Stern: Tuesday’s Meeting Could Decide Fate Of NBA Season

NBA Commissioner David Stern. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

NBA Commissioner David Stern. (AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (STMW) -- The owner of Dazzles Painted Pastures animal shelter near Tinley Park was arrested and charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license, providing rabies inoculations without a license and forging rabies certificates, the Cook County Sheriff’s department said Thursday. Dawn Hamill, 41, who was arrested and released Wednesday, faces seven misdemeanor violations of the animal welfare and animal control act. The new misdemeanor charges are in addition to the 10 misdemeanors she was charged with Feb. 11. After her arrest Wednesday, Hamill said she vowed to fight the new charges “tooth and nail.” “I am a law-abiding tax-paying citizen who is doing a good job,” she said. “I take in animals nobody wants.” Less than a month ago, Hamill appeared in court on the first set of charges, which included two counts of animal cruelty. At that time, she was granted a request for two months of discovery, moving her next court appearance for those charges to May 24. Hamill’s legal troubles began in February after authorities received a tip that conditions at her nonprofit animal sanctuary had deteriorated. An investigation by the animal crimes unit revealed Hamill had been neglecting and mistreating animals for years. At that time, Hamill was charged with eight counts of neglect of owner duties and two counts of cruel treatment, all misdemeanors. That investigation led to more than 100 animals being led off of her property and to the care of local animal shelters. In a statement Thursday, the sheriff’s department said, “Our two-person unit has received calls from people who have made complaints about the condition of animals they had previously purchased from Hamill.” Those complaints led to Wednesday’s arrest and a new set of charges. A court date has not yet been set for those new charges. (Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

NEW 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.”

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 six. 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.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.