What we know about the deal that ended the lockout so far

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It’s less than eight hours after a bleary-eyed group of executives and attorneys shuffled into a small conference room at a New York office building to deliver the news: a tentative deal is in place. The lockout is over.

Now begins the process of unraveling what happened and how, and determining what the new CBA will take shape as under the new detail. We have the first of those details this morning, via NBA.com’s David Aldridge on NBATV and Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com. The early signs are that the owners made significant concessions to the players (after already winning the feast) in order to get a deal. In short:

  • The players got a concession on Basketball Related Income, which no one saw coming. The owners’ proposal always called for a band of 49-51 for the players, depending upon revenue. (The players would get 51 percent if revenues exceeded expectations, 49 if they fell below, and 50 percent if they met expectations.) But the players were never going to hit 51 without the greatest basketball-economic explosion in history. Instead, the threshold for the players to reach 51 percent has reportedly been lowered to a point where that figure is reachable for the players.
  • In addition, the players got one of the biggest elements they were looking for, as the extend-and-trade ban was lifted. This means that Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams can all exercise the same kind of leverage to get the extra year on their deals that Carmelo Anthony exerted. It means more player movement.
  • Teams above the cap will have a four-year Mid-Level-Exception granted every year. The owners had wanted it to alternate between four and three-year deals each season.
  • Tax teams will have the sign-and-trade available, though there will be limits, which aren’t known yet.
  • Escrow payments were raised to 10 percent, which the players wanted, against the owners’ desire for 8 percent. They are currently at 10 percent.
  • The deal is a ten-year agreement with an opt-out for either side after six years. See you in six seasons!

The deal represents kind of a “fake” win for the players and a fake series of concessions from the owners. They already chopped off seven percent of BRI, increased penalties for tax teams, got the “repeater tax” put in place for teams that pay the tax year after year, and pretty much everything else they wanted. They set such an extreme position that they were able to concede on the issues they did and still walk away winners. But the concessions were major, especially those regarding player movement. The owners finally caved to get us a season, even if they’d already won the battle.

The owners got what they wanted, the players got to save some face, and the fans get a season. How u.

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.

Tristan Thompson expected to return to Cavaliers Tuesday, come off bench

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could play for the first time since Nov. 1 on Tuesday against Atlanta.

Thompson has been sidelined with a strained left calf. The team initially said Thompson would be out for up to four weeks, but he said Monday that timeline was inaccurate and that his injury was more serious. Thompson did not divulge any other details about the injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue says Thompson will not start when he returns, meaning Kevin Love will remain at center. Thompson says he’s fine with a reserve role and made it clear he’s willing to do whatever Lue needs.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of 15 and their defense has improved dramatically over the past month.

Thompson says he’ll have the same mindset on the floor as always and “just be myself. Being myself has worked out pretty well for me.”