NBA, union understand each other, still disagree

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NBA, union understand each other, still disagree

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

LOS ANGELES A new model for revenue-sharing. A hard salary cap. Fewer exceptions along with shorter contracts and fewer with guarantees.

They're all issues the NBA and the player's union will wade through in the coming months, with none apparently taking precedence over another.

"There's no specific magic to how it gets done," NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters prior to Saturday night's Slam Dunk contest. "The most important thing is that there be continued communication and the building of trust."

Otherwise, the NBA will endure its first work stoppage since 1999.

"We understand each other," said Stern, referring to the owners and the players' union. "We understand what's at stake here, and we understand that it's nothing personal; that we have a job to do, and we would be well-advised to do all we could to get it done."

It took years before the league could regain firm footing following the last work stoppage.

While that should clearly be the lesson learned by the league and the player's union, Stern said "we haven't been able to learn enough because we don't have a deal."

He added, "We are a learning organization, and I think the union is, too. What we have learned, and what the union has learned, is that we both have the capacity to shut down the league; that there's no magic that's going to keep this league operating if we don't make a deal. That's a very instructive lesson."

Stern, who added that there will likely be meetings set up when league and union officials return to New York next week, said both sides have exchanged proposals and both came away essentially with the same response.

"We have each expressed to the other our dissatisfaction with each other's proposals," Stern said.

Both sides met for a couple hours on Friday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

While there has been no significant progress made, Stern said the union did agree to talk about certain issues that they had said earlier were non-negotiable.

"(Friday), what I heard for the first time in response to our statement that we're willing to talk about everything, is that they are willing to talk about everything," Stern said. "And so we welcome that and now we are going to spend our time setting up small and large groups to talk about everything. And then we'll see how it goes."

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

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

Sullinger on Celtics: 'I watch from a distance, I support from a distance'

BOSTON – The trip to the TD Garden is one that Jared Sullinger has made many times but never like this. 

The former Celtic was back in town with his new team, the Toronto Raptors who signed him to a one-year, $5.6 million deal after the Celtics rescinded their qualifying offer to him and thus made him an unrestricted free agent. 

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“I had a feeling it was going to go that way once they signed big Al (Horford), that they were going to let me go,” Sullinger said prior to Friday’s game.  “We were prepared for it. It is what it is. I’m happy these guys are doing well.”

And he hopes to say the same for himself sometime in the future after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot – the same foot he had season-ending surgery on during the 2014-2015 season with the Celtics. 

There’s no specific timetable as to when he’ll be back on the floor, and Sullinger is cool with that plan. 

“I don’t know. They’re hiding the protocol from me so I won’t rush; we’ll see,” said Sullinger who is still in a walking boot. 

The 6-foot-9 forward played well in the preseason and solidified himself as the team’s starting power forward. 

Now that he’s out with another injury, he’ll have to once again try and prove himself either later this season when he returns, or this summer when he becomes a free agent again.

For now, Sullinger is happy to be back in town, seeing lots of familiar faces, friends and ex-teammates that he says he still keeps in close contact with. 

“Some of these guys I considered like brothers to me,” Sullinger said. “IT (Isaiah Thomas), Jae Crowder to name a few. So I watch from a distance, I support from a distance. They’re playing well.”

In addition to his former teammates, the lines of communication remained open between him and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as well. 

Stevens said the two exchanged text messages right before he had foot surgery, and afterwards. 

“Obviously, everyone here wishes a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back on the court soon,” Stevens said. 

Sullinger has been an effective player during his time in the NBA, with career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. 

But this will be the third time in his five NBA seasons that he will miss a significant amount of time on the court due to an injury or recovering from an injury. 

Stevens acknowledged that he feels for Sullinger who once again has to go through rehabilitation in order to get back on the floor.

“I like Jared a lot,” Stevens said. “He’s a heck of a player, he’s a really smart guy. Got a lot of respect for him and it stinks that he’s got to go through that but he’ll come back strong I’m sure.”