports page under a picture of James holding up his Heat jersey: "LOSER!"
"LeBron James still has no rings,"Â the site's story began.
Cleveland.com quickly jumped on James' failure to bring a championship to Miami, something he promised would happen multiple times when he and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh joined Heat superstar Dwayne Wade in Miami.
It almost fell apart - again - for the Miami Heat on Sunday at Dallas' American Airlines Center. There were glimmers of that Game 2 Mavericks comeback, but as Chris Bosh sank a 16-foot jumper with 39.6 seconds left, Dallas' hopes of taking a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals slowly faded.
With less than five seconds left on the clock in Sunday's Game 3, Dallas big man Dirk Nowitzki couldn't shake a tough Miami defense, and he missed what would have been a game-tying shot, sealing Miami's 88-86 win. SI.com's Ian Thomsen explains that the back and forth battle bodes well for both teams as the series moves to Game 4 onÂ Tuesday.
"Neither team can feel secure, and yet both have reason for optimism after Game 3," Thomsen writes. "The MavsÂ have two remaining home games that may yet send them back to Miami needing just one win to celebrate their first championship. James has shot a scant 10 free throws in three games, and yet he was increasingly aggressive while dunking off the dribble either in transition or the half court. Nowitzki had a splendid 34 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and if he could just realize more production from his teammates - who went 17-for-49 and for a second straight game watched him score all their points down the stretch (the last 12 this time) - a tight loss like this could turn into a steadying Dallas victory Tuesday in Game 4."
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the race toward the 2012 presidential election.
Today's programming highlights...
8:00 am ET - Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference - Several confirmed and potential Republican presidential candidates will address a faith-based conservative conference in Washington.
NBA star Shaquille O'Neal appears ready to hang up his size 23 basketball shoes after a 19-year pro run that saw him collect four championships and reach fifth on the league's all-time scoring list.
â€śWe did it. Nineteen years, baby. (I) want to thank you very much. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m telling you first, Iâ€™m about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon,â€ť Shaq said in the video on Tout.com, linked from his Twitter account.
His team, the Boston Celtics, has not announced his retirement, but it did re-tweet one of O'Neal's retirement posts.
O'Neal, a 7-foot-1-inch center, won four NBA titles and reached the league finals two other times. He is fifth on the NBAâ€™s all-time career scoring list with 28,596 points - short of only Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain - and 12th on the leagueâ€™s all-time rebounding list, with 13,099.
Drafted after his junior year at Louisiana State University in 1992, Oâ€™Neal would earn NBA rookie of the year honors with the Orlando Magic, with whom he played four seasons. He reached the NBA finals for the first time in 1995, but the Magic lost to Houston.
Three things you need to know Tuesday.
NBA Finals: The NBA Finals tip offÂ at 9 Tuesday night in Miami as the Heat take on the Dallas Mavericks.
A key storyline of the best-of-seven series will be the battle of two NBA Most Valuable Players who aren't wearing title rings - LeBron James of the Heat and the Mavs' Dirk Nowitzki, writes SI.com's Dan Shaughnessy.
"Both are championship-starved. Both need a ring to solidify their place in the list of NBA all-time greats," Shaughnessy writes.
Shuttle returning: The space shuttle Endeavour is preparing for its final landing early Wednesday at 2:35 a.m. at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Endeavour is ending a 16-day mission, more than 11 of which were spent docked at the international space station.
Once it is decommissioned by NASA, Endeavour will go on display at the California Science Center is Los Angeles.
Atlantis is scheduled to make the final shuttle mission with liftoff targeted for July 8.
World No Tobacco Day: The World Health Organization has made May 31 World No Tobacco Day. The organization uses the day to educate the public on the dangers of using tobacco and what they can do to stop it.
Tobacco use kills 6 million people a year, or one every six seconds, the WHO says, including 600,000 deaths a year from second-hand smoke. As many as half of all tobacco users will eventually die from a disease related to its use, the WHO says.
Led by Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks sealed the deal and sent the Thunder packing Wednesday night with a 100-96 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Though Oklahoma City won't get a shot at the title, it certainly didn't go down without a fight. As SI.com's Chris Mannix explains, the Thunder fought to a three-point lead going into halftime but ultimately were outmatched by a better, more experienced Dallas squad.
"Oklahoma City will learn from this experience," Mannix writes. "(Kevin) Durant will learn how to play through contact, how to not let players push him off his spot. (Kendrick) Perkins will shed 15 pounds and regain the mobility he lost dealing with multiple knee injuries. Serge Ibaka will take the lessons learned from defending Nowitzki, and Zach Randolph in the conference semis, and come back in the fall a better player. (James) Harden will be a year older, a year wiser and that syrupy shooting stroke of his isn't going anywhere."
Three things you'll want to know about Thursday:
Flags-in: The soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) will be placing flags before each of the gravestones and niches in Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldier's and Airmen's Home National Cemetery.
Every available soldier in the unit will participate, placing the small flags one foot in front of each of the more than 280,000 gravestones and niches of service members laid to rest in the two cemeteries.
The event is known as "flags-in" and it has been observed before Memorial Day weekend each year since 1948. The 3rd Infantry soldiers will remain in the cemeteries throughout the weekend to be sure the flags are undisturbed.
NBA playoffs: The Miami Heat can wrap up the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night with a win against the Chicago Bulls.
The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and one more win will put superstar LeBron James into his second NBA Finals and his first since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat last summer.