Special weekend delivery, and a correction about diabetics
A little light reading for a perfect Saturday morning. Get the coffee and sit outside, enjoy the day and what’s in here. The deck looks mighty inviting for a few hours before the Canada-Lebanon tilt.
Q: With free agency being here and contracts getting thrown at players left, right, and center, it got me thinking. Since I'm only 21, can you bestow your wisdom and knowledge unto me and tell me what it was like back in the old days? The 60's, the 70's, even the 80's? Was money the main focus of the players like it seemingly is for most today? And how did their contracts compare to today’s. Were some of them way overpaid like they are today? I mean, I love KG, but $23 million a year?
Amanda F, Barrie
A: Well, sit down, my young friend and let an old codger help out.
Way back in the day (like the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s) the money was, um, small. In the mid-80s, for instance, the average salary was about $320,000, now it’s close to $6 million.
I don’t think anyone could consider anyone in the 60s or 70s “overpaid” since a guy like Bill Russell, who was simply the greatest winner in the history of the game, never made a seven-figure salary. A lot of players in the 60s and 70s actually had summer jobs back home to keep earning.
Did they play just for money? No more or less than the players today look for the money first before the love of the game, I don’t think.
Q: Hi Doug, quick question regarding free agency and the CBA, as I am new to the basketball scene. I have seen on your blog and other places, that teams are free to speak to players about contracts, but are unable to make them official until July 9. I’m guessing that this is a direct result of the CBA, so I’m wondering what the logic behind such a rule is. Thanks.
Adeel A, Markham
A: It all has to do with accounting. Starting July 1, a team of league accountants visits each team to officially determine the Basketball Related Income (BRI) that was generated in the previous season because that’s what sets both the cap and tax levels.
I guess they’ve sped up the process because just a couple of years ago, it took two weeks for them to count the money and that was an eternity not only for us to wait but for teams and fans, too.
In that beancounting period, teams don’t know for sure, to the exact dime, how much they’ll have to spend so they can’t officially sign contracts that may be dependent on the cap level and such things as the exact amount of the mid-level exception.
Q: Hey Doug, this is my first time writing in, but I've been a long time reader. Now I have 2 questions for you. 1. You mentioned what the Cap may be and what the Tax Level may be, but you have not stated what would happen if the Raps spend over that limit? Do they have to pay the NBA money back? or do they get a smaller Cap/Tax limit next season? 2. This question is non-raps related or at least I think it is, but I was wondering, me being a Diabetic are there any players in the NBA who are Diabetic and if so who are they?
Vijay C, Toronto
A: For every dollar a team exceeds the cap, it has to pay a dollar in tax. The total amount of tax is then split among the 30 teams on a percentage basis.
And I know of no diabetics in the league but I imagine there have to be some because it’s a large number of people and the percentages would suggest one or two at least.
As only a couple of dozen people pointed out, Charlotte's Adam Morrison is dealing with diabetest while he plays.
Q: Out of curiosity, are you into fantasy basketball at all?
If so, who are your top 10 picks for next season?
Aaron P, Toronto
A: Sorry, I have no knowledge and, frankly, little interest in fantasy basketball, reality basketball occupies too much of my time as it is. And my top 10 would be the usual top 10 players in the league.
Q: I was reading about New Jersey (Not because I'm a fan of course, just to see how Thorn is further sinking their club) and I read the Nets made a $2.7M qualifying offer to restricted free agent Nenad Krstic. Is a qualifying offer simply securing their right to match another team's offer? Surely he will fetch more than $2.7M. I would guess he gets closer to the full mid-level, Yeah?
K J, Toronto
A: That’s indeed all a qualifying offer is and I would think something close to the mid-level would be what he gets somewhere. And while Rod Thorn keeps saying he’ll keep Krstic, I’m reading my boy Dave D suggest he’s a goner.
Q: Some short snappers.
1. Ukic, if he is decent and Jose is good, can Ukic play the "2"?
2. Anyone from team Canada good enough for the end of the Raps bench? Or any ex-Raps have a chance to come back?
3. How about Leo's Lions? Team Canada could have a coach related name.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: Interesting question about Ukic and the 2. He is 6-5 so maybe, but I think they’ll want him to get proficient at the point before they give him more to handle.
I don’t think there’s an NBA-ready player on the national team at the moment and the trouble with putting a coach’s name on a team is what happens when that coach retires?
Q: You brought up the mid-level exception and one thing always confuses me. A lot of times players get signed to a 5 yr mid-level contract. So every year, can you sign a different guy to a 5 yr mid-level exception? I.E. Could you have 3 guys under mid-level exception contracts? Or once you've signed a guy for 5 yrs you can't sign another guy until the 1st guy comes off the books?
Now my head hurts.
Dermot W, Halifax
A: Your head hurts? How ‘bout mine?
I think I’ve read your question the right way and yes, you could have as many mid-level exception guys on your team as you like. Of course, that’s only if you start the free-agency period over the cap because that’s the only way a team can use the mid-level exception.
Q: Hi Doug, I'm a reader from over the pond, Spain to be more precise, I started reading your blog when Google linked me to it about Calderon-TJ "starting rifts" back in the old-days and i haven't stopped reading it since. Nice job of disserting about a team from the inside, it's really helpful for us Europeans who know little about how an NBA team really works. Anyway, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions that intrigue me a little in this "post draft - pre free agent signing period" days.
