NBA owners, players closer on revenue split

The NBA and Players Association have made progress on the proposed revenue split between owners and players, an important element in settling a new collective bargaining agreement and ending the lockout, league sources involved in the ongoing labor negotiations told Yahoo! Sports.

As long expected, the two sides have moved closer to a “50-50 split, give or take a point with ranges based on revenue performance,” one source said.

While the league’s owners and players made progress in Wednesday’s 8½-hour mediation session, one source involved in the talks was hesitant to characterize it as a “breakthrough” moment, saying system issues could again derail talks. The two sides will resume mediation at 2 p.m. ET following the conclusion of the owners’ board of governors meetings. The owners are meeting to discuss a new revenue-sharing plan, and what type of proposal they present to the players on Thursday will determine whether the labor talks continue to gather momentum.

Still, the biggest hurdle between the two sides remains the luxury tax proposals to punish big-spending teams and discourage them from overpaying players.

— Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

NBA talks resume Wednesday morning after 16-hour session

NBA owners and players are meeting for a second straight day, shortly after finishing a 16-hour marathon with a federal mediator.

The sides resumed talks about 10 a.m. Wednesday, about eight hours after they broke for the night.

No bargaining had been expected Wednesday or Thursday, since the owners have board meetings. But instead their labor relations committee came back for further discussions with the players’ association executive committee.

— Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Bryant Gumbel of HBO calls David Stern a `plantation overseer`

Bryant Gumbel invoked images of slavery in a scathing attack on NBA Commissioner David Stern, saying he is acting like a “modern-day plantation overseer” in his treatment of players during the league’s lockout.

Gumbel, during a closing segment on HBO’s Real Sports, said Stern is standing in the way of a solution to the league’s labor dispute…

“His efforts are typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some king of modern-day plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. … His moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.”

He called Stern’s poor treatment of the players “palpable and pathetic.”

— Reported by Joel Provano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Video of Bryant Gumbel talking about David Stern editor says: This is absurd nonsense, and an unrealistic, crazed exaggeration by Bryant Gumbel. There certainly is some truth in suggesting that the men of the NBA do get treated like boys in some ways (dress code — though almost every company has dress codes one way or another — and some other stuff), but Gumbel went completely over the top with this. Pretty silly stuff. If getting $5 million USD a year to play basketball, travel and live the life of a rock star means sometimes having to not post on Twitter around game-time, dress a bit more corporate sometimes, and avoid bashing the refs and saying a few other things is the equivalent of being a “plantation worker,” then sign me up.

Hamed Haddadi signs in Iran

hamed haddadi

Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi joined Melli Haffari basketball team on Tuesday.

The Ahvaz-based basketball team signed Haddadi on a short-term contract for an undisclosed fee.

Following the North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA)’s ongoing lockout, the Memphis Grizzlies center joined Melli Haffari to play for the Iranian Basketball League and will return to Memphis in December to take part in the training sessions.

— Reported by the Tehran Times

Udonis Haslem still working his way back

Udonis Haslem

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem continues to work himself back into playing shape after missing most of last season because of ligament damage in his left foot. He returned for the playoffs, but battled conditioning issues. The lockout is giving him opportunity to “get himself in shape” after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.

“That’s what I was lacking, conditioning,” said Haslem, speaking Tuesday at a charity event at Miami Northwestern High School. “I can pedal a bike all day, but it’s nothing like being out there on the floor and getting up and down and actually shooting and jumping.”

Haslem has yet to play competitively since the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks on June 12 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

— Reported by Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

14 mayors write letter to NBA owners and players urging end to lockout

Like many of the people he serves, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is a huge Utah Jazz fan.

He attends a few games each year. He TIVOs and watches most Jazz telecasts, and is a daily follower of the franchise for six-plus months a year.

And, yes, he wants the NBA lockout to be over.

