4:37pm: Udrih’s release is official, the team announced (Twitter link). The amount he gave up was nominal, a source told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (on Twitter), pegging it as likely around $50K, not much more than was necessary to skirt the tax line.
3:36pm: The Heat and Beno Udrih have agreed to a buyout deal that will see the point guard give up enough of his salary for the team to slip under the luxury tax line, and that’s prompted complaints from multiple teams around the league, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports earlier reported the sides were near agreement on a buyout, and that raised questions about why Udrih, who’s expected to be out until late May because of foot surgery, would relinquish salary in return for the chance to hit free agency before the end of the season.
Miami ducked the tax line at the trade deadline, only to go over once again with the signing of Joe Johnson, whom several other teams pursued. The Heat’s ability to snag Johnson and still end up out of the tax is part of the reason murmurs have surfaced around the league, Windhorst indicates. Teams beneath the tax line receive tax payments from those above the threshold, but that distribution is smaller when there are fewer taxpayers. The Heat are in line for a $2.6MM tax payment plus $110K in tax savings as a result of Udrih’s buyout, according to Windhorst. The Johnson signing put Miami approximately $44K over the tax line, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks pointed out. Those figures jibe with repeat-offender tax rate of $2.50 for every dollar the Heat would spend over the line.
It’s unclear exactly how much of Udrih’s more than $2.170MM salary he’s poised to relinquish in the buyout, though given Miami’s reported discussion with free agent target Marcus Thornton and the team’s lack of depth at point guard, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Heat pushed Udrih to give back more than just the $44K needed for them to slip beneath the tax line. It seems unlikely he would recoup whatever he gave up, at least at any point this season, since he probably won’t be able to return to the court until deep into the playoffs, Windhorst notes. The Heat would be eligible to re-sign him if he clears waivers, but if they did so, it would surely draw even more scrutiny.