Former Madison Square Garden and Knicks president Dave Checketts says he has heard there is a deal between the NBA and the players union.
Checketts, who owns an MLS team in Salt Lake and recently served as a consultant for new Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, said during an interview Thursday with ESPN Radio in Salt Lake City, "The rumblings coming out of both the players' side and the owners' side suggests there is a deal . . . I think they're trying to finish everything up."
Checketts later added, "I've received a couple of phone calls from friends who are very close to the process that say, 'We have a deal and it's a matter of having everything straightened out.' "
He also couched his comments by saying, "This certainly could and has already in this negotiation over time crashed into a wall, but I get a different feeling about this. I think that both sides have come together and are trying very hard to iron out the details and come out unified. I really believe it'll be sometime later tonight that you'll hear some positive things."
NBA and union officials here at the Manhattan hotel where talks are being held have denied a deal has been reached and the sides are said to be still talking.
At the end of the long interview, however, Checketts takes a call and when he returns his tone is suddenly changed.
"I'm being told now ... perhaps they've taken a step back," he said. "It's not as close as I thought."