After nearly five-hour meeting, little progress in CBA talks

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The countdown clock reads 13 days until the NBA’s owners lock the players out. And if you weren’t sure before, you should be now that the clock will reach zero.

After the two sides met for more than four-and-a-half hours in a Manhattan hotel Friday both sides left the room saying they were nowhere near a deal. Look at these tweets from Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

“We’re not on the same page right now,” Melo said.

After a 4 1-2 hour session with what Melo called “a lot of good dialogue,” but little movement, another session scheduled for Tuesday.

The owners made what they see as a concession — they backed off their demand for non-guaranteed contracts for players. However, the players are not seeing that as much of a concession since they already have guaranteed contracts.

And that folks was the best news to come out of the meeting.

The hard cap — which the owners are pushing hard for and the players are resisting equally as hard — remains a key sticking point. Although at the end of the day the big issue is Basketball Related Income (BRI) — currently players get 57 percent of that and the owners want a larger slice of that pie. Reportedly the players are willing to give a little here, but how much remains the question (and is that giveback only on new revenue)?

Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul attended this meeting (two players with a lot at stake in terms of team building in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement). This was also well attended by owners.

Players said that both sides are making an effort to reach a deal and you can bet there will be a lot of meetings between now and June 30 when the current CBA expires. Both sides will put on a good show.

I keep saying it and I’ll do it again — negotiations don’t get done until there is real pressure on one or both sides to compromise (seriously compromise, not making a new demand then taking it off the table). While the lockout starts July 1 there is no real pressure to make a deal until late August or September, when games become threatened. That’s when the threat of lost paychecks and revenue puts pressure on both sides.

Both sides are talking to each other still. Both sides get the stakes of a lockout at a time the league is having a resurgence of popularity. But all fans can hope for is games not to be lost — and Ray Allen fears that will happen.

Union: Joakim Noah would not have been suspended under next CBA

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Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033 was not banned by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement when it was enacted.

The next CBA will offer a new challenge policy for failed drug tests.

Perhaps Joakim Noah, whom the NBA suspended 20 games, just tested positively at the wrong time.

SARM LGD-4033 (Ligandrol) was added to the banned list after the current CBA was signed in 2011. The drug is also banned by the next CBA, which will take effect July 1.

But the next CBA would also allow Noah an opportunity to contest his suspension – which his union says he would have done successfully..

National Basketball Players Association:

“After a thorough investigation, the National Basketball Players Association believes that Joakim Noah did not intentionally or knowingly violate any policy of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  Under the recently negotiated CBA effective July 1, a player’s unintentional ingestion of a prohibited substance would be taken into consideration, and we believe the conduct here would not result in discipline.  Unfortunately, the current CBA does not permit such consideration.”

“Joakim was completely forthcoming and cooperative throughout the investigation and we believe that this isolated occurrence was a regrettable mistake.  Joakim has offered his deepest apologies for this infraction, and neither he nor the NBPA will pursue an appeal.”

Unlike the current CBA, the new CBA allows a player to challenge a suspension if he “did not know or suspect, and could not reasonably have known or suspected, even with the exercise of considerable caution and diligence, that he was taking, ingesting, applying, or otherwise using” the drug. He must also establish how the drug entered his system.

That’s obviously a high burden. The CBA even defines it as an “unusual circumstance.”

Could Noah have presented such convincing evidence? Maybe, but it’s far easier to make that claim in a statement than actually convince an arbitrator.

Stephen Curry with touchdown pass to Andre Iguodala, who finishes with reverse lay-up (VIDEO)

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The 49ers may want to give Stephen Curry a call, because I’m not sure Brian Hoyer can throw that pass.

Curry showed a soft touch on a touchdown pass over a defender to the streaking Andre Iguodala, who had to finish with the reverse layup, a little no-look flip. It was vintage Warriors, a little playground in transition.

The Warriors beat the Kings 114-100 behind 27 from Curry. With the win the Warriors are 2.5 games up on the Spurs for the best record in the West, but Golden State has a tough road back-to-back this week in Houston than San Antonio. Get at least a split there and the Warriors will be tough to catch.

LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards

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With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.

It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.

 

 

That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.

James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”

He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.

The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.

And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.