NBA Commissioner Stern speaks at the state of the league press conference during the NBA All-Star game weekend in Los Angeles

NBA owners, players to have one final pre-lockout meeting Thursday

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The NBA owners and players have been formally meeting on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement with an offer on the table since the 2010 All-Star game in Dallas (and really they were talking before that, informally). After more than 16 months of talks, they are hundreds of millions of dollars apart and nowhere close to a deal.

But they are going to meet again on Thursday in New York — one last ditched effort before the lockout kicks in at midnight July 1 (Thursday night/Friday morning).

Theoretically they could make progress and decide to extend the negotiations and postpone the lockout, but if after 16 months of getting nowhere fast why would this session be different?

The NBA’s Board of Governors met in Dallas Tuesday, were updated on the labor negotiations and may have voted to authorize a lockout (no details of the meeting were made public). It’s pretty much moot if they voted to do it at the meeting or not, Commissioner David Stern has said they could vote to authorize the lockout at any time electronically, they didn’t all need to be in the same room.

The owners latest offer to players is a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with a phased in “flex cap” of $62 million, a number that could only be exceeded slightly and only to resign a free agent who was with the team already. They also want to shorten the length of contracts by a couple of years and allow buyouts of deals in the final years at a reduced rate.

All of that is a major change from the “soft cap with luxury tax” system in place now. And the players like the system in place now.

The basis for all the arguments is the split of “basketball related income” (BRI) — money from ticket sales, concessions, television contracts, and virtually everything else. Currently the players get 57 percent, the owners 43 percent. The owners have proposed a 50/50 split (although the structure of their offers would leave the players with less), while the players have offered to drop their share to 54.3 percent (about a $100 million a year drop overall in salary league wide).

The bottom line is the two sides can’t agree on much of anything — how to divide BRI, the type of cap, the length of the deal, they probably disagree over the shape the negotiating table should be. The lockout is coming. But Thursday both sides will go through the motions again.

Report: Pelicans to waive Omri Casspi after broken thumb leaves them shorthanded

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 23:  Omri Casspi #18 of the New Orleans Pelicans warms up before a game against the Houston Rockets at the Smoothie King Center on February 23, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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In his first game in New Orleans, coach Alvin Gentry threw forward Omri Casspi right into the rotation, and he scored a dozen points.

Casspi also broke his thumb and will be out 4-6 weeks.

Because there is so little time in the season and the Pelicans want to make the playoffs, they have decided to waive Casspi, reports Sams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The idea is to create a roster spot to either grab someone waived by another team over the next few days or to get players on 10-day contracts.

Casspi will be a free agent this summer, and there are a number of teams that think he has real potential once unleashed outside what was going on in Sacramento.

Hawks sign Ryan Kelly, Lamar Patterson to multiyear deals

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 13:  Tobias Harris #34 of the Detroit Pistons defends against a pass to Ryan Kelly #30 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward Ryan Kelly and guard Lamar Patterson to multiyear contracts.

Patterson provides depth across the perimeter, including at point guard. He previously signed two 10-day contracts with the team, most recently on Feb. 8. He has averaged 2.3 points in four games.

The 6-foot-11 Kelly has played in nine games with the Hawks after signing Oct. 31.

The Hawks now have their maximum 15 players. They traded forward Mike Scott to the Suns on Thursday, leaving two vacant roster spots.

Kelly and Patterson are expected to be available when the Hawks play Miami on Friday night.

Kevin Durant: Shaq’s constant ripping of JaVale McGee ‘childish’

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Shaquille O'Neal reacts during the 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on September 9, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee fired back at Shaquille O’Neal via Twitter after the former star-turned analyst posted on his verified account a disparaging photo of McGee with the words, “America meet Javale “BUM” McGee.”

O’Neal also responded angrily to McGee , saying he would “smack” McGee’s “bum a–.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Kevin Durant backed McGee on Friday, with Durant calling Shaq “childish” while calling out the retired center’s free throw shooting and other flaws in his game during a Hall of Fame NBA career.

Shaq and McGee went back and forth in a heated Twitter spat late Thursday night, when McGee returned to a reserve role for the NBA-best Warriors as starting center Zaza Pachulia returned from an eight-game absence because of a shoulder injury.

Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey on plan for Warriors: Bury them in an avalanche of threes

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 19: Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets speaks during a press conference announcing the signing of Jeremy Lin at Toyota Center on July 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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For a couple of seasons now, teams have tried to beat the Golden State Warriors by making the game ugly — slow, grinding, physical, and the opposite of the free-wheeling game they like. Only one team has had any real success with that strategy, and it has LeBron James on it (and even that wouldn’t have been enough if Draymond Green could keep his hands to himself).

So why not beat them at their own game?

That’s what Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey thought when he added Lou Williams to the roster, he said.

There is a sense around the Warriors that the Rockets may be a bigger concern than the Spurs, because Houston can score with them. Don’t confuse that with worry in the Bay Area, they are the best team in the West if healthy, but the Rockets may be the team they face off against in the conference finals.

And if that happens, Lou Williams is going to play a significant role.