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Irish Coffee: The NBA CBA, the Celtics and the future

10.28.11 at 2:18 pm ET

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

By now, you’ve probably heard the NBA is on the precipice of a collective bargaining agreement that would end the lockout. Good news, obviously. How such a deal would affect the Celtics is an entirely different matter, so let’s examine five issues that could impact the team this season.

Issue: Scheduling

  • Pro: TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz makes a compelling case for a 44-game NBA schedule, with teams playing twice weekly. Needless to say, that would be welcome news for Jermaine O’Neal‘s knees, among other various body parts on these old Celtics. But it’s a pipe dream.
  • Con: The NBA is already making plans to ensure the full NBA regular-season slate remains intact — starting a month late on Dec. 1 and ending in late April, according to The New York Times. As Sports Illustrated’s Zach Lowe notes, such a schedule could mean eight games — give or take — would be crammed into an existing schedule that already features 18 back-to-backs for the C’s. In other words, goodbye No. 1, 2 and possibly 3 or 4 seed!

Issue: The Amnesty Clause

  • Pro: It appears each team will be allowed to cut one player from its roster. They would still receive the amount left on their contracts, but the value would be eliminated from salary cap figures. Spurs owner Peter Holt is among those lobbying for as long as two years to cut a player, and players signed after this potential deal could potentially fall under that umbrella, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Essentially, the C’s would receive a mulligan.
  • Con: Currently, the only player on their six-man team the Celtics would even consider cutting is O’Neal, who is due $6.2 million this season, but that would leave coach Doc Rivers with exactly zero centers on his roster. It seems unlikely small-market owners would agree to give teams a mulligan on players signed after this CBA, so unless president of basketball operations Danny Ainge knows he can sign at least two quality centers via free agency the C’s likely wouldn’t benefit from using the amnesty clause.

Issue: Bird Rights

  • Pro: Owners are reportedly open to maintaining Bird Rights in the latest CBA, which would allow the Celtics to exceed the salary cap to re-sign players with two-plus years of experience with the team. As a result, the C’s would likely have the best chance of signing free agent Glen Davis.
  • Con: Just as the Celtics would be able to offer Big Baby more money, so too could other teams do with many free agents (i.e., the Kings and Samuel Dalembert in 2011 or the Magic and Dwight Howard in 2012).

Issue: Mid-Level and Bi-Annual Exceptions

  • Pro: The Celtics have used the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions with mixed results in recent years to sign veteran free agents like Eddie House, James Posey, Marquis DanielsRasheed Wallace and O’Neal. Really, because of the amount dedicated to the Big Four, it’s the only bargaining chip the C’s have left to lure higher-profile free agents (i.e., Jamal Crawford) who are worth more than the veteran minimum.
  • Con: If some owners — who believe teams paying the luxury tax shouldn’t be able to use the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions — get their way, the result could be devastating for the C’s. The 2011-12 Celtics payroll is currently $64.2 million for six players, with Jeff Green due at least $5.9 million if he returns. That would leave Ainge with only the veteran minimum and a chance for a title as bait for free agents.

Issue: Draft Age Minimum

  • Pro: If the NBA draft age minimum of 19 and one year removed from high school remains consistent, as expected, the 2012 pool could be a deep one. Influenced by lockout uncertainty or not, many top-tier players like Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger stayed in school for their sophomore season. Add this year’s freshmen to that crop, and you’ve got a talented field that could include Austin Rivers in a year when the C’s have two first-round picks.
  • Con: If the age is pushed to 20 and two years removed from high school, as the owners hope, then players like Rivers, Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, James McAdoo and Bradley Beal would be ineligible to declare for the draft. That would leave only the limited number of players who opted to stay for their sophomore season and the many others who weren’t good enough to come out early up for grabs.


Larry Brown and Doc Rivers are expected to visit college practices at Kentucky, Butler and Indiana, hoping to pick up coaching tactics (a la Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer), according to the Herald.

“The greatest thing about Doc is that he wants to learn,” Brown told Mark Murphy. “He told me earlier this summer, if there’s a lockout, let’€™s go see some coaches and learn. But when the lockout came, they told him he couldn’t do that until last week. So we’re going to do it now.”

While Brown is open to the opportunity to serve as an assistant coach on the Celtics, it’s not in the cards for Rivers, who prefers to promote from within. …

Celtics first-round pick JaJuan Johnson is listed among the participants for the Knox Indy Pro-Am All-Stars against the Rio All-Stars on Nov. 6 in Indiana. His teammates include Eric Gordon, George Hill, Gordon Hayward, Zach Randolph, Jeff Teague and D.J. White, among others. Rio is expected to feature Mario Chalmers, Josh Selby, Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush and Brandon Knight, among others. …

University of Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said Kevin Garnett is the best high school player he’s ever seen. Or LeBron James. Or Kobe Bryant. …

As expected, former Celtics forward Antoine Walker re-signed with the Idaho Stampede. He reportedly said he couldn’t wait to get back to Boise, which is what nobody else in the history of earth said ever.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett
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