Players and owners are reportedly meeting past the 5 p.m. "deadline" set by David Stern. That is good news in our book. The players are willing to take the 50-50 split, according to reports. That is also good news. If the owners are reasonable on a few other core items, we can end this lockout and play a reasonable NBA season. That would be good news.

So guys: Don't mess this up. The biggest fear is that some hardline owners could still gum up the works. As Heny Abbott eloquently stated on TrueHoop:

For the owners, however ... it's impossible to see how any of these issues would be worth anything like the cost of a missed season, especially when the players are willing to pay for these concessions with even more cold hard cash. And at some point, for the owners, the question becomes: If you don't enjoy and greatly value seeing people play basketball, why on Earth are you in this business?

Exactly. We've been optimistic for the past 24 hours that a deal would rise out of today. We remain that way, as long as nobody messes it up.

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Afternoon links: Rounding up your Penn State reading for the day

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Thursday (JoePa and Joe Posnanski) edition: Wha' Happened?