The proposed all-sports cable network to be co-owned by the NBA and AOL Time Warner is doing the anti-Michael Jordan: It's not getting off the ground. Under their new TV deal, the NBA and AOL Time Warner were expected to create the channel to carry 96 NBA games plus other acquired sports programming. But the league instead has gone for another option: a $45 million (11%) investment in its existing digital-tier NBA TV by AOL Time Warner. NBA TV, in 10 million to 15 million homes, is expected to carry the 96 games in HDTV format. One reason for the kibosh? It removes a potentially thorny issue for the league where it would have run a network in direct competition with its other rights holder ESPN. "That," says NBA Commissioner David Stern, "and it lowers our program acquisition costs dramatically and therefore lowers the fee that we'll probably be talking about with the cable operators as well."