The NBA's labor stalemate is no closer to ending than it was a week ago, but in a sense it's entering a more tolerable phase. In July and August there was precious little to distract us from the sight of the 2011-12 basketball season receding into the distance. But now that the calendar has flipped to September, the sports world is serving up plenty of other goodies. College football is underway. The NFL kicks off this Thursday. Soccer leagues around the globe are in full swing. Soon the baseball playoffs will demand our attention as well. None of this is a worthy substitute for opening night at Staples Center, but at least we've got something else to watch as David Stern's empire burns.
The one piece of good lockout news this week went only to show how low the bar's been set for "good" news. On Monday, there was a meeting. A MEETING, PEOPLE. The quartet of chief negotiators (Stern, Adam Silver, Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter) assembled in New York for only the second time since the lockout began. They conversed for six hours, and although neither side moved to close the ocean-sized gap between the players' bid and the owners' ask, they did agree to meet again this coming week. Process isn't the same as progress, but of course talking beats silence. Baby steps.
Also at the Monday conclave, the parties sealed a mutual non-aggression pact concerning comments to the media. Said Fish, "We just feel that a little bit less, or a lot less, talking outside of the room and more talking inside of the room is better for everyone." The two-month PR battle had actually struck me as surprisingly mild, but whatever. Anything that builds trust and goodwill between the two sides is welcome.
Meanwhile, time to save the season is melting away. On Tuesday HOOPSWORLD cited league sources as saying that September 15 is the last possible date to reach a deal before training camps and preseason games would have to be canceled. Stern quickly shot down that report, but everyone realizes the deadline is somewhere around the middle of this month. I won't insult you by pretending that there's a legitimate chance of it being met.
Now a quick spin through some other lockout-relevant news (and other crap that interested me) from the week gone by....
Wilson Chandler and DeJuan Blair - have signed deals to play overseas. Chandler is joining the Zhejiang Guangsha of the Chinese Basketball Association. Since China has prohibited opt-out clauses, he won't be able to return to the NBA until the CBA season ends. Blair is off to Russia to play for Krasnye Krylya Samara. His deal does include an opt-out.
The National Labor Relations Board - has, according to Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated, completed its initial investigation into the bad-faith complaint filed by the players' union. There's still briefing and deliberation before a decision is handed down, but it's all slowly trudging forward.
Ron Artest - is still named Ron Artest and will compete with various F-list celebs on the new season of Dancing With the Stars. Following the casting announcement on Monday night, Ron told Access Hollywood, "I don't have a chance." Which strikes me as a correct statement.
Some UCLA kid - flew to Cairo this past summer, snuck across the Libyan border and fought with the rebels in their war against Muammar Qaddafi. Which is completely badass, but the reason I mention this is, check out what he wore into battle.
That right there, friends, is the uniform of a true warrior.
Denny's - has rolled out a new menu item called the Mac n' Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt.
It's a patty melt with macaroni and cheese inside.
Cat Video - I haz one! This week, we've got some distressing cat-on-cat violence.
My favorite part is the bro who wanders in from the right at the 0:39 mark. He's like a tiny lion. (Also, you can tell he's totally danked out.)
Stuff to Read
Players Advised to Keep Money Trouble Talk Down (Royce Young, CBS Sports, 8/29)
Oh @#$% Mario Actually Has a Portal Gun (Rob Bricken, Topless Robot, 8/30)
The 12 Most Annoying Types of College Students (JP Moore, Buzzfeed, 8/30)
Confirmed: George Lucas @#$%ed With the Original Trilogy for the Star Wars Blu-Rays (Bricken, Topless Robot, 8/31)
Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.