Melo, LeBron, Wade, Pierce and Ray Allen party in NYC

Carmelo Anthony

The NBA stars were in NYC this past weekend to take part in bargaining sessions to try to settle the lockout, but it didn’t stop them from enjoying a late night out. On Friday night Carmelo Anthony held court, playing host to Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, taking the guys to the five-year anniversary party of Meatpacking hotspot Tenjune. The basketball greats were treated to a DJ set by Swizz Beatz. According to an insider at the club, “The towering athletes parted the crowd, with Carmelo leading the pack.”

— Reported by New York Post’s Page Six

Doctor who treated Kobe Bryant claims he can cure arthritis

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s $3 million possible deal to play 10 games in Italy during the NBA lockout was aided by a former physician to Pope John Paul II who treated the Lakers star this summer with a pioneering blood treatment.

Bryant traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany, in June for treatment, as previously reported. ESPN The Magazine has learned that he was treated by Dr. Peter Wehling, an influential but little-known molecular orthopedist who insists he’s having breakthrough success repairing aging joints by manipulating his patients’ blood.

According to a source familiar with Bryant’s treatment, his blood was treated to isolate growth factors that attack inflammation, and then cultured with chemicals to increase their potency before being injected into his arthritic right knee.

Wehling declined to confirm or deny that he treated Bryant. But in a rare interview about his work, he told ESPN The Magazine, “I am the only one to have found a way to cure arthritis.”

— Reported by Shaun Assael of ESPN The Magazine

Extended NBA lockout could hasten the retirement of Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan

It’s long been considered the apocalypse scenario in San Antonio: The NBA lockout devours the entire 2011-12 season, and then Tim Duncan retires.

Duncan’s contact is set to expire after this season. If the NBA labor impasse winds up cancelling the entire schedule, would the Spurs’ franchise icon simply retire instead of re-upping for another season in 2012-13, when he will be 36?

In May, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dismissed the notion that Duncan had played his final game in a Spurs uniform. Speaking at a basketball clinic Saturday afternoon in San Antonio, Tony Parker — Duncan’s point guard for the past 10 seasons — echoed those doubts.

Asked if a wiped-out 2011-12 season would also mean the end of Duncan’s career, Parker shook his head.

— Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News blog

NBA lockout threatens to deliver big blow to Portland businesses and workers

It’s possible some, perhaps even all, of the 82-game regular season schedule will be eliminated. And though it’s difficult to forecast the exact economic impact a prolonged lockout would have on the Portland area, the hit would be substantial, according to local businesses.

“The value of the Blazers team to this community is measured in the millions,” said Drew Mahalic, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority. “Their absence will, quite frankly, be devastating to the Portland regional community in that it impacts so many different businesses when they play.”

A lot of the revenue generated from Blazers games — gate receipts, parking dollars, food and concession funds — pads the wallet of billionaire owner Paul Allen and helps pay for the multimillion-dollar operation of running the team.

But Blazers home games also funnel money throughout the community. TriMet ridership increases on game nights. Business booms at local restaurants and bars. Hotels house visiting NBA teams.

Also, to help host a Blazers game, the Rose Garden contracts with up to four vendors, including Ovations Food Services, which oversees the food and beverage operations for the Rose Quarter and employs 900 people every game night.

— Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

Celtics may target Josh Howard in free agency

Josh Howard

A free agent who could be on the Celtics’ radar is former Wizard and Maverick Josh Howard, who is healthy after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in February 2010. Howard played in 18 games for the Wizards last season, averaging 8.4 points in 10 starts ….. One agent said he believes the NBA will not want to start the season after Christmas, as it did with the lockout in 1998-99. That season was pushed back to February and 50 games were squeezed into two months ….. Celtics second-round draft pick E’Twaun Moore has begun the exhibition season with Benetton Treviso, averaging 10.4 points in four games for the Italian team. Ex-UConn standout Jeff Adrien and ex-Celtic Brian Scalabrine are also on the roster.

— Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe

Magic would likely use amnesty clause to part ways with Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas

If there’s an amnesty clause written into the NBA’s next CBA, the Magic will most likely use it to pay off Gilbert Arenas and part ways with the enigmatic, fading point guard.

It’s an easy call to use this mulligan, given the three years and $62 million left on Arenas’ contract.

With the amnesty clause, a team that foolishly overpaid for a player can pay off said player and release him, with the money this time coming off the salary cap.

This is a boon for top-spending clubs such as the Magic, whose current payroll is about $75 million, second only to the L.A. Lakers’ $91 million.

The last time amnesty was used, in 2005, the so-called “Allan Houston rule” allowed teams to lop off a salary, but they could only subtract it from the punitive luxury tax.

— Reported by Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel

Celtics guard Avery Bradley may sign in Israel

Avery Bradley

Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley is nearing a deal to play with Hapoel Jerusalem during the NBA lockout, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

A formal agreement could be reached as soon as this week that would allow Bradley to return to the NBA if the league-imposed lockout ends during Hapoel’s season.

After failing to complete a deal with Memphis Grizzlies guard Greivis Vasquez last week, Hapoel turned its attention to signing Bradley.

— Reported by Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

WNBA Finals Game 1: Lynx beat Dream 88-74

More than 15,000 fans walked into Target Center on Sunday night, hoping that the Minnesota Lynx could give them a little relief from the sports abyss the Twin Cities sit in at the moment.

They waved white pom-poms and hollered at the top of their lungs, and Rebekkah Brunson and Co. made sure they didn’t go home disappointed.

Brunson had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Seimone Augustus added 22 points to lead the Lynx to an 88-74 victory over the Atlanta Dream in Game 1 of the WNBA finals…

Lindsay Whalen added 15 points and six assists and the Lynx turned a close game into a runaway with a 13-0 run to open the fourth quarter. Taj McWilliams-Franklin added eight points and 10 boards while battling an illness.

Angel McCoughtry scored 19 of her 33 points in the third quarter and Lindsey Harding scored 20 points for the Dream.

— Reported by the AP