simmons - 12 days of nba christmas
Old 12-05-2011, 10:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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i'm posting the last 1/3 or so of this article because it's so damn good, but you shoudl really check out the first parts too:

get ready for another boatload of crappy contracts. he's probably wrong about a few things (toronto being one of them), but there's so much truth to this first installment:

Bill Simmons makes his case that it looks like the lockout never happened - Grantland

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Despite the lockout, despite all the bad blood that was shed there's a good chance we're about to break the record for "most dumb contracts handed out in one month." Yeah, the harsh luxury tax rules will scare off the Mavericks and Lakers from rolling out recklessly expensive rosters again. Yeah, new contracts will be one year shorter for the most part. And yeah, there aren't as many full-boat mid-level exceptions to stupidly hand out like car wash flyers anymore. But there WILL be dumb contracts. Ohhhhhhhhh yes. There will be dumb contracts. Many of them. Consider

The new salary floor guarantees that cheaper teams have to spend money. Every team HAS to spend 85 percent of the salary cap for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons (it's $49.3 million this season), then 90 percent for every season after that.

By caving on mid-level exceptions (and if they hadn't, we wouldn't have had a season), the owners kept the overpaid middle class intact. They won't be quite as overpaid not just because of the new restrictions,5 but because BRI dropped the cap ($58 million this season) and the tax line ($70 million this season), and because the luxury tax rules are so much more severe but still, if you were worried about not seeing overpaid role players anymore, you'll be fine.

Your amnesty guy can potentially count against your salary floor (85 percent, as mentioned above), if you choose. For example, the Wizards have $44.7 million of guaranteed 2011-12 contracts right now. Once Lewis gets amnestied, they'll suddenly have $23.6 million counting against their cap putting them $34.4 million under it but they'll only have to spend another $4.6 million to hit that $49.3 million salary floor, because, again, Lewis counts for that (if they want).

Now here's where it gets really, really good. We just entered a new era for NBA fiscal responsibility, right? Check out the potential spenders this month.

The following teams are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay under the 2011-12 salary cap:

1. Washington: $34.4 million (including Lewis' amnesty clause)
2. Denver: $33 million (including Harrington's A.C.)
3. Indiana: $28.5 million (including Posey's A.C.)
4. Sacramento: $26.2 million
5. New Jersey: $23.1 million (including Outlaw's A.C.)
6. Toronto: $17.7 million (including Calderon's A.C.)
7. Golden State: $16 million (including Biedrins' A.C.)
8. Detroit: $14-$19 million (depends on Villanueva, Gordon or Hamilton for its A.C.)
9. L.A. Clippers: $13.1 million
10. Charlotte: $13 million (including Diop's A.C.)
11. New Orleans: $12.6 million
12. Milwaukee: $12.2 million (including Udrih's A.C.)
13. Minnesota: $11.4 million (including Webster's A.C.)

The following teams are just far enough under the cap that, assuming they get a little creative (dump a contract on someone, use their amnesty on a lesser guy, etc.), they could splurge for a pricey free agent if they really wanted:

14. Houston: $6.8 million
15. Memphis: $5.1 million
16. Phoenix: $3.25 million (not including Childress' A.C.)
17. Oklahoma City: $3.1 million
18. Philly: 2.65 million (not including Nocioni's A.C.)

The following eight teams are currently over the cap ($58 million) but under the tax line ($70 million) before making a single transaction (or re-signing a restricted free agent), making them natural candidates for the full mid-level

19. Atlanta
20. Boston
21. Chicago
22. Cleveland
23. Dallas
24. Miami
25. New York
26. Utah

The four remaining teams and their payrolls at this moment: the Lakers ($92 million); Spurs ($75.4 million, although Jefferson's A.C. could drop them to $66.2 million); Blazers ($70.75 million with Roy, $55.75 million without him); and Magic ($57.3 million with Arenas' A.C.).

That's a pretty fascinating landscape. Even if we write off 13 spenders (New Orleans, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Charlotte, Phoenix, Atlanta, San Antonio, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Utah, the Lakers and Portland) from adding another major contract this month for a variety of reasons, we still have another seventeen potential suitors for free agents this month.

Three teams (Denver, Indiana and Sacramento) definitely have to spend just to hit that $49 million floor (amnesty or no amnesty).

Four teams (Washington, Golden State, New jersey and Toronto) will almost definitely use their amnesty clauses to help them pursue marquee free agents.

