Finally, I have something to get excited about, and its not a trade. The big news story smoldering in Denver this weekend is the potential for a labor agreement between the owners and players. Its all good news for sports fans thus far. Consider what Peter Vescey is reporting (I know, I know, consider the source - but Chad Ford is reporting the same thing) - here are some of the concessions on both sides (and my take on their impact on the Celtics):
* The elimination of the luxury tax will beget a higher cap and more money distributed among the players.
As long as the current owners have deep pockets, this will make the paychecks handed out to our big ticket guys that much easier to swallow. Raef's contract becomes less of an albatross and more like a necessary business expense.
* Decreased guaranteed years (from seven to five, probably) and a reduction of annual percentage jumps on long-term contracts will beget the abolition of a 10 percent giveback by players.
No immediate help to the C's since Blount, Raef, and others will be grandfathered in, but it also keeps the owners from shooting themselves in the foot. The NBA can thank Vin Baker for proving once and for all the necessity of this provision.
* Dropping a demand for a minimum draft age of 20 translates into the National Basketball Developmental League being utilized as a minor league with young players bouncing back and forth with the same contracts. Should Stern be unable to get his way on this crucial issue, it's doubtful the NBDL can survive.
Guess who looks like a genius for acquiring 2nd round picks? I don't know how fast they can implement this system, but what if it's next year? If Gary comes back (or another vet PG is acquired), don't you think that Marcus Banks and/or Delonte West would be spending some stretches down on the farm to get some run? Justin Reed will be one of the starters. Our two first rounders could start the season there. The next Kendrick Perkins will get to play instead of sit. Given our recent success in the draft, this can only bode well. Like I said, those second round picks will now be like gold.
I'm excited. I'm also somewhat cautious because this is all just rumor right now. However, given the embarrassing way hockey just went out, the steroids cloud over baseball, and the NFL in off season mode, I could really see the NBA pouncing on the opportunity to grab some good press. Do it this weekend guys. Make us proud to be NBA fans.