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Winderman: New CBA means role players will see short-term contracts

Jul 24, 2012, 1:05 PM EST

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As the NBA adjusts to its new collective-bargaining agreement, we’re beginning to see some short-term returns. Literally.

With a more punitive luxury tax and free agents thinking twice about moving on to new teams (and therefore significantly smaller contracts than by remaining with their incumbent teams), we’re apparently in the era of incremental rebuilds.

Example A this offseason is the one-year Mavericks.

Example B is the two-year Chicago Bulls.

Where four-, five- and six-year contracts previously were de rigueur, the CBA agreed to last December clearly is turning the NBA into a more transient league. Jerseys now are being rented, teams less likely to mortgage their future for supporting players.

Take Dallas, which lost out on Deron Williams and, at best, is left in a holding pattern with Dwight Howard.

Instead of loading up with long-term replacement parts, the Mavericks opted for the short-term recovery program of adding the one-year contracts of Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones, with O.J. Mayo getting a one-year deal that also has a one-year player option.

It is a roster likely to keep the Mavericks in the playoff mix, without stripping salary-cap space for a bigger splash next summer or beyond.

Then there are the Bulls, who essentially face a lost 2012-13, with Derrick Rose expected to be out until at least March in the wake of his postseason knee injury.

Rather than lock themselves in long term before gauging Rose’s recovery, they instead have essentially establishing a two-year holding pattern, with a two-year deal for Kirk Hinrich, a two-year deal for Marco Belinelli and a one-year deal for Nazr Mohammed. Bypassed was matching the Rockets’ long-term offer sheet for Omer Asik, with Carlos Boozer, whose deal runs through 2014-15, a possible amnesty move next summer. There even has been word of trying to offload Rip Hamilton, who has a partial guarantee in 2013-14.

The upshot is a league largely operating on a year-to-year basis, dynasty talk left to the concentrated likes of the Heat, Lakers and possibly Thunder, Nets and Knicks.

Traditionally, July has been a time of teams taking the long view, building toward greater goals, citing teams that have been built to endure.

And then the new CBA and new luxury tax and new contract rules got in the way.

The Mavericks still could be pretty good this season, just as the Bulls, under the relentlessness that is Tom Thibodeau, will find a way to keep themselves somewhere at the top of the East the next two seasons.

But both teams, like many others these days, already are looking toward their next incarnation, because the long term is largely becoming an abstract in the new-CBA NBA.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

  1. londonaiooo - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Would it not be better for the Bulls to amnesty Boozer, trade Rip for picks and effectively tank this season, then take the picks and use them to build around Rose, Noah and Deng? Deng is going to need surgery after the Olympics anyway and with Rose out surely the one year hit is much better financially and from a team standpoint for Chicago. Just a thought, would be interested to hear the counter argument.

    • pudgalvin - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      You still have to pay Boozer for one, and you have to pay someone else to take his roster spot. You’re not getting any picks for Rip that isn’t a late second rounder 5 years from now. Tanking a season can also cause fans to lose interest costing your team revenue, plus losing all the revenue you’d get through the playoffs. Plus there’s no guarantee that a top ten pick is going to be any good. Say you pick at 8, you’re more likely to end up with a Tyler Hansborough than you are a difference making starter.

      Say the Bulls end with with a 90% Rose, Rip, a healthy Luol and Joe, and Boozer going into the playoffs. What team not named the Heat is for sure better than that in the East? What if Lebron breaks his ankle in the second round? What if Rondo punches a ref in the face and misses a series? You field a competetive team and see what happens. I don’t buy tanking.

  2. nook3000 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    So what team do you think would give Chi draft picks for the ‘right’ to pay Rip $5 million? I thought they already tried that route and got no takers.

  3. livingsacrifice86 - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I’d have to agree with pudgalvin. Most teams in the league, even the top ones, are 1 or 2 injuries away from being middle of the pack. Bulls are still pretty good without Rose, why not take your chances with players you know work hard together?

  4. dgilet1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    The reason I am concerned about the bulls is not for now but for down the road based on our past. Sure we are setting up for something but have we proven that we can make the big splash when we have opportunity and cap space? There have been rumors about Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan when we had cap space, Kobe Garnett gasol and amare trade rumors. And lebron and wade and Noah free agency rumors. We have had young talent and been one move away from contention for years and what have we done? Trade an all star brand for a skinny high school unpolished tyson chandler. A washed up old Ben Wallace. Trading lamarcus Aldridge for tyrus Thomas. John salmons and brad miller. And recently we could have traded asik for mayo and didn’t and asik walked and we wanted mayo and he went to Dallas. People say we overreact because we are contenders but we are only contenders because stern made us end up with rose with a 1 percent chance. Without that we are middle of the road non championship borderline playoffs first round exit at best every year. Does the bulls front mgt have what it takes to make a championship move when the time presents itself? History says no. So I’m not worried about our present position rather what our position will be when it’s all said and done and the dust settles.

  5. connorchew - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    tanking is never an option, simply because of the money lost. they will lose fans if they publicly show that theyre giving up. id rather have my team fight and claw to a bad record than to just flop over.

  6. nghtrder169 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Fans don’t leave cause a team tanks… Boston didn’t lose 1 fan when they tanked the season before getting the big 3… Also some fans, especially in football once they realize the team isn’t going anywhere wants the team to tank for better draft pick positioning.

  7. londonaiooo - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Valid points. But there is precedent for my idea, most obviously with TD Spurs, who through injury to their best player picked up Duncan and went on to win multiple championships. The fans came back (if they ever left) and in the long run in a season they were never going to win the title in they made the best of it for them long term.

    Boozer will come off the cap (and I’m sure the Bulls can afford the extra), and it’ll give them a chance to see if Taj is more than a back up. It’s still one of the largest NBA markets worldwide so money will keep coming in and in reality it would take a lot of luck for key guys from all the contenders to go down in order for them to challenge for the title. I don’t like tanking either, but perhaps this would be the best option.

  8. dgilet1 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    There are 3 concerns. 1 is that there is no guarantee to get the top pick ala bobcats. 2 is there is no guarantee the draft will be a good one or a franchise changing one ala bargnani tyrus Thomas draft and John wall draft. 4 the bulls mgt have not shown the ability to make bold non conservative championship moves when they have had the opportunity. So those are the 3 concerning things. Bulls got lucky with rose. Will they get lucky again? And if not do you trust them to convince whatever top free agent is available to come to Chicago with the money they have.

  9. fanz928 - Jul 25, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    Keep boozer or package him with Noah and trade deng he’s good but he’s getting old – trade Noah + boozer +2 first round to magics and trade deng and rip for picks and cap relief = Dwight Howard and Turk and Jason Richardson – amnesty Turk – magics will get at least 4 first round pick noah and boozer, solid role players. Maybe bobcats or bucks will take deng and rip + money for mullens and Henderson and a first round pick or salmons and 2 first round pick

    • skinsfanwill - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      That trade could never happen because Orlando is looking for not only cap relief, but they want picks too. No way Orlando gives up Howard and picks to Chicago. It defeats the whole purpose of this Dwight Howard debacle.

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