That’s what many are saying. But Bill Simmons cautioned yesterday that this might just be a one-time thing. I agree. And I’ll go further: it’s not the CBA’s fault.
Look, there was no Dwight Howard out there. Josh Smith? Please. JJ Reddick? Uh…
Those guys are good, but not max-contract good.When you trade for an expiring deal, you either want the money to fall off the books at the end of the year, or else you plan to pay whatever it takes to re-sign the guy. Now in the case of Josh Smith, it may take a max deal to re-sign him. And most teams, wisely, decided not to give up too much for a guy they didn’t want to overpay. With Reddick, I guess the Bucks are in “make the playoffs” mode. Because there is a really good chance that he’ll sign elsewhere in July. They didn’t give up much for him, but they did give up young guys on cheap deals that might, possibly, get better.
You know what I think? The league is just getting smarter. After watching smartly run programs like San Antonio, Portland, and Utah find quality guys in the draft every year, that’s the direction everyone else it turning. Blame it on Kevin Pritchard. When he ran the Blazers, he bought or traded for any available draft pick. Other teams thought they were making money selling second-round picks, or dumping dead money in guaranteed late first-round picks. Pritchard used those picks to build a young, deep team. If Oden and Roy had stayed healthy, they would be a perennial championship contender.
Another thing Simmons noted yesterday is there there is an army of bloggers, internet journalists, radio shows, and cable tv talking heads to examine any deal these days. The overwhelming amount of free analysis out there is making everyone smarter. Including owners.
And sure, the supertax is looming. Owners are looking to get their payroll in order. This will happen over the next year or two. After that, trading will resume as usual. There will be buyers and sellers, just like before. Look at what the Kings did this week: sent their #5 pick to the Rockets for a bag of magic beans. Oh, and $4MM in payroll reduction. Yeah. The Rockets, let us note, already had their payroll in order.
The key to fun trade deadlines is a mix of teams that need to shed money, and teams that have money to spend. This year, the Rockets had money. Next year, more teams will. As we go forward, teams will oscillate against the repeater tax, and look to dump money. Teams below the tax line will take on extra money for a year or two, before looking to dump themselves. We’ll have a good mix, interesting player movement, fun for all (except the guys, who have to uproot their families).
Let me just add that, technically, the tax is not in the CBA. It is a separate revenue-sharing agreement among the owners. The CBA establishes the soft salary cap. The higher tax line is set by the revenue-sharing agreement. But obviously, they go together like peanut butter and jelly.