That’s why Becker and 13 other mayors, including ex-NBA standout Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, recently co-signed an open letter to NBA owners and players, hoping to persuade the two sides to resolve the labor-deal impasse and get the ball rolling on the 2011-12 season.

Call it their “Occupy NBA Arenas” movement.

“I want to be able to enjoy the Jazz,” Becker said Tuesday afternoon while owners and the players’ union negotiated with a federal mediator.

“I hope on a personal level they get going, because I love following them (the Jazz) and seeing these players develop and the coaching and all the dynamics that goes on — and I hope for their success.

“But,” Becker continued, “it’s also really important in our community.”

— Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

76ers say goodbye to GM Ed Stefanski

Yesterday morning, not long before the sale of the 76ers was set to be announced at the Palestra, Stefanski, the Sixers’ general manager, was informed that he was being relieved of his duties. The new ownership group, headed by Josh Harris, had decided to give president Rod Thorn full charge of the duties he and Stefanski had shared last season. Instead of Stefanski going to the place where he played his college ball, he was left uncertain about his future.

Stefanski had 1 year remaining on his contract, while Thorn, who was brought in in August 2010, after a dismal 27-55 season, has several years remaining on a hefty contract.

Said Stefanski, who came to the team in December 2007: “This is the new ownership’s day. I wish them all the best. Having met with Josh and Adam [Aron, the new CEO], the Sixers are in capable hands.”

Among the more noteworthy moves Stefanski made in his four seasons were giving maximum contracts to Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand, firing fan-favorite Maurice Cheeks, hiring and firing Eddie Jordan after one season, and bringing in current coach Doug Collins. The team made the playoffs in all but one of Stefanski’s four seasons.

— Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

Stephen Curry goes back to school at Davidson

stephen curry

Curry, 23, is back on his old stamping grounds at Davidson, finishing up a degree in sociology.

“It’s about finishing what I started,” Curry said.

Going back to school may sound noble considering the pampered, diva label often affixed to NBA players. But in Curry’s world, such a decision was “not a big deal.” And that probably explains why transitioning back into school has been as smooth as his jump shot.

“I was excited, but I really wasn’t surprised,” said Curry’s mom, Sonya. “It’s a big deal to get a Davidson degree. And that’s the expectation that (Davidson) Coach Bob McKillop set — that his players graduate. I didn’t want my baby being the
only one who didn’t.”

The lockout has afforded Curry a rare opportunity to knock out a bulk of classes at Davidson, which is in Charlotte, N.C. So instead of signing to play internationally, where he could make money and expand his fame globally, Curry is back on the scholastic grind.

Offseason surgery in May to repair two ligaments in his right ankle made the decision to avoid full-time basketball easier. Curry’s ankle is still not 100 percent, though he was cleared for full activity on Sept. 14.

— Reported by Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group

NBA labor meeting with mediator last 16 hours; more talks planned

NBA players and owners spent a marathon 16 hours meeting with a federal mediator and planned to return early Wednesday to continue the talks.

They didn’t emerge with the deal Commissioner David Stern wanted Tuesday, but things went well enough that owners decided to alter their plans after previously saying they weren’t available Wednesday.

The sides met beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday and went late into the night, finally breaking after 2 a.m. Wednesday. It was more than twice as long as any previous negotiating session since owners locked out players when the old collective bargaining agreement expired June 30.

Both sides left the meeting without commenting at the request of federal mediator George Cohen…

Although the fact that talks didn’t break off is good news, one person with knowledge of the process said not to presume there was any serious progress. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of Cohen’s request.

— Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

NBA owners and players will resume their labor negotiations with a federal mediator on Wednesday following a 16-hour session that generated minimal progress, a league source involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports.

The league and players union emerged from their longest labor meeting of the 111-day lockout “still not anywhere near a deal,” a league source said. Representatives from both sides refused to comment publicly on the nature of talks, citing a gag order from mediator George Cohen.

Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: “On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going.”

— Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports