Let’s assume the lockout eventually ends (please) and that two of the provisions reported by both SI’s Sam Amick and Howard Beck of the New York Times both are part of the new CBA: an amnesty clause and a “stretch” provision.
Beck reports that there is a “tentative agreement” for both items, while Amick says the amnesty clause is “resolved” and the stretch provision is “mostly resolved.” It’s also worth noting that David Stern has said more than once that there’s no deal on anything without a deal on everything.
Let’s also assume that Alex Meruelo will be approved to assume majority ownership of the Hawks in the near future. Should he/will he take advantage of these new CBA provisions right away? If so, on which player(s) should he use them?
First, the details of each provision as outlined by Beck and Amick:
Over at ESPN.com, Marc Stein and Chad Ford nominate Marvin Williams as Atlanta’s most likely candidate for the amnesty clause:
Sources with knowledge of the Hawks’ thinking insist that the team isn’t ready to give up on Williams. Atlanta apparently still thinks that, at worst, it can deal him away, despite the Hawks’ inability to find any sort of trade market for Williams up to now. The fact that Atlanta’s ownership situation remains highly unsettled, thanks to the latest revelations about Alex Meruelo’s attempt to buy the franchise potentially collapsing, might also buy Williams some more time in the ATL.
Yet most rival teams believe that, at some point in whatever amnesty window is ultimately made official, Williams and the remaining money on his deal ($25 million through 2013-14) have to go. . . .
Seems to me there’s some contradiction here. If the Hawks haven’t given up on Williams, then why did they shop him at trade deadline in each of the last two seasons? They certainly would trade Marvin if they could but there’s just been no market for him.
Anyway, the thing that makes Marvin a more likely candidate for the amnesty clause than J.J. is that the salary still must be paid after a player is waived. Do you think Meruelo would rather eat the $25 million owed to Marvin, a player who can be replaced by a player making less money, or be on the hook for $107 million to J.J. who–while making superstar money without superstar production–would be much more difficult to replace?
Wiping away J.J.’s salary now with the amnesty clause and keeping Marvin would make Atlanta’s committed payroll look like this over the next five seasons (not counting non-guaranteed deals and prorated amounts for canceled games and assuming Marvin exercises his $8.05 million option for 2013-15):
Wiping away Marvin’s salary now and keeping J.J. would make Atlanta’s committed payroll look like this over the next five seasons (not counting pro-rated salaries for canceled games or non-guaranteed deals):
Assuming the cap continues to hover at about $60 million, the Hawks would gain significant and immediate relief by waiving J.J using the amnesty clause. They would have to wait until 2013-14 to see dramatic cap benefits from waiving Marvin using the amnesty.
But could the Hawks use the “stretch” provision to get better results?
Waiving Marvin using that mechanism would spread his $25 million over seven years (3 x 2 +1). The cap figures for each of those seven years would be 25/7, or about $3.6 million. It might be better to live with Marvin’s salary for at least another year (or two years, and then try to trade his expiring contract in 2013-14) than spread it out for what would be moderate cap savings.
Waiving J.J. now using the “stretch” provision would mean spreading the $107 million over 11 years (5 x 2 +1). The cap figure for each year would be 107/11, or about $9.72 million. That seems like too much dead money for too many years (and writing “dead money” makes me feel like I’m back covering the NFL).
A lot of this, of course, depends on Meruelo’s strategy, which is difficult to ascertain since the lockout gag order comes with the threat of hefty fines from the league and Meruelo hasn’t even taken control of the team yet. (These are also the reasons it’s been impossible to write anything meaningful about the Hawks, but I digress.)
Is Meruelo willing to eat salary and then also double down by adding to the payroll to replace the player(s) let go? Does he even have the cash flow to do so even if he wanted to? Or would the reported lack of cash flow make Meruelo even more likely to use the stretch provision on J.J. and then not try to replace him with comparable player, thus trimming Meruelo’s annual expenses significantly while tying up long-term cap money (and no doubt angering my blog people)?
Would ASG be willing to waive players and then add payroll while the sale of the team is in limbo? Would ASG do it if the sale of the team falls through? If so, would the current owners use one of the provisions now or leave that to the next buyer, assuming they find another one?
Shoot, could they even wait to use the amnesty or stretch provision? Just getting the roster to the minimum would push them over the current luxury-tax threshold, and I’m assuming that still is a no go no matter which owner(s) calls the shots.
My hope is that soon after the lockout ends the answers to these and so many other Hawks questions will finally be answered.
Dinamo Sassari waived Hawks draftee Keith “Kito” Benson. Benson’s mother, Janice Hale, called it a “mutual parting of ways” and said Benson will work out at Oakland (Mich.) University with a focus on building his strength. Sportando Basket tweeted me a take on Benson’s departure. . . .
I’ve called and emailed Zaza to check on the reports of his injury but haven’t heard back yet. Will update if/when I do. . . .
It turns out Damien Wilkins’ “Monster Slam” exhibition game on Saturday will be at Clark Atlanta after all. Tickets and info are available here. . . .
Hoopinion notes that Pape Sy had a good game. . . .
Peachtree Hoops is part of a black-white thing. . . .
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Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat