NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday

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NBA, players union scheduled to meet Wednesday

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn With the summer winding down, time is running out for the NBA players union and the owners to pass a new collective bargaining agreement.

Key figures in the labor stalemate were scheduled to meet in New York City Wednesday, which represents just the second meeting between the two sides since the July 1 lockout.

For the union, you'll have Executive Director Billy Hunter joined by union president and Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher. The owners will be represented by NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt.

While no one anticipates anything resembling a new collective bargaining agreement to come about, some degree of progress needs to be made to avoid the league's first work stoppage since the lockout-shortened 1998-1999 season.

For the 30 teams, everyone is operating as if the season will start on time with the usual preseason events. Media Day is still slated to take place on Oct. 3.

But much has to be done before the 2011-2012 season can begin.

Once a new collective bargaining agreement is passed, the free agency period must begin and will surely be shortened due to the late start.

Several NBA players have spent the past couple of weeks working out in anticipation that the season will begin on time.

"You have to take that approach," Boston Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal told CSNNE.com earlier this summer. "Until I'm told differently, I'm not going to change my offseason workouts or anything like that. The last thing you want to happen, is to be out of shape when a deal is done. It'll put you and the team behind even further."

The fact that they're meeting, even if nothing is done, is definitely a step in the right direction.

And as we saw with the NFL and its labor situation, all it takes is agreement on a couple of key components and a new collective bargaining agreement can come together quickly.

"Just as football was committed to the process, the NFL, the NFLPA, you have to take your hat off to them," Mo Evans, Vice President of the NBA players association, told NBA.com. "They did what they were supposed to do. They went in and they both negotiated a deal. Now it's our turn."

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

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.