Players might not wait to decertify

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Players might not wait to decertify

There's a growing number of NBA players who may not wait until next week's meeting between the NBA Players Associations player representatives and the NBAPA executive committee, to officially start the decertification process.

With word that the union will likely turn down the NBA's most recent offer, those who have been pushing for the union to decertify - Boston's Paul Pierce has been one of the leaders of that movement - have stepped up their efforts in the last 48 hours, sources say.

In fact, there is a very strong possibility they will officially kick off the decertification process as early as Monday, which according to the New York Post, is when the player representatives and NBAPA executives will meet.

"We're just trying to make sure we have everything in order for when the time comes to get this rolling," one source said on Saturday.

Earlier this week, NBAPA executive director Billy Hunter said he was told that individuals within the union who were looking into decertification were fairly close to having enough signatures to set up an election to decertify the union.

"We know there are close to 200 players who are apparently in the process of signing these de-cert decertification cards," Billy Hunter told NBA-TV on Tuesday. "In my discussions with Paul Pierce, he had indicated that they already had in excess of 100, 130 guys so he represented as signed cards. I don't know if that's true or not."

Hunter has maintained throughout the decertification talk that he has not been pushing for it, and added that there has been very little talk about it.

"This is something that players are doing of their own volition, probably at the insistence of their agents," Hunter said.

Indeed, a number of prominent agents have been calling for the union to decertify for weeks.

That number, along with the number of players, has grown considerably since the last round of talks broke off Thursday.

While the union acknowledged that the NBA's "revised" proposal is an improvement of sorts on the previous one, they didn't make nearly as many concessions or compromises with the new offer to make it one that the union's executive committee felt was good enough to bring to their membership to vote on.

"I can't characterize whether they showed flexibility in certain system issues," said Derek Fisher, president of the NBAPA. "We'd have a deal done if the right flexibility was being shown. The fact that we don't have a deal lets you know that there's still a lot of work to be done on the system."

That's why the player representatives from all 30 teams will be in New York on Monday to discuss this most recent offer, and decide if it warrants presenting to their membership to be voted upon.

A number of player representatives have already indicated that the current offer on the table, is not one that they would be willing to accept.

But the players understand that right now, it's not like they have a lot of options to choose from. Which is why decertification is very much something they are giving serious thought to pursuing more vigorously.

The decertification process doesn't officially begin until at least 30 percent of the players sign a petition indicating they no longer want the NBAPA to represent them. From there, the petition is filed with the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB is an independent agency of the federal government, designed to conduct elections on labor union representation. The NLRB is also presiding over the unfair labor practice charges filed by both the NBA and the NBAPA against one another.

After the NLRB verifies the authenticity of the petitions, an election can take place.

However, there's a 45-60 day window after the petitions are verified, before an election can be conducted. Within that period of time, the union can still negotiate with the owners.

But there's a chance that even with the necessary signatures, the union might not be allowed to be broken up.

Because the NLRB hasn't ruled on the unfair labor practice charges, there's a good chance they will be reluctant to allow the union to dissolve until that legal matter is sorted out.

The union can also file what is known as a "disclaimer of interest," which could essentially speed up the decertification process for the union.

Hunter would need to send a letter to NBA commissioner David Stern indicating that the NBAPA no longer exists as the representative for the players in regards to bargaining for a new deal.

For players, the advantage to this course of action would be that they wouldn't have to wait the 45-60 days for the NLRB to authorize an election to dissolve the union. Players could immediately pursue anti-trust lawsuits against the NBA.

Regardless of which approach the players decide to pursue, they need to do something quickly if they are to have any hope of salvaging what's left of the 2011-12 season.

After announcing the "revised" offer to the union on Thursday, Stern also highlighted that an agreed-upon deal soon would result in a 72-game season beginning on Dec. 15. Deputy commissioner Adam Silver said the new NBA schedule, with a Dec. 15 start date, has already been worked out, adding that the season would be extended by one week, along with the playoffs.

But if the union turns this offer down, Stern once again said the owners would continue to negotiate but would do so from a position that the union wouldn't like. The NHL-style flex cap will be back on the table, as well as a 53-47 split of the basketball-related income - in favor of the owners - as well as salary rollbacks, will be back in play.

Stern made a similar promise recently, only to return to the bargaining table with the union and ultimately adjust their last offer to what it is currently.

But looking at the calendar, it's hard to imagine the NBA will change its stance now.

Especially when you consider the starting point the league wants, is a lot closer to the NHL-model that will be their negotiating starting point, if their current offer is rejected.

"We have made our revised proposal, and we're not planning to make another one," Stern said. "There's really nothing left to negotiate about."

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."

 

Can Jerebko parlay playoff starts to a bigger role with Celtics?

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Can Jerebko parlay playoff starts to a bigger role with Celtics?

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Tyler Zeller. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – Considering all the different storylines that developed among the Celtics at the end of last season and this summer, it’s easy to forget that Jonas Jerebko was in the starting lineup.

