David Stern Press Conference

David Stern, union head Billy Hunter at least talking

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Well, at least they are talking.

NBA Commissioner David Stern and his lead negotiator Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver have been meeting with NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter and staff face-to-face, according to Henry Abbott at ESPN.

That’s the good news, and the fact that the two sides are sitting at a table and talking is good news.

But there will be a lockout. The two sides remain nowhere near each other. The owners recently submitted another proposal, one union president Derek Fisher has said is pretty much just the old proposal in a new wrapping.

The last week of April, the league office sent out a lengthy, detailed memo to all 30 teams explaining how operations were to go when the lockout comes, according to The Sporting News. As in no players or coaches can use the facilities. It was a memo sent during the last lockout but added to immensely after lessons the league learned from that experience.

The memo also provides hypothetical situations facing teams having contact with players, their agents, or any other of their representatives during a lockout. For example, the memo outlines the policy for when a player has a sponsorship deal with a company that also has a deal with the team. The player would be able to continue that company sponsorship as long as no team marks are used in any activation. The memo also addresses policies related to using player images on team websites.

The lockout is coming. The only hope is that it doesn’t cost games. Frankly nothing much is going to happen right now because negotiations only really get done when there is pressure on one or both sides to get a deal done. A lockout in the summer is an annoyance to the league and players, but it’s not until the threat of cancelled games and missed paychecks becomes real that there is pressure.

The only good sign is that they are at least talking.

PBT Extra bold prediction: Is this Andrew Wiggins’ breakout season?

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Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.

Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.

Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.