Boston Celtics

NBA Lockout Q & A

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NBA Lockout Q & A

After reaching a "tentative agreement" on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early Saturday morning, there's little doubt that the NBA season will begin next month. Still, there are many questions left unanswered.

We here at CSNNE.com will try to break down the most pressing ones as they relate to the NBA and more important, to Celtics Nation.

Q: Is the lockout officially over?

A: No, but the chances of talks breaking down at this point are very minute. The lawsuits filed by both the NBA and the players, have to be dropped which is something both sides agreed will happen as soon as possible. From there, the union must revert from its current trade group designation, back to being a union. When the union decided to file a "disclaimer of interest" last week, that dissolved the union and made it a trade organization which allowed the players to file anti-trust lawsuits. Once the players drop their anti-trust lawsuit and become a union again, they can then vote on the latest proposal for a new CBA which is expected to pass with little resistance. The owners will also vote on whether to accept the terms of the new CBA, which is also expected to happen with little opposition. If it seems like that's a lot to happen to end the lockout, well it is. That's why the first day of free agency and training camp is two weeks from when a tentative agreement was reached.

Q: When will the Celtics first game be?

A: The Celtics will actually play in the first game of the season. The league will open on Christmas Day with a triple-header that includes the Celtics on the road against the New York Knicks, at noon.

Q: When will the full NBA schedule be released?

A: The league won't release that until the new CBA has been officially ratified, so don't look for the full league schedule until sometime next week.

Q: Will there be a preseason?

A: There will be one, but it will be the shortest one ever with two, possibly three games played.

Q: What about the amnesty clause? Are there any potential Celtics that might be affected by that?

A: Of the seven players currently under contract, the only player that might get some consideration for being waived under the Amnesty clause, is Jermaine O'Neal. He's due to make 6.2 million in the last year of the two-year deal he signed last summer. However, waiving him seems unlikely when you consider he's the only center the Celtics currently have under contract. Add in the fact that the free agent market is rarely one that's overflowing with available big men, it doesn't make a lot of sense to waive the one big man you got who by the way, is in the last year of his deal and in all likelihood will retire at the end of the season.

Q: How many games will be played?

A: There will be a 66-game season, which means players will only miss two pay checks which is approximately a month's work of pay.

Q: What will the Celtics look like this season?

A: Paging Danny Ainge. Celtics Nation, paging Danny Ainge. Boston has seven players under contract - that includes Jeff Green, who is a restricted free agent - as well as its 2011 draft picks, Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore who both played at Purdue. That leaves as many as six roster spots available for the C's to fill. Look for Boston to add at least one (and probably two) centers, a small forward and a backup point guard for Rajon Rondo.

Q: When will free agency and training camp begin?

A: Both will start on Dec. 9, which means the first few days will have a frenetic-like pace unlike anything we've seen before in the NBA.

Q: What will a new CBA look like?

A: The specifics are still being ironed out, but a number of media reports indicate that the new CBA will include:

A full mid-level exception up to five years, starting at 5 million that can be used by non-tax paying teams above the salary cap

A "mini" mid-level for tax-paying teams that's worth 2.5 million per season.

A basketball-related income band of 49-51 percent, with the math now working out so that the players can get closer to 51 which was highly unlikely to happen in the previous proposal.

A 10 escrow tax will be withheld from players salary

Q: Who won?

A: Without question, the owners came away victorious. Simply getting the players to reduce their take of the BRI from 57 to something akin to a 50-50 split, will shift about 1.7 billion over six years from the players pocket, into that of the owners. The owners also came away with a victory on getting the MLE amount reduced and harsher penalties for tax-paying teams. For the players, maybe the biggest win for them was keeping the extend-and-trade rule (known these days as the Carmelo Anthony rule) intact.

Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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