In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at [email protected] or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:
“Why do we need a moratorium? If there wasn’t one it could have spared us the whole DeAndre Jordan debacle. Right?” — Angel
The Jordan situation is an interesting one, but it’s certainly an outlier, and not the norm. But the league may indeed take a look at revamping the system, especially if Mark Cuban and other owners make enough noise about it. But changing things wouldn’t be so simple since the moratorium is part of the collective bargaining agreement, and the NBPA would have to approve any proposed alterations.
As for why there is a moratorium, it technically exists to allow the NBA to finalize its books from the previous season, which in turn determines the salary cap, luxury tax line, etc. It was also implemented with the intent that more teams would be able to bid on players and it would generate a larger open market. Of course, instead of teams reaching early verbal agreements and signing players on July 1st, we now have to wait eight agonizing days for these tentative deals to be finalized. Next year’s moratorium is going to be 11 days, so we’ll have an extended period to cope with next offseason.
So removing the moratorium may have prevented Jordan’s situation, and landed him on the Mavs, but it’s not a given. As someone who covers the NBA, I wish the moratorium would go away just to streamline things, but I also see the value of it for players and teams, though a strong argument can be made that it merely delays the free agent process, rather than improves upon it.
“What do the Mavericks do about a starting center now?” — Tyler
There aren’t a whole lot of options available on the free agent or trade markets right now for Dallas. It’s looking more and more likely that Zaza Pachulia will tip off the season as the starter at the pivot. That’s not great news for the team or its fans. I like Pachulia a lot as an option off the bench, but as a starter in the brutal Western Conference…not so much. When JaVale McGee and Samuel Dalembert are your best free agent options, that’s not a great spot to be in for any team. McGee may indeed be the best fit since he has a much higher upside than Dalembert. But McGee isn’t a great locker room guy, nor has he been able to harness his immense physical gifts thus far in the NBA. So there’s that. Dallas’ best hope right now may be to wait until training camp cuts begin and to pray someone useful gets dropped by another team. I’ll also float out that Dallas should consider trading with the Heat for Chris Andersen. Andersen is certainly on the downside of his career, but he would add defense, hustle, and rebounding to complement Pachulia’s offensive skills. Andersen won’t make the Mavs a contender, but he’d certainly be a decent addition, as well as provide some needed minutes throughout the season.
“Why haven’t the Cavaliers re-signed Matthew Dellavedova yet? And is he worth his asking price?” — Stu
Cleveland reportedly wants to bring back Dellavedova, but are prioritizing negotiations with Tristan Thompson. I think the team is waiting to see how those negotiations shake out before making the final call on Dellavedova. As for his worth, the point guard is reportedly seeking an annual salary of $4MM. While I like the grit and hustle that Dellavedova brings to the court, his overall production isn’t in line with that annual amount in my book. I’d value him at $2MM to $3MM per season at most. But the Cavs have to factor in the luxury tax hit for the point guard, and according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks, the Cavs inking Dellavedova at $4MM per season would actually cost them close to $18MM thanks to the luxury tax hit. There’s no way that he’s worth that amount, which is the likely hold up in getting something resolved between the two sides. I do think the team will end up re-signing Dellavedova, especially since alternative veteran point guard options are drying up rapidly, and would likely cost a similar amount anyway.
“What happens with Ty Lawson in Denver? Does he get dealt or waived?” — Carlos
The Nuggets are in a tough spot here. They appear ready to part ways with the talented guard, but his salary ($12,404,495 in 2015/16 and $13,213,482 the following season) and off the court issues (the veteran was arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of DUI, his second DUI-related arrest in six months time) make getting anything of value for Lawson almost impossible right now. Unless a team with a significant amount of cap space is willing to take a chance, there’s almost no way to deal Lawson without taking back some questionable contracts in return. That’s probably not the ideal move to make for a rebuilding Denver squad. The best option may be to hold onto Lawson, hope he is productive, then try to flip him at the trade deadline. But if the team is truly concerned about the effect his attitude is having on the locker room, then waiving Lawson via the stretch provision, or reaching a buyout with him are perhaps the best options on the table right now.
“Why does almost every single multi year deal in the NBA have a player option/opt out? Also, why is it worded “2 year deal with player option after the first year” as an example? As a big baseball/football fan as well, that sounds very weird to me.” —Matt
The rise of the player option is a trend that is directly influenced by the league’s new TV deal, and the salary cap boom that is expected to arrive along with all that extra cash. Players are now anxious to hit the open market during the Summer of 2016, which is the first offseason when that dramatic cap increase is expected to kick in. It’s smart business on the part of the athletes (or more specifically, their agents). They ink a short-term deal, or one they can get out of in quick order thanks to the player option, and they will be able to sign a long-term arrangement next summer. In the case of someone like LeBron James, the player option is also a way to keep the organization on its toes in regards to roster building, not too mention pushing them to venture into, or remain in, luxury tax territory. With the threat of James being able to take his talents elsewhere after a season, you best believe GM David Griffin will go all out to surround LeBron with the best possible supporting cast.
As for the wording…these are in principle two-year deals, since one cannot assume that a player will choose to opt out. But the caveat of the player option is added to relay the full scope of the agreement. I suppose it could be relayed as a “one-year deal with a player option for a second season”, but they both essentially mean the same thing. Each of the three major sports leagues’ contract and salary structures are markedly different, so the terminology will vary across the board. It’s just the easiest way to present the terms of the deal.
That’s all the space I have for this week. Thanks again for all of the submissions, and please keep them coming. See you all back here next Saturday.