Knocking about a number of items as we prepare for a long weekend of fun and fireworks ...

• It's official now, the NBA lockout.

Talk about timing. Just when the league's popularity has risen to new highs, we're looking at the possibility of no games for a very long time.

I lose. You lose. The independent contractors who service the Rose Garden during Trail Blazers games (i.e. concessionaires, ushers, parking attendants) lose.

The players, of course, lose big-time.

Think about it. The average player's salary last season was about $5 million. For every game lost, that's about $62,000 out of the average player's pocket.

The owners, meanwhile, hold all the leverage.

Last year, if you believe Commissioner David Stern's numbers, 22 of 30 teams lost money.

Portland - the No. 2 team in attendance figures with more than 20,000 per game - had a net loss of $15 million. That's a fact.

The players' percentage of the pie can go nowhere but down.

The owners, meanwhile, will reap money from a TV contract that extends through 2016 and guarantees them money (as a loan) in the event of a work stoppage.

NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter owes his constituents to try to get them the best deal possible. What the players want, though, is nothing close to what is possible.

The longer they wait to concede that, the more we all lose.

• Midday host John Lund is leaving KXTG (750 AM 'The Game') to take a job in San Francisco.

Lund, who came to KXTG from Salt Lake City in October, didn't even stay around long enough to get a cell phone number with an Oregon area code.

He got an offer, he says, that was simply too good to pass up.

'I wasn't unhappy at 'The Game,' " says Lund, 42, who held the noon-to-3 p.m. slot. 'But San Francisco is the best sports market in the West. I'll be working with people I've worked with before. They have the A's and Sharks and are working on the Warriors and the 49ers.

'It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I thought I was going to stay here forever. This is probably the only job I'd have left for.'

Lund, who worked his final shift here Thursday, will begin working the 10 a.m.-to-2 p.m. slot at 95.7 FM ("The Wolf") in San Francisco in Aug. 1.

Dave Smith - who auditioned with former Trail Blazer Mychal Thompson for the 10 a.m.-to-noon slot now occupied by Brian Berger - will take over for Lund. Smith, who had been working in the Los Angeles market, will be flying solo.

• The Portland Timbers will attempt to snap a five-game winless streak Saturday night against Sporting Kansas City on the pitch at Jeld-Wen Field, but it's on the road where the local side must shake its doldrums.

The Timbers are 5-2-1 at home and 0-5-2 on the road. If there's a playoff run in the lads, they'd better turn things around away from home.

Portland's not alone, though. Five MLS clubs are winless on the road, including the hapless Vancouver Whitecaps at 0-7-3.

• Darwin Barney is back in the Chicago Cubs lineup after missing two weeks with a left-knee sprain.

The former Southridge High and Oregon State standout, a bonafide National League rookie of the year candidate, has gone 3 for 10 in his two games back and is batting .295 for the season.

• Disappointing to see OSU center fielder Brian Stamps sign with the Atlanta Braves and skip his senior season with the Beavers.

Stamps, a 24th-round draft pick, hit .271 in his first year at OSU as a junior junior-college transfer. He came on in the second half of the season and was one of those players who could have really used another college season to develop his skills and enhance his draft status a year from now.

• Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims, having a little addition problem on Monday's telecast of the Seattle-Atlanta game: 'Chipper Jones is second only to (Mickey) Mantle and (Eddie) Murray on the all-time home-run list for switch-hitters.'

• Broadcasters who resemble each other: Colin Cowherd and Chip Caray.

• Separated at birth: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the Portland Tribune's new CEO, Mark Garber (though you're much younger, Mark).

• Absolute dead ringers: golf broadcaster David Feherty and track and field's Mac Wilkins.

• Portland's Dean Clark, who worked the USA Track and Field Championships as a chiropractor with the Nike hospitality group, heads to Chula Vista., Calif., next month for a two-week stint at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The goal for Clark, who finished third in the 1973 NCAA steeplechase while at Washington State, is to put himself in position to be a member of the U.S. medical team staff for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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