The NBA drew closer to a player lockout Thursday while union leaders went back to Commissioner David Stern and dissident players began a new legal attack.
"I really think that tomorrow at midnight we'll have our first work stoppage in the NBA, barring unforeseen developments," Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller told KISN radio in Salt Lake City.
Stern and union head Simon Gourdine met for four hours. A few miles away, the lawyer for players trying to decertify the union filed an unfair labor practice charge against the league in an effort to stop bargaining.
Meanwhile, the head of the National Labor Relations Board's New York office said the agency may seek an injunction to stop the antitrust suit filed Wednesday in Minneapolis federal court by Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and five other players.
The no-lockout, no-strike deal agreed to last Oct. 27 expires Saturday, and owners appear ready to lock out the players--stopping all contract negotiations--rather than continue signings under the expired collective bargaining agreement.
Stern had no comment on the lockout plans or the unfair labor practice charge.
"If the players continue down their path, they are taking us exactly down the road baseball and hockey went down," Miller said.
Spud Webb, the 5-foot-7 point guard who became expendable when Sacramento drafted UCLA's Tyus Edney, was traded by the Kings to the Atlanta Hawks for journeyman Tyrone Corbin.
Webb, who won the NBA slam dunk contest in 1986 despite being one of the NBA's shortest players, is returning to the team where he played his first six seasons.
Jerry Reynolds, the Kings' director of player personnel, said the trade is probably the beginning of a series of moves to strengthen a club that missed the playoffs by one game last season.
Corbin, a 6-6 forward, will be joining his seventh NBA team, having previously played for San Antonio, Cleveland, Phoenix, Minnesota, Utah and Atlanta.
Webb, 31, has not been happy of late in Sacramento. In 1993, he was upset by the Kings' selection of guard Bobby Hurley as the No. 1 draft choice and lost his starting job to him before an auto accident nearly killed the rookie early in his first season.
The New York Knicks filed tampering charges against the Miami Heat because the Florida team had been publicly courting former Knick Coach Pat Riley.
Riley, who resigned two weeks ago after four years of coaching the Knicks, had one year remaining on his original contract. He was offered an extension reportedly worth $15 million over five years but turned it down.
Knick President David Checketts blasted the Heat for openly seeking Riley's services against NBA bylaws.
"This may be the most blatant example of tampering I have seen in 12 years in the NBA," Checketts said in a statement.