NBA owners originally sought a hard cap in negotiations with the union regarding the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but the idea was taken off the table fairly early, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says in his latest podcast (hat tip to Real GM). He notes that the proposal was intended to restrain the league’s top spenders, but many franchises in smaller markets were opposed to it as well.
“Even a lot of small market teams were worried about a hard cap in places, like let’s say Cleveland, where all of a sudden you’re good enough to win a championship,” Wojnarowski said. “You have a team and you’re willing to go into the tax to keep that team together. Then all of a sudden with a hard cap and guaranteed contracts, the Cavs, using them as an example, or Oklahoma City four or five years from now, the smaller market teams worried ‘This is going to work against us.'”
Wojnarowski explains that a pure hard cap would make it impossible for the Cavaliers to keep the four players they hope to build the franchise around. They would eventually have to make a choice between re-signing Darius Garland or Donovan Mitchell or between retaining Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen.
Here’s more from around the basketball world:
- Veteran NBA writer Marc Stein isn’t a fan of the in-season tournament that will begin in 2023/24 under the new CBA, writing in his latest piece for Substack (subscription required) that there’s nothing special about the competition until it reaches its Final Four. All the early rounds will be regular-season games played at NBA arenas, but the semifinals and finals will be held at a neutral site. Stein claims the league failed in its attempt to recreate the excitement of cup competitions in soccer.
- J.R. Smith spoke about his current projects with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, but the 37-year-old guard notes that he hasn’t officially retired from the NBA. Smith, who last played for the Lakers during the bubble in Orlando, continues to work out so he’s ready in case another opportunity arises.
- Last week the NBA announced the 12 finalists for the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award, per a league press release. The finalists are Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges, Cleveland’s Darius Garland, Miami’s Udonis Haslem, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, New York’s Derrick Rose, Boston’s Grant Williams, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Denver’s Aaron Gordon, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., Phoenix’s Damion Lee and Portland’s Damian Lillard. According to the NBA, a panel of league executives selected the finalists, but current players will select the winner. Holiday won the award for the second time last season.
Rory Maher contributed to this post.