How the proposed CBA would affect Paul and the Hornets (Part One)

Published: May 12, 2011

The facts about the proposal that the league made to the players last week have started to trickle out and surprisingly the owners are not going for the death blow that most experts assumed that they would try to deliver to the players. While NBAPA President Derek Fisher claimed that he was “disappointed” in the offer, the truth is that the two sides appear to be much closer than previously thought. While it would still be a miracle for a new CBA to be in place before the old one expires on June 30th, there is reason to be optimistic that no games will be lost next season.

So now that we have an idea of what the league is pushing for in the new CBA, let’s take a look at how likely they are to receive each of those items, and how it will affect the Hornets if they do.

1.) The Kinda Sorta Franchise Tag

How it would work: You might as well scrap what you know about the NFL’s franchise tag when trying to understand the one that the NBA is proposing, because the two are nothing alike. In fact, this tag would be more akin to the “exclusive negotiating rights” that we have seen in baseball, most notably in the case of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The franchise tag would not restrict a players movement, nor would it be a guarantee to the player that they would be paid a top level salary as it does in the NFL. Instead, it would simply give the teams the chance to offer that one player an amount of money that is substantially higher than any other team could offer. This tag would also allow more of this money to be guaranteed (as the league is hoping to do away with fully guaranteed contracts) and the ability to add on an additional year to the contract- all things that no other team would be able to offer should that player take their chances on the free agent market. Additionally, the new CBA proposes that teams will not be allowed to do sign and trades. So, if a player wants the most money he can get, there is only one way to get it, and that is by resigning with your current team.

How this would affect the Hornets: Quite honestly, this doesn’t sound much different from what is currently in place, as Cleveland was able to offer more money and additional years to Lebron James this summer, but that was not going to dissuade him from joining the Heat. In addition, does the amount of guaranteed money really matter when negotiating with superstars? Let’s say CP3 signs a 4 year/60 million dollar deal, with only 35 million of it being guaranteed. Is there any doubt that he sees all 60 million? Would any team that signs him cut him after two years? Of course not.

Look around the NFL. Peyton Manning sees all of his money, so does Brady, Brees, etc. The guys who get the shaft are the middle of the pack guys who are scheduled to make 11 million dollars and aren’t worth half of that (ahem Reggie Bush). The lack of fully guaranteed contracts would have hurt the Peja’s of the world if they were in place over the last few years, not the superstars, so I do not see how having the ability to give franchise caliber players more guaranteed money will help entice those players to stay at home.

Where this would help is in the extra year and extra salary that can be offered. But how big will that difference be? Are we talking about a max of 5 years/100 million to re-sign versus 4 years/60 million as a max if you go elsewhere? We have already seen that 2-3 million dollars per year and an extra year will not dissuade a player, so it will have to be more substantial. Bottom line: this and this alone will not ensure that CP3 stays.

Likelihood that players agree to this: 99.9 percent.

It might not be in this exact form, but there will be something close to this in the new CBA. It already exists in a slightly watered down form, and this only affects 2-4 percent of players anyway. And it affects them in a purely positive way. It will get done.

2.) Hard Salary Cap

How it would work: The League proposed that the hard cap would go into effect in 2013-14, which would give teams two seasons to get their rosters in order. At that point, the league would institute a hard cap of between 50-55 million dollars. There would be no exceptions, no Bird Rights that allow you to go over, and no luxury tax. Just one rule- stay under that line.

How it would affect the Hornets: Quite simply, this would raise the value of the franchise more than any other change to the CBA could. If you could guarantee to a buyer limited costs for personnel, while still being able to remain competitive in the marketplace, you are in a good position to sell. If the NBA could get the players to sign off on a hard cap, buyers will be willing to pay far more than what the league purchased the Hornets for, and Chouest would likely be at the front of that line.

As for how it affects current personnel, it is possible that it could be somewhat damaging for David West. Teams will be less likely to want to give him a big contract that extends into that first year of the hard cap and beyond. Perhaps he can get himself a deal that decreases in value from year to year, but overall, this would likely reduce his already declining value. For the Hornets, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor both have deals that would extend into that 2013-14 season, as they will both be in their final year, earning 22.2 million combined. The Hornets also have a team option for Q-Pon that year at 2.2 million.

Likelihood the Players agree to this: 60 percent

This will be one of those issues that both sides are determined to not give up on, but one side eventually will, and my guess is that it will be the players. Some kind of cap is coming, as the owners need to protect themselves from themselves. A hard cap means that we are likely also talking about the end of fully guaranteed contracts, and in order to get the players to agree to that, the league will likely have to concede something major in return.

(In Part Two we will look at: the league’s desire for immediate rollbacks, amnesty clauses, and non-guaranteed contracts. How would this affect the Hornets roster and their ability to find a local owner? Plus, a closer look at what this means for David West’s immediate future and if these changes would benefit the Hornets more or less than it would other teams)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.