Unless there is a handshake deal in place between the NBA and its players union by the first couple days of next week, there is no chance the NBA season starts on time. There’s not enough time to pull it off. Nobody really expects a deal in place by then (it’s not even known if the two sides will meet this week).
Regular season games will be postponed and lost. It’s going to happen. The real question now is how many games will be lost?
Maurice Evans, the veteran journeyman and union vice president, said this in an ESPN chat on Friday (via the twitter of Tom Haberstroh).
I don’t think the entire season will get cancelled. I think sometime between November and January we’ll see basketball.
A source recently told me something similar, expect games to start somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are other rumblings along these lines. Nobody really knows for sure, but this seems to be becoming the new conventional wisdom. Nobody really expects a full season to be lost, but nobody really thinks the season will start on time, either.
Aside that, Evans spouted the union line throughout the chat, as he has done throughout the process. He’s been a good soldier.
The biggest thing are the things that have been reported in the media, that the players are greedy that the owners are losing money, that the system is broken. The system isn’t broken. The owners aren’t losing money. The players will concede a certain amount, but the system isn’t broken and the owners aren’t losing money….
It’s been very frustrating at the pace at which the negotiations have moved. But it’s all a part of negotiations. But it’s a tactic to use time to persuade us. The players are more than willing to engage the owners whenever they’re willing to meet. We’ve made proposals that have shifted real dollars from our side to theirs. We’ll be ready whenever they want to meet in real negotiations.
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.
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):
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 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.
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.