CBA update: Owners, players sit down in same room. That’s about it.

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This was the one bit of good news — for the first time in two-and-a-half months the owners and players sat down in the same room and talked about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Words like “amicable” and “thawed” were thrown around by Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (the union) in a post meeting press conference. He used nice words — as did union president Derek Fisher — to say that after this kind of meeting both sides may be more open to compromise down the line.

But nothing changed. At all.

That became more and more clear the more Hunter talked. Behind the soft words was the same message.

“If we have to give up a season to get a reasonable deal we can live with, we’re ready to go,” Hunter said. “We don’t want to, but if forced to do it we’ll suffer some pain.”

Both sides had large contingents at the meeting. No specifics were discussed at this meeting, this was more philosophical and having the two sides understand where each other are coming from, Hunter said. But that didn’t stop Fisher from getting in a little dig (with plenty of truth to it).

“We’ve actually had some of our owners say, basically, we need to be protected from ourselves,” he said.

There are not going to be any proposals going back and forth, rather the two sides are going to sit down in small groups over the coming weeks to discuss aspects of the deal. Meanwhile the union will continue to plan for a lockout, including working with banks to have loans available for players. Also the owners will give the union the combined financials for 09-10 season, helping to show the union their situation and why the players need to give something back.

Both sides understand there needs to be a change in the economic system to make it easier for more teams to turn a profit, especially when the economy is not booming. The disagreement is how to get there. The owners want to control costs more by reducing and limiting player salaries. The players counter that some owners are making plenty of money — Hunter called the Lakers new television deal, reportedly about $3 billion over 20 years, the elephant in the room — and that the owners need to have revenue sharing, not just put it back on the players.

They are still a long, long ways apart. But at least they are talking. That’s a start. Still, neither side really sounds ready to compromise (not in a meaningful way).

The lockout is coming people. Hunter was asked if this negotiation was going to go down to the wire.

“It always does,” he responded.

The thing is, the real wire is not July 1, when the lockout would start, but more like mid September when training camps and games start to become threatened.

Then we’ll see if the two sides have intentions to back up the nice words.

Byron Scott isn’t thinking about next year’s draft

Byron Scott

A month into the season, the Lakers the only team in the Western Conference that can absolutely be written out of any hopes of playoff contention. They’re in an awkward position with the upcoming draft: they still need talent long-term, and they owe their pick to the Sixers if it’s outside of the top three. Not surprisingly, Byron Scott isn’t thinking about it at all.

Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

With the Lakers fielding the NBA’s second-worst record, how much effort will the franchise put in retaining its top-3 protected draft pick?

“I don’t think about that whatsoever,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “I probably won’t until April. That’s something I can’t control.”

The Lakers are in a precarious position. They appear likely bad enough to lose a lot of games. But will they lose enough to land in the top three? Otherwise, the Lakers owe Philadelphia their first-round pick as part of the Steve Nash trade.

“It’s impossible to think about the team, try to get our young guys better, the team better and also thinking about a pick,” Scott said. “That’s six months away and you might not even get it.”

Given Scott’s mentality, it’s not at all surprising that he isn’t thinking about the draft. But with his insistence on playing Kobe Bryant and Lou Williams more crunch-time minutes on this dismal Lakers team than D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson, it’s pretty laughable that he talks about wanting to develop their young players.

Scott may not be thinking about the draft, but with the position the franchise is in and the likelihood that they lose their pick, he should be.

Report: Jahlil Okafor stopped for driving 108 MPH three weeks ago

Jahlil Okafor, Derrick Favors

Jahlil Okafor‘s first month in the NBA has been eventful for all the wrong reasons. Early Thanksgiving morning, he was caught on video getting into a fight with a heckler in Boston. Then, a report surfaced of another altercation from October, in which Okafor apparently had a gun pulled on him. Now, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor was recently pulled over in Philadelphia for driving 108 miles per hour:

Four sources independently confirmed to The Inquirer the 76ers center was pulled over on the Ben Franklin Bridge around three weeks ago for 108 miles per hour. Anything over 40 m.p.h. is considered reckless driving.

108 miles per hour in a 40-mile zone isn’t a minor speeding infraction—it’s incredibly dangerous. It might be possible to write off any of these incidents by themselves—particularly the one where he had a gun pulled on him, which doesn’t seem to have been his fault at all. But together, the Boston incident and this speeding report aren’t a good look at all for Okafor. He’s had a solid start to the year for the Sixers, but off the court has been another story.

Harrison Barnes could be out “a few weeks” with ankle injury

Harrison Barnes
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The Warriors’ Friday night 135-116 win over the Suns was bittersweet: Harrison Barnes suffered a sprained left ankle in the third quarter and left for the remainder of the game. He missed Saturday night’s blowout win over the Kings as well, which extended the Warriors’ best-ever start to the season to 18-0.

Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton didn’t have an answer for how long Barnes will be out, but he said it could be a few weeks.

Via’s Ethan Sherwood Strauss:

“He’s being evaluated [Saturday]. We haven’t gotten the results back yet,” interim head coach Luke Walton told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week.

“We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.”

Losing a starter is never good news, but the silver lining for the Warriors is that they have enough depth and enough of a cushion to be able to take their time and not rush Barnes back. Saturday night, Walton opted to keep Andre Iguodala in his usual sixth-man role and instead start the little-used Brandon Rush in Barnes’ place. Rush responded with a 16-point performance, shooting 4-of-5 from the three-point line. If they can keep getting that kind of production out of their reserves, the Warriors will be able to withstand the loss of Barnes just fine.

Emmanuel Mudiay with the no-look, behind-the-head assist (VIDEO)

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Emmanuel Mudiay is still a work in progress on the court — he’s a rookie, what did you expect? — but he has the court vision and flair you cannot teach.

As evidence, I present this pass from Saturday night, where in transition Mudiay goes with the no-look, behind-the-head dish to Darrell Arthur for the dunk.

The Nuggets dropped this game to the Mavericks 92-81 and have lost six in a row.