Dan Feldman

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Report: NBA, union optimistic about finalizing Collective Bargaining Agreement in next several weeks

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The clock is ticking toward Dec. 15, when either NBA owners or the National Basketball Players Association can opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement effective July 1. Even if that happens, that’d leave plenty of time to negotiate a new deal before games are missed.

But why induce all that panic if you can preempt it?

Here’s more optimism on a revised CBA before Dec. 15.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have made significant progress toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and there is strong optimism among officials on both sides that a deal could be finalized in the next several weeks, league sources told The Vertical.

Among expected changes in the new CBA, league sources told The Vertical: A significantly higher rookie contract scale and two-way contracts between the NBA and NBA Development League that will add playing jobs for the union.

The NBA is swimming in money. Neither side wants to turn off the cash flow. That helps foster a deal.

Raising the rookie scale is important with the new national TV contracts making the current scale out of date. Two-way contracts would allow teams to appropriately pay fringe NBA players, and that could come with a lengthened draft.

These are problems that require common-sense solutions to make the system function better for both sides.

The biggest issue is always splitting Basketball Related Income (BRI), which is somewhat a zero-sum game. The more the owners get, the less the players get and vice versa. (It is not completely zero-sum, because a healthy split is necessary to maximize the overall revenue.) In the current CBA, players get between 49% and 51% of BRI. In the previous CBA, it was 57%.

Let’s hope BRI is not a remaining point of contention, because that’s a place either side can dig in its heels. If that’s agreed upon, ramp up the optimism even further.

Derrick Rose’s accuser testifies she passed out drunk or drugged on night of alleged rape, defendants’ lawyer requests she stop crying

FILE - In this June 24, 2016, file photo, New York Knicks' Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden in New York. Phil Jackson made a risky move when he traded for the injury-prone Rose in June, and now the Knicks face the possibility of their point guard's involvement in a rape trial in California during his first preseason with the team.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

LOS ANGELES (AP) A woman accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends of gang-rape testified Thursday in the trial of her $21.5 million lawsuit against the New York Knicks player, who appeared in court for the first time.

When Rose entered the courtroom, the woman paused and became emotional while being questioned by her attorney about the events on a night in August 2013.

The woman said she went to Rose’s rented Beverly Hills mansion for drinks, got very drunk, felt like she had been drugged, and does not remember much about the mansion or the evening.

She said she drank before going to the mansion then had 3+ shots of tequila when she got there and felt different.

“I just felt I was less in control, more goofy,” she said.

The witness said she had previously had tequila with Rose and felt like it gave her strength.

“This was the opposite,” she said.

She testified that when she got home to her apartment she vomited and passed out on her bed. Her lawsuit claims the three men came to her apartment and raped her.

During a break in testimony, a lawyer for the two friends objected to the woman’s amount of crying and asked the judge to order her to not cry.

The judge said he was unaware of courts that have ordered witnesses to not to cry.

“I’m not going to order the witness not to cry any more than I’m going to order her not to breathe,” said U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because it generally does identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault.

No criminal charges have been filed against Rose or the other men but Los Angeles police continue to investigate.

Rose, 28, didn’t appear in court during jury selection earlier in the week or when attorneys made opening statements Wednesday to the panel of six women and two men.

During opening statements, the woman wept quietly as her lawyer provided jurors with lurid descriptions. Rose’s defense fired back by portraying the encounter as something from a porn film, not a horror movie.

“The plaintiff will tell you all three men were in the bedroom at the same time,” said her attorney, Waukeen McCoy. “Each of them took turns raping her, they don’t even know who went first.”

In sharp contrast to McCoy’s statement, defense lawyers doubled down on their assertions that the accuser willingly had sex with the trio at Rose’s mansion in Beverly Hills.

They said the woman gave lap dances earlier under a sky full of stars by the side of Rose’s pool overlooking city lights, performed oral sex on Rose and had sex with his two friends before inviting them back to her apartment.

“There was no gang rape,” attorney Mike Monico said. “There was no rape at all.”

