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.

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Celtics-Raptors preview: Ibaka is 'capable of changing the game'

Celtics-Raptors preview: Ibaka is 'capable of changing the game'

TORONTO – The decision to stand pat at the trade deadline for the Boston Celtics was made in part because they felt that as their roster is constructed, they can hold their own with anybody.

We’re going to find out just how true that is tonight as they face a revamped Toronto Raptors team that added a couple of notable players via trade, chief among them being Serge Ibaka from Orlando.

“That was a really good trade for them,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “Bringing in a guy like Serge Ibaka; a defender, a four-man that can switch out on guards. A guy that can space the floor, shoot the 3.  So that was a good addition. I’m excited to see how that’s gonna work other than tomorrow.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was also impressed with the Ibaka trade.

“That’s an improvement; there’s no question about it,” Stevens said. “Now you can play a number of different ways. He’s a really good player; he’s very agile. He’s a very good shooter. You can play him or (Patrick) Patterson at the four (power forward) the entire game now. You can play them together as a small-ball four and five (center). It gives them a lot of options on offense and defense.”

While praise for Ibaka is nothing new, you have to remember there were reasons as to why the Magic decided to give up on him so quickly, something even more hard to understand considering the assets they gave up (Victor Olidipo and a 2016 first-round pick used to select Domantas Sabonis, among others) to acquire him.

The Magic decided that they would not be in the running to re-sign Ibaka when he hits the free agent market this summer; this coming after the Thunder traded him primarily because they did not plan on giving him the near-max contract he’ll be seeking. So rather than play out this season and lose him for nothing, the Magic decided to trade him while they still could get something (Terrence Ross) in return.

While in Orlando, Ibaka averaged a career-high 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game. For his career (all prior to this season spent in Oklahoma City), he’s averaging 11.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

But he never seemed to provide the kind of impactful, difference-making play that Orlando was seeking.

And while the Celtics speak highly of Ibaka, he hasn’t been much of a problem for the Celtics this season.

In two games against Boston, Ibaka has averaged 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Jae Crowder believes the struggles Ibaka has endured against the Celtics, are not a clear reflection of what he’s capable of doing as a player.

“For sure it makes them better,” said Crowder in describing the Raptors with Ibaka. “He’s a guy that can stretch the floor and rebound at a high rate. We know what he brings to the table.”

And those struggles we saw of him with the Magic?

“I think it was him more so than us,” Crowder said. “I give him credit because he wasn’t playing with the energy and passion he usually brings. I’ve been able to line up against him a quite a few times.  He didn’t have that passion like he did when he was in O-K-C (Oklahoma City). Maybe he’ll have it now. I know exactly what he’s capable of doing; he’s capable of changing the game with his play.”