The NBA and the NBA Players Association have reached the 11th hour. Tonight's negotiating session in New York is essentially the final effort before the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. The two sides -- each represented by much smaller factions than some of the recent meetings -- met for six hours on Sunday night. Upon emerging from that bargaining session, neither side would comment except to say a deal wasn't reached and they would meet again on Monday night. After last week's meeting, NBA commissioner David Stern cancelled the remainder of the pre-season and said that if a deal wasn't reached (in structure, if not on paper) by Monday, he would be forced to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season. The NBA will hold off as long as possible before making that move because each chunk of cancellation is costing the league approximately $200 million. So if there is even the outside chance that a deal is on the horizon, that first chunk of cancellation will be delayed.
Tonight's bargaining session will likely either result in the aforementioned move for cancellation (which means we know each side has dug in its heels) or a delay in that announcement (which might mean a reason for hope).
Since the NBA first imposed the lockout on July 1, the two sides have really closed what was an enormous gap. If you're interested in the financials of the bargaining session and precisely where the two sides currently stand and exactly how a deal can be reached, check out this piece by CBS's Ken Berger, who has attended pretty much every bargaining session since this started: A potential deal.
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Although NBA lockout talk has dominated the basketball discussion (when there actually has been basketball discussion, as the league has very quickly fallen to the wayside in terms of public consciousness), there has been some movement on the Sixers' front, as well.
* The NBA Board of Governors still must approve the sale of the Sixers from Comcast-Spectacor to a group of investors led by billionaire Joshua Harris. Although at first the target date for this approval was mid-August, it seems this order of business was moved to the back burner (obviously) in favor of focusing on these lockout negotiations. It's impossible to pinpoint exactly when the Board of Governors will get around to approving the sale (meaning then Harris and the new owners will speak publically), but according to a source, it's possible this move is completed sometime this week. It's not guaranteed, but it's possible.
*Current Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski is a finalist for the GM job with the Toronto Raptors. As we wrote two months ago -- you can find that blog post here: Stefanski to Toronto -- Stefanski's time with the Sixers is almost certainly coming to a close. The front office has been fully stocked for the past 15 months and with the addition of Jason Levien (part of the ownership team, former asst. GM of the Sacramento Kings), there are just too many decision makers already in the Sixers front office. Stefanski is one of two finalists for the Raptors' No. 2 position, behind president Bryan Colangelo. Stefanski has also been targeted by the Portland Trail Blazers, as reported by the Oregonian, so it's highly unlikely that he returns to the Sixers this upcoming season -- whenever that might be.
*At the beginning of September, Sixers coach Doug Collins brought in a number of assistant coaching candidates to replace Quin Snyder, who moved to the Los Angeles Lakers. Collins is expected to hire Jeff Capel, Sr., father of Jeff Capel, Jr. who played at Duke with Collins' son, Chris. The hire won't be made official until the sale of the team is made official. Collins' coaching staff now includes Michael Curry, Brian James, Aaron McKie, and Capel.
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