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View Full Version : Another take on this year's FA market


OutletPass
06-17-2003, 02:09 PM
--- posted simply for your reading. OP.


A rough climate for veterans

June 17, 2003 Print it


July 1996 was extremely cool and wet over much of the country. The sun rarely poked out, Hurricane Bertha rolled over the East Coast and the normal flow of summertime R&R -- beach weekends, golf outings, iced tea on the front porch -- was stunted. Lots of folks were stuck inside and, naturally, went a little stir crazy.

Perhaps this explains that cuckoo '96 NBA offseason, which saw a handful of players land outrageous contracts. In one week, Gary Payton got $85 million, Steve Smith $45 million, Kenny Anderson $50 million and Alonzo Mourning $112 million. The topper was Juwan Howard, who got two teams -- Washington and Miami -- to give him around $100 million before the league sorted out the situation.

Besides absurdity, those contracts had length in common. Each was for seven years, and now those seven years are up. In the next few weeks, we'll be left with a situation in which those veteran players signed in 1996 -- plus some signed in the next few offseasons -- who are accustomed to making eight-figure salaries must undergo the indignity of the free-agent market in a much different climate from those drizzly days of July 1996. The players have aged, and the luxury tax has forced wisdom on owners. Translation: Put on your begging shoes, fellas, because it's midlevel exception time for you -- if you're lucky.

Scottie Pippen. Pippen got a five-year, $67 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade with Houston in the wake of the championship Bulls' breakup. At 37, Pippen's numbers have dropped (10.8 points, 4.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds). He has not been healthy for three years, but he is experienced and versatile -- he manned the point for the Blazers this year. The Lakers are atop the rumor list for Pippen, but he would be hard-pressed to get more than $2 million in L.A. Returning to the Blazers or retiring is possible.

Karl Malone. The last time Malone signed a contract -- four years, $67 million -- he did so after nearly a year of posturing and pouting. At the time, Malone seemed determined not to return to Utah. Now, Malone again seems determined to land elsewhere, but don't count out the Jazz. Utah can offer him a contract in the range of $5 million to $6 million annually; the Timberwolves, Mavericks and Lakers can offer only a midlevel exception ($4.5 million).

Alonzo Mourning. He's the biggest mystery, coming off a year in which he made $20 million and did not play. His kidney disease is in remission, and doctors have cleared him to return. Uncertainty about his health could knock him down to minimum-contract ($1.4 million) status, though he'd prefer a sign-and-trade for better money. The Mavericks, Timberwolves and Celtics may be willing to take a chance.

Reggie Miller. Hard to imagine Miller anywhere but Indiana, and with his playoff flameout this year, it's hard to imagine other teams lining up to sign him. That leaves the Pacers in a bind. How much can they give a guy who really does not have a market? Certainly, they want to treat Miller with respect and recognition for his 16 years with the team, but they can't afford to overpay for respect.

Gary Payton. The best player in this group, Payton still is very productive at age 34. He has listed Minnesota, Portland, San Antonio, Dallas and, most of all, the Lakers as his favored destinations. The Bucks are hopeful they can work a sign-and-trade for Payton. That would help Payton because he could command a contract in the range of $25 million for three years.

Steve Smith. The final year of Smith's contract is paying him $9 million, which means he is in for a huge pay cut. If he can find a job, the 34-year-old Smith will get a veteran's minimum deal next year. He is just one year removed from shooting a league-leading 47.2 percent from the 3-point line, and he'd be on the floor more if not for the emergence of Stephen Jackson and Manu Ginobili.

Kenny Anderson. He picked a good time to be a free agent because many teams will be hunting for point guards this summer. Anderson is only 32 and though he didn't play much in 2002-03, he should enter next season primed for a comeback. He should get a deal starting at the midlevel exception and would prefer to play on the East Coast. A return to Boston, or a spot in Orlando, is a strong possibility.

Derrick Coleman. He showed he still can be useful after making the transition to center in Philadelphia. His old coach with the 76ers knows this, which means there's speculation that Larry Brown and the Pistons could make a pitch for Coleman, who is from Detroit, with all or some part of their midlevel exception.

Juwan Howard. His contract will go down as one of the worst in sports history. But his image has rebounded with some solid play and leadership in Denver. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal lists Howard and Payton as the two guys he'd like to see the Lakers land this summer, and the team just might take his advice. Question is, will Howard want the entire midlevel exception? The Lakers probably can't give it to him.

Mandyahl
06-17-2003, 02:23 PM
interesting perspective. thanks for posting, op.

