Aug 28, 2012, 9:08 PM EDT
More than 20 teams still have all or part of their mid-level exception, be it the full $5 million, the $3.1 million taxpayer version or the $2.6 million post-cap-space variety.
More than 10 still can put their $2 million bi-annual exception into play.
And yet, now a month from the start of training camps, veterans are starting to accept invitations without any such guarantee, be it James Anderson with the Hawks, Donte Greene with the Nets or others simply looking for a make-good deal.
This annually is the point where the game changes, with teams such as the Clippers, Heat and Knicks out of any type of exception space beyond the veteran minimum.
While the luxury tax will remain dollar-for-dollar for one final season before rising exponentially in the third year and beyond of the new collective-bargaining agreement, we’re already seeing prudence even from teams that previously placed a priority on depth, such as the Bulls.
The concession from the NBA at the end of the lockout was the addition of the $2.6 million post-cap-space mid-level, so teams that filled out their roster using cap space could still be active in the mid-level market. Yet, for the most part, those exceptions largely remain unused.
So now we see if the blinking starts from players who previously would have had a place at the mid-level market or beyond, current free agents such as Andray Blatche, Matt Barnes, Kenyon Martin, Josh Childress, Derek Fisher, Chris Andersen, Darko Milicic, Mickael Pietrus, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Anthony Tolliver and Louis Amundson.
For some, it will come down to weighing overseas guarantees that previously could not compete with the mid-level market. For others, it will be accepting a one-year deal, without even as much as a player option for 2013-14, with the looming jump in the luxury tax creating commitment issues from some teams.
In coming days, we will be hearing agents, executives and coaches expressing, “He deserves more.” In this new NBA economy, as the countdown to camp begins, so does the countdown to the make-good reality for many who previously would have arrived with cash in hand.
- Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 6 win over Knicks 12
- Roy Hibbert with the monster block on a dunk attempt from Carmelo Anthony (VIDEO) 13
- Nate Robinson unlikely to return to Bulls next season 11
- Preview: Knicks try to continue longshot comeback in Indiana 7
- George Hill cleared to play for Pacers in Game 6 vs. Knicks 10
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- LeBron James shrugs off claims he’s a flopper (64)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (64)
- Seattle group releases statement; forced to wait, hope for expansion (63)
- Bad shooting night for Bulls dooms them in game Game 4. And series. (62)
- Oxbow upsets Orb in Preakness
- PBT Pacers top Knicks, punch ticket to conf. finals
- MST: Carpenter wins pole for 97th Indianapolis 500
- PHT: Couture strikes in OT, lifting Sharks in Game 3
- PHT: Red Wings even up series with Blackhawks
- PBT: Pacers may not have Hill for Game 6
- PHT: No surgery needed for Staal after brutal hit
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay