Boston Celtics

NBA faces more cancellations after failed meetings

191544.jpg

NBA faces more cancellations after failed meetings

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
After weeks of conjecture and back-and-fourth proposals, the NBA owners and players union are now on the verge of missing games that truly matter.

Following yet another marathon-like bargaining session on Tuesday which ended without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league has cancelled the entire 114-game preseason schedule.

NBA commissioner David Stern said the league is looking at a "200 millionloss, or close to it, in revenue" by canceling the entire preseason.

It also means lost wages for players as well.

"Today was not the day for us to get this done," said union president Derek Fisher. "We were not able to get close enough to close the gap."

And the regular season?

With no future meetings scheduled - the union's executive director, Billy Hunter, said it could be another month, maybe two, before the sides meet again - all signs point toward the NBA season not starting on time.

Stern said the first two weeks of the regular season will be axed if the framework for a new CBA isn't agreed upon by Monday.

"We'd like not to lose the first two weeks of the season," Stern said. "But it doesn't look good."

Fisher added, "We're faced with a lockout that may jeopardize a portion or all of our season. We've prepared for this day."

The two sides have a number of issues still to work through, but the divvying up of the league's Basketball-Related Income is at or near the top of that list.

BRI consists of a number of things such as ticket sales, parking, revenue from concessions and maybe most significant, television contracts.

In the old CBA, players received 57 percent of the BRI and have shown a willingness to go as low as 53 percent.

Each percentage point is worth approximately 40 million, so the players willing to reduce their BRI take by four percentage points amounts to about 160 million savings for the league. Stretched out over six years, that would amount to a savings of nearly 1 billion.

Meanwhile, the best official offer from owners has been players taking home 47 percent of the BRI.

Stern said a proposal was made to a small group from the union that would have been a 5050 split of the BRI, a proposal that did not include additional expenditures that would have lowered the BRI percentage for the players.

"We were advised by the players that that would not be acceptable to them," said Stern, adding that what was discussed was not an offer. "That they were at a higher number. At that point, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to continue today by either side."

For most of the three-plus months since the lockout began July 1, it appeared as though the owners were reluctant to work towards a compromise which is at the heart of any deal.

However, they have since taken the desire for a hard salary cap off the table. In addition, owners are willing to keep contracts guaranteed and will not seek any rollbacks on existing contracts. The owners also proposed a 10-year pact that would allow the players to opt out of the deal after seven years.

"As we said, our indication to go to a 50-50 deal demonstrates even more potential movement on our part," said NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver. "So we haven't made a secret of the fact that we'd very much like to make a deal."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

houston-rockets-james-harden-rule-change-92217.jpg

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.