OFFSEASON

NBA talks continue into deadline

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NBA talks continue into deadline

NEW YORK -- The NBA and the NBA Players Association will continue to negotiate leading up to the 5 p.m. deadline established by NBA Commissioner David Stern for the union to accept the league's latest proposal.

After meeting for about four hours on Tuesday, the NBAPA announced that it would turn down the owner's proposal, but wanted to continue negotiating. NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter placed a call to Stern, who in turn consulted with the league's Labor Relations Committee.

They gave Stern the go-ahead to continue negotiating with the union, although it's unclear what, if any, conditions were set for the latest bargaining session which will begin later this afternoon in New York City.

Following the last bargaining session, which ended early Sunday morning, Stern said the current offer would be off the table if the union did not accept it by 5 p.m. today.

The union was given the go-ahead to continue negotiating the economics of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which likely means that they will accept a 50-50 split of the Basketball-Related Income. However, that would involve the owners making some concessions on some of the union's system-related concerns.

Following Tuesday's meeting, union leaders indicated some of their system-related concerns included length of mid-level contracts; tax-paying teams having the ability to use the full mid-level exception; sign-and-trades and escrow funds.

In an interview with NBA-TV on Tuesday, Stern said that there was "none left" when asked if there was still wiggle room on system-related issues.

But apparently, that's not the case if he's meeting with the union one more time before his self-imposed take-it-or-it'll-get-worst deadline to get the current offer on the table, agreed upon.

OFFSEASON

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

If not this year for Durant-to-Celtics, then next?

BOSTON – The Celtics are considered long shots at landing Kevin Durant during free agency, which begins next week.

Still, if they come up short this summer, league sources tell CSNNE.com that the Celtics will be on a “watch list” of sorts by Durant’s camp when the former league MVP is expected to hit the free agent market once again in the summer of 2017.
 
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Durant will have teams meet with him in New York beginning next week. In addition to the Celtics, his current team Oklahoma City will sit down with him, as well as Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.
 
Durant can re-sign with the Thunder for as many as five years with the total value of his contract worth slightly more than $150 million.
 
However, by signing a one-year deal or a two-year pact with a player option for the second season, Durant would make a projected $25.9 million for the 2016-2017 season and can then hit the free agent market again in 2017 when the salary cap is expected to cross the nine-figure threshold.
 
And at that time, if he decides to stay with the Thunder, he can ink a five-year deal that, when combined with his salary in 2016-2017, would be more than $230 million over six years – that’s about $80 million more than he would get by re-signing a long-term deal with the Thunder now, and would more than double what he would make by signing a maximum-salaried four-year deal with another team.
 
That’s why it makes a lot of sense for him to sign a short-term deal now and better position himself for a bigger payday the following summer when his starting salary will likely be on the north side of $35 million.
 
For the Celtics, Durant going through free agency back-to-back years affords coach Brad Stevens and the Celtics one more opportunity to continue their ascension up the Eastern Conference standings while still being a team that’s clearly in need of adding at least one additional All-Star talent to play with Isaiah Thomas.

In his three seasons as the Celtics coach, Stevens has improved the team’s win total each season.
 
However, they have failed to win a playoff series after having been knocked out in the first round each of the past two seasons.
 
While Durant is the team’s No. 1 priority on the free agent market, the Celtics will quickly pivot their attentions to other highly-regarded players as well with Atlanta’s Al Horford being among their targets.

Depending on how quickly Durant’s free agency gets taken care of, the Celtics might be able to turn their attention towards potentially re-signing Evan Turner, who was sixth in the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.

OFFSEASON

Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

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Celtics' Isaiah Thomas continues recruitment of Durant with tweet

With the Celtics reportedly in the running in the Kevin Durant Derby, C's guard Isaiah Thomas is continuing his recruiting pitch with this playful tweet.

Thomas said in a radio interview earlier this week that the Celtics "definitely have a shot" at landing Durant and a few months ago, Thomas' essay in the Players Tribune is perhaps his best sales job of all.