OFFSEASON

NBA labor meetings continue, both sides hopeful

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NBA labor meetings continue, both sides hopeful

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

While there's plenty of work to be done to save the 2011-2012 NBA season, there are - for now at least - signs that progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement is being made.

Representatives from the league and the players union met for about five hours on Wednesday, with another meeting scheduled for Thursday as well as the door being left open - depending on how much progress is made on Thursday - of another meeting on Friday.

After a summer in which neither side seemed all that motivated to work towards avoiding a labor stoppage, both sides have clearly picked up the pace.

Wednesday's meeting was just the third since the July 1 lockout.

The biggest concern among fans is whether there is enough time left to reach a deal that would allow for a full NBA season.

"I think there is," Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. "I think there clearly is. There's more than enough time."

And while neither side would confirm or deny if any concessions were made in Wednesday's meeting, the fact that both sides are willing to continue talks in advance of Thursday's meeting, bodes well for the chances that both sides are moving closer towards reaching a deal sooner rather than later.

"We agreed that we're going to sit here for as many days as we can to see if we're going to be able to make progress," NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters afterward.

As the two sides continue to work towards a new CBA, some of the hot-button topics of discussion include:

Hard salary cap (what the owners want) vs. a soft cap (the current salary cap model)

The owners have proposed a "flex" cap which would allow for some flexibility, but not nearly as much as teams have currently. The players union has shot this proposal down in the past.

Division of Basketball-Related Income

Under the recently expired Collective Bargaining Agreement, players received 57 percent of the Basketball-Related Income (BRI), a percentage the owners are seeking something closer to an even split.

Contract lengths

Under the old CBA, players could sign long-term deals for five and six seasons. Owners are believed to desire the maximum length of deals to be shorter which would give them greater flexibility to get from under a bad contract.

According to Chris Sheridan (sheridanhoops.com), owners have proposed adding an additional round to the NBA draft which, in theory, would be used to create more "competiveness in the league."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

OFFSEASON

Who will make the Celtics roster?

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Who will make the Celtics roster?

BOSTON – Regardless of what the Celtics do in the offseason, there will always be position battles in training camp.

But when the players arrive in a few weeks, a handful will have more at stake than just a roster spot.

Boston currently has 18 players with full or partially guaranteed contracts, a number that has to be pared down to 15 or less by the time the regular season begins.

The math is pretty cut and dry. Barring a trade, at least three players have to be let go.

But who will they be?

That’s for Brad Stevens and the rest of the Celtics brass to figure out.

In the meantime, here’s a look at five Celtics who, barring a trade, are likely to be among the pool of players Boston will be picking from for what should be the last couple of roster spots.

OFFSEASON

Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

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Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET