CBA could be cause of lack of trading frenzy
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The NBA trade deadline has hit the snooze button.
It’s mostly quiet and sleepy on that front with the 3 p.m. ET deadline just hours away. Not only are talks of blockbuster deals limited, even minor trades talks have had trouble gaining traction.
Where are the blockbuster deals similar to the Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams trades in 2011? Or even Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut in 2012?
Now, there could be a slew of activity in the final hours. But there’s also another possible and legitimate reason for the lack of activity: the impact of the 2011 collective-bargaining agreement.
Front-office executives are trying to navigate the agreement for its short- and long-term impact. Starting next season, the luxury tax increases. Instead of dollar tax for every dollar over the luxury tax, the new tax starts at $1.50 for every dollar over for the first $4.99 million over the luxury tax and escalates to $3.25 for every dollar a team is $15 million to $19.99 million over the cap. And even more punitive over $20 million.
Take the Brooklyn Nets for example. Right now, they are projected to be about $12 million over the luxury tax next season. This season and in previous seasons, that’s a $12 million tax bill. Next season, it’s a $21.2 million bill, giving teams reason to pause.
Plus, there’s one more deterrent. If a team is a taxpayer four times in five seasons, that tax increases even more. That $1.50 for the first $4.99 million over the tax becomes $2.50, and that $3.25 becomes $4.25.
League executives began gauging the impact of the CBA at last year’s trade deadline. According to STATS, 45 players were traded in the week before the 2010 deadline, 49 in 2011 and 27 last season.
Teams are hesitant to absorb big contracts not knowing the exact impact on future payrolls. They prefer the flexibility to maneuver rather than being handcuffed. Trimming team salary for future use is more prudent for some teams.
Some of the best values are players on their rookie contracts. However, since those relatively inexpensive contracts, teams aren’t rushing to shed rookie deals.