If you are anything like me, you've focused on basketball only for the past 6 months and ignored all articles with headlines that included words like "Labor" and "CBA."
I removed my head from the sand this week and what I saw was frightening:
The memo’s most eye-popping element is the league’s proposed $45 million hard cap, which cuts the current $58 million soft cap by nearly 25 percent.
Hunter said in the memo that the NBA projects the $45 million hard cap number with a team’s total salary not to exceed the cap for any reason. The proposed hard cap as outlined by Hunter also would eliminate the current luxury tax provision, which penalizes teams with a dollar-for-dollar tax for the amount spent on player payroll exceeding the salary cap.
The league also strikes directly at a team’s cap room to re-sign players at a maximum salary, known as the “Bird” exception, after hall of famer Larry Bird. Annual contract increases would be no greater than 3 percent for players meeting the Bird rule, down significantly from the current 10.5 percent increase, according to the memo. Owners also proposed that the Bird rule contract length be cut to four years from the current six-year length.
Let's put the $45 million hard cap in perspective. The Celtics payroll for this season was $76 million. The 8 guys (includes Shaq and Ray's player options) under contract for next year total $65 million.
Even if there's a meet-in-the-middle approach, any type of hard-cap $60 million or under will decimate the big spending teams like Boston, Dallas, Miami, LA, etc.
A deal with any type of hard cap will have to give teams time to pare down their rosters or else there would be mass chaos.
Non-guaranteed contracts are also on the table. I believe these NFL style deals with large up-front bonuses would create a better product on the court. Too many guys get paid and then quit (see Eddy Curry).
I'm not going to get bogged down too much in the numbers and the demands from each side. In fact, I placing my head back in the sand and I will pull it out in another few weeks to see if anything has changed.
Just thinking about life w/o basketball sucks.