Morning Newsletter

Back-to-back talks to give sides sense of progress

Negotiators for the NBA and its players met for about two hours Tuesday in New York and will talk again Wednesday in an effort to end the lockout that has lasted nearly three months.

Both sides said neither concern nor optimism should be read into the brevity of the meeting. They simply needed time to think about what had been discussed.

Commissioner David Stern hinted that Wednesday's session will determine when more discussions are warranted. It's been expected there would be no talks Thursday because members of both bargaining teams will be observing the Jewish holiday, but they could resume talks before the weekend.

"They and we have both agreed that so long as there is reason to keep discussing, we will keep discussing, undeterred by the calendar or weekends or things like that," Stern said. "We will know more after tomorrow's session."

The format was again with small groups, and that will remain the case Wednesday. However, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said the owners' labor relations committee would be prepared to return to the table this week if necessary.

"They stand ready to come to New York, or wherever else, if there's a reason to continue on Friday," he said. "So the groups may expand."

Neither side would say if there were any new proposals, with both using the word "concepts."

"We're not holding anybody accountable to ideas being thrown out in the room," said the Lakers' Derek Fisher, president of the players' association. "It's really just a process that we're trying to go through to see if we can get a deal done."

With training camps postponed and a week of exhibition games already canceled, players and owners are trying to agree on a labor deal in time to avoid any further damage to the NBA calendar. The regular season is scheduled to begin Nov. 1. To start on time, an agreement must be done by mid-October.

Charity game for Big 3

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are hosting a charity game at Florida International University in Miami on Saturday, Oct. 8, ESPN.com reported. All proceeds will benefit a South Florida educational charity.

Isiah Thomas is head coach of FIU's men's basketball team. The school's basketball arena holds 5,000.

Also expected to play are former Wildcats Rajon Rondo, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, of the Celtics, Wizards and Clippers, respectively.

Kevin Durant, who's been a mainstay this summer in exhibition games, is expected as is Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook. Among others to play are Miami's Mario Chalmers, New York's Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, New Orleans' Chris Paul and Atlanta's Jamal Crawford. Rookies Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson also may play.

Gay exec snapped up

Less than three weeks after leaving his job as a top businessman with the Phoenix Suns, Rick Welts has taken on a similar role with the rebuilding Golden State Warriors.

The longtime NBA executive had put his professional life on hold to take care of the personal side. Openly gay in the sports world, he is in the process of relocating from Phoenix to Northern California to be with his partner, Todd Gage.

Welts' work plans changed in a hurry when the Warriors came calling. They happened to have an open executive position on the business side, and Welts signed a multiyear deal to become the team's president and chief operating officer, reporting to new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

"You talk about fortuitous. This is fortuitous," Lacob said Tuesday, when the team formally introduced Welts. "I know it when I see it. I've been hiring people for 25 years."

Welts, 58, began as a ballboy for the SuperSonics in his native Seattle more than four decades ago.

Welts joined the Suns in 2002 as president and had the additional title of CEO the past two seasons. He announced in May that he is gay. He would do it again, too.

"I can tell you that when I chose to go the route that I did, I certainly reached out to a couple of former and current players who were really extraordinary in their support," Welts said. "I heard from a lot of people in the professional sports industry who I didn't know who were in a similar situation and really appreciated at least having the ability to watch someone go through this process and see that it turned out really well and maybe encourage them on their own time frame, whenever it's right for them, to take the same step."

Asked if he might be breaking down barriers, Welts said, "I think nobody gives a crap, for the most part. For whatever reason, again, in men's team sports we just have a hard time discussing it. I think the more we talk about it, the more comfortable we can be with it and the less, perhaps, threatening and scary it seems to those who are on any side of the issue."

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