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Answering some Darius questions ...

(FYI Dave, this relates to the Darius issue and I know there is another diary on this issue, but I have a lot of info and don't want it to get lost amidst all the other comments already rolling on usmcr3049's breaking news topic ...)

There seems to be some confusion about what Quick meant when he mentioned Darius playing in at least 10 games in the next two years. Because this issue is foundational to what will happen to our salary cap situation in the next two years, I decided to research the CBA a little bit for an answer, and low and behold I found one.

Here is a link to the CBA website . The PDF does not allow users to copy and paste material, so I will retype the pertinent portion for purposes of our discussion. If you wish to read the context, simply search for some of the phrases below in the PDF.

Here is what CBA says:

(h) Long-Term Injuries. Any player who suffers a career-ending injury or illness, and whose contract is terminated by the Team in accordance with the NBA waiver procedure, will be excluded from his team's Team Salary as follows:

    (1) If the injury or illness occurs on or after July 1, but prior to January 1 or any Season, then, beginning on the second July 1 following the injury or illness, the Team may apply to the NBA to have the player's Salary for each remaining Season on the contract excluded from Team Salary. (For example, if the career-ending injury or illness occurs on August 1, 1999, the Team may apply to have the player's Salary excluded from Team Salary beginning on July 1, 2001).

    (2) If the injury of illness occurs on or after January 1 but prior to the subsequent July 1, then, beginning on the second anniversary of the injury or illness, the Team may apply to the NBA to have the player's Salary for each remaining Season of the Contract excluded from Team Salary.

    (3) The determination of whether a player has suffered a career-ending injury or illness shall be made by a physician selected jointly by the NBA and the Players Association.

    (4) Notwithstanding subsections (1) through (3) above, a player's Salary shall not be excluded from Team Salary if, after the date on which a career-ending injury or illness is alleged to have occurred but before his Salary is excluded from Team Salary, the player played in more than ten (10) NBA games in any (1) Season or in a total of fifteen (1) games over two (2) Seasons.

    (5) Notwithstanding subsections (1) through (3) above, if, after a player's Salary is excluded from Team Salary in accordance with this Section 4(h), the player plays in ten (10) NBA games in any one (1) Season, the excluded Salary for that Season and each subsequent Season shall thereupon be included in the Team Salary. If, after a player's Salary is excluded from Team Salary  in accordance with this Section 4(h), the player plays in fifteen (15) or more NBA games over two (2) Seasons but did not play in ten (10) games in the first of such two (2) Seasons, the excluded Salary for the second Season and each subsequent Season shall thereupon be included in Team Salary. After a player's Salary for one (1) or more Seasons has been included in Team Salary in accordance with this subsection (h)(5), the player's Team shall be permitted at the appropriate time to re-apply to have the player's Salary (for each remaining season at the time of the re-application) excluded from Team Salary in accordance with the rules set forth in this Section 4(h).

SO, there are a couple of things we can learn from this section of the CBA:

  1. Basketball Reference tells us that Darius last game played occurred on 4/15/2006. According to subsection 2 above, the Blazers can officially apply for salary cap relief on 4/15/2008, the second anniversary of Darius's injury.
  2. On 4/15/08, the Blazers will be applying for relief from each of the remaining seasons on Darius's contract (9 million per season for 08/09 and 09/10).
  3. Assuming the Blazers' salary cap relief is granted, in order for BOTH years of Darius's remaining salary to once again be counted against our team salary, Darius will have to sign with a team at some point and play in at least 10 games in the 08/09 season.
  4. If Darius does not play in 10 games in the 08/09 season, then his salary for that season will not count against our cap regardless of what happens next.
  5. If Darius plays in some number of games in 08/09 (but not 10), and then enough games in 09/10 to equal 15 games in two years, then his 09/10 season will count against our cap.
  6. IF Darius misses the 10 game mark in 08/09, then we should expect to be able to use that salary cap space in the summer of 2009 (our big summer) because the league will not KNOW FOR SURE if Darius will reach the 15 game mark in the following season (09/10). I don't see how the Blazers can be penalized for something that hasn't happened yet. And I don't see how the league could take away a player we recently signed fairly if Darius DOES come back to play in 09/10. That player would be out of a job, and left to try to find a new suitor once all the teams have spent their cap space.
  7. SO, it would seem that everything hinges on next season. If Darius plays 10 games, we don't get the relief we wanted. If he plays less than 10, but still comes back the following season, we should still get to use the relief to our advantage. I assume adding his salary back in this scenario would only affect the luxury tax, if there is any, which Paul Allen has shown that he's fine with paying.
  8. Finally, I don't think the fact that the Blazers can re-apply if Darius ends up playing for another team really matters here, since his contract will be over by the time this is possible.
Let's all just hope to high heaven that someone doesn't sign Darius this summer and play him in 10 games in order to prevent us from participating in the summer of 2009 free agent market (looking at you Seattle and Memphis).

Thanks all. Look forward to your thoughts and further questions. And don't forget the poll.

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