New York — The NBA is headed to deadline day, with perhaps one last chance to avoid a lockout.
Negotiators for owners and players will meet today, about 12 hours before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and seemingly nowhere close to a deal.
The sides remain far apart on just about every major issue, from salaries to the salary cap, revenues to revenue sharing.
After meeting twice a week for most of the month, this is the only session scheduled this week. The two sides could continue bargaining past the deadline, but that probably requires owners to see evidence of the gap narrowing today.
Otherwise, they could lock out the players for the first time since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games, though Commissioner David Stern has refused to say what would happen if a deal is not done today.
“We’re not going to negotiate in the media,” he said Tuesday after meeting with owners. “We haven’t before, we’re not going to do it now. We’re looking forward to having our discussion with the players.”
Blazers offer Oden qualifying offer
Portland, Ore. — The Trail Blazers have offered former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden an $8.8 million qualifying offer to stay in Portland.
The offer means the often-injured 7-foot center becomes a restricted free agent. The Blazers can match any other offer made for him.
Oden, 23, didn’t play this past season after microfracture surgery on his left knee. He missed his rookie season in 2007-08 after microfracture surgery on his right knee. Two seasons ago he broke his left kneecap.
Because of his injuries, the former Ohio State star has played in only 82 games over parts of two seasons, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.
Jeter could return by next week
Derek Jeter could make his first rehab start as soon as Saturday, barring a setback, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. If Jeter does play in a rehab game Saturday, it’ll be with Double-A Trenton.
Although that would force the shortstop to miss this weekend’s Subway Series in Flushing, if healthy, Jeter could return some time during the team’s three-game series in Cleveland beginning Monday. But that is a best-case scenario, Cashman said.
“First, let’s see how he feels tomorrow, let’s see how the next few days go, let’s see after we get him in a rehab setting how that goes,” said the general manager, who spent the early portion of the afternoon watching Phil Hughes pitch for Trenton.
Mariners starter Bedard to DL
Seattle — The Seattle Mariners’ stellar starting rotation took a hit Wednesday when left-hander Erik Bedard was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained left knee.
The Mariners selected catcher Jose Yepez from Triple-A Tacoma to take Bedard’s spot. The move is retroactive to June 28, and Bedard may just miss one start before he is eligible to come off the DL, depending on how Seattle uses its off days between now and the All-Star break.
Owners, players joining labor talks
After two days of negotiating between NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players’ association head DeMaurice Smith and their staffs, several owners and players arrived in Minneapolis to attend larger talks today, according to the NFL Network.
Smith and Goodell traveled to Sarasota, Fla., Wednesday morning to jointly address the rookie players’ symposium. “We’re taking a break because we felt it was important to be down here with the players,” Goodell said after the symposium. Goodell was invited to the symposium by Smith, and the commissioner’s acceptance is seen as a sign that talks are progressing.
Titans WR Britt surrenders to police
Nashville, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt has surrendered to police on two outstanding warrants alleging that he provided inaccurate information on separate driver’s license applications.
Britt was briefly booked into jail in Nashville on Wednesday before posting a $2,000 bond, according to Nashville police. Police spokesman Don Aaron told WKRN-TV that Britt was not at home when officers attempted to serve him on April 14 with the misdemeanor charges issued by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Britt also faces a charge of resisting arrest in his home state of New Jersey earlier this month after detectives suspected he was carrying a marijuana cigar at a carwash. The former Rutgers star also recently pleaded guilty to motor vehicle violations related to a speeding arrest in his native Bayonne.
Women’s World Cup
Brazil, Norway struggle, but win
Goals continued to be difficult to come by at the Women’s World Cup in Germany, and Wednesday was the leanest day yet.
Brazil, with five-time world player of the year Marta leading its attack, managed to score only once in a victory over Australia in Moenchengladbach. Earlier, former champion Norway struggled to accomplish even that in a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea in Augsburg.
So far, in eight World Cup matches involving each of the 16 teams in the tournament, only 14 goals have been scored, an average of 0.875 per team, per game.
Five teams have been shut out heading into the second round of matches set to begin today.
Concussions force Kariya to retire
Winnipeg, Manitoba — Paul Kariya announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday after being unable to return from post-concussion symptoms that forced him to miss all of last season.
Kariya announced the end of his stellar, 15-season career in a statement released by his agent, Don Baizley.
The former star left wing finished his long NHL stint with the St. Louis Blues. Kariya had missed six games in December and January of the 2009-10 season because of a concussion and announced last August that he would sit out the entire 2010-11 season after being examined by concussion specialist Dr. Mark Lovell.