Source: NBA talks set for Tuesday

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Source: NBA talks set for Tuesday

NEW YORK -- With one round of cancellations behind them and more significant ones looming without a new labor deal soon, representatives for NBA players and owners will meet Tuesday and perhaps Wednesday for talks aimed at ending the lockout.

The union has canceled a regional meeting with players Tuesday in Miami so its negotiators can meet with league officials in New York instead, a person familiar with the plans told The Associated Press on Monday on condition of anonymity because the details are supposed to remain confidential.

Both sides said after meeting last week they hoped to talk again this week, but scheduling conflicts threatened to make that difficult. Union executive director Billy Hunter was supposed to travel to Miami on Monday to brief players Tuesday, and some members of both bargaining teams will be unavailable from Wednesday evening through Friday evening because of the Jewish holiday.

It's unclear who will take part in the talks, though the expectation is it will again be small groups. NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, Spurs owner Peter Holt, who leads the labor relations committee, and senior vice president and deputy general counsel Dan Rube represented the NBA last week. Hunter, NBPA president Derek Fisher of the Lakers, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy were on the union side.

The bargaining session, first reported by CBSSports.com, comes just days after the league postponed training camps and canceled all 43 preseason games scheduled for Oct. 9-15.

The remainder of preseason play would be in jeopardy without an agreement by early next week, and the Nov. 1 opening of the regular season could be scrapped by the middle of next month.

The slow pace of the negotiations has left players frustrated, but they insist still united with the lockout nearing the three-month mark.

"We support Billy 100 percent, we support D-Fish 100 percent," Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony said after an exhibition game Sunday in Philadelphia. "My main thing, we've just got to stick together. As players, we're sticking together."

Yet he also didn't rule out decertification of the union, a tactic NFL players used during their battle with the league but one that Hunter and Fisher have continued to reject thus far.

"If that's where we got to take it, that's where we got to take it," Anthony said. "Whatever it takes to get a season, that's what we want to do."

Two issues remain in the way of that. Players are resisting owners' desire for a hard salary cap, and have said owners want their share of basketball-related income to drop into the 40s after they were guaranteed 57 percent under the deal that expired at the end of the day June 30.

The news has been bad, but players still hope a deal can come in time to avoid losing games to a work stoppage for only the second time.

"Every report that you guys in the media is hearing, we're hearing the same exact thing, and we're just trying to get something done and hopefully something can get done," Houston Rockets player representative Kyle Lowry said. "If not, we're going to stick together as players, the players union, and hopefully something gets done."

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Coward move' by Kings owner Ranadive, GM Divac

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Coward move' by Kings owner Ranadive, GM Divac

Last Sunday night, DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans.

The move stunned the basketball world and the All-Star big man himself.

After Cousins' debut in a Pelicans uniform on Thursday night, he opened up to Marc Spears of The Undefeated.

"Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response," Cousins said when asked if he wants to talk to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive or GM Vlade Divac. "For what?

"And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with Mike Malone’s. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?"

Cousins also revealed a story about the Kings telling him he would not be traded.

"A week before the trade," Cousins started. "The sick part about it is that Vlade came in my house with my agent. We sat in my theater and just talked. That was maybe three weeks ago. We sat there and (he) told me what moves he wanted to make. All of that. I just didn’t understand.

"I got a text from the owner right before I went to All-Star. He was asking me about a player, how I felt about him and making a move. The owner! When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn’t understand."

Cousins registered 27 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks against the Rockets, but the Pelicans lost by 30.

Cauley-Stein not only Kings player to thrive in first game without Cousins

Cauley-Stein not only Kings player to thrive in first game without Cousins

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings fell behind by eight at the 6:23 mark of the first quarter and the tension inside of Golden 1 Center was palpable. A spattering of boos could be heard from a fanbase that had just watched their franchise cornerstone sent packing over the weekend. The worst fears seemed to be playing out.

And then Willie Cauley-Stein happened.

Head coach Dave Joerger summoned the second-year big man into the game and he responded with a dunk off a Ben McLemore pass. He followed that up with a put back slam and then a driving lay-up and then a 15-foot jumper. By the end of the first quarter, Cauley-Stein had poured in eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and Sacramento held a 29-26 lead.

“He didn’t feel us,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “We didn’t have great execution with our pick-and-roll defense. He got behind us. We weren’t covering the rim. It was easy for him.”

The lanky 7-footer has been waiting for his opportunity and with DeMarcus Cousins now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, he is getting his shot.

Cauley-Stein continued his strong play in the second quarter as the Kings pushed their lead as high as 20. In 15 minutes of action before the break, Cauley-Stein posted 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting. He finished the night with a career-high 29 points and chipped in 10 rebounds in the win, but he wasn’t the only Kings player to post big numbers.

Sacramento used a team effort to pull off a 116-100 shocking victory. Six players scored in double-figures, including rookie Buddy Hield and veteran Tyreke Evans who joined the Kings in the Cousins trade over the weekend.

“Everybody’s unselfish,” Hield said. “When you play unselfish, I feel like everything is possible. Guys aren’t worried about who’s getting the most shots up. It doesn’t matter in this group.”

The rookie out of Oklahoma turned heads in his first appearance in a Kings uniform, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He knocked down a 3-pointer and showed a pretty tear drop in the lane.  

“Buddy is real confident, especially for a rookie,” point guard Darren Collison said. “He can shoot the ball really well. He can create a little bit off the pick-and-roll and he gets after it on defense too.”

Evans dropped in 15 points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists off Dave Joerger’s bench. This is the second go-around in Sacramento for the former Rookie of the Year and there is a clear need for his ball-handling skills on the current version of the Kings.

In addition to Cauley-Stein, Hield and Evans, seldom used rookie Skal Labissiere put in a solid effort in his 14 minutes of action. The Haitian-born big man will likely play plenty of minutes down the stretch as the Kings adjust to their new, guard heavy roster.

Labissiere brought an energy and excitement to the game, scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He was active, which the veterans in Sacramento have seen in practice sessions, but Labissiere hasn’t been given the chance in real game action until Thursday night.

“Skal has been working since he got here,” Collison said. “I’ve seen that kid work after the games, in the gym by himself, before practice, after practice, before games, after the games. So it’s good to see that work finally paying off for him.”

Collison added 15 points and 10 assists in 32 minutes. Ty Lawson chipped in eight points and six assists starting alongside Collison and Ben McLemore knocked down two 3-pointers on his way to 10 points.

It was a team effort for a group that has had very little time to gel together. The Kings’ second unit scored an incredible 72 points on the night, outscoring the Nuggets reserves by 28.

With the win, Sacramento moved to within a half game of Denver for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race. They head back to Golden 1 Center on Saturday afternoon for a 2pm start against the Charlotte Hornets who have lost 12 of their last 13 games, including an overtime stunner on Thursday against the Detroit Pistons.