NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA

Report: Only top executives to attend next week’s bargaining session

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It’s hard to say if this will turn out to be fruitful or not, but it is interesting.

We told you that the players union and league were expected to meet next week in New York (only the second official bargaining session since the lockout started July 1). Not only is that a go, it appears that meeting will feature only the top couple negotiators and executives from each side, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

That means Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver for the owners, while just union Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher for the players. It is possible Spurs owner Peter Holt, chairman of the owners’ labor relations committee, could be in the room, too. Berger says that is good.

The limited number of people in the room and the fact that both sides are trying to keep the meeting quiet — not even divulging the date or location in an effort to avoid media coverage — should be seen as positive signs. Though full bargaining sessions featuring multiple owners and players get more public attention, smaller sessions — especially involving the lead negotiators — typically are more conducive to serious negotiation.

In a small session like this — where both sides know the other well — there is not the need for the posturing statements to keep everyone happy that can happen in larger groups. This is where the real work can get done. Any compromises made have to be sold to the various sides, but that is how negotiations work.

We’ve said all along that once we got into September and the threat of losing games became real the negotiations would get more serious. This may be the first sign of that. But getting serious just means we are getting closer to seeing the real best offers from both sides, and all indications are there is going to be a real gap there. Things may be getting serious, but that is different than reaching a resolution.

But at least we may start to see just how bad things really are.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.