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Fear of tax may make this slower-than-usual trade deadline

Feb 19, 2013, 7:59 AM EDT

Charlotte Bobcats v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

All-Star weekend usually signals the official start of a frenzied week of rumors and eventually trades in the NBA. Everybody is in town — this year Houston — and general managers are talking face-to-face rather than texting and by Tuesday trades are picking up steam.

But maybe not this year.

If there was a buzz in Houston it’s that the luxury tax is scaring teams off big deals, and a lot of the trades you do see go down will be about lowering salary heading into next season more than improving the team on the floor.

The Raptors would love to move Andrea Bargnani but nobody else wants to play along and take on his $12 million next season. The Bobcats are desperately trying to move Ben Gordon but are finding few takers for the $13 million he is owed next year. Put Kris Humphries and the $12 million he is owed next season on the list. Even guys like Josh Smith are seeing reduced interest because even though he is in the last year of his deal if you trade for him you’ll have to try and re-sign him next summer and he wants five years, $90 million.

Starting next season the full weight of the tougher luxury tax kicks in as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Gone is the dollar-for-dollar tax (for every dollar you are over the luxury tax line the team paid an additional dollar penalty), replaced by a weighted tax that hits you heavier the father you are over the cap. Plus if you are over three years in a row a repeater tax comes in on top of that.

It’s got teams thinking long term and being cautious.

Oh, there will be trades — Josh Smith is the big name. Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap likely get traded out of Utah.

But most of what you will see is deals for guys such as J.J. Redick, DeJuan Blair, Omri Casspi and others. What you will see are smaller deals as teams make moves to save a few dollars, especially teams like the Warriors that are just a million or so over the luxury tax line and see no reason to pay it now.

The goal of the new CBA was to flatten out the tallent pool by making it too expensive (and restrictive in terms of trades) to be over the line. We’ll see how it works, but most teams are certainly scared of the new taxes.

  1. woohaigotyouallinczech - Feb 19, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Reblogged this on woohaigotyouallinczech and commented:
    I think this nails it. Very nice job.

    • zerole00 - Feb 19, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      What’s with this constant reblogging BS? Why would we want to go to another site for the same article we just read? Just to see your reply? Get real.

  2. bougin89 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Can anyone else make sense of Kris Humphries contract? Why did they give him so much? Who else would have given him anywhere close to that? Most NBA GM’s really are playing with monopoly money.

    • bougin89 - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Scratch the “else” in my first sentence. Apparently I had an imaginary friend that thought it was a good deal because I certainly don’t think so.

    • Kevin S. - Feb 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      His salary was that big to provide trade ballast for any future moves the Nets might make. It allows them to trade for a better power forward making even more money. It was bait to acquire somebody like Carlos Boozer or Zach Randolph.

      • bougin89 - Feb 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        Your comment makes sense in a normal situation but when you look at the Net’s payroll that doesn’t seem like a wise move, at all. In two years the Nets will be old, not very good(at all), and really, really expensive. In 3 years they will be the same, except older and worse.

    • somekat - Feb 19, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      I can make sense of it

      Billy King is a terrible GM. His career is littered with guys he overpaid drastically to keep, then crippled his team with their albetross contracts

    • zerole00 - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      Billy King’s a terrible GM. They vastly overpaid for most of their players, and what makes it worse is that they’re still not on the same tier as the Heat, Spurs, and Thunder. So they pretty much overpaid for a middle of the pack draft pick.

      Humphries was putting up good numbers at the start of the season, but he’s still not worth his contract.

  3. ghelton03 - Feb 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    I don’t get why some the teams under the cap which are able to take on salary, aren’t being more aggressive. Are they just too cheap? There are some teams like Golden State that are just over the cap who I would think would be very interested in making a trade to dump some salary and get under the cap.

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