Little progress made in 16 hours of labor talks. That’s not good.

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We’re past the point where saying “at least they’re still talking” makes me feel very good. Yet that’s the only real takeaway from Tuesday’s marathon NBA labor negotiation session.

NBA owners and players met for 16 hours on Tuesday and the best news anybody had to report — all off the record, as there were gag orders — is that federal mediator George Cohen was able to keep the emotion out of it and put in a few potential building blocks. But there was no real progress on the elephant in the room — how to divide up the money, the split of basketball related income. And while the two sides say they are stuck on “system issues” like the luxury tax, know that the luxury tax is another debate about how to divide up the money.

Not good, not good at all. The only winners appear to be midtown New York hotel owners who get to rent out conference rooms for negotiations. They could still be making money for a while.

It’s good that they two sides will meet again Wednesday, and it’s good that David Stern didn’t walk out of the room and cancel more games. But there was no significant breakthrough in a marathon negotiating session Tuesday (and into Wednesday morning). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo had a good quote on the issue.

Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: “On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going.”

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com tweeted essentially the same thing, saying the two sides made steps but had a long way to go, according to his sources.

Ken Berger at CBSSports.com had this quote:

“Nothing has been agreed to,” said a person who was briefed on the talks. “There was nothing to say.”

Don’t expect as long a session on Wednesday. In part because guys will get exhausted, and in part because the NBA Board of Governors (the official voting body made up of the owners) is also meeting in New York. NBA Commissioner Stern will need to be in two places at once on Wednesday.

So feel good that they are at least talking, it is better than the alternative. But it’s hard to feel positive right now.

Stephen Curry back in full practice mode for Warriors

AP
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry resumed full practice with contact and could play for the defending champion Golden State Warriors as soon as Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals Saturday night against New Orleans.

Curry looked strong as he practiced Thursday wearing a protective brace over his sprained left knee, which has sidelined him since the injury March 23 – the same day he returned from a six-game absence because of a hurt right ankle.

Coach Steve Kerr is calling Curry questionable for Saturday. That could change if the two-time NBA MVP still feels fine Friday and is fine after one more day of full practice before the Pelicans visit Oracle Arena to begin the best-of-seven series.

“Steph practiced at 100 percent, he did everything, he looked good,” Kerr said. “What we have to do is see how his body responds the rest of the day, put him through another practice tomorrow. I think he needs to string together two good days but it was very positive today. … I think it’s been coming along pretty well. When we were in San Antonio and I was asked a question about how he was doing, I think I was able to give an answer, `He’s doing great but we haven’t ramped him up yet.’ I think today was an important day because it’s the first time he’s actually gone live action and he was allowed to go through practice. And he appears fine.”

Curry went through his usual shooting work with Kevin Durant from various spots after practice, cutting and exhibiting his fancy footwork and dribbling skills. The Warriors have played well without their floor leader, eliminating the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the first-round series with a 99-91 win Tuesday night.

The Pelicans will present a different, faster pace for the Warriors, so getting Curry back to push the ball and direct the offense would be important. Andre Iguodala, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, started in the first round in his place while Quinn Cook handled point guard duties late in the regular season with Curry out.

“We’re excited. I know he’s very eager to play,” said Klay Thompson. “He’s a competitor, so sitting out I know kills him. We can’t wait for him to get back whenever that is.”

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

PBT Extra: How big a threat are Pelicans to Warriors?

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Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and the New Orleans Pelicans were the surprise of the first round of the NBA playoffs. We knew they were good, but they looked dominant on both ends sweeping the three-seed Portland Trail Blazers right out of the postseason (and into a somber period of reflection).

New Orleans looked like the best team in the West in the first round and now they take all that momentum to Golden State where… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In this PBT Extra I discuss how the Pelicans have found an identity, but the matchups against Warriors are dramatically more challenging than what they saw in Portland. And that’s before Stephen Curry returns to the fold.

The Pelicans are a great story, but the pecking order in the West is real for good reason.

Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee undergoes surgery to fix core-muscle injury

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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DENVER — Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee underwent surgery to fix a core-muscle injury.

The team said Plumlee had the procedure performed Thursday morning by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

Plumlee is expected to return to basketball activities this summer and be ready for training camp in the fall. He averaged 7.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists for a Nuggets team that narrowly missed out on the postseason.

The 28-year-old Plumlee was acquired by Denver as part of a deal in February 2017 that sent center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland. Plumlee signed a three-year, $41 million deal with the Nuggets last September.

 

PBT Extra: Spurs many off-season questions start with Kawhi Leonard

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San Antonio has a lot of roster questions heading into this summer. When Danny Green opts out at $10 million a year, how much do they offer to bring back a key wing defender? What about Tony Parker, an unrestricted free agent? Will Manu Ginobili come back at age 78 41 for another season?

But at the top of the list: Can the Spurs relationship with Kawhi Leonard be repaired?

If so, do they trust his health enough to offer him the $219 million designated veteran max extension?

If not, do they test the trade market (likely we will know the answer to that around the draft, well before July 1)?

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.