Will the NBA be back by Christmas?

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Will the NBA be back by Christmas?

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Commissioner David Stern said his "gut" tells him there will be no NBA basketball on Christmas without a labor agreement by Tuesday. That day, when owners and players are scheduled to meet with a federal mediator, is a "really big deal," he added. Owners will then open two days of board meetings Wednesday, and without an agreement to bring them, Stern believes further cancellations are coming. "Right now, Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday, just before my owners come into town, having brought in the labor relations committee and Billy (Hunter) having brought in his executive committee, it's time to make the deal," Stern said Thursday. "If we don't make it on Tuesday, my gut -- this is not in my official capacity of canceling games -- but my gut is that we won't be playing on Christmas Day." Stern canceled the first two weeks of the regular season on Monday when the sides couldn't reach a deal before a deadline he had set. Christmas is traditionally the first big day of the NBA season. This year's three-game schedule features the NBA finals rematch between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. The sides will need to act quickly to save it. The talks have stalled over the structure of the salary cap system and the division of revenues between owners and players. They will meet Tuesday with George Cohen, the same mediator who tried to resolve the NFL's labor dispute months before it eventually ended. Asked if Cohen had the ability to move the sides toward a deal, Stern said: "I'm hoping he does because I think that if we don't make a deal by the time my owners meetings come in Wednesday and Thursday, after we've met with the mediator on Monday and then met with each other on Tuesday, then I despair. "Because we will have lost two weeks for sure on our way to losing more games, offers will get worse, possibly on both sides, and the deal's going to slip away from us, as may the season," he added. "So this is the time to make a deal." In a separate interview with NBA TV, Stern said he thought one was in reach Monday. The sides met for more than 12 hours over two days before talks broke down, and he says despite frequent meetings lately that "we aren't making any progress." "How many times does it pay to keep meeting, and to have the same things thrown back at you?" Stern said. "We're ready to sit down and make a deal. I don't believe that the union is. Hopefully by Tuesday, aided by the mediator, they'll be ready to make a deal. Certainly, I'll bring my owners ready to make a deal." Hunter is meeting with players on Friday in Los Angeles. The union has balked at owners' proposal to replace their hard salary cap plan by making the luxury tax much more punitive. Players believe it would become such a deterrent to spending that it would essentially work as a hard cap. The sides also have to decide how to divide up about 4 billion in annual revenues. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous collective bargaining agreement and have proposed lowering it to 53 percent. Owners are seeking the same 53-47 split in their favor. The parties have discussed a 50-50 split, which the players rejected. In the radio interview, Stern repeated a claim he made Monday that the original discussion of an even split was initiated by the players. They also are still clashing over the length of the agreement, with players not wanting to go beyond six years and owners seeking a 10-year deal but offering the players an opt-out after seven. Player contract lengths, luxury tax payments and the use of spending exceptions are among the other big items remaining. "We haven't even addressed many of the issues," Stern said. So there is a lot left -- and now perhaps just a few days to save basketball in this calendar year. "Deal Tuesday, or we potentially spiral into situations where the worsening offers on both sides make it even harder for the parties to make a deal," Stern said. The NBA TV interview aired Thursday at 10 p.m. EDT.

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

The Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, the team announced on Monday.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

A 6-5 guard and 2015-16 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award bestowed on the nation’s best collegiate basketball player, Hield joins the Kings in his rookie campaign after New Orleans tabbed him with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma. In 57 contests with the Pelicans this season, he accrued averages of 8.6 points (.392 FG%, .369 3pt%, .879 FT%), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in 57 contests (stated 37). 

Evans returns to Sacramento where he earned 2009 Rookie of the Year honors after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. An eight-year league veteran, he has amassed 16.3 points (.444 FG%, .289 3pt%, .757 FT%), 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 32.5 minutes per game in 459 NBA games (started 370). The Memphis Tiger enjoyed his most prolific seasons in a Kings jersey, registering 17.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 35 minutes per contest in 257 games (started 247).

In his third NBA campaign, Galloway averaged 8.6 points (.374 FG%, .377 3pt%, .769 FT%), 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest in 55 games for New Orleans this season. The St. Joseph’s alum previously spent parts of two seasons with the New York Knicks, where he saw action in all 82 games in 2015-16. 

Cousins departs the Kings ranked prominently in Sacramento-era annals as the leader in career rebounds (5,060), double-doubles (278) and free throws attempted (3,546) second in points scored (9,894), free throws made (2,604), and blocks (577), third in steals (661), field goals made (3,557) and attempted (7,747) and fifth in games played (470). Recently named to his third consecutive Western Conference All-Star team, he currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring, 11th in rebounds and 10th in double-doubles while averaging  27.8 points (.451 FG%, .354 3pt%, .770 FT%), 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 34.4 minutes per contest in 55 games (all starts). 

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

Originally drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins posted 21.1 points (.459 FG%, .322 3pt%, .734 FT%), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.9 minutes per contest in 470 games with Sacramento (started 448).    

Casspi was selected 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft and played two seasons in Sacramento (2009-10 – 2010-11) with stops in Cleveland (2011-12 – 2012-13) and Houston (2013-14) before returning to the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. Limited by injury this year, the 6-9 forward averaged 5.9 points (.453 FG%, .379 3pt%, .571 FT%), 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game in 22 contests (started 2).         

Additionally, Divac announced that the team has waived forward Matt Barnes. A 14-year NBA veteran, the UCLA alum is averaging 7.6 points (.384 FG%, .327 3pt%, .758 FT%), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per contest in 54 games (started 13) for Sacramento after joining the team prior to the start of this season.

Sacramento Kings media services

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

On Sunday night, the Kings agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans.

As part of the deal, New Orleans is sending Buddy Hield to Sacramento.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive believes Hield has Steph Curry potential, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes.

Ranadive's feelings about Hield were reportedly a key driver in Sacramento's decision to hammer out a trade with New Orleans.

The Kings entered the 2016 draft with the eighth overall pick. They tried to trade up to take Hield, but the Pelicans selected the shooting guard sixth overall.

Hield is averaging 8.6 points and 1.4 assists per game this season, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point territory.

Steph Curry is the reigning two-time MVP and last year he became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.