CLEVELAND — Times are good for the NBA and there are several examples of that.
The NBA Finals have recorded the highest ratings ever through three games for ABC. The league’s new TV contract, worth an all-time high $24 billion over nine years, begins with the 2016-17 season. The story lines emanating from the Warriors-Cavaliers matchup are compelling, including LeBron James attempting to bring Cleveland its first major pro sports title in 51 years.
So commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts were in good spirits Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, where they amicably participated in an NBA Cares event. Relations are building between the two leaders and Roberts told the Globe that they plan on beginning talks in August on a new collective bargaining agreement.
The NBPA has an opt-out clause of the current agreement in 2017, which Roberts said will be exercised. She and Silver each have said they want to agree on a new deal before the current one expires. Talking in August, two full years before the opt-out, appears to be a positive sign that they are serious about that.
“It’s amazing that people find that amazing,” Roberts said of her harmonious relationship with Silver. “We’re grown-ups and grown-ups are supposed to be able to resolve issues. I’m glad, and I have no reason to think we won’t resolve this. But we’re going to start early just to make sure. But yeah, I’m pretty optimistic. We’re going to start our talks in August and we’ll keep talking until we resolve our issues we think need to be resolved.
“I take very serious the notion of avoiding a work stoppage. The game is a great place right now. I listen to those fans screaming [Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena], they don’t want to hear anything about a work stoppage. We owe it to them to start talking, get these issues resolved so we can keep this game going.”
Silver, who said last week he planned to talk with Roberts about the structure of a new deal, applauded the health of the game and harmony between the union and league.
“I feel like Michele and I are building a strong personal relationship,” Silver said. “I think with all business relationships it starts with a personal relationship and it begins with trust. Trust is something that’s only earned over time. I have a strong relationship with the [union] executive committee as well. Not to say that the issues ultimately that we need to discuss aren’t contentious and difficult, but there’s so much good that’s happening in this league right now and I know Michele agrees, that these are all issues that can be worked through.”
Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova was back at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday, just hours after being treated at a local hospital for cramping. Dellavedova said he will play in Thursday night’s Game 4.
Dellavedova was taken to the hospital about an hour after the Cavaliers’ 96-91 Game 3 victory Tuesday night, in which he scored 20 points and made some critical plays in staving off a Golden State run.
“Just cramped up a bit,” said Dellavedova, who spent Wednesday receiving more treatment. “They thought the best form of recovery would be just go to the hospital for a little bit and get an IV. So, you know, feeling pretty good and obviously trust the medical staff here. So yeah, feeling good.”
Cavaliers coach David Blatt said during Wednesday’s media session he would limit Dellavedova’s minutes in Game 4. He said Dellavedova quipped, “No you’re not.”
Dellavedova has become a sensation around the sporting world because of his sparkling play in the Finals, which has included stellar defense against NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
Meanwhile, Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert, who left Game 3 briefly after injuring a bothersome left shoulder, also will play in Game 4 after an MRI revealed only a bruise.
“I’ll be all right,” he said. “It would take a lot for me not to play.”
It’s going to take a lot of people to tell me not to go. It’s going to take some structural damage for me to do that. If I’m able to push through it, I’ll push through it.”
Irving checks in
Kyrie Irving spoke for the first time since fracturing his left kneecap in Game 1 and said the series has been difficult to watch, but he’s pleased with his teammates’ performance, especially James.
“I wanted to win it for the city, for my family, for my teammates. But at this point sitting back and as a fan and as a teammate, now it’s no longer about anything that’s going on with me,” Irving said. “I don’t want the guys to feel sympathetic or anything like that or feel bad, because I’m pretty sure the Warriors don’t feel bad at all over anyone else.
“But for us to be successful, we just need [James] to continue what he’s doing and have that killer mind-set. Destroy anyone and everyone that’s in front of him. And I think he’s taking the reins completely, and everyone’s stepping up. And that’s what we need to win this NBA championship.”
Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.