The New York Post’s Peter Vescey predicts there will be a new collective bargaining agreement, but correctly notes that the NBA has allowed some periphreal stories to garner much attention, at least compared to the playoffs themselves.

According to TV ratings reports, the Spurs-Pistons match-up is on track to be the next-to-least watched Finals in NBA history. Viewers have tuned out in alarming numbers while the threat of a lockout come July 1 has its remaining audience thoroughly turned off.

Only in the NBA can an unwanted coach napalm his organization and its vital assets in a tattle-tale expose and be rehired the very next season for $4 million more annually than he was earning when he left.

I guess Phil Jackson really is the Second Coming.

Only in the NBA can a coach (more uncomfortable than unhealthy, I submit) of the defending champs be permitted to negotiate with another team during the playoffs for a higher position while in the second season of a five-year contract.

Larry Brown already is making plans to leave Cleveland.

Only in the NBA can Commissioner David Stern and Billy Hunter, the executive director of the Player’s Association, work in partnership to upstage the season’s pinnacle presentation with intimidating talk of lockouts and death kneels at their respective press conferences.

Should the league, which has since very quietly compromised its position on contract length (consenting to six and five years in a June 2 covert meeting with the union) authenticate its offer to carve the escrow tax in half over the full term of the deal, and not throw any curve balls re other issues, I foresee a arrangement in place by June 30.

Should the league offer to bisect the escrow tax in year one of the new agreement I assure you the union will sign some time today.

Should the negotiations inexplicably breakdown Shaq has offered to pay for the league’s funeral.