This past Monday, health officials confirmed two cases of the West Nile virus here in L.A. County. I don't mean to alarm anyone, but I think I might be the third. Normal illnesses don't strike in August, right? Yet my upper respiratory system feels like it needs a transplant, I'm having to nap at random times during the day and I've constantly got a Lamar Odom-caliber sweat going. If this isn't West Nile or something equally cool and exotic-sounding, I'll be disappointed.
But to those clamoring for my weekly dispatch from the front lines of the NBA's labor war, I say DO NOT BE CONCERNED. I've got the latest news for you in all its dispiriting glory. But since I don't want my last act on earth to be writing about the lockout, I'm going to keep this one streamlined and to the point. Just the key items, some quick commentary and a cat video, after which I'll go back to Ny-Quillin' like a villain.
Item: Euroleague clubs are reluctant to sign NBA stars already under contract, as the necessary opt-out clauses would threaten roster stability.
Reaction: That makes a lot of sense. It's not hard, though, to find people who believe that the entire 2011-12 NBA season will be canceled, and if foreign clubs start drawing that same conclusion we could see some willing to gamble that an opt-out has little danger of being exercised.
Item: David Stern tells the Boston Globe that the players' association canceled a Thursday negotiating session. The union says no, it's the league that refused the meeting and moreover, they were told Stern's unavailable for the next two weeks.
Reaction: Not only are the two sides not talking, they can't even agree on why they're not talking. Splendid. And if the union has really been told that Stern can't meet for the next couple weeks, that means he's no longer even going through the motions of trying to get this resolved. We know he's not actually interested in negotiating earnestly, but I'd have thought he'd keep up appearances for the sake of the NLRB. Speaking of which....
Item: The NLRB has yet to rule on the union's bad-faith complaint.
Reaction: Hey NLRB, would you mind getting on this? I know you've got a lot on your plate, but this is the only thing on your plate that involves a sport I write about, so I'd consider it a favor if you'd make it a priority. Especially since nothing's going to happen until you do.
Item: Ron Artest says he's "definitely going to play" for the Cheshire Jets.
Reaction: I love it. As this story has unfolded, I've become a big fan of Jets director Peter Hawkins. He's a delightfully honest chap, completely up front about how the BBL kind of sucks and how his team pretty much has no money to offer Artest. It's a refreshing change from the constant horseshit Besiktas officials tried to sell us when they were supposedly hot on Kobe Bryant's trail. So go to England, Ron. Play some ball, get on a soap opera and have a blast. The Cheshire Jets seem like good people.
Item: Cat video?
Reaction: Cat video! WOOP WOOP.
Stuff To Read
Players' Leverage? Try a Breakaway League With NBA's All-Stars (Ken Berger, CBS Sports, 8/8)
Larry Coon Chat (Hoops World, 8/10)
Rebecca Black Bullied So Much She Quits School to Become Famous (Vince Mancini, Film Drunk, 8/11)
This Gentleman May Have a Small Issue With Diablo 3 (Rob Bricken, Topless Robot, 8/12)
Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.