BRIEFLY : HUNTER AND STERN MIGHT TALK TODAY.
As union executive Billy Hunter feels the pressure of the Jan. 7 drop-dead date to cancel the NBA season closing in, he said Saturday that he expects to reach out to commissioner David Stern today and he wants to schedule a meeting with the principals involved for this week.
When reached at his home in Oakland, Hunter said he was flying back to New York on Saturday and planned to call Stern.
``It's a watch-and-wait situation,'' Hunter said. ``I'm thinking that David and I are going to be talking before the weekend is out, but I just don't know when. Right now I'm not optimistic because nothing is happening. I don't want to go into specifics, but things continue to be the same.''
When Stern set Jan. 7 as the drop-dead date last week, it spurred some activity. But Hunter said that absolutely nothing came of the secret late-night meeting he had with Stern in Los Angeles on Wednesday. If a new meeting can be scheduled for this week, it is unlikely to be a full bargaining session. Only a few major principals, such as the union president Patrick Ewing, and the NBA's deputy commissioner, Russ Granik, will likely join Stern and Hunter.
One member of the union's negotiating committee said the players were confident a deal could get done if a swap of key compromises unfolds. The union is prepared to accept the league's proposal for a maximum salary for players with more than six years experience if the owners will add a median salary exception of about $1.3 million and raise the minimum salary.
``I don't think Billy will give unless there's a trade, straight up,'' one union official said. ``I think if those things can be worked out, we're not that far apart.''
One major sticking point still exists, though. The union has been adamant about getting 57 percent of the basketball-related revenues, while the league has not offered anything more than 53.5.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ohio State coach John Cooper will miss practice Monday and Tuesday for the Sugar Bowl against Texas A&M to attend funeral services for his mother.
Mildred Cooper, of Orlando, Fla., died Christmas Eve. She had battled lung cancer for the past year. She was 88.
HORSE RACING: Silver Charm, who just missed winning the 1997 Triple Crown and finished second last month in the Breeders' Cup Classic, will open his 1999 schedule Jan. 30 in the $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.
Robert Umphrey, Gulfstream's director of racing, said he received a commitment this week from trainer Bob Baffert to run Silver Charm in the nationally televised race.
``Naturally, we're thrilled to have him,'' Umphrey said. ``This will be Silver Charm's first appearance in Florida, and he's the biggest name in racing now.''
Silver Charm came within less than a length of sweeping the Triple Crown, winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. But the chance to become the first Triple Crown champion since 1978 was dashed in the Belmont Stakes, where he finished second to Touch Gold.
NHL: Former New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire has rejoined the Montreal Canadiens as a consultant to general manager Rejean Houle.
The 53-year-old Lemaire signed a three-year deal with Montreal.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Dec 27, 1998|
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