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NBA SCROOGES DECREE: NO JORDAN ON CHRISTMAS

Jimmy Stewart has his toughest role this Christmas -- playing the part of Michael Jordan.

The NBA informed NBC on Tuesday that the network's Christmas Day doubleheader, featuring the Chicago Bulls and possibly Jordan, is the latest casualty of the nearly five-month-long NBA lockout.

Making matters worse, the bargaining process hit a major snag when the sides found themselves in disagreement over exactly what they agreed to last week.

The latest argument threatened to cancel Saturday's scheduled resumption of talks.

"The central part of the deal is no longer on the table, which means we didn't make any progress at all Friday," deputy commissioner Russ Granik said. "The owners feel there's no point in having any more meetings right now."

The union responded by saying the owners were "posturing" and "grandstanding."

NBC, in place of the New York Knicks at the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Phoenix Suns doubleheader, will show Frank Capra's Christmas movie "It's A Wonderful Life" starring Stewart.

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