I’ve seen some misunderstandings about salary cap issues posted here and on other forums over the last couple of weeks. Just to be clear about these issues, here are the misconceptions, followed by the truth as outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
Misconception #1: If Portland gets below the cap, they can use their cap space and then use the Mid-Level Exception (MLE), Bi-Annual Exception (BAE) and trade exception to finish out the roster
The truth is that exceptions count against the cap unless they are renounced. So in order to get below the cap in July, Portland would have to renounce the exceptions that they currently have. These renounced exceptions would be lost forever and cannot be regained. The ‘big’ exceptions would be the MLE, the BAE and (if they still haven’t used it before getting below the cap) the trade exception gained in the Diogu trade. So, even if the team goes above the cap at a later time in the season, they would not be able to regain these lost exceptions to use in player acquisitions.
Misconception#2: Portland can renounce Raef LaFrentz to get cap space, then sign-and-trade him for a $15+million deal
It’s not wisely publicized, so it’s easy to understand why some have never heard this, but re-signing a player using Bird rights is using an exception. So, in line with the information in #1 above, getting below the salary cap would necessitate that the Blazers renounce their Bird rights to LaFrentz. Therefore, the most that they could sign-and-trade him for would be the amount of cap space that they had. Unless the Blazers were miraculously able to get $15 million in cap space, they could not sign LaFrentz to this large of a contract.
Misconception #3: If the Blazers have $7 million in cap space, they can take back $8.85 million more than they send out in a trade using the 125% + $100,000 trade rule
Again, not widely publicized, but the 125% + $100,000 rule is an exception for teams over the cap. It’s impossible to combine cap room with an exception, therefore the most that the Blazers could take back in trade if they had $7 million in cap space would be $7.1 million.
Misconception #4: Now that Miles is back on the books for $9 million, Portland can trade him as an expiring contract
Contracts are never traded, players are traded. Portland waived Darius Miles over a year ago, and a team cannot trade a player that has been waived, regardless of whether or not a team is paying that player.
Misconception #5: If the Blazers get cap space, they will not be able to use any exceptions until July 1, 2010
A few days ago, I saw this over-reaction on another forum. And it’s not true. It is true that if Portland gets below the cap, they lose any exceptions that they have earned up until that point. However, once they go above the cap, they can once again use certain exceptions (such as the minimum player exception) and start once again to accumulate others (such as trade exceptions). It is true that they will not be able to use the MLE or the BAE until the 2010-11 season, but the idea that they would not be able to use any exceptions until then is just not true.
If any of this doesn't make sense (because I know that these issues can be confusing) post a comment below with additional or follow-up questions and either myself or someone else should be able to post an answer.