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Volume 24 No. 157
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     The NBA and the NBPA, "days away from an unannounced league-
ordered work stoppage, reached an agreement in principle" late
last night on a no-strike/no-lockout pledge that will allow the
season to start on time on November 4.  According to sources, the
league had notified the NBPA "about a week ago that a lockout
would have begun Monday had they not come to this understanding.
That will become a moot point, however, when the pact is
completed and announced" in New York today (Scott Howard-Cooper,
L.A. TIMES, 10/27).  The joint NBA-NBPA news conference is
scheduled for 2:00pm EDT (USA TODAY, 10/27).  Had the no-
strike/no-lockout pledge not been reached, NBA owners would have
discussed the possibility of a lockout during a meeting in
Chicago next Monday.  Negotiations between NBA Commissioner David
Stern and NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham are ongoing (Richard
Justice, WASHINGTON POST, 10/27).  Yesterday afternoon, Grantham
sent a fax to agents on the CBA advisory board stating that
league officials had informed him that if no agreement "in
principle" is reached on a new contract by Monday, the owners
would lock out the players (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
     THE DEAL:  In New York, Murray Chass reports that the "key
element" was the consent of players David Wood and Howard Eisley
to postpone a lawsuit filed on their behalf Monday over the
league's "allegedly artificial reduction of the salary cap for
this season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).  Eisley said before a game on
Tuesday that "he knew little about the suit.  In fact, his name
was volunteered by his agent, Frank Catapano."  Catapano said
that Jeffrey Kessler, the attorney handling the suit, called
various agents and asked if any of their clients would have been
paid more if the "cap hadn't been misrepresented" (Minneapolis
     NEGOTIATIONS:  Despite the no-strike, no-lockout deal, the
two sides "were not close" to agreement on a new CBA.  Last week,
the league offered the union a proposal that includes a hard
salary cap, "removing some of the gimmicks that have enabled
teams to circumvent the cap."  The union proposes eliminating the
cap entirely (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 10/27).  The hard cap
proposal by the league also included a prohibition on contracts
with an "escape clause after one year."  That has been a
"sticking point" with the NBA, which took several players to
court over their opt-out clauses (Jackie MacMullan, BOSTON GLOBE,
10/27).  According to one owner, "the atmosphere at the
bargaining table has been fairly positive" (Peter Vecsey, N.Y.
POST, 10/27).  MacMullan, from "SportsCenter":  "The one drawback
to the players -- it gives David Stern everything he wants.  The
games continue, his reputation remains intact, and the expired
agreement, which he happens to like very much, will remain in
effect" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/26).