David Stern Press Conference

Owners, players talking Wednesday, Thursday, maybe Friday

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All optimism on the NBA labor talks front starts with this — at least they are talking.

We told you last week that the two sides apparently were set to meet on Wednesday and try to move toward an agreement, something that ESPN’s Chris Broussard confirmed.

But he added more details, suggesting the pace of the negotiations will pick up even more.

The meeting will be only the third since the league locked out its players on July 1. But if Wednesday’s meeting is productive, sources said the sides are expected to pick up the pace and come together again Thursday and perhaps Friday.

The meeting will include only a handful of representatives from each side, as was the case last week when the parties met for six hours.

I think these small meetings tend to be more productive than big ones with many voices.

We can debate how close the two sides are to a deal — I don’t think it’s as close as some, but it’s not so far that the season is toast and they can’t reach a deal. I still think some games will be lost, but maybe we will have NBA hoops in 2011 not just 2012.

At least the two sides seem to be serious about the talks now.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.