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.

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.