NBA faces more cancellations after failed meetings

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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.

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”