Players’ association executive director Billy Hunter
last summer called the All-Star break an unofficial deadline to gauge the likelihood of a work stoppage. Commissioner David Stern
concurred, saying the league would “have a pretty good idea how good or not good things are by the end of February.’’ Both sides are hoping a meeting this week will be the first of many that get talks back on track before the deal expires June 30. “Unfortunately, we haven’t made any progress since we last met in Dallas,’’ deputy commissioner Adam Silver
said. While glad the NBA wants to talk more, Hunter will need to hear something radically different in those conversations to change his feelings about the potential of a lockout. He said in November he was “99 percent’’ sure of one. Both sides agree that little will come from the sit-down Friday in Los Angeles. The league has offered no new proposal, with Stern saying in October that it was still seeking a $750 million to $800 million annual drop in player salary costs.
Bobcats want Silas to stick around Happy with the job Paul Silas has done as interim coach, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan wants him to stick around for next season. Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins said they’re in discussions about a one-year extension with Silas, who inherited a 9-19 team when he replaced Larry Brown Dec. 22. The Bobcats have gone 15-12 since to get into playoff contention. Higgins indicated contract talks are still ongoing . . . Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley likely will sit out against the Clippers tonight to allow his troublesome left ankle more time to rest. Beasley hasn’t played since Feb. 7 after spraining his left ankle for at least the third time this season . . . Michael Redd is expected to rejoin the Bucks Monday in his latest effort to return from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, suffered 13 months ago . . . Heat rookie center Dexter Pittman is expected to miss 5-6 weeks after having surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee . . . Magic senior vice president and longtime NBA executive Pat Williams, 70, has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Doctors are optimistic they caught the disease in the early stages.
Fight in women’s game under review The NCAA and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference officials are reviewing game film and witness statements about a Valentine’s Day fight that broke out during a women’s game between Bethune-Cookman and Maryland-Eastern Shore. Both schools said in written statements they will wait to hear from the league and NCAA before making any further comments regarding the altercation. The incident occurred in the second half of Monday’s game, though it is unclear what sparked the altercation. Referees suspended action with 16:22 to play because of unsportsmanlike behavior on both sides. Bethune-Cookman led, 32-21, when play was stopped. The fight was broken up by game officials, security, and coaching staffs from each school. No police report was filed on the incident.
NHL Byfuglien signs five-year extension
All-Star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien
signed a five-year, $26 million contract extension with the Thrashers. He would have been a restricted free agent after the season. Byfuglien, acquired in an offseason trade with Chicago, leads the Thrashers with 43 points and leads all defensemen with 17 goals . . . A little more than a week after spraining his right knee, Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur
has started skating again. The 38-year-old goaltender hopes to skate again today, if his knee feels OK. Brodeur has missed three games since being injured in the first period against Montreal Feb. 6.
Golf Kaymer, Quiros to play in Transitions
PGA champion Martin Kaymer
and Dubai winner Alvaro Quiros
, one of golf’s longest hitters, have accepted exemptions to play in the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook March 17-20 in Palm Harbor, Fla. The tournament also offered an exemption to 17-year-old Matteo Manassero
. Jim Furyk
is the defending champion of a tournament that has attracted one of the stronger fields leading to the Masters. Kaymer is ranked No. 2 . . . Francesco Molinari
of Italy says he will play in the Match Play Championship beginning Feb. 23 in Marana, Ariz. Molinari won the HSBC
Champions last year and is No. 17 in the world ranking. He had planned to skip the World Golf Championship because his wife was expecting their first child. She gave birth to a boy Feb. 6 . . . Starting with the Honda
Classic, fans at PGA Tour events will have select areas to use cellphones, which must be kept on silent.
Miscellany Roddick wins in Memphis first round Andy Roddick
beat Richard Berankis
, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the opening round at the Memphis ATP Tour event. He will face Janko Tipsarevic
in the second round. Earlier, Mardy Fish
beat Teymuraz Gabashvili
, 6-1, 7-5. James Blake
beat Ricardo Mello
, 6-4, 6-3, and Radek Stepanek
beat Benjamin Becker
, 6-4, 6-2 . . . The Columbus Crew won a weighted lottery for Major League Soccer rights to 19-year-old US defender Korey Veeder
. Veeder played for minor league Crystal Palace Baltimore last year. Columbus (19.31 percent) had the third-best chance of winning the lottery behind Toronto (45.52 percent) and Seattle (24.83 percent) . . . A 5-year-old Scottish deerhound named Hickory
that loves to chase wild animals won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.
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