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."

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."