The 'New CBA Provision' That Doesn't Exist
In the NBA's rush to piece together a new CBA and in the media's rush to report on it, news circulated of a new ‘renegotiation-and-extension provision' that would allow a team to re-do a big contract to spread it over more years, thus lessening its burden on each year's cap.
Clever - especially with the open secret of the Dallas Mavericks eyeballing ways to squeeze Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams onto the same roster.
Such a concept, presumably modeled after the NFL's practice, would have changed some of the hassle of dealing with the cap from year to year, and opened up lots of possibilities for creative GMing.
DB.com has obtained a copy of the revised CBA, and after a look at its contents and a huddle with Mark Cuban, here's what we discovered about such a possibility: It does not exist.
As it has been widely reported, such an idea would have allowed a team to re-do a player contract (with the player's permission, of course) where the payout was lowered in the short term, but where the contract was then extended so that the player also gained as well. Of further import, it would have provided a method for a team to manipulate its cap room, creating the ability to move some cap money from one year to a later one.
And its assumed existence had amateur GMs – avid fans and smart sportswriters alike -- mulling the possibilities and drooling over the flexibility their team might gain.
Imagine, for instance, if you could work with a cooperative Nowitzki to lessen his cap impact next summer, giving the Mavericks even more room to pursue Dwight or Deron – or both.
The possibilities were endless. Calculators were set to get overworked, all thought.
Alas, after reading the new CBA, we determined that such an idea (as outlined above) does NOT exist at all. And our man Mike Fisher visited one-on-one with Mavs owner Mark Cuban who confirmed our findings.
There is indeed a ‘renegotiation-and-extension' provision in the new CBA, however, and its existence is undoubtedly the source of the reports we have heard. But elsewhere in the new CBA, we find the following definition(s):
"Renegotiation," "renegotiate," or "renegotiated" means Contract amendment that provides for an increase in Salary and/or Unlikely Bonuses." And in the section regarding renegotiations and extensions, we read this: "In no event shall a Team and player negotiate a decrease in Salary or in any Incentive Compensation for any Salary Cap Year covered by a Player Contract."
As we looked closely, what we discovered actually being defined in the "renegotiation-and-extension" concept is a way for a player to get MORE money in the short term, for a team under the cap, in exchange for an extension at a lesser-than-normal contractual amount. In such a situation, the extended years can contain a significant decrease from the pay in the old contract.
But the act of players lowering their salaries in the near term, to help their team's cap, doesn't exist.
"You've got it right,'' Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com. "I don't know if the fans and the media understand it, but the teams do. There is no ‘provision' to cover this circumstance. It's not like the NFL's rule.''
In the specific case of the Mavs, there are a number of tools available to them to create cap space. (DB.com is working right now on what we believe will be the definite piece on what Dallas can do to attempt to team Dwight and Deron with Dirk.) But a reworking of Dirk's contract in order to lower his cap impact next summer and create room for another superstar or two won't be among them.
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