Labor talks break off . . . again

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Labor talks break off . . . again

If the creator of the Peanuts cartoon (Charles M. Schulz) were still alive, he would have some fresh faces to insert in the classic scene in which Lucy pulls the football away from a (once again) hoodwinked Charlie Brown at the last minute.

Just when NBA fans were ready to gear up for the league's lockout to be over, labor talks hit yet another major snag on Friday.

After more than five hours of bargaining on Friday, a short day by NBA lockout standards, talks have broken off once again with no deal in sight or future meetings scheduled.

And as expected, NBA commissioner David Stern announced that there will be no games played in the month of November.

"We share the frustrations of our fans, partners, and those who rely on our game for their livelihoods," said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "We remain committed to reaching an agreement that's fair for both the teams and the players and allows for the long-term growth of our game."

While there was some talk of the possibility of getting a full 82-game season schedule played, that's not going to happen, either.

"It's not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now," said Stern. "We held out that joint hope together, but in light of the breakdown in talks, there will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances."

Unlike the last time talks broke off, don't look for these two to get back together this weekend.

NBAPA president Derek Fisher told NBA.com that he was on a plane back to Los Angeles tonight.

"We made a lot of concessions, but . . . it's not enough," NBAPA executive director Billy Hunter told reporters on Friday.

Fisher added, "Right now, it's still not enough for them to feel this deal can be closed."

The optimism displayed by both sides Thursday night, was replaced by the reality on Friday that as much progress had been made, there remain several issues still left unresolved.

And the biggest issue of them all -- how to split the basketball-related income -- came to a head on Friday.

The result, in a word, was disastrous, as both sides showed little to no movement towards what appears to be an obvious middle ground.

The owners came into Friday's negotiations having offered the union a 50-50 split of the BRI.

However, Hunter said the owners actually lowered their offer on Friday, to the players receiving a 47 percent of the BRI only to raise it back to 50 percent.

After Thursday night's bargaining session, Stern said he would be willing to make a move on the economics of a new deal.

"He made a move," Hunter said on Friday. "He went to 47. It's like when you play checkers, and you jump backwards, and then forward."

The players received 57 percent of the BRI in the last CBA, and had officially offered to drop down to 52.5 percent, which amounts to about 200 million a year.

From the owners perspective, Stern pointed out some of the concessions made by owners, such as keeping the mid-level exception worth 5 million - he said the owners wanted to do away with the MLE altogether - and to have contracts as long as five years (owners were seeking to limit those to four years) as examples of their willingness to get a deal done.

He's still committed to that, but the offers are likely to get worse.

"We're going to have to re-calculate how bad the damage is," Stern said. "We've lost, approaching 200 million dollars, loss of the preseason. Now we're going to lose several hundred million dollars more. So the NBA's offer, it's next offer will reflect the extraordinary losses that are starting to pile up now. You can assume that our offer will change, to reflect the change in economic circumstances."

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”