Chicago JK
06-17-2003, 02:30 PM
I have been saying this for a month now, I would love to get my hands on Payton. I brought up on another board about a month ago a sign and trade with NVE. It is a long shot, but I still remember Nellie at the all star game playing Nash and Payton in the same backcourt. Nellie was very complimentary of Payton. A backcourt of Payton and Nash would be more effective than Nash and NVE. Payton could guard the better player of either point guard or shooting guard. He is 6'4 so he has pretty good length and is still a good defender. It would switch finley out of his natural position of shooting guard. Although, Imagine if the Mavs signed Mourning to man the middle.

Nash
Payton
finley
Dirk
Mourning

Raef
Najara
one of the sg scramblers

You could find a 2-3 at a pretty cheap price to come off the bench. heck a guy like Josh Howard would be a nice fit there.

Stressboy
06-17-2003, 03:31 PM
I have a question that some CBA expert can answer. The midlevel can be given out at 4.5 for up to 6 years or split any way you want it right? So you could sign 4 1.1 million players for up to 6 years each? Given that some of these guys are really at the end of their careers, ie Malone, Pippen, Mourning etc. could we get 2 of them if we split the exection at 2.75 each for 6 full years.

If they retire the money would come off the books earlier? And if they didn't retire I'd rather pay Malone 3 mil a year to sit on the bench than Esch.

Is that a possibility?

Stressboy

Mandyahl
06-17-2003, 03:40 PM
it would be 2.25 each, not 2.75. i don't know how it works though, so i can't help you there.

Stressboy
06-17-2003, 03:43 PM
Sorry about the math.

Dooby
06-17-2003, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by: Stressboy
I have a question that some CBA expert can answer. The midlevel can be given out at 4.5 for up to 6 years or split any way you want it right? So you could sign 4 1.1 million players for up to 6 years each? Given that some of these guys are really at the end of their careers, ie Malone, Pippen, Mourning etc. could we get 2 of them if we split the exection at 2.75 each for 6 full years.

If they retire the money would come off the books earlier? And if they didn't retire I'd rather pay Malone 3 mil a year to sit on the bench than Esch.

Is that a possibility?

Stressboy

No reason to do that because of the veteran minimum exception. You can sign any player for a league minimum contract regardless of how far over the cap you are. The league veteran salary is over $1M. So, I don't see the point of splitting the MLE between more than 2 players. We also have the Million-dollar (I think it is close to $1.5M now) exception as well.

But in answer to your question, you can split the MLE, which is what we did 2 offseasons ago with Esch and Manning. Sigh. You can split the money up any way you want, but I don't know if you can split it among more than 2 players.

Tony tha Mavs fan
06-17-2003, 05:02 PM
I like the idea of GP in Big D , his defense and playmaking would be great for the Mavs . But trading Van Exel for another Guard wouldn't sit well with me, especially if the Mavs could get a big man instead. If the Bucks are just lookin for a Player in return i'd send Raef if they want him but i wouldn't trade NVE.

one long blue sock
06-17-2003, 05:25 PM
If we got GP, then i would trade Nash, because clearly GP is better. GP might be old, but Nash has a fatigue problem. And Van Exel is as good of a back up point guard as there is gonna be besides Bobby Jackson who in my opinion is better than Bibby. So you would get more out of Nash anyway.

asola
06-18-2003, 02:46 PM
But GP has been a little bit of a disappointment in Milwaukee, don't you think? Maybe his heart wasn't in it or maybe he's beginning to slip, not many point guards make it at 35+ years old.

Of the names in the list I think Derrick Coleman might be a good fit for Dallas. He's talented enough and can share the ball enough to not mess with Dallas' passing game, he's experienced, he can be tough if he's motivated and he has improved with age.

one long blue sock
06-18-2003, 05:02 PM
Yeah, but he played one of his best year in the first 1/2 of the season, at one point he was leading the league in assists. So you really cant say that he is slipping, who would want to go to Bucks anyway. How are they suppose to win, when you have the first coach to lose a game since the dream team.

EVAN
06-19-2003, 01:06 AM
gary payton has not been a disappointment to Milwaukee, Milwaukee has been a disappointment to Gary!!!!! Milwaukee sucks, their coach sucks, the players suck, ownership and the whole nine-yards. Give Gary a contender and he will flourish.

Nowitzki will not take kindly to a Nash trade, they are good friends and a trade would probably have a negative effect on him. He also is very underrated so I believe we're solid in the point guard position. We got ourselves into a bind by signing all the garbage that we did especially Bradley who is extreme garbage and LaFrentz who is not too far behind him, so we have to find a way to shed the dead weight and breathe life into a team that not too many hot free agents are talking about these days!

Mandyahl
06-19-2003, 01:26 AM
nash is not underrated. being named third team all nba shows that.
bradley's contract is very reasonable for what he is worth to the team and for what kind of player he is.
nowitzki and nash are friends and he wouldn't like to see nash traded, but he wouldn't play worse if nash got traded. that said, team chemistry is important. certainly not everything, but nevertheless important.