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NBA AM: Where Does Monta Ellis Land?
Posted By Steve Kyler On July 10, 2013 @ 9:32 am In NBA | No Comments
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More NBA Free Agency News: Today is the day in which all of the rumored and agreed to transactions can be completed. Up until this point all trades, contracts and roster moves have been only verbal, non-binding agreements. Today the NBA opens up the transaction window and a flurry of moves will start to get finalized.
You can always track free agency with our 2013 NBA Free Agency Diary, which will be updated throughout the rest of the week, but here are some of the news and notes still in play:
Monta Ellis Still Shopping: There have been reports suggesting that the Sacramento Kings could be the front runner to sign Bucks free agent guard Monta Ellis. However, sources near the situation say Ellis is still actively seeking a deal and that no team is really in the front yet.
Word is Ellis is seeking a multi-year deal and that a sign-and-trade via the Milwaukee Bucks still remains possible. The Bucks have told some inquiring teams that they are not overly interested in an Ellis deal, however, it seems that what’s in play is basically a means for Ellis to retain his Bird rights more so than trying to offload contracts onto Milwaukee.
Ellis has met with several teams including the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls, however his price tag is considerably higher than either the Hawks or the Bulls are willing to go, which is why Ellis is still on the market.
Ellis left a three-year $36 million contract on the table in Milwaukee, so his camp is actively trying to get some of that money back in his next deal, which is why lower dollar offer from contenders like Chicago are being turned away.
Hansbrough To Toronto?: The Toronto Raptors reached a two-year deal with Pacers free agent forward Tyler Hansbrough, the terms of the deal put him at roughly $3 million per season.
The Raptors also reached a two-year deal with Nuggets guard Julyan Stone on a two-year $1.9 million deal. Stone was something of a project player in Denver and someone new Raptors president Masai Ujiri has invested a lot of development time in.
The Raptors are also expected to finalize their trade with the New York Knicks that will send former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani to New York and return forwards Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and Quentin Richardson.
There has been talk that Marcus Camby is actively seeking a buyout or a trade, however Novak is expected to be introduced this week.
Corey Brewer In Play: Nuggets free agent Corey Brewer would like to return to the Denver Nuggets, however talks with the team do not seem to be progressing towards a deal. Brewer’s camp has been actively entertaining other offer including overtures from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Word is Brewer is seeking a deal in the neighborhood of $20 as a total package which seems to be a little more than some teams are willing to go.
Brewer does have several suitors actively at the table, so if Denver legitimately doesn’t want to make a deal its clear Brewer could come off the market fairly soon to another team.
Bynum Meeting With Teams: 76ers free agent Andrew Bynum has been making the rounds looking for his next deal. Word is the Cleveland Cavaliers made a two-year offer worth some $24 million. The wrinkle there is the deal is basically a one year deal with a second year team option and his camp is looking for more security than that.
Bynum met with the Hawks yesterday and is expected to meet with the Dallas Mavericks next.
League sources say signing Bynum isn’t necessarily the risk that it seems, especially if the deal can be crafted to allow for options related to his knees.
Spurs’ free agent DeJuan Blair was flagged for ACL issues during the draft combine several years ago, but wrote in an exclusion in his deal with the Spurs that protected them from knee related injuries resulting in Blair getting a multi-year offer. Had Blair missed a substantial amount of games to a knee injury his contract could have been non-guarnteed.
If Bynum’s camp would agree to something similar, several teams said they would consider signing him simply because his upside is so great when he can play.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows for players and team to write in injury provisions into deals, so it’s completely possible Bynum gets a hefty offer. The question remains how much will a team be willing to guarantee Bynum and how willing would his camp be to allowing a games missed to knee injury clause in his contract.
We Want To Know:
The Cap Is Set and The Tax Bills Went Out: The NBA and NBA Players’ Association finalized the economics for the 2012-13 season and locked in the terms for the 2013-14 season last night.
The salary cap for the upcoming season will be $58.679 million, while the tax threshold for the season will set at $71.748 million.
These levels reflect a modest increase from last season’s $58.044 million salary cap and $70.307 million tax threshold.
As part of the compromise reached on December 8 in 2011, the salary cap and tax levels were locked in for the first two years of the current labor deal. This season reflects the first season in which the new revenue split formula was applied, resulting in only a modest increase for the players.
This season also marks the first season with the new ‘graduated’ luxury tax system that penalizes teams based on various tiers over the luxury tax threshold. Each tier of tax comes with an ever increased penalty.
In previous seasons, teams paid a $1 tax for each $1 it was over the tax threshold. The new tax charges teams $1.50 for every dollars over the tax for the first $4.99 million over the tax threshold, then increases to $1.75 for every dollar from million to $9.99 million. The tax continues to increase to $2.50 for dollar over for $10 million to $14.99 million, then $3.25 for every dollars over from $15 million to $19.99 million.
Salary cap guru Larry Coon developed an Excel spreadsheet to help with the math on this, that also includes the new ‘repeater tax” that will begin for those teams that are repeatedly over the luxury tax.
In addition to locking in the broad economic numbers for the upcoming season the NBA also set the value of the three main salary cap exceptions teams are allowed. The non-taxpayer mid-level was set at $5.15 million, the taxpayer mid-level was set at $3.183 million and the mid-level for a team with room under the salary cap was set at $2.652 million.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the NBA also notified the six luxury tax paying teams from last season what their final tax bill was with the LA Lakers leading the way with a $29.259 million tax bill. The remaining five tax teams were Miami ($13.346 million), Brooklyn ($12.883 million), New York ($9.96 2million), Chicago ($3.932 million) and Boston ($1.181 million).
There are five teams already over the luxury tax line with the Brooklyn Nets leading all teams with $28.732 million over the tax line. The Miami HEAT are over the tax line by $14.812 million, while the New York Knicks are over the tax line by $11.583 million. The LA Lakers, despite losing Dwight Howard in free agency, are still $8.826 million over the tax but are rumored to be using their amnesty roster cut on Metta World Peace to remove his $7.727 million contract from the books.
Luxury tax is computed based on what is on a team’s roster at the end of the season so potential tax paying teams have until the NBA Trade Deadline to shed contract dollars in efforts to avoid or reduce their tax bill.
Not All Deals Are What They Seem: Typically when a team makes a trade or a transaction, the first response is to view that trade in the present – what does it do for us now? However not all trades are about today and for many teams this summer, the transactions they are making are about tomorrow.
A common concept discussed during the Orlando Summer League this week was about how much teams need to acquire assets and talent, especially the average teams.
Several teams justified their moves as needing to add “talent”, when you look at where the Orlando Magic sit today versus where they were this time last year they gave up a lot of veterans, but have managed to radically re-stock their cupboard with talent. Last year was a brutal 20-win season, however today the Magic look pretty well situated going forward.
Several other teams are looking to do the same thing. The Phoenix Suns are in the market for talent, so are the New Orleans Pelicans. The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t trade Jrue Holiday because of any displeasure with him; it was because they needed a talent infusion.
When you factor in that talent tends to cost and that the 2014 NBA Draft looks to be loaded with possible studs. Not every team is looking at today when they make some of their deals, they are looking at what they can do tomorrow and landing and stockpiling talent is a prevailing concept, especially for those teams with no chance at really competing.
So as some of these deals get consummated today, keep in mind not all of the deals getting done are about the upcoming season, rather the options it creates for next summer and beyond.
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