Stunning Truth About CBA, Chandler & The Mavs

Tyson Chandler's recent news-making appearance on the ‘Ben & Skin Show' on ESPN Radio is highlighted by this TY proclamation: The owners CBA offer to the players would make it ‘pretty-much impossible for me to re-sign' with the Mavs.' Wow! That's news-making, alright. But it's also wrong. We've crunched the numbers. Come inside and learn the truth:

A little over a week ago, Mavs' free agent center Tyson Chandler made an eyebrow-raising claim on the "Ben and Skin Show" on 103.3 FM in Dallas.

"With the collective bargaining agreement and some of the things that they're trying to enforce,'' TY said, "it would basically prohibit me from coming back. It would take it out of my hands -- and the organization's -- because it would almost be pretty much impossible for me to re-sign. I just think that can be the worst thing that can happen."

As the NBA union leaders are pondering the league's last-try proposal at a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, (read it in its entirety here, and discuss, on Boards) we're often asked the question TY raises: is Tyson Chandler right? Are the proposed changes in this proposal that extreme? That punitive to the Dallas Mavericks?

No. And no.

It's just that simple. In fact, Chandler's words couldn't be farther from the truth. Based on the details of the NBA's proposal, there is nothing within that proposal that would keep Chandler from returning.

Let's look at the numbers, crunched in the same detail we know the Mavs braintrust has crunched them:

* Currently players under contract for the 2011-12 season: 10 (Nowitzki, Terry, Kidd, Marion, Haywood, Brewer, Fernandez, Beaubois, Jones, and Mahinmi)

* Roster slots left to fill: 5

* Total salary commitment for those 10: $62.33M

* Total Mavs' player payroll last season: $86.63M plus tax

* Difference in tax structure in 2011-12: NONE. The tax line, and tax amount (dollar-for-dollar tax on payroll over the line) stay the same for the next two seasons in the proposal.

* Mavs free agents from last season: 6 (Chandler, Butler, Barea, Stevenson, Cardinal, Stojakovic). There appears to be a mutual interest between the Mavs and the first five of those to return, if the two sides can agree on the money.

* Proposed CBA impediments to those 5 returning: NONE. The first four would have full Bird rights, which under the proposed CBA would allow the Mavs to sign them at any amount up to the maximum (if so desired). Cardinal could return under the minimum salary exception, the same as he played under last season.

* Amount the Mavs would have available to spend in 2011-12 (under the same internal budget): $24.3M

* How the five players could logically fit into that budget: Chandler $10M, Butler $6.5M, Barea $4M, Stevenson $2M, Cardinal $1M (approx minimum)

* Other exceptions available, if needed: tax-payers MLE ($3M), minimum salary exception

The conclusion is this: with the same budget for player outlay (payroll and tax), the Mavs could bring back the entire team if they wanted.

Things would get get more complex after the first year, but no less workable to keep the team together if desired. In 2012-13, the tax line and tax would stay the same, and Kidd, Terry, and Fernandez would be free agents coming off $21.4M in contracts. If they were resigned at that point, undoubtedly they would be available at less than that total amount. For the same budget, it's again a feasible option to have the same team.

In year 3 of the new CBA (as proposed), things get tougher to predict. The tax line would go up, but the tax itself would be more severe. Also by then the team would undoubtedly have been altered by trades, by the addition of outside free agents, and/or by players not re-signed for one reason or another. But at this point the Mavs only have $43M already committed for that year, so it shouldn't be an impediment to signings for this season.

Is it likely that the Mavs would keep an identical team intact for 3 seasons (last season, plus the next two)? Not at all. You need fresh blood to keep that hunger, and with other teams working hard to catch and pass you, you need to keep improving. But hypothetically (and for the purpose of helping TY's agent with the math) if the Mavs felt that they could improve internally via Mahinmi, Beaubois, Jones, Fernandez, and Butler, and assuming Cuban's self-determined budget stays the same, it's definitely within their control.

(In fact, shouldn't the team revenues go up, in the wake of their title, allowing even more spending? No doubt.)


So our message to Tyson Chandler is this: Hey TY, you can be back. With this CBA, and a reasonable price tag, the Mavs can (and presumably will) sign you and your running mates. So quit with the misinformation (however unintentional) and if y'all decide to accept the CBA, come on back to Dallas and try to win another ring as a centerpiece of the Mavs.

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