NBA expected to announce cancellation of the season's first month

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NBA expected to announce cancellation of the season's first month

Sometime today, the NBA is expected to announce the remaining games in November to be canceled, moving the league one step closer toward having the entire season wiped out, which would be a first in NBA history.

This latest round of canceled games will have a much, much greater impact than the first wave of cancellations.

Missing games the first two weeks of the season (Nov. 1-14) is one thing.

But losing the remaining games in November, beginning on Nov. 15, is a huge, huge deal.

Players usually get paid on the 15th and 30th of every month during the season, beginning in November and ending in May. Some have their payments spread out over the course of a year, from Nov. 1 through October 31.

And while there's still plenty of time left to get a deal done and salvage the remainder of the season, talks have taken a more drastic, negative tone following the most recent set of meetings.

Having spent more than 30 hours negotiating over a three-day period of time, talks broke off Friday evening with both sides claiming it was the other who ended discussions.

It doesn't matter who shut down the talks.

The end result is that there is no CBA in place, and there's little hope that one will get done anytime soon.

"Both sides hopefully won't harden," said Spurs owner Peter Holt, who is also chair of the league's labor relations committee. "Right now, it could be tougher to meet again and resume talks than it has been in the past to get back together."

The two biggest issues remain how to divide up the Basketball-Related Income, and the system under which the league will operate moving forward.

NBA owners want at least 50 percent of the BRI, after having had just 43 percent of the BRI in the last CBA.

Meanwhile, the players were initially offering to go down to 53 percent, and later proposed a band in which they would make at least 50 percent but no more than 53 percent.

The league rejected both, but did express some interest in a band that starts at 49 percent but goes no higher than 51 percent.

NBA commissioner David Stern's ownership group has a long list of desires for a new deal with the players, including the shortening of contracts, a harsher luxury tax, and the flexibility of having more non-guaranteed contracts all moves essentially designed to protect themselves from themselves.

Throughout this lockout, there has been a sharp contrast between the owners and players.

This was quite evident when talks broke off last week.

Holt, who addressed the media in place of Stern while the commissioner was home with the flu, had a different take on where things stood compared to the union's perspective.

"Both sides, for lack of a better term, felt stuck," Holt said. "We kind of wore each other out. We are where we are. They are where they are. We need some fresh air, and maybe some fresh thoughts and maybe try to get together."

Moments after Holt's words, the union said that they were prepared to negotiate with the owners throughout the weekend.

According to Billy Hunter, talks broke down when the owners gave the union a "take-it-or-leave it" offer on the BRI being split 50-50.

Hunter said the union wasn't going to make that kind of decision unless they knew what type of systematic changes the league was planning to do.

"If you're pushing the 50-50, there's no way in the world, even if it's feasible, for a 50-50 deal, if we don't know what the system is," said Hunter, who added that the owners didn't want to talk about the system changes unless they could get a commitment on a 50-50 split.

Regardless of which story you believe, it's clear that the NBA came into these negotiations with a very clear-cut agenda, and so far at least will do whatever it takes to get their way even it means losing an entire season.

"We don't take anything we do lightly at all," said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. "But we have certain core beliefs that we have to address that we think are absolutely necessary to achieve before we continue to play NBA basketball."

Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

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Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

During our series discussing the 1986 Boston Celtics, we have sat down with many players from that championship, along with members of the media that were close to the team.

This week features a few of the opponents that were very familiar with the 1980’s Celtics  - Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, former Celtics coach (and Hawk) Doc Rivers, and Lakers great James Worthy.

Return of Gerald Green could fill vital bench role for Celtics

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Return of Gerald Green could fill vital bench role for 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 –  Say what you want about Gerald Green, but his athleticism is the one thing you can bank on him delivering.

The 30-year-old Green doesn’t play above the rim nearly as much as he used to, but he does enough to where his presence will indeed be an upgrade for the Celtics this season.

But in terms of what his exact role will be, that will be worked out in the coming months as Green begins a second tour of duty with Boston (the Celtics drafted him with the 18th overall pick in 2005).

The ceiling for Green: Sixth or seventh man

Green’s return will in no way impact Jae Crowder’s status as the Celtics’ starting small forward. And Avery Bradley has nothing to worry about when it comes to Green competing for his spot as the team’s starting shooting guard, either. But Green’s experience will give him a chance to compete for minutes behind both coming off the bench.

At 6-foot-8, Green has the size and length to play both positions. And having played nine seasons in the NBA, Green has learned enough in that time to find ways to impact games in ways besides highlight-quality dunks.

Green is coming off a not-so-stellar season in Miami in which he averaged 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and just 32.3 percent on 3s – both numbers below his career averages.

Part of Green’s drop in production last season (he averaged 11.9 points or more in three of the previous four seasons) had to do with the emergence of Justice Winslow, and Green’s own shooting struggles, which eventually led to him playing a more limited role in the Heat offense.

But in Boston, Green won’t be counted on to be a significant contributor in terms of scoring. Instead, he will be seen as a player who can be looked upon from time to time to provide some punch (offensively or defensively) from the wing. If we’re talking offense, Green can help both from the perimeter or as an effectively attacker of the rim.

The floor for Green: Active roster

As much as the attention surrounding Green’s game centers on what he does with the ball in his hands, it his defense that will keep him on the Celtics’ active roster all season. Although Miami sought scoring more often from others, doing so allowed Green to focus more of his attention on defense, which may wind up being the best thing for his career at this stage.

Coming off the bench primarily after the All-Star break, opponents shot 33.3 percent when defended by Green, which was more than 10 percentage points (10.9) below what they shot from the field (44.2) overall.

He was even tougher on opponents shooting 2-pointers against him. They were held more than 15 percentage points (15.5) below their shooting percentage from 2-point range when he was defending versus their overall shooting for the season.

But don’t be fooled.

Green can still score the ball and as he gets older, he’s finding more and more ways to do so.

While much of Green’s NBA success has come about with him attacking the rim, he has progressively improved his game as a catch-and-shoot player. In fact, 54.8 percent of his shot attempts last season were of the catch-and-shoot variety according to nba.com/stats.

That makes sense when you consider that he had an effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of .491 when he took shots without taking any dribbles, which was better than Green’s eFG% when he shot from the floor and took at least one dribble.

Green’s second stint with the Celtics doesn’t come with nearly as much hype as there was when Boston selected him  out of high school with the 18th overall pick in 2005. Still, he has the potential to fill a vital role for the Celtics now, a role that could go far in determining how successful this season will be for himself as well as the Celtics.  

 

 

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."