NBA players not ruling out union decertification

Leave a comment

If it comes to this, it’s when you know things have gotten really, really bad.

But for now the NBPA — the players union — is refusing to take the idea of decertification of the union off the table, according to Howard Beck at the New York Times.

Of course, not taking it off the table and actually using it are two very different things.

But the path the N.F.L. Players Association chose — decertification, coupled with an antitrust lawsuit — remains a weapon in the basketball players’ arsenal should negotiations fail.

“It’s not off the table in any way,” said Jeffrey Kessler, the outside counsel for the N.B.P.A. “There’s no immediate urgency to that issue. It’s an option the players are actively considering. But they have time to decide whether it makes sense to end the union or not.”

Kessler, who also serves as outside counsel for the football players’ union, is known as a fierce proponent of decertification as a means to gain bargaining leverage. Hunter and Derek Fisher, the basketball players’ union president, prefer to stick to negotiating.

Shocking, the high-priced attorney sees going to court — a process that requires a lot of lawyers and a lot of prep time — as a good option. (It’s the same way surgeons see surgery as the best way to deal with many health problems where there are other options, it’s a worldview.) But he is right that you never take it off the table. Just pray they don’t use it.

It took the NFL four months to get to the point where the court battle is at a standstill. Four months from the start of the NBA lockout would put them in October, when camps should be opening. Fisher and Hunter are wise to negotiate, to be patient, not to take a radical step until you must.

If the NBA players union does decertify — and it got the signed paperwork from players to do it during the season — it will be a strategy fraught with risk. there will be no owners and while the players can sue the owners can institute new rules to their liking. Decertification would be a sign that things were going so poorly the union decided that blowing things up was the better option.

Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

image

The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

1 Comment

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

Leave a comment

The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.