Clock ticking for Christmas play

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:03 PM ET

It’s not quite do-or-die time for the NBA and its players, but we’re getting close.

In order to end the NBA lockout and get a season going in time for Christmas — when the season unofficially begins for many basketball fans across North America — a deal must be reached in principle by Monday.

The two sides started talking again on Tuesday, and will reconvene on Friday. Sunday would mark the 150th day of the impasse.

Since the National Basketball Players Association has taken the dispute to the courts and filed to dissolve itself, any agreement would have to resolve the players’ antitrust lawsuit and re-form the union, as was the case when the NFL lockout came to a close and a suit by the players was settled.

According to the New York Times, the NBA has a template for a 66-game season ready to go based on a Dec. 25 start. It would entail travel hell, but many owners are said to be adamantly pushing for a season longer than 60 games. A 50-game season was played following the 1998-99 lockout.

Reports indicate that the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Orlando Magic are eagerly jockeying to get a deal done, but the Phoenix Suns and long-time hardline owner Robert Sarver are surprisingly also rumoured to be a part of that group.

Lawyer Jim Quinn, who helped negotiate an end to the last lockout, has been hired by the players in the hopes that he can perform a similar miracle this time around.

CANUCKS STILL COOKING

Canadians continue to play well at the NCAA level. Newmarket’s Kevin Pangos, for instance, earned West Coast Conference player of the week honours in his first week as a collegiate player.

Some of the top performances over the past week include:

  • A 20-point, 10-rebound, three steal effort by Montreal’s Kris Joseph in a Syracuse win over Virginia Tech;
  • Eight points and six assists for Toronto’s Junior Cadougan in a Marquette win over Norfolk State;
  • 12 points from Toronto’s Olu Ashaolu in an Oregon win over Nebraska, including a ridiculous dunk;
  • Burlington’s Brady Heslip had 21 total points in two games this week, nailing seven of 12 three-point attempts;
  • Speaking of sharpshooters, Wagner’s Tyler Murray, of Toronto, has nailed 61.9% of his threes so far;
  • Pickering’s Harouna Mutombo has gone for 20, 19 and 21 points over his past three games for Western Carolina;
  • Mississauga NBA prospect Andrew Nicholson continues to impress at St. Bonaventure. He had 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Siena.

TRIANO HONOURED

Like many professional athletes, coaches and executives, Jay Triano quietly gives back to his community.

The former Raptors head coach, now the special assistant to GM Bryan Colangelo, was recognized recently for his good work.

Triano was given the first Humanitarian of the Year Award by the Angel Foundation for Learning, which has worked for the past 25 years to assist underprivileged students in the Toronto Catholic District school system.

Triano told QMI Agency he had good mentors growing up and likes to help out where he can.

“It goes back to (his friend) Terry Fox, he tried to make a difference,” Triano said.

“(The students) get to spend a day with me, find out what I’m doing, and I just try to give them advice, motivate them a little bit, inspire them a little bit and let them know that they can make a difference.

“I’m very fortunate for the things I’ve been able to do. A lot of people are more needy than I am or my kids.”

AROUND THE RIM

The National Basketball League of Canada now has a commissioner. Windsor native John Kennedy, the founder of a sports and entertainment marketing company based out of Los Angeles, will helm the fledgling league. Kennedy will be tasked with raising awareness for the seven-team league and building the brand. “I’m excited and honoured by the faith shown by the ownership group in my abilities to positively impact NBL Canada as a viable sports and entertainment organization,” Kennedy said in a release. “I look forward to building relationships with the many fans of professional basketball in Canada, and also with prospective sponsors.” ... Restricted Celtics free agent Jeff Green says he expects to stay with Boston. Green said he was “overshadowed” while playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City ... Former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans has signed with Virtus Roma of the Italian League.


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