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.

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

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Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

OAKLAND, Calif. - As Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock in a raucous Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant could only stand and watch.

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals, while Durant's future in Oklahoma City is much less certain.

Two nights after blowing an opportunity to close out the defending champion Warriors at home, the Thunder got sent home for the summer when they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals 96-88 on Monday night.

Instead of becoming known as the team that knocked off the Warriors after their record-setting 73-win regular season, the Thunder will be remembered for a playoff collapse. They became just the 10th NBA team to lose a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead and now head into an uncertain offseason with Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

If he does leave the only franchise he has played for in his nine-year career, he will do it having failed to deliver the championship to Oklahoma City. The closest the Thunder have gotten in Durant's tenure was when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.

They then lost in the second round the next season, in the conference finals in 2014 to San Antonio before missing the playoffs entirely because of an injury to Durant last year.

But under first-year coach Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City earned the third seed in the top-heavy Western Conference this season and then upset 67-win San Antonio in the second round. The Thunder followed that by winning three of the first four games against the Warriors, with a pair of lopsided wins at home.

But after losing Game 5 on the road, the Thunder blew an opportunity to eliminate the Warriors at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma City led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining but made only one basket and committed six turnovers down the stretch of a 108-101 loss that could haunt the franchise for years.

The Thunder responded on the road in Game 7 by taking a 13-point lead in the second quarter. But once Curry and Klay Thompson started hitting Oklahoma City with a flurry of 3-pointers, the Thunder had no answer. The Splash Brothers combined for 13 3-pointers as Golden State outscored Oklahoma City by 30 points from behind the line.

Oklahoma City's stars were no match. Russell Westbrook missed 14 of 21 from the field and shot just 36.8 percent in the three potential clinchers. Durant finished with 27 points but took only 10 shots in the first three quarters.

Durant did score seven straight points to cut an 11-point deficit to four with 1:40 remaining. But Serge Ibaka then fouled Curry on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, allowing Golden State to build the lead back to seven.

Durant then missed two shots and could only stare blankly when Curry ended Oklahoma City's season with a 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left. Now the Thunder can only hope it doesn't end Durant's tenure in Oklahoma City as well.

Curry's 36 lift Warriors past Thunder, back to Finals

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Curry's 36 lift Warriors past Thunder, back to Finals

OAKLAND, Calif. -  Stephen Curry dribbled every which way and drained yet another 3-pointer in the waning moments, pulled his jersey up into his mouth and yelled to the rafters in triumph once more.

A special, record-setting season saved for the defending champs, with a memorable comeback added to the long list of accomplishments.

Now, the MVP and his teammates are playing for another NBA title - just as they planned all along.

Bring on LeBron James once more.

Curry and Klay Thompson carried the 73-win Warriors right back to the NBA Finals, as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 on Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Curry scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers to finish with an NBA-record 32 in a seven-game series, while Thompson added 21 points and six 3s, two days after his record 11 3-pointers led a Game 6 comeback that sent the series home to raucous Oracle Arena for one more.

The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. They return to the NBA Finals for a rematch with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the 2015 title in six games as Golden State captured its first championship in 40 years.

Game 1 is Thursday night in Oakland.

His signature mouthpiece dangling out and the game ball cradled in his left hand, Curry pumped his right arm as yellow confetti fell through Oracle Arena once the final buzzer sounded.

The Thunder trailing 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a 3-point try with 1:18 to go and the shot clock running out. The MVP made all three free throws, then a 3-pointer to seal it.

And Golden State's beloved "Strength In Numbers" catchphrase coined by Coach of the Year Steve Kerr was needed in every way on this night to do it.

Andre Iguodala joined the starting lineup for just the second time all season and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP hung tough against Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

Oklahoma City won Game 1 108-102 at deafening, soldout Oracle Arena, so Golden State never envisioned this one coming easily.

It just took a quarter and a half for Thompson to warm up after he hit an NBA playoff-record 11 3-pointers for 41 points in a 108-101 win Saturday at Oklahoma City that sent the series to a decisive seventh game back home in the East Bay.

He missed his initial seven shots before hitting a 3 6:02 before halftime, energizing the Warriors in their first Game 7 at home in 40 years.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thompson and Iguodala pulled the Warriors within 54-51 with 7:57 left in the third. They tied it on Curry's 3 at 7:21 and he followed with another 3 to give his team the lead.

Curry and Thompson each topped the previous record for 3s in a seven-game series, 28 by Dennis Scott and Ray Allen. Curry hit one over 7-foot Steven Adams in the third, and Thompson wound up with 30.

Iguodala replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup for just his second start of the season and first of the playoffs, and what a move by Kerr and his staff, who did the same thing last year in crunch time. Iguodala made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to Draymond Green for Golden State's first basket of the game, and his smothering defense on Durant kept the Thunder star without a shot until his 3 at the 5:45 mark in the first. Durant had just nine points on five shots in the first half.

But Oklahoma City dictated the tempo with snappy passes and the hard, aggressive rebounding that had been such a part of its success this season. The Thunder couldn't maintain it.

The Warriors, who began 3 for 11 from long range and 9 of 32 overall while falling behind 35-22, lost their last Game 7 at home: 94-86 to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals on May 16, 1976.

2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East

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2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East

Teams are still fighting for the 2016 Larry O’Brien Trophy, but the 2017 NBA title opening odds have already been released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Warriors unsurprisingly come in as heavy 3/2 favorites. The Cavaliers already punched their ticket for this year’s finals and are second, with 5/2 odds. Then there’s the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers, as you’d expect rounding off the top five.

But then there’s the Celtics with 20/1 odds -- sixth-best in the NBA -- to raise Banner 18.

With eight draft picks and a chunk of cap space, the Celtics are in a position to capitalize on any opportunities that may come their way. There is a lot of uncertainty at this point in the NBA calendar, so Vegas must be hedging their bets on the Celtics making a leap towards contender status.

Celtics fans will also be happy to know the Nets have 500/1 odds to hoist the trophy next season, which ranks last of all teams. The Celtics have the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in the 2017 draft, which could give them another swing at a superstar prospect.

For full draft profiles of players the Celtics could draft this year, click here.

Team Opening odds
Golden State Warriors 3/2
Cleveland Cavaliers 5/2
San Antonio Spurs 6/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 16/1
Boston Celtics 20/1
Toronto Raptors 25/1
Miami Heat 25/1
Chicago Bulls 40/1
Atlanta Hawks 40/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 60/1
New Orleans Pelicans 60/1
Houston Rockets 60/1
Portland Trail Blazers 60/1
Memphis Grizzlies 80/1
Utah Jazz 80/1
Charlotte Hornets 80/1
Washington Wizards 100/1
Indiana Pacers 100/1
Dallas Mavericks 100/1
Milwaukee Bucks 100/1
Detroit Pistons 100/1
Los Angeles Lakers 100/1
New York Knicks 100/1
Sacramento Kings 100/1
Philadelphia 76ers 100/1
Orlando Magic 100/1
Denver Nuggets 100/1
Phoenix Suns 300/1
Brooklyn Nets 500/1