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1st day of lockout ends with no end in sight

The NBA lockout claimed a quick casualty in Day 1, when the free agency period did not open as usual on July 1. Games eventually could be lost, too, if owners and players can't make progress whenever they start talking again.

The NBA lockout claimed a quick casualty in Day 1, when the free agency period did not open as usual on July 1. Games eventually could be lost, too, if owners and players can't make progress whenever they start talking again.

"It's going to get ugly. I've already been on the record saying I don't think they're going to play at all next season," Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said yesterday.

The last lockout reduced the 1998-99 season to 50 games, and players say they're prepared to hang in as long as necessary this time, rather than agree to the financial changes owners are seeking.

The silence of this July 1 was a sad contrast to the events of exactly 1 year earlier, when LeBron James welcomed the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets to Cleveland to hear their pitches, and teams crisscrossed the country in pursuit of other stars that were available. Interest in the league surged from there, right on through the NBA Finals that drew some of the best TV ratings the event had seen in years.

Owners, tired of losing millions in a system that has guaranteed players 57 percent of revenues, want an overhaul that would allow small-market teams to compete with the big spenders, and all of them to make money.

Noteworthy

* Kobe Bryant has undergone a procedure in Germany to try to strengthen his arthritic right knee, according to a report. Citing four unidentified sources familiar with the situation, the Los Angeles Times yesterday reported that Bryant had a procedure about a month ago that is a derivation of platelet-rich plasma therapy. Also, Bryant may take his talents to China during the NBA's lockout. There are preliminary talks about a basketball tour to China this summer - and perhaps beyond - in which Bryant would be the headliner.

* Sixers assistant coach Quin Snyder and Chuck Person have been hired by the Lakers as assistants to new coach Mike Brown.