Everybody loves a good rumor. In every scenario, the thought of something possibly happening always gets us amped up. The NBA is no different. Rumors have percolated about everyone and everything for as long as we can remember, but the uber-rumor era started rather recently:
Where is LeBron James going?
-Is he going to re-sign with Cleveland?
-What about New York? He loves the big city and Nike will pay him more money!
-I heard he wants to play with D-Rose!
-How come he hasn’t re-signed with Cleveland yet!?
-Who the eff is “Worldwide Wes” and why are we talking about him?
-“I will be talking to LeBron James.” -Amar’e Stoudemire, after signing with the Knicks
-WHY ISN’T LEBRON ANSWERING DAN GILBERT’S PHONE CALLS!?
-Huh? He’s meeting with the Clippers?
-“Wade resigns with Miami, brings Bosh with him.” Okay, so the Heat are out of the sweepstakes.
-Wait, they’re not?
Of course we all know that this led to “The Decision,” but the rumor mill hasn’t stopped. All of last year, the media preyed on Carmelo Anthony’s impending trade to YOUR New York Knicks. This year, we have three sets of rumors. Three contracts with the dreaded opt-out provision. Three players who want to defeat the trio in Miami. So who gets traded?
Why is this even a question?
I would have skipped this section were it not for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. My whole intro basically told you why this is a Burning Question, but to get you more in tune with my noise, the new CBA will affect all trades, as follows:
Trade Percentage Rule:
Before this season, the number to remember was 125. If a trade involved putting at least one of the involved teams over the salary cap, that team could only acquire players whose current year salaries were no more than 125% + $100,000 of the current year salaries of the players that team was shipping out. (Hypothetical example: BockerKnocker plays for the Knicks and earns a salary of $15 million. KOBEsh plays for the Lakers and earns a salary $490K, the league minimum. If the Lakers want to acquire BK, and doing so would put them over the cap, they would have to add more players to the deal so the salaries would abide by the 125 percent rule.) This season, the 125 percent rule remains in effect for teams that are so far over the salary cap that they pay a luxury tax. However, if a team is over the cap, but not in the luxury tax window, a new 140 percent rule will go into effect.
How does this affect Dwight, Deron, and CP3? Glad you asked.
Orlando has approximately $75 million committed in player salaries for the upcoming season. This is above both the cap ($58 million) and the luxury tax threshold ($70 million). However, unless ownership re-ups their dosage of crazy pills, The Albatross Formerly Known As Gilbert Arenas will be taken off Orlando’s books as a result of the Amnesty Clause (wherein a team can shed one contract off of their books). If Arenas’ $19M figure is amnestied, then Orlando would be under the cap. As a result, any team that wants to land Dwight won’t be forced into giving the Magic as many “filler” players just to abide by the 125 percent rule. Ultimately, this could shift leverage away from the Magic, as teams will want to pry Dwight for about 50 cents on the dollar.
New Jersey has a ridiculous amount of cap space, with only $39 million committed to players for 2011-12. The number will drop even lower if they decide to use the Amnesty Clause on the Mambino-hated Travis Outlaw, who sports a nifty $7 m
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