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.