Four other teams will spend money on someone (or try): Houston will undoubtedly get creative to give itself a chance for one of the three quality centers (Marc Gasol, Nene or Tyson Chandler); and Memphis, Philly and the Clippers will almost definitely match any offer for their best restricted free agents (Gasol, Thaddeus Young and DeAndre Jordan), even if they have to overpay them a little (or in Jordan's case, a lot).

Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Oklahoma City and Orlando are all contenders; I can't imagine them getting through this month without doing something.

Miami will definitely use its full mid-level exception. And actually, this labor deal couldn't have broken more perfectly for them: They can splurge for a crunch-time veteran swing guy (probably Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince or Jason Richardson), sign a chasing-a-ring veteran for cheap (like Grant Hill or Kenyon Martin) AND gobble up one or two amnesty guys (say, Baron Davis and/or Travis Outlaw). I hate to say it, but Vegas is handing out free money right now in the form of a 2-to-1 future bet on Miami to win the 2012 NBA title. The deck couldn't be stacked better for the Miami Heat right now. I'm not saying that to heap additional pressure on them,6 it's just a fact.

Now, here's where it gets really, really, REALLY good. You won't see nearly as many teams use their amnesties at least right away as we initially expected when Jonathan Abrams and I had so much fun playing the Amnesty Guessing Game during the lockout. Why turn a serviceable body into a sunk cost unless it chops down your tax bill, gets you under the tax completely, opens up enough cap space to pursue a quality free agent, or, in Baron Davis' case, gets Baron Davis off your team?

My prediction: Only Cleveland (Baron Davis), San Antonio (Richard Jefferson), Los Angeles (Ron Artest), Orlando (Gilbert Arenas), Golden State (Andris Biedrins) and Toronto (Jose Calderon) will use their amnesties this month. That's it.

You know what that means? This year's free-agent pool was already brutal. It stinks. Your three prizes are Nene, Chandler and Gasol (restricted). After that, everyone loves Arron Afflalo and Thaddeus Young (both restricted), and who wouldn't want Shane Battier, Jamal Crawford or Jason Richardson on their team, and then wait a second, we're already in "DeAndre Jordan/Rodney Stuckey/Jeff Green" range? What the hell just happened???????

We'll cover this motley list in detail on Monday (Day 2 of our NBA Christmas). In the meantime, here's a little teaser: The amount of money every NBA team can and will spend far exceeds the collective talent (both for quantity and quality). In other words gentleman, start your dumb contract engines!!!! Who's ready to be overpaid??? Step right up! Who's first?
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Atlanta is in deep shit, giving Joe Johnson a max deal will fuck them over for many years to come.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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hahaha the opening paragraph is such a perfect example of what the lockout is. great article, especially this point:
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The players and coaches always tell us that the ideal regular season should be between 72 and 74 games — shouldn't we finally listen to them?
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'll never understand why they want to force EVERY team to spend 85-90% of the cap. As the article says... it pretty much GUARANTEES that you'll see horrible contracts handed out all the time. Thought that the owners wanted to get away from that.
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll never understand why they want to force EVERY team to spend 85-90% of the cap. As the article says... it pretty much GUARANTEES that you'll see horrible contracts handed out all the time. Thought that the owners wanted to get away from that.
This would have been a player request - if the owners were limiting the ability of teams to spend over the cap with a harder luxury tax, the players wanted some guarantee that owners would not be spending much less than the cap.

Also, putting this in was another way for the owners to sell the idea that they wanted to improve parity, which was an argument they needed to reduce exceptions and increase the tax.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I still see a big part of the problem being a tightly restricted FA market. You double or triple the number of players available and guys looking for stupid money are in danger of being the next Sprewell. And instead of a team like Orlando looking to overpay one big name that might not even compliment D12 all that well, they could pick up two or three guys that specifically fit a blueprint.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This would have been a player request - if the owners were limiting the ability of teams to spend over the cap with a harder luxury tax, the players wanted some guarantee that owners would not be spending much less than the cap.

Also, putting this in was another way for the owners to sell the idea that they wanted to improve parity, which was an argument they needed to reduce exceptions and increase the tax.
I'm honestly surprised that the owners OK'd that then.

Seems as though it'd be in their best interest NOT to have their hands forced if there aren't any decent players out there to be had.

Not buying the parity argument at all.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If they didnt include that then youd have guys like the Suns owner putting out a 40 million dollar team that wins 10 games because why would he actually go out and spend because of the position hes already helped put his team in? And some organizations would just save money and put a shit product on the floor in certain years in different situations. Theres 2 sides to the coin.
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm honestly surprised that the owners OK'd that then.

