Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 11/29/15-12/5/15

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 HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com or @EddieScarito on Twitter. This week, in a continued effort to change things up a bit, I’ve once again invited some of the other staff members to join in on the fun. Now for this week’s inquiries:

Any news on the Cavs $12 million trade exception? I heard they’re looking for a backup SG/SF or PF, a couple rumored names have been Markieff Morris and Rudy Gay, any chance those are true and will Ray Allen return?” — Dan

Chuck Myron: I haven’t come across anything about that exception in a while, and with the Cavs sitting atop the Eastern Conference, I don’t think they’re in any hurry to use it. Also, I should point out, the exception is only worth $10,522,500. They have another worth $2,854,940, and while they’re free to use them both, they can’t combine them to acquire a $12MM or $13MM player. The Cavs are in line to pay more than $170MM in payroll and taxes, the second highest total of all-time. They could break the record if they used their exceptions. I think they’d be willing to do that if they became convinced they can’t win the title, but if you have a team that’s good enough to win as it is, why pay an extra $70MM or so, which is what it could run, just to trade for a couple of backups? It doesn’t make sense. You could argue that the Warriors are just that much better than anybody, but the Cavs, of all people, should know what injuries in the playoffs can do to a team. The exceptions don’t expire until the end of July 2016, and it makes a lot more sense for the Cavs to use them then, when the tax threshold will be much higher, thanks to the rising salary cap. And, I wouldn’t count on Ray Allen returning. If he does, I’m not sure what he could really give anybody, having been away from the game for so long.
“What sort of market do you see for Harrison Barnes this offseason? If he doesn’t return to Golden State, then what teams look like realistic fits?” — Kurt
Will Sammon: It’s interesting that Warriors players have recently been so outspoken about “helping” Barnes on the court because he is set to be a restricted free agent. The market suggests he will receive an offer between $15-20MM per year. I really think Golden State will match it, especially if they do not land a different big-name free agent. The only way I see Barnes playing elsewhere is if he is involved in a sign-and-trade with the Thunder. I think that is a long shot, too.
With Rajon Rondo playing so well is there any chance the Kings trade Darren Collison? What team(s) could be potential trading partners?” — Silvio
Charlie Adams: There’s no doubt that Rondo has been playing well, but it’s tough to move Collison when Sacramento is so thin at the point. It sure doesn’t look like the team is going to contend this year, but moving one of the best reserve floor generals in the league for a likely less-than-stellar return just doesn’t seem like a move Vlade Divac would make, given the Kings’ resistance to traditional rebuilding. Of course, it’s tough to predict the Sacramento’s next move, and there would almost certainly be a number of teams interested in taking on Collison, who has a team-friendly deal, but for now it seems like he’s staying put in the purple-and-black.

Will the league ever get around to doing anything to discourage teams like the Sixers from tanking and putting D-League teams on the court for NBA games?” — Chris

Eddie Scarito: That’s a tough one to predict. Adam Silver’s proposal to even the lottery odds was voted down by the owners,  so it would appear that there isn’t much impetus to actually enact a change at this time. The fact that tanking hasn’t proven to be an effective means to win a title, or in Philly’s case, to put a respectable product on the floor nightly, doesn’t help the cause of those who desire some sort of reform. I think the issue will come up during the next collective bargaining negotiations, though even then I don’t think much will change. But I do see there being a conflict regarding the salary floor for teams. With the cap set to jump, the negotiations could get contentious regarding certain issues, and I think the NBPA will place an emphasis on upping the minimum payroll that teams are required to have. With the cap potentially jumping to $95MM next season, an adjustment will certainly be in order, though how much of a bump will occur will be a hot button issue I believe.
One solution I can throw out there regarding the salary floor is to change the date when payroll numbers are calculated. Zach Lowe of ESPN.com mentioned this idea in a story Friday. Currently the league looks at a franchise’s payroll at the end of the season, which gives teams like the Sixers far more leeway to tank for the bulk of the campaign before potentially taking on a number of expiring contracts just to get themselves above that minimum, or at least somewhere close to it. I say it would be a wise move to change the cutoff date to coincide with the February trade deadline. Setting it prior to that date could potentially impact the robustness of the trade market, which no one wants to have happen. Lining up the two dates would not only force teams to buff up their payroll earlier in the season, which would please the NBPA, it could also serve to make the final hours leading up to the deadline even more dramatic since teams would be scrambling to comply with the rules. I’d also impose harsher penalties on offending teams. Perhaps the loss of a second round pick would be sufficient motivation to beef up payrolls.
“Which players will be on the move as Dec 15 rapidly approaching?” — Solomon
Will Sammon: December 15th is the first day that most of the players who signed new contracts over the summer can be traded. It’s when the unofficial trade season begins. O.J. Mayo, who is making $8MM in the final year of his contract, is a name to keep an eye on if the Bucks continue to surprisingly plummet further in the Eastern Conference. The same could be said about Jerryd Bayless. Both could be rental-type veteran pieces for contending teams. Brandon Bass signed a two-year deal with the Lakers in July, but since the Lakers are already out of the playoff picture (plus Kobe Bryant announced he will retire after the season), it would make sense to cut ties with the veteran and ship him for a younger player. Sooner or later, the expectation is that the Clippers will make a splashy move.
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