Well… we’re getting there. A source who was briefed by the owners and players told CBSSports.com that significant movement has been made toward finalizing a new CBA. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that two sources – one on the ownership side and one on the union side – both with direct knowledge of the proposals, were encouraged by the latest movement. One reason for the rumored progress could be that the owners have dropped their insistence on the 50/50 split on the BRI (Basketball Related Income). The BRI has been blamed for talks breaking apart week after week. Is it just us or is this sounding like an NBC sitcom more and more each week? Better yet, the modern Odd Couple with David Stern and Billy Hunter … Hunter made an appearance on the highly acclaimed “B.S. Report” Monday, telling Bill Simmons that Mark Cuban had in fact proposed a no-salary-cap idea at a recent meeting, getting the attention of not only the players, but also several owners. Several owners were excited about the out-of-the-box idea. So was Hunter. Apparently, Stern went on to tear it down, and Hunter told Simmons he wasn’t surprised by Stern’s actions, being that the commish was the man that implemented the current salary cap more than 30 years ago. It has also been rumored that Portland’s Paul Allen was one of the owners strongly against the no-salary-cap idea. It’s a really interesting concept that could potentially change the game. Obviously owners with pockets as deep as the Grand Canyon would have a significant advantage over smaller market franchises, but hey, it works to a degree in baseball. The Yankees may be the hated team in the league, but they’re also one of the most financially successful franchises in all of sports (tell that to the small market teams). Maybe this no-salary-cap concept could help increase basketball income and get more fans coming to games? Or maybe it’s just plain stupid … Chris Broussard reports than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have decided not to play in the “World All-Star Classic.” Then people started saying Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook backed out next. We felt like we were watching that last scene in Friday and everyone was backing away from Deebo/the World Tour. Not me! Not me! Where’s Craig at to stop all this? Kobe’s like the only one left, which might’ve been the way he wanted it in the first place … All jokes aside (the tour still has plenty of star power), it was interesting to hear that talks were progressing with the lockout, and nearly at the same time, reports surface that the stars were pulling out. That can’t be a coincidence right? … J.R. Smith is going for triple-doubles in China this season. Every night. Whereas Ty Lawson is busy watching his back so he doesn’t get jumped by Lithuanian racists, Zhejiang Chouzhou hired two translators, a cook and even gave Smith his own room to house 23 bags of luggage. Living the good life. But will he dominate like that over there? He’s never had a triple double in the NBA … Stephen A. Smith, clearly frustrated with the lockout, has taken his anger out on JaMarcus Russell this week a la Kwame Brown a few years back, absolutely destroying the former No. 1 overall pick on “First Take” yesterday. Smith said that Russell didn’t give a s— about his teammates and because of that, deserved no respect. Kevin Durant came to Russell’s rescue, tweeting: Jus watched Stephen A Smith talk so bad about JaMarcus Russell, who r u to say he don’t deserve a second chance? kick a man while he down smh. Smith fired back with this: I hear K-Durant accused me of kicking JaMarcus Russell while he’s down. I REFUSE to get on KD b/c I have entirely too much respect for that. The discussion here is about a recent Sports Illustrated article that talked about Russell’s sleep apnea, something he cited for his lack of concentration and ability to understand playbooks. The feature also mentioned the immense donations and help Russell has provided his hometown in Mobile, Alabama. You kinda want to feel bad for the guy, but then you think back on all the days – excuse us – all the years, he showed up to camp fat and out of shape. Sorry JaMarcus, but a lack of sleep doesn’t pack on the pounds … And we were playing a little NBA 2K12 yesterday, and one of our games – playing with the ’89 Pistons against the ’89 Bulls – had our blood flowing. For three quarters, Jordan and Chicago (the CPU) didn’t miss and were up by like 13. Then in the fourth, they scored five points, Isiah Thomas and Vinnie Johnson made two huge plays, and we came out of there with a three-point win. We love that realism: Baby Bulls choking down the stretch, the Microwave icing it. What we didn’t love was Sam Vincent freezing out MJ like it was the ’85 All-Star Game … We’re out like Skip Tebow.
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