sometimes they're valuable, sometimes they're not.
you say this:
They have always tried to avoid paying luxury taxes.
but you don't include it in your 2 part list of great uses for expiring contracts. i don't understand the omission. it's not really good enough to suggest that it's not my money. the point is that mlse does not want to pay tax and has no intention to do so unless the team is very successful. if they are successful in the next few years then fine, but if they are not, which is a real possibiility, then a $4 mil/yr 12th man is a major ball and chain. on the other hand, an expiring banks in 2011 is a no risk situation since he's not going to be a cancer to the team if he never dresses or travels with them.
in the raps siutuation, and expiring contract to avoid the lux tax is a lot more valuable than a $4 mil 12th man that will only play if we suffer at least 2-3 injuries at the wing spots.