Decertification talk silenced; Tuesday's meeting big

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Decertification talk silenced; Tuesday's meeting big

NEW YORK Just a few weeks ago, a number of high-profile NBA agents were pushing hard for players to decertify from the union.

And yet even with little progress having been made recently towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, suddenly those calls for change have eased up.

Now we may know why.

Before the union can decertify, 30 percent of the members would have to sign a petition wanting to decertify.

But according to NBA.com's David Aldridge, the National Labors Relations Board - they would be the one dealing with any decertification vote - might not approve such a vote.

"They would block any decertification petition," said Lawrence Katz, the lawyer in charge of the players union's NLRB case against the NBA.

The reason?

The players union has filed a lawsuit with the NLRB against the NBA, alleging that they're not negotiating in good faith. Until a decision is made on that - or a new CBA gets worked out, whichever comes sooner - Katz told NBA.com that it's highly unlikely the union would pursue decertification right now.

And that means that both sides will continue to work towards a new CBA, a process that hopefully will get a major jump-start on Tuesday.

That is when both sides will come together for the first time since talks broke down earlier this month and NBA commissioner David Stern announced the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season. Last week, he said if a deal wasn't in place by Tuesday, games on Christmas Day may also be canceled.

Since then, both sides have cranked up the rhetoric, but have very few results to show for it other than upsetting the other side while fans sit on the outside waiting patiently for them to come to terms on a new deal.

Tuesday's meeting will be noticeably different than previous ones due to the presence of a federal mediator.

George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, is widely considered one of the nation's best attorneys when it comes to labor issues involving professional franchises.

Cohen, who was involved at some point in the NFL lockout talks, said last week that he had "separate, informal, off-the-record discussions" with key members of both the NBA and the players union regarding the status of where they were in terms of working towards a new CBA.

"It is evident," Cohen said, "that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played."

The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

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The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist, and former Celtics beat writer, Dan Shaughnessy sits down with CSN for an extended discussion on "The '86 Celtics Interviews" podcast. Shaughnessy talks about the greatness of that team and the players' surprising reaction when they found out he was moving from the Celtics to the Red Sox beat.

Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

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Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Tyler Zeller. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – The NBA is a league full of highs and lows for players.

There are few who understand this as well as Tyler Zeller, a player who has gone from starting to being a backup to not playing at all – at times in the same week.

And through it all, you never heard him gripe about it publicly or privately to teammates.

It’s among the many reasons you constantly hear his teammates talk about how much they respect the way he has handled some extremely difficult situations.

This past season was especially tough for him considering he was heading into free agency and looking to do all he could to not just win, but showcase what he could do as player.

There were many nights when Zeller didn’t have that opportunity, but he understood.

The Celtics have been and will continue to be a team that’s about finding ways to win and on many nights coach Brad Stevens decided to go in a direction that didn’t include Zeller playing.

As the summer dragged on and the Celtics’ joined the handful of teams that came up short in landing Kevin Durant, Zeller’s return became more likely.

And Zeller’s patience was rewarded with a two-year, $16 million contract with the second year of the deal being a team option.

Now that he’s back in the fold, what’s next?

The ceiling for Zeller: Part-time starter

It may not happen on opening night and it may not happen in the first week, or even first month, of the season.

But at some point, Tyler Zeller will be in the Celtics’ starting lineup.

And when he’s there, he’ll do a lot of good things that he has proven he’s capable of doing.

When it comes to running the floor in transition, Zeller has distinguished himself as one of the Celtics best big men.

The Celtics are big on playing with space and pace and there are few 7-footers who can run the floor as well as Zeller.

In fact, his PACE (number of possessions per 48 minutes) last season was 101.93 which was tops among all Celtics frontcourt players and second overall to guard Marcus Smart (102.46).

It’ll get the Celtics a few easy buckets here and there, but it won’t score enough points with the coaching staff to keep a starting job, which would then relegate him back to being one of the team’s frontcourt reserves.

Still, Zeller is a luxury that few teams have: a player who won’t get (overly) bent out of shape even if his minutes resemble this.

The floor for Zeller: On the roster

Zeller has spent the bulk of his NBA career as a back-to-the-basket center, but showed more desire to score more from the perimeter last season, which is one of the reasons why he shot a career-low 47.6 percent from the field.

He’s trying to expand his game because of the direction that the NBA is going with big men who need to be able to score further away from the basket in addition to providing a presence around the rim.

While Zeller has decent mechanics on his perimeter shot, it’s clear that he’s not yet totally comfortable being a “stretch big.”

According to NBA.com/stats, Zeller shot 30.9 percent from the field last season on wide open shot attempts from at least 10 feet away.

With the addition of Al Horford and the return of Amir Johnson as well as Kelly Olynyk, Boston has a nice group of stretch centers they can put on the floor. And let’s not forget about Jonas Jerebko, who closed out the playoffs as a starter for Boston.

Minutes will once again be hard to come by for Zeller with any kind of consistency.

In fact, there’s a very good chance that he will have some games in which he doesn’t play (coaches decision) at all.

And depending on injuries, he may have to be inactive at times just to ensure Boston has depth on the perimeter.

Whether he’s starting, coming off the bench or not suited up at all, Zeller is an important part of this Celtics squad. Above all else, he provides depth, which continues to be one of the hallmarks for this franchise under Stevens.