How to make the CBA experience better in future

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How to make the CBA experience better in future

NEW YORK Whether you side with the NBA owners or players, there's one thing just about anyone who has followed their squabbling even the slightest bit can see.

Both sides have been screwing this up . . . a lot.

While there's no DeLorean that can take us back in time to fix all their mistakes, we can look ahead to ways to make the next Collective Bargaining Agreement sessions run a lot more smoothly.

And unlike the owners and players, we're not going to wait until the last minute to, you know, think about that kind of stuff.

So here are a few sure-fire ways that the next CBA negotiations won't be, as my fellow NBA scribe Ken Berger over at CBSSports.com would call, an asshattery.

YOU . . . ARE . . . ON . . . THE . . . CLOCK!

There's absolutely no excuse whatsoever why a lockout in any sport should happen. The sides know well in advance what the hot-button issues are, and yet they still wait . . . and wait . . . and wait until the absolute last minute to really try and work towards finding a happy medium - or at the very least, a deal that neither side feels good about which usually winds up as the best deal possible.

There are plenty of reasons why players and owners don't engage sooner, but one reason stands head and shoulders above the rest:

They don't have to.

Well, we're about to change that, my friends.

You know those luxury taxes that owners absolutely had to have in their next CBA? Let's apply some of those same taxing principles to get a CBA done in a timely fashion.

Real simple.

Every day after July 1 that the CBA passes without there being at least an agreement in principle, the league will pay 500,000 to a predetermined group of charities - chosen by the players, but not their own charities - in every NBA city.

Oh, I can see the Kool-Aid, ear-to-ear grins on the players' faces with that change.

You're part of this mess, too.

You'll have to pony up 250,000 for every day - it doesn't make sense that the guys who get the checks are punished the same as the guys who cut them, does it? - and those will go to a predetermined group of charities - chosen by the owners - in every NBA community as well.

And for every month moving forward, the owners will have to pay another 250,000 (i.e., on August 1, 750,000 per day, September 1, 1,000,000 per day, etc.) while the players will see their daily total increase by another 125,000 per day (i.e. on August 1, 375,000 per day, September 1, 500,000 per day, etc.)

This serves two purposes:

1) It gives the owners and players added incentive to start negotiating sooner, something they clearly lack and

2) It provides some much-needed financial assistance to groups who sure as hell could use it.

NBA, PLAYERS NEED TO BE FED UP

Is it me, or did things seem to FINALLY start moving in these talks when the federal mediator entered the picture? Whether it should be George Cohen again remains to be seen. But it's clear that an impartial, respected figurehead in the room can go a long way in smoothing things out between these two.

Both sides should be allowed to negotiate among themselves until July 1 without necessarily the mediator's interference, unless it's requested.

After July 1, a federal mediator should be injected into the talks because at that point, it's clear that both sides can't and probably won't strike a deal even with the threat of having to cut checks because they can't stick to a damn deadline, and . . . don't get me started!

Rather than have just one moderator, it might be worthwhile to have a "pool" of them (at least 3 or 5, but definitely an odd number total works best) that will work in concert with one another throughout the post-July 1 process.

If both sides can't agree on a deal by end of September, this is where the "pool" of mediators come into play.

We'll call this one the "Stern rule," because this is essentially what he did in coming up with the owners last proposal.

The "pool" of mediators will take all their notes, feedback from both sides, and gather for a couple weeks before making a handful of recommendations centered around the top 5 or 6 topics that both sides agreed to are major points of emphasis in a new CBA.

The NBA commissioner will take those suggestions back to his Labor Relations Committee, and the players will do the same.

A poll of the owners - this should be handled by a third party, and not the commissioner - will be taken to see if it should be voted on as being their proposal. If 10 or more owners think it's worth voting on, then the proposal will be voted on by the owners.

Same with the players. Similar to what has to happen with them to decertify, if 30 percent or more of the players - not the executive committee, the players - believe the deal the owners are proposing should be voted on, then it's put to a vote for the full body.

If they accept it, we got a deal.

If they don't, the fines for not getting a deal done will continue to rack up.

Of course, this all would have to be approved of well in advance by the owners, the players, and the agents. (Yeah, they're going to have a say in this, for sure.)

And that means . . . it probably will never come to fruition.

But one thing is for sure.

Both sides have to seriously look at ways to challenge themselves to work harder, sooner, at getting a new CBA done.

Otherwise, we truly will be driving back to the future in six or so years when all the ill-conceived, ill-advised decisions by both sides repeat themselves and as a result, we're back to a life of asshattery.

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

CLEVELAND – They had them right where they wanted them.

LeBron James was in foul trouble.

Kyrie Irving had not yet heated up, and the lead hovered above double figures but seemed oh-so-close to creeping upwards of 20 points if the Celtics did a better job of making open shots in the first half.

Those missed shots, combined with a Kyrie Irving takeover in the third quarter, would prove to be part of the narrative for Game 4 – missed opportunities - as the Cavs rallied for a 112-99 Game 4 win.

Cleveland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate the Celtics in Boston on Thursday and advance to the NBA Finals where a well-rested Golden State team will be awaiting them.

Irving led all scorers with a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points while Jae Crowder (18 points), Al Horford (16), and Kelly Olynyk (15) also finished with double figures scoring.

"He put the team on his back," said Tristan Thompson, regarding Irving's play. "He still has another gear."

Boston spent all of the fourth quarter playing from behind, failing to get that necessary made shot or defensive turnover or stop that they needed to slow down Cleveland’s growing momentum.

And with Irving making a slew of clutch baskets that put Cleveland in control, it was James’ turn to put the game away.

He did just that, finishing with 34 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter.

But for a good chunk of Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup, it looked as though the Celtics were coming back to Boston for Game 5 with the series tied up.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls … in the first half.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

With James on the bench, Cleveland managed to play Boston to a standstill as the half ended with the Celtics still leading by 10 points (57-47).

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.

The Cavs were able to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter which ended with Cleveland ahead 87-80 as Irving scored the last 14 points for Cleveland which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that would be the final points scored in the quarter.

Cleveland’s strong finish to the third was a striking contrast to how the game began.

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

The Celtics went ahead 22-13 after a pair of free throws by Jonas Jerebko and would eventually lead by as many as 16 points.

Meanwhile, James – the man Crowder was defending most of the time early on – had six points in the first quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Game 4 between Boston and Cleveland in which the Celtics have a 57-47 halftime lead.

 

STARS

Avery Bradley

His aggressiveness at both ends of the floor has been key to Boston’s strong first half showing. He has 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

Kyrie Irving

With LeBron James in major foul trouble – he had four personal fouls in the first half – Irving was charged with picking up the slack, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the second quarter.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He had the hot hand at the start of the game, and has been solid at both ends of the floor. He had 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting with four rebounds and three assists.

Kevin Love

He continues to get great looks from 3-point range, but the Celtics did a better job of limiting his long-range scoring opportunities. He had 10 points along with seven rebounds and three assists.

Kelly Olynyk

Making his first-ever playoff start, Olynyk had a solid half with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

LeBron James

He was 5-for-9 from the field with 10 points in the first half, but spent a large chunk on the bench after being whistled for his fourth personal foul with 6:46 to play in the half.