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IC Cold Links: Players, Owners Look For Deal On NBA Lockout Eve; Howard Impresses Suns

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With no reported hope, the NBA players and owners are scheduled to meet today one last time in an effort to avoid a lockout with the current CBA set to expire tomorrow.

The July 1st deadline also forces players and teams to make decisions their respective options for contract extensions. Most are routine decisions, like Utah making sure pick up Gordon Hayward's options, while others are more intriguing.

Denver big man, Nene Hillario is passing up the last year of his contract worth around $12 million to become free agent. The Indiana Pacers will surely have an interest in Nene at the right price but I wouldn't get my hopes up for the big fella fortifying the front court for the Pacers whenever they return to action.

Also, Matt Howard worked in Phoenix yesterday with other rookies and free agents earning praise from Suns' coach Alvin Gentry.

The one guy that Gentry said stood out, besides Morris, was Butler forward Matt Howard. "I think he's one of those smart, smart guys who will eventually find his way into the league."

Hardly surprising but nice to hear. Hopefully Howard will have plenty of options to pick and choose from as he tries to secure a NBA roster spot and Reggie Miller reaches out to George Hill. 

After the jump, a few more links of interest including Ron Artest trying to explain his efforts to change his name to Metta World Peace.