Monday, February 25, 2013

Dead at the Dealine

Due to the new collective bargaining agreement, this year saw more teams play it cautious at the trade deadline then ever before.  Scared of hitting the luxury tax threshold, most contending teams stood pat and will be heading into the playoffs without any marquee additions.  Below is a list of the Top 20 free agents this summer. 

RK   Player              2012-13 Team             Type           2012-13 Salary

1  Chris Paul               Los Angeles Clippers       UFA                   $17,779,457
2  Dwight Howard       Los Angeles Lakers         UFA                    $19,261,200
3   Josh Smith             Atlanta Hawks                 UFA                    $13,200,000

4  Manu Ginobili         San Antonio Spurs           UFA                    $14,107,492
5   Al Jefferson           Utah Jazz                          UFA                    $15,000,000
6  Andrew Bynum      Philadelphia 76ers             UFA                    $16,473,002
7  Andre Iguodala      Denver Nuggets                ETO                    $14,718,250
8  Brandon Jennings   Milwaukee Bucks              RFA                     $3,179,493
9  Tyreke Evans         Sacramento Kings             RFA                    $5,251,824
10  Paul Millsap         Utah Jazz                           UFA                    $7,200,000
11  David West          Indiana Pacers                   UFA                    $10,000,000
12  Andrei Kirilenko   Minnesota T-wolves            PO                    $9,779,349
13  O.J. Mayo           Dallas Mavericks                UFA                    $4,020,000
14  Jose Calderon      Toronto Raptors                UFA                    $10,561,985
15  Monta Ellis           Milwaukee Bucks              ETO                   $11,000,000
16  Kevin Martin        Oklahoma City Thunder     UFA                   $12,939,675
17  Tony Allen            Memphis Grizzlies             UFA                   $3,300,000
18  Nikola Pekovic     Minnesota T-wolves           RFA                   $4,640,000
19  J.J. Redick           Orlando Magic                   UFA                    $6,000,000
20  J.R. Smith            New York Knicks              UFA                    $2,806,452

(UFA- Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA- Restricted Free Agent, ETO- Early termination option, PO- Player option)

Most of these players are franchise building blocks or key pieces to their current playoff teams, so it was unlikely teams were going to take a chance on moving them and hitting the luxury tax without getting back something marginal in return, including cap relief.  The most attractive name on the market this year was CAP SPACE.  Without it, teams are virtually trapped, unable to move pieces and improve their teams by even the smallest of margins.  Most teams that wanted to make a deal just could not match figures.

On that note, there will be several teams heading into next year with more than $20 million in cap space, including the Jazz, Bucks, Cavaliers, Hawks, Rockets, Mavericks, and Pistons.  These teams will all look to make a splash in free agency and the draft, and were not willing to part with their young talent in order to acquire someone that they can sign outright in the off-season.  This is why you saw these teams stand still at the deadline, which in turn created a ripple effect to the rest of the league.  Capped out teams couldn't shed salary, and low cap teams didn't want to take on any more.  And it is why contending teams will have to make due with the rosters they assembled back in training camp.

Everyone loves a blockbuster trade, but it just wasn't in the cards this year.  That being said, it should make for a VERY interesting summer  With all of the drama in Los Angeles, DO NOT be surprised if Dwight Howard is in another jersey next season.  Ditto for Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, and Andrew Bynum, all dominate big men who can alter the balance of power throughout the league.

Dwight Howard smiling
Is THIS the guy you want as the face of the Lakers for the next decade?  MAX DEAL.

Bynum hair
How about the seven foot man with rubber band knees?  MAX DEAL.

Josh Smith Hawks
How about a MAX DEAL for a talented power forward who sometimes plays defense?  "Yes, please."

So much for cap space.

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