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."

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

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Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
 
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
 
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
 
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
 
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
 
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
 
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”