NBA, union 'within reach' of new CBA

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NBA, union 'within reach' of new CBA

Finally, there appears to be some light - dimly lit, but light nonetheless - that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA and the players union is on the horizon.

In fact, both sides said a new CBA could be agreed upon as early as Friday.

"We're within reach, within striking distance of getting a deal done," said Billy Hunter, Executive Director of the NBAPA. "It's just a question of, how receptive the NBA is and whether or not they want to do a deal."

Commissioner David Stern, who addressed the media shortly after Hunter, was a bit more cautiously optimistic in discussing the importance of Friday's bargaining session.

"There's no guarantee that we're going to get a deal done," Stern said. "But we're going to give it a heck of a shot."

While both sides agree that there's still plenty of key issues that have yet to be ironed out, it appears a deal is very much within striking distance.

Stern was asked if he had a concrete idea of what a new deal would likely look like between the NBA and the union.

"Yes," was his reply.

When asked to elaborate, he declined.

Both sides have spent the past couple days working towards reaching a consensus on several system-related issues, the biggest being the implementation of a new luxury tax system.

Under the old CBA, teams paid a 1 penalty for every dollar they exceeded the salary cap threshold, which was 70.3 million last season.

In a new CBA, the league wanted a system in which teams pay 1.75 per dollar for the first 5 million they exceed the luxury tax threshold. An increase of 50 cents would be tacked on for the next 5 million they were over.

For example, the Boston Celtics were about 6 million over the luxury tax threshold last season, so they paid about 6 million in luxury taxes.

Under the new system, a similar payroll would cost the C's about 11 million - 8.75 million for the first 5 million, and another 2.25 million for the other million.

According to NBA.com's David Aldridge, the union has "moved toward the league's numbers."

Hunter said reaching some consensus on the system was critical in moving forward in tackling the biggest issue of them all - how to split up the basketball-related income.

The union has insisted that they can not get into discussing BRI unless they had a better handle on they system-related issues.

However, the NBA has seen the two have two separate matters.

"One goes to the overall economic health of the league," said deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "The second issue goes to competitive balance and parity. We need to resolve both issues, but one is not dependent on the other."

Hunter sees it differently.

"Definitely have to have some agreement on the system," Hunter said. "Because if the system's not right, then as we've indicated before, the numbers aren't going to work. The two are inter-related. As we negotiate, we're also keeping in mind what we feel the number should be and we'll raise that tomorrow."

The union received 57 percent of the BRI under the old CBA, and have offered to have their take reduced to 52.5 percent. Meanwhile, the owners have put out several proposals, with the most recent being a 50-50 split of the BRI.

The union countered with a band that would give them at least 50 percent of the BRI, but no more than 53 percent.

"We're prepared to negotiate over everything," Stern said. "We're looking forward to it."

Both sides acknowledge that progress has been made, but it'll only get rougher now that the end is, for the first time, in sight.

"It's a tough process," said Derek Fisher, president of the NBAPA. "As we move through and try to close the gap in as many places as we can, it gets tougher towards the end."

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”
 

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

Mike Gorman: 'No thanks on Carmelo Anthony to the Celtics'

The New York Knicks arrive in Boston tonight with the accompanying "Melo-drama" of Carmelo Anthony's disintegrating relationship with team president Phil Jackson.

Anthony would have to waive his no-trade clause to leave New York and Boston has been an oft-rumored destination. 

On "The Toucher and Rich Show", the longtime voice of the Celtics, Mike Gorman, said he hopes it doesn't happen. 

"I don't get it. I don't see it," Gorman said. "He's a ball stopper. One of the things that always intrigued me about Carmelo is when he's played with Team USA or an Olympic team, often he's the best player. Then you go and see him in a regular-season game and you say, 'Oh no, no."'