NBA Sets New Salary Cap And Luxury Tax Numbers; What Does It Mean For The Blazers?

The NBA has set new salary cap and luxury tax numbers and they are slightly above most projections.  Check out this fanshot for full details.

One major implication for the Blazers lies not in where the league is setting the salary cap, since the Blazers are well above it, but rather where they are setting the luxury tax threshold.  The new threshold of $70.3 million means that after the Blazers sign Elliott Williams (they’ve already signed Luke Babbitt), Portland will be $3.6 million under the tax threshold with 13 roster spots filled.  A week ago, it looked like signing Williams would put the Blazers very near the tax threshold, now they can not only sign Williams and stay out of luxury tax territory, but they can sign other players like Patty Mills or Armon Johnson and still stay below the threshold.

Of course, if the Blazers aren’t worried about paying tax and are willing, for example, to use the full MLE on a free agent, then this discussion isn’t as dramatic.  The only difference is that they’ll pay less tax than previously expected.   But the option of staying below the tax line is probably more realistic now.

Secondly, in regards to the situation with New Orleans and Chris Paul – the deal to send Mo Peterson to OKC looked last week to put the Hornets just above the tax threshold.  Now they look to be just below that line.  I’m not saying that the team isn’t still looking to clear financial responsibility to guys like Chris Paul, James Posey and Emeka Okafor.  But I think it would be fair to say that they are less concerned about it now that they don’t look to pay luxury tax next year without having to make one final move.  Does this make it less likely that Portland can convince New Orleans to send them Chris Paul?  I’d say yes.

Thirdly, there was talk about Chicago sending Luol Deng to Portland for Przybilla and Bayless.  One of the supposed motivations for this trade was to clear just a little more cap space so that the Bulls could sign a second player, one making $16.6 million in 2010-11 (as opposed to the $12-13 million that Boozer looks to get).  After the negotiations with Boozer, Chicago looked like they might have enough cap room to make a max offer, but now Chicago definitely doesn’t need to make a trade to clear up that cap space, as they have enough to offer LeBron James a max deal.  I don’t know if this kills the trade proposition or not, but it’s worth mentioning.

One last thing – Brandon Roy will now be making a little more money than expected.  I need to calculate what his ‘max’ deal will be, but in the 2010-11 season he’ll probably make $13.6 million instead of the $13.15 million I was predicting.   His yearly raise over the course of the contract will also be a bit higher, so in the end he looks to earn a couple of million more than if the initial prediction of $56.1 by David Stern had come true.

What other implications do you see?

-- Storyteller

EDIT:  Thanks to dan_the_man in the comments for pointing out my math error in the first paragraph.  The Blazers will not be $1.0 under the tax threshold as I originally wrote but closer to $3.6 million.  Gotta watch that math with cap holds!

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