Seems as though it'd be in their best interest NOT to have their hands forced if there aren't any decent players out there to be had.

Not buying the parity argument at all.
The owners OK'd a lot of stuff they didn't want to, because they wanted to play (and rake in those revenues...), as far as I can tell. That was one of the big gives at the end to get the deal done.
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Old 12-05-2011, 02:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If they didnt include that then youd have guys like the Suns owner putting out a 40 million dollar team that wins 10 games because why would he actually go out and spend because of the position hes already helped put his team in? And some organizations would just save money and put a shit product on the floor in certain years in different situations. Theres 2 sides to the coin.
I'd honestly be fine with that.... because you can't do it forever.

If you want to put a shit product on the floor and not even TRY to win over the long haul then how many people do you think you're going to draw? Is it possible that you'd still draw even with that strategy?
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'd honestly be fine with that.... because you can't do it forever.

If you want to put a shit product on the floor and not even TRY to win over the long haul then how many people do you think you're going to draw? Is it possible that you'd still draw even with that strategy?
With the new revenue sharing plan? Maybe.
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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With the new revenue sharing plan? Maybe.
Well, then that's also something that they'd have to look into then.

Or just do the hard cap (yes, I know it'll prob. never happen). THAT would bring parity faster than anything else.
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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day 2

Bill Simmons looks at the centers that are about to hit the lottery - Grantland
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, then that's also something that they'd have to look into then.

Or just do the hard cap (yes, I know it'll prob. never happen). THAT would bring parity faster than anything else.
I agree on both counts. The hard cap is the answer, and it will never happen (in conjunction with the hard cap, you also have to remove maximum salaries).
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Old 12-06-2011, 01:54 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Would you not end up with even more trade demands under a hard cap?
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Simmons needs to read up on the new sign and trade rules. As ever, an entertaining and terribly flawed article. He's good at what he does.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:06 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Would you not end up with even more trade demands under a hard cap?
Sure, but they would mean nothing. In the current structure, the team they are going to usually already has a superstar on it, who would be paid so much of the cap that they would have no way of signing the new player to a superstar deal. As such, the leverage players have now of being able to sign with the Knicks or Nets the next summer in the free agent market would disappear, or be much more rare anyway. In general, if you want multiple stars they would each have to take big pay cuts (not the hilariously small ones the Miami 3 are credited with) to make it happen - and no system can prevent that.

There would be no more threats of "trade me or I walk" because they would in all likelihood have to choose to walk somewhere where there is no other star.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Sure, but they would mean nothing. In the current structure, the team they are going to usually already has a superstar on it, who would be paid so much of the cap that they would have no way of signing the new player to a superstar deal. As such, the leverage players have now of being able to sign with the Knicks or Nets the next summer in the free agent market would disappear, or be much more rare anyway. In general, if you want multiple stars they would each have to take big pay cuts (not the hilariously small ones the Miami 3 are credited with) to make it happen - and no system can prevent that.

There would be no more threats of "trade me or I walk" because they would in all likelihood have to choose to walk somewhere where there is no other star.
Yeah well, I guess that works. But when I think back to how I fell in love with the game, it was by watching teams with more than one star, and usually more than two stars as well as a vet that was once a star. I would have to forget a lot to be able to enjoy parity under such a scenario. I would much rather see them try redistributing profits a little more first.
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Old 12-06-2011, 02:41 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah well, I guess that works. But when I think back to how I fell in love with the game, it was by watching teams with more than one star, and usually more than two stars as well as a vet that was once a star. I would have to forget a lot to be able to enjoy parity under such a scenario. I would much rather see them try redistributing profits a little more first.
Well, then this year, and especially 2013-14 should be very interesting for you. Redistribution of revenues is the only real change that was made to the system. Between the revenue sharing plan (whatever it ends up being) and the stiff tax, we'll see how well that sort of system can work for the NBA.

And the three star system could still work. If a team has a star, they can still afford a star on a rookie deal or a borderline all-star, as well as any vet stars who are looking for a ring rather than a payday - they just can't afford what Miami has - multiple players who would command the majority of a team's salary in a "free market" hard cap scenario.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:43 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I don't necessarily need to see a team loaded with tons of talent from three players. I meant to mention that teams in the past saw individual players rise to great levels thanks to the talent around them, but also the overall balance and players able to fill complimentary roles. With a hard cap the Pippen that excels next to a Jordan would have to go. Or a well-balanced group of lesser talent needs to be broken up due to a few of them being in line for a raise. We already see that sort of problem coming into play with young teams too much, and it kills fan interest.
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