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RaptorsHQ Lunchbox Links for September 13, 2011

Let's start with some lock-out talk as usual, as it seems there might some light at the end of the tunnel based on recent talks.  Both sides are reconvening today but apparently Talks are said to be 'Light Years Ahead' Of 1998 Stoppage.  This is great news for sure, but that doesn't seem to have various NBA players convinced that they'll get a season. Kenyon Martin is reportedly in talks to sign In China, and JR Smith seems to be following suit.

If the lock-out continues on, causing the loss of a season, no one wins, especially the fans, who would be missing folks like LeBron playing in their primes.  No matter how you feel about Mr. James, there's an undeniable amount of intrigue going into next season to see how he, Mr. Wade and Mr. Bosh rebound in terms of a title attempt.

However lock-out or no lock-out, Celticsblog kicks off its annual series of NBA previews with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks Preview... For A Theoretical Season.

So what's keeping basketball fans sane right now?  The FIBA action of course!  Over in Lithuania we're down to eight teams and six spots.  The Toronto Raptors still have two players competing in Jose Calderon for Spain, and Jonas Valanciunas for the host Lithuanians.  

Valanciunas played only 18 minutes in Lithuania's win over Germany on Sunday, but was extremely solid again posting 15 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.  Oh, and those 15 points came on 6 of 10 shooting.  Big Val's crew plays F.Y.R. of Macedonia tomorrow.

As for Jose, his Spanish team also plays tomorrow, versus Slovenia.  We'll be talking more about Jose later this week but he's been fairly quiet statistically posting averages of 4.5 points and 2.6 assists.

Finally, on a Raptors-related note, Andrea Bargnani checks in at number 57 of the top 99 NBA Players Of 2015.

I'll leave the commentary on this to you folks...