It’s time to start the show. The lockout is done, the NBA is back, and now it’s time to sort through some of the details of the proposed CBA and what it might mean for the Clippers:
- Before we get into it, I should mention a really cool thing that happened as the word broke last night on Twitter. The Clippers started trending not just in Los Angeles, but the entire United States. Not the Lakers, not the Heat. The Clippers.
- Probably the best early news from the proposed CBA is that the age limit is likely to stay right where it is. There were earlier reports that the age limit was going to get pushed back a year to 20 (2 years of college), but that looks unlikely to happen at this point. Considering that this rule would have eliminated Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Michael Gilchrist and Austin Rivers (among others) from this year’s loaded draft class, this is potentially huge news for a Clippers team that holds Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick this season.
- The Amnesty Clause is in this deal, meaning teams can release a player and get him off their cap figure while also avoiding paying the luxury tax. Remember though: the player’s contract still has to be paid out, although that number *should be* decreased if a player is picked up by another team. I’ve long said that the Amnesty Clause hurts the Clippers more than anything else. Can you envision a world where Donald Sterling pays someone not to play for him? Tough to imagine. Some people have brought up Mo Williams, Chris Kaman, or Ryan Gomes as potential Amnesty candidates, but I don’t see it happening. Kaman is better used as a trade piece with his expiring deal and Mo Williams is necessary for at least this year because Bledsoe isn’t close to being a full-time starting point guard yet. If the Clippers get a big time veteran small forward, then Gomes definitely becomes more expendable. He’s the most likely of candidates, but I still don’t see Sterling utilizing this tool very often. That’s an advantage teams with owners more dedicated to winning will have over the Clippers.
- The one positive of the Amnesty Clause for the Clippers is that the free agent market will see a nice boost. A few names you might see become available: Josh Childress, Rashard Lewis, Richard Jefferson, Corey Maggette (how hilarious would a reunion be?), Rip Hamilton, Luke Walton, and Mike Miller. I have a feeling this won’t be a popular sentiment, but Rashard Lewis is one of the best corner 3-point shooters (39 percent career from 3) the league has and not long ago was part of an Orlando team that was really good defensively. A veteran knockdown shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands who has size (6-foot-10) and can be used as a fourth offensive option? You could do worse…
- According to Wojnarowski, teams will have three days to match offer sheets on their own restricted free agents. Many have guessed that the shortened, free agent frenzy will start on December 9th, with the season starting on December 25th. The Christmas start is certainly ambitious, as players won’t be able to get into training camp until the deal is ratified. Get ready for chubby basketball.
- As long as the Clippers are owned by Sterling, they’ll likely never pay the luxury tax. That’s a good thing in the new CBA. The luxury tax will be the same dollar-for-dollar rate in the first two years of the deal, but the number teams will pay on the dollar for money over the cap will double and even triple later on in the 10-year CBA deal. This won’t necessarily stop the big teams (Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks) from going over, but it will make them think a little harder and maybe be a little more selective. For teams like the Hawks and Clippers, nothing really changes.
- Via Ken Berger, extend-and-trade deals — something that happened with Carmelo Anthony last year — will still be allowed, but with a slight alteration. Teams can acquire a player via an extend-and-trade but can only offer a three year deal including whatever is left on the player’s contract. Let the Chris Paul dreaming begin.
- Good news for people who like Blake Griffin as a Clipper: Each team can designate one player eligible for a five-year extension of his rookie contract. All other deals, except for Bird Free Agents, are now capped at four years in length. That’s potentially a bonus year of Blake Griffin.
- More goods from Ken Berger: “Star players who outperform their rookie contracts will be eligible to extend with their teams at 30 percent of the cap — up from 25 percent. A player would be eligible by satisfying any of the following criteria: 1) winning MVP; 2) being named first-, second- or third-team all-NBA twice; or being voted as an All-Star starter twice. The Bulls’ Derrick Rose, for example, would be eligible.” Hard to imagine Griffin doesn’t make at least a third-team all-NBA two years on his rookie deal, but health willing, he’ll be an All-Star starter from here on out. Fans like dunks. I have to get this double-checked, but if Griffin gets designated for extension and he meets the above criteria, it appears the Clippers will be able to offer Griffin both a bigger and longer max deal than any other team in the league. That’s huge.
There are still a ton of details to hash out, but the new CBA is shaping up to work in the Clippers favor. Stay tuned for more.