Celtics

No indication sides will negotiate today

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No indication sides will negotiate today

There has been no indication as to whether NBA commissioner David Stern will meet with his union counterpart, Billy Hunter, one more time before today's Stern-appointed 5 p.m. deadline for the NBA Players Association to accept the league's proposal.

Following the last bargaining session, which ended in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Stern said at the time that the current offer would be taken off the table at 5 p.m. today, and would be replaced with a less appealing one.

The NBAPA and 29 of its 30 team representatives - the Boston Celtics, whose team rep is Paul Pierce, were the only team not represented at the meeting - announced they were rejecting the league's latest proposal but hoped to continue bargaining through today's deadline.

One of the biggest issues throughout the bargaining session has been how to divide up the basketball-related income. Following Tuesday's meeting, the union authorized its members to potentially accept a 50-50 split of the BRI, which the owners had been seeking in their latest proposal.

In exchange for that, the union wants the NBA to address a number of their system-related concerns, such as contract lengths and taxes on teams that surpass the luxury tax threshold.

Hunter sounded confident that he could convince Stern to not just take his call, but also to re-convene and continue negotiations today and through the 5 p.m. deadline.

In an interview with NBA-TV, Stern indicated that he would take Hunter's call "as a sign of respect and courtesy. What my response will be, will be guided to some degree by the Labor Relations Committee."

Convincing his ownership group to increase their offer on the BRI to a 50-50 split was not an easy sell for Stern. Going back to them to make additional tweaks to system-related issues doesn't sound like it's an option the owners - or Stern - are willing to seriously consider.

Stern was asked if there was any wiggle room in regards to system issue from the league's perspective.

"As of Saturday or Sunday morning at 3 a.m., there was none left," Stern said.

Still, it's hard to imagine that with both sides this close to getting a deal done, and the union once again offering concessions to the owners, that they won't gather one last time to see if they can iron out a deal.

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

The solution for Celtics? Play better down the stretch

BOSTON – If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Brad Stevens in his time as Celtics coach, it’s that he’s not about that sugarcoating life.
 
When it comes to his team, he’s about as transparent a coach as you will find in the NBA.

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So, when he says his team has been outplayed in both of its first two games, he’s not doing it as some stealth rallying cry.
 
He’s doing it because it’s where they are at this moment.
 
“So, whatever that’s attributable to, we’ve got to fix it, we’ve got to be better at it, regardless of when it is,” Stevens said.
 
Boston will get another crack at it on Friday night against a Philadelphia squad that, like the Celtics, is also searching for its first win of the season.
 
Struggling to win games is something the Sixers have grown accustomed to in recent years.
 
But the Celtics have been on an upward trajectory every year under Stevens’ watch. And while it’s far too soon to panic over their start, players understand that change must come about soon if they are to get on the right track and have the kind of season they envision for themselves as a group.
 
“Brad’s right, we have a lot of plays to clean up and a lot of stuff to get better at, but that’s’ the beauty of it,” said Jaylen Brown. “We got a really good group and a lot of young guys – we’re going to move forward and take that challenge. We’re going to win some games; we’re going to win a lot of games here in Boston.”
 
But doing so won’t be easy, not with the Celtics still trying to find the best way to move forward following Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that may keep him out for the remainder of this season.
 
The Celtics have led in the fourth quarter of both losses before eventually failing to make the necessary plays down the stretch to ensure victory.
 
Some of that has to do with the unfamiliarity - not a surprise when you add 10 new players to the mix in one offseason. Another contributing factor is, because of injuries, there are players elevated to more prominent roles who were otherwise seen as simply depth additions at the end of the bench.
 
Whatever the reasons may be, the bottom line is clear: the Celtics have played two games where they were outplayed enough to lose. 
 
“I don’t want to make the excuse that we’re a young team, but we are,” said Kyrie Irving. “We have some experience here and we have to utilize that and continue to exude confidence in young guys and ourselves and understand the game comes in waves. There are going to be ups and downs. We have to be able to withstand other team’s runs as well as hit back and have that hit-first mentality in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter. Once we start understanding we have to put a complete game together, myself being at the head of the ball and being better with it and putting guys in the right spots, we’ll be fine.”

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Agent says Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return this season

Hopes that the Celtics would have Gordon Hayward back in the lineup later this year were dashed last night by Hayward's agent, Mark Bartelstein.

Hayward underwent surgery Wednesday night for a fractured and dislocated left tibia, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens had said earlier in the day that Hayward's prognosis would be better known after doctors saw the extent of the damage. When the operation was over, Bartelstein told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski not to expect Hayward to play again this season.

But there is good news:

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“We’re expecting this to be a full recovery,” Stevens had said earlier. “No timeline on it, but a full recovery.”

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