NBA, players reach tentative deal

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NBA, players reach tentative deal

Christmas has come a few weeks early for NBA fans after the NBA and the players reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

CBSsports.com was the first to report a tentative agreement had been reached.

After more than 15 hours of negotiating, which began Friday afternoon and didn't end until the wee hours of Saturday morning, NBA commissioner David Stern and Billy Hunter, who was executive director of the NBA Players Association before it dissolved into a trade association, emerged with the news that, pending a few dotted i's and t's crossed, the 2011-12 season would likely begin on Christmas Day.

Stern said training camp and free agency would both begin on Dec. 9.

While it's unclear how long this season will be, expect the league to trot out a 66-game schedule, beginning with the league's already scheduled Christmas Day games.

Among those will be the Boston Celtics playing at the New York Knicks.

Other Christmas Day games already scheduled include an NBA Finals rematch between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. The third game will feature the Chicago Bulls and reigning league MVP Derrick Rose at the Los Angeles Lakers.

One of the biggest issues throughout negotiations has been how to split the basketball-related income. In the last CBA, players received a 57 percent cut.

In the new CBA, a league source said Saturday morning that the players are looking at a 49-51 percent share, with the numbers working out now to peak closer to 51 percent than the previous 49-51 split the owners proposed earlier.

The lawsuits filed by the NBA and the players must also be ironed prior to a new CBA becoming official.

Talks broke off on Nov. 14, with the NBAPA filing a "disclaimer of interest" that dissolved the union and opened the floodgates for potential anti-trust lawsuits on behalf of the players.

There were two filed in Northern California and Minnesota, respectively.

However, the lawsuit in California was withdrawn.

Both sides agreed to resume talks this week, which culminated with Saturday morning's tentative agreement.

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.