McCoy said the story about her having sex earlier in the night was falsely concocted to try to show she was insatiable and wanted to have sex with the men later that night.

Jurors will have to rely primarily on her word against that of Rose and the other two men, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton. There is no physical evidence because the woman was not examined by a doctor afterward and did not report the alleged rape to police for two years – after filing the suit.

McCoy said the woman was too embarrassed to initially report the incident.

After sex, Rose took his condom, put it back in the wrapper and took it with him “like he was never there,” McCoy said.

NBA players are instructed to flush their condoms down the toilet or take them so women can’t use the sperm to impregnate themselves, Rose’s lawyer said.

Rose was traded to the New York Knicks this season after spending his previous seven years in his native Chicago with the Bulls. He’s in the final year of a five-year deal that will pay him $21.3 million.

The defense will focus on the many text messages the woman exchanged with Rose, whom she dated on and off for nearly two years. The lawyers said the messages showed she was lucid and not intoxicated after returning home from Rose’s mansion. They denied she was ever drugged.

Dwyane Wade: LeBron James can’t pass Michael Jordan

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 19: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers posts up Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat  during a game  at American Airlines Arena on March 19, 2016 in Miami, Florida.  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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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LeBron James has made no secret about his motivation: chasing Michael Jordan.

Could the Cavaliers star ever surpass His Airness?

Dwyane Wade, via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

“No, it’s not possible,” Wade told ESPN with a laugh. “It’s not possible.”

“The only thing you can do is tie it,” Wade said.

Wade, a close friend of LeBron, grew up in Chicago and now plays for the Bulls. He’s trying to walk a line.

But there are only ties in these debates if you want there to be one. (And Wade wants there to be one.)

LeBron can pass Jordan in the all-time ranks. It’ll be difficult, but LeBron is within striking distance. At age 31, he still has time to build on his legacy.

He might never convince Wade, but it is possible for LeBron to overtake Jordan.

Report: Nuggets likely to get their own D-League team next season

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets
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Just eight NBA teams don’t have their own D-League affiliate:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Washington Wizards

That list could soon shrink even further.

Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

The Nuggets are likely to get back into the D-League business next season, according to league sources. But nothing has been decided or is imminent.

There’s not a huge value in having a D-League affiliate right now. There are advantages, but anyone in the D-League who’s not on an NBA contract – which takes up an NBA roster spot and counts against the NBA cap – is an NBA free agent. So, an NBA team could develop a young player on its affiliate only to have another NBA team snatch him away.

But I think that will change soon. Once all 30 NBA teams have their own affiliates, I predict they’ll hold exclusive NBA rights to some, if not all, of the D-League players on their affiliates (which will lead to increased salaries for D-Leaguers).

So, there will be major value in having an affiliate and running it well. Might as well get a head start on establishing the operation now.

Hornets coach Steve Clifford: Cody Zeller ‘long way to go’ from knee injury

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Charlotte Hornets in action against the n during their game at the Barclays Center on March 22, 2016 in New York City.  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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Josh McRoberts isn’t the only player who hurt himself in last season’s Heat-Hornets first-round playoff series and is still reeling from the injury.

Charlotte center Cody Zeller is in the same boat.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer

Zeller has been held out of contact drills this preseason while he receives treatment for a bone bruise along his right knee. Wednesday he was held out of the entire practice.

“He’s not even doing the non-contact stuff at this stage, so he has a long way to go,” said Hornets coach Steve Clifford.

Zeller came on strong last season after the Hornets moved him to center. This is a pretty significant loss if he misses regular-season games.

Charlotte has far less margin for error after losing several key contributors in free agency. With the middle of the Eastern Conference packed so tightly on paper, the Hornets have a narrow difference between home-court advantage in the first round and missing the playoffs entirely.

At least they signed a solid backup in Roy Hibbert. Ideally, Hibbert will protect the rim better than Zeller – though the offensive drop is significant. Spencer Hawes and Frank Kaminsky can provide some offensive output off the bench, but there’s a reason Kaminsky mostly plays power forward and Hawes doesn’t play that much at all.