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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 9/10/15

Back in April, teams were advised ‎by the NBA’s Board of Governors that the league’s salary cap could rise past the $100MM mark as soon as the 2017/18 season. The league has been careful to stress to its teams that any projections are contingent on the NBA and its players avoiding a work stoppage after the 2016/17 season when the league and the NBPA can opt out of the current CBA. A higher salary cap will certainly increase the amount of teams that will have available cap space to compete for free agents, not to mention the average annual salaries that will be agreed upon as a result.

One other effect that may also result from a significant salary cap increase is in how expiring contracts are valued as potential trade chips. We may have already witnessed the beginning of a change in how these deals are regarded, given the difficulty that Cleveland had in dealing Brendan Haywood and his sizable non-guaranteed contract this offseason. In the past, non-guaranteed or expiring contracts like Haywood’s were highly sought after commodities that would allow teams to shed salary without having to take back undesirable deals or unwanted personnel.

This brings me to today’s topic: What effect do you see a rise in the salary cap having on how non-guaranteed/expiring deals are valued?

Will the increase in the salary cap make it nearly impossible to recoup anything of value in exchange for these types of contracts? If so, just how dramatic will the change be? Or are you on the other side of the fence, and believe that teams will fall over themselves to use every bit of available cap space, and thus, will still need trade partners to help them recover from contractual missteps? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.

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4 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 9/10/15

  1. Chuck Myron

    I think the value of expiring contracts has already cratered. Most teams have had the opportunity to create cap space over the past few summers thanks to the shorter contracts instituted with the current collective bargaining agreement. The higher cap only makes expiring contracts that much less valuable. Now, there are exceptions, of course, and teams like the Warriors and Rockets may well have interest in trading for expirings so they can chase a marquee free agent (read: Kevin Durant) next summer. But those teams are indeed exceptions to the rule.

  2. Jacob Jackson

    I think that starting next summer there’s going to be a unique 1-2 year blip where there’s virtually no ‘bad money’ in the entire league. To their credit the Sixers and Jazz did pick a great time to tear down and rebuild when they did, getting first round draft picks by taking on dead/terrible contracts, because they did it at a time when they had no path to contention and their cap space had value.

    Starting next summer, cap space as a trading tool is virtually worthless for the next two years. No one will be willing to give up anything more than a heavily protected 2nd rounder in exchange for a bad contract…teams will simply keep bad contracts on their own cap sheet, because they’ll need them to reach the insanely high salary floor.

    But it will be cyclical. In 4-5 years, after the cap stabilizes at ~$108M or even goes down $1-2M, a few teams will have players on the books with $20M per year, multi-year commitments that become crippling when that guy tears an ACL or his Achilles. At that point, trading into another team’s cap space, or exchanging 3 years of bad money for one year of dead money, once again becomes very attractive – worthy of giving up a first-round pick, as it once was to the Warriors-Jazz with Biedrins or to Sixers with their various trade partners.

    So I think the rising cap will make expiring deals and non guaranteed deals worthless for 1-2 years, and then very valuable in 3-5 years…because I think there’s going to be some very bad money spent the next two summers that teams will want to get out from under 2+ years later. There’s not enough good free agents to go around next summer and too many teams are drastically far below the salary floor.

    • Chuck Myron

      I agree with you. Great points! The cap is projected to regress somewhat from 2017 to 2018, so the 2017/18 season should feature a strong market for expiring deals. Plus, as you say, teams are poised to make some questionable expenditures over the next two summers just because they have to spend up to 90% of the cap one way or another. If I were a GM, I’d just pay the shortfall to the existing players on my roster instead of committing an outsized contract to someone who doesn’t really deserve it, but I wonder if, in the heat of the free agent chase, teams will exercise that sort of restraint.

      • Jacob Jackson

        I think an interesting use of all that extra cap space would be to use it as a loophole to give an elite player a “higher than max” contract.

        Let’s say the Sixers enter next offseason with $60M in cap room. They offer Durant or Conley to a max deal starting at ~29M, along with the silent agreement that they will sign no other players in free agency and run with their returning core of guys plus next year’s draft picks.

        The CBA says any team that doesn’t meet the salary floor has to pay its existing players “pro rata” up to the floor. Since Durant would make more than 3x as much as any other Sixer, he would get the biggest chunk of that end-of-season lump sum that the Sixers paid out to their existing players.

        Every other team could only offer Durant $29M that first year…but the Sixers could theoretically offer ~$40M in that first year.

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