You can't fault David Stern's Machiavellian labor-negotiating skills. Even though we're two years away from him pulling a Gary Bettman, he's already tossing throwaway bombs, like this one launched into the lap of SI's Ian Thomsen: Chicks in the NBA!

Stern fired his first shot back in February, when he used the old "AIG is failing, you better sleep with me tonight baby" line. When that didn't get any traction, Stern agreed to a little sitdown where he waxed feminist. The money shot is pretty tepid — Thomsen asked Stern about the possibility of women playing in the NBA within the decade, and Stern answered "I think we might... I don't want to get into all kinds of arguments with players and coaches about the likelihood. But I really think it's a good possibility." You have to admire the double-edged possibility — an entire league of lady scabs, or simply leveraging the old canard that women make only 70 cents on the dollar for the same work as men. (Is this where I'm supposed to work in a joke about babes playing on the rag?)

Apparently the NBA Players' Association isn't going get too exercised about this until Stern starts talking about the athletic prowess of the Mexicans who do his lawn. ("Ten years?" LeBron James said of Stern's prediction. "That's, like, right around the corner. [In] 10 years, I'll be 34. I'll still be in the NBA. I think 10 years is pushing it, honestly.") That or they are consumed by the labor needed to rehabilitate Ron Artest's image (and I mean full time — look at that URL).

This is 99, btw.

Weekly Countdown: A woman's place could soon be in the NBA [SI]