With sporadic minutes in the regular season, Boston found itself trailing the Atlanta Hawks 2-0 in their best-of-seven playoff series.

So what did coach Brad Stevens do?

He shook up the starting lineup by inserting Jerebko. who helped Boston even up the series at two games apiece before the Hawks bounced back and ended the Celtics season after six games.

Those last four games against the Hawks – the only games Jerebko started all season - served as a reminder to many that the 29-year-old could still be an impact performer.

It was the kind of run to close out the season that Jerebko will certainly be focused on trying to build upon this season.

The ceiling for Jerebko: Starter

While he will likely begin the season as a reserve, Jerebko will certainly come into camp with a little more bounce in his step courtesy of a strong showing in the playoffs.

After averaging just 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.1 minutes in the regular season a year ago, Jerebko became a major force in the playoffs for Boston.

In his first game as a starter, Jerebko had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds as Boston won Game 3, 111-103.

He was even more impactful 48 hours later with another a second straight double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) in yet another Celtics victory.

The Hawks made some adjustments in Games 5 and 6 to close out the series, but it wasn’t before Jerebko had put together the best postseason stretch of his career.

Compared to the regular season, Jerebko more than doubled his playing time in those final four games by averaging 31.3 minutes to go with 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.

Jerebko will be hard-pressed to return to that role at the start of this season.

Boston signed Al Horford to a four-year, $113 million contract, so you know he’s starting.

And Amir Johnson’s defense and ability to run the floor so effectively will likely result in him resuming a starting role, too.

That leaves Jerebko joining what looks to be a very talented and deep Celtics bench.

Even though he’s unlikely to start, Jerebko will get his share of opportunities to play.

At 6-foot-10, Jerebko has the size to play both power forward and center. And depending on the opposing team’s lineup, Jerebko has the potential play some small forward as well.

It was that versatility that made Stevens turn to Jerebko in the playoffs last season to replace Jared Sullinger, who signed with the Toronto Raptors in the offseason.

And while the idea of Jerebko as a starter seems a bit far-fetched at this point, he is yet another Celtics reserve who has proven himself to be ready to play and play well when given an opportunity to step on the floor regardless of what that role may be.

The floor for Jerebko: Seldom-used reserve

Despite a strong finish last season, Jerebko will once again have to fight and claw for any minutes on the floor. While the Celtics certainly were aided by his versatility, this season’s roster has a number of players who, like Jerebko, can play multiple positions at both ends of the floor.

NBA veteran Gerald Green is 6-8 and will play shooting guard and small forward. But depending on the lineup, it’s not a stretch to envision him playing some power forward. Ditto for rookie Jaylen Brown and starting small forward Jae Crowder sliding up one position.

Beginning the season on the rotation fringes is nothing new to Jerebko, whose role was very much up in the air when the Celtics traded Tayshaun Prince to Detroit prior to the 2015 trade deadline for Jerebko and Gigi Datome.

Gradually, Jerebko earned his minutes and proved he was indeed a valuable piece of what Stevens and the Celtics were trying to build here in Boston.

And now, with a season-plus of time with the Celtics under his belt, Jerebko finds himself once again being challenged to show that he’s more than just a body on the roster.

 

Report: Celtics renounce draft rights to 2013 pick Colton Iverson

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Report: Celtics renounce draft rights to 2013 pick Colton Iverson

By Dan Feldman, NBCSports.com Pro Basketball Talk

The Celtics bought the No. 53 pick in the 2013 NBA draft to get Colton Iverson out of Colorado State, and he thanked them by allowing them to keep his rights the last three years.

Iverson rejected the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must extend to retain exclusive negotiating rights to a second-round pick – year after year to sign overseas. Accepting the tender would’ve likely meant Iverson going to Boston’s training camp and getting waived. Perhaps, the timing of that would’ve limited his European options that year. But it would’ve made him an NBA free agent – or, best-case scenario, he could’ve made the Celtics and drawn an NBA paycheck.

As it was, Iverson limited himself to joining Boston and only Boston. If another NBA team wanted Iverson, it would have had to trade for him.

And what does Iverson get for that loyalty? A Celtics contract with at least a partial guarantee?

Nope.

Just a head start on finding another team – which he could’ve gotten for himself three years ago.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

This is why second-round picks should be more aggressive about accepting the required tender. Even if you get waived, you open NBA options.

Iverson is a strong 7-foot center who plays with physicality. He can help in certain matchups, and he’d make sense as a third center on teams that have first- and second-stringers playing a different style.

But Iverson is 27, and his NBA window may be closing if it hasn’t already.

It’s a shame he spent so many years beholden to Boston, which didn’t want him.

It was probably just courtesy of the Celtics to renounce his rights now rather than have him sign the tender. They would have guaranteed him no money with the tender, and they could have gotten a few minor benefits with it – an extra body for training camp, the ability to assign his D-League rights to their affiliate after waiving him and the slightest chance he impresses enough in the preseason to hold trade value.

But them forgoing those potential advantages, even if out of courtesy, also sends a signal about how little they value him. Teams don’t do these types of favors for players they actually covet.