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NBA, union have "contentious'' bargaining session

DALLAS - NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said Friday the league tore up its proposal for a new collective-bargaining agreement after a "contentious" 90-minute session. But he said that doesn't mean the league is closer to a lockout when the current deal expires on July 1, 2011.

"No, I think that everybody has a different sense of things and nobody wants to see this thing that David Stern has worked and built, the NBA, the successful entity that it is, the brand, we're not out to damage it or destroy it," Hunter said.

Hunter said the union received the proposal Jan. 29. He said the NBA seeks a "hard" salary cap that would eliminate the exceptions that teams over the cap can use to sign players if they are willing to pay luxury tax.

A person who had seen the proposal told The Associated Press on Thursday that it called for first-round picks to have their salaries cut by about one-third, would reduce the minimum salary by as much as 20 percent and would guarantee contracts for half their value. The total value of a maximum salary and the total years players could sign for would drop sharply.

The proposal rallied the players, especially after Hunter forwarded comments from an executive who told that "if they don't like the new max contracts, LeBron can play football, where he will make less than the new max. Wade can be a fashion model or whatever. They won't make squat and no one will remember who they are in a few years."

Rookies beat sophomores

The Kings' Tyreke Evans had 26 points and the Spurs' DeJuan Blair had 22 points and 23 rebounds as the NBA rookies beat the sophomores, 140-128, in the Rookie Challenge. The Thunder's Russell Westbrook scored 40 for the sophomores. The Knicks' Danilo Gallinari shot 2-for-4 and had five points.

Malone, Pippen finalists

Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen and the 1992 and 1960 U.S. Olympic gold medalist teams are among 19 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

Returning finalists include Chris Mullin, Dennis Johnson, Don Nelson and Cynthia Cooper. Jerry Buss, Bernard King and Jamaal Wilkes also are on the list. The Class of 2010 will be announced April 5. - AP

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