1) I couldn't help but noticing that you always say Bargnani is not a bust yet, but at the same time, since JO's trade you stated that Bargnani will have to get a bench-player mindset. Aren't those two statements contradictory being Bargnani a "third year" first pick overall in the NBA draft? Rephrasing it, shouldn't a first pick be an established starting player for a non title-contender team in the east in his third year?
2) How do Canadians and Americans see the international FIBA tournaments, having different set of rules that allow teams with weaker and less talented players like Greece, Argentina or Spainto "dominate" them? and how do you think Canada and USA will do in the upcoming Olympic games (I'm not sure Canadaqualified, but I assume it having Nash on board).
3) Do you think NBA teams should risk more in the second round of the draft getting European promises and solid players to come? I can't help but noticing that most of them prefer a good NBDL player, or even a so-so NCAA players (Patrick Ewing Jr. comes to mind) than European talents who are the second option on their teams and play for their respective national teams.
JayM C, Madrid
A: Not a “bench player mindset” but I think a defined role will be good for him. I still see him as, eventually, a good, long-term starter in the NBA.
FIBA tournaments actually don’t draw much interest over here except for the true hard core fans. But if Canada gets to Beijing (and, without Nash, they still have to qualify in Greece later this month) the awareness will pick up. I wouldn't seem them as a medal threat and I think the Americans, if they play hard and together and smart, win the gold. That's a HUGE "if."
I think teams always take “projects” in the second-round regardless of where they’re from. Some teams, though, do like to take European-based players who may get contracts in their homelands or with some Euroleague team, that allows them to improve and get playing time on someone else’s dime.
Q: As a fan of the Raptors and of Canadian basketball, I think BC's position in Basketball Canada is a win-win situation. For Basketball Canada, he can add his knowledge base and professionalism to the team that has been put in place and for the Raptors they get good PR plus a look at developing Canadian talent. While I believe there are a few Canadians that could be the 14th or 15th man on teams in the NBA, what do you think? Should Basketball Canada put a team in the summer leagues to gain exposure for the younger players, 24 and under? Could the Raptors invite a couple of younger Canadian players to camp, to give them NBA coaching & experience, while not expecting them to make the team.
Is the Toronto D League team still moving forward? Would BC have a spot or two on that team for Canadians?
William S, Milton
A: I’m not sure there’s a Canadian ready, yet, to be on an NBA roster. There’ve actually been a couple Canadians in Raptor camps in the past but none with a legitimate shot at sticking. The trouble for the young guys, though, is that they’re usually already in Europe with their club teams when Raptor camp starts. And Canada has played in a handful of Summer Leagues in the past, but the L.A. league they used to take part in is defunct.
Q: Not too long ago there was a news report about Mavs signing Gerald Green. Have the Raptors considered him at all?! He's a great wing player, very athletic, young, and ready to prove himself! I hope Raptors at least took a long look at him.
Lucas Y, Toronto
A: He’s been a washout with, what, three teams now? All style, no substance. No better, overall, than anyone they’ve got. Sure, he can jump out of the gym and is a great dunker. That and seven bucks gets you a nice, cold beverage in a nice bistro.
I don’t think he was ever on their radar, and don’t think he should have been. He’s not exactly the shot-making, ball-handling veteran they want.
Q: So the lean and mean Raptors machine is ready to go, and we're carrying minimal spare parts at a maximum budget. Here's a "CA 101" for you? What happens when inevitably (see the last few seasons) a few guys go down with injuries? If we're only carrying the minimum, what's the rules around when you can bring guys in, and how it affect the tax threshold?
Which inevitably leads to: Can we sign Brand and Magette if Adams, Bargnani, Joey, Hump & Moon get injured over the summer?? (I keed, I keed).
Also, for the bonus.. if I'm Bargnani and I'm drafted #1, expect to eventually start in the NBA, have a good playoffs my first year, then lose my confidence in year two -- how is a trade to make me a backup for the next 2 years going to HELP my regain that swagger? And when does the kid start bigman camp?
John C, Toronto
A: You can pick up minimum value guys on pro-rated contracts what won’t hurt the tax, if you have to down the line.
Bargnani? Maybe he gets some confidence playing primarily against other second unit guys when he sees his shots falling and sees room to get to the rim. And maybe having a clearly-defined role with the second unit rather than being in and out of the starting lineup helps, too.
Q: Hey Doug, I was reading in the blog today about how close the Raps are to the tax, and because of that, they have only about a million to spend on their "final" roster player.
A few questions regarding this:
What position should the last of the "lean thirteen" play? Should it be a big, given JO's and CB's injury history, and the fact that they don't know if Nathan can play?
Is it true that only Garbo's buyout number counts against the cap/tax?
If it's significantly less than the 4.35 he was slated to earn that changes things, doesn't it?
How much of a cap hit have you included for Garbo in your payroll estimate?
When will we know the exact figure?
I thought they qualified Delfino - what happens to their tax plans if he accepts? Did they in fact qualify him?
James M, Toronto
A: The last guy is going to be a combo guard who can handle the ball and consistently make shots. They’re okay with the five bigs, actually.
Garbo’s cap hit is something just north of $2 million, I’m told, and that’s how it figures in. We won’t know the “exact” figure until a usual source provides me with the contract details of every player in the league, which likely won’t happen until after training camp.
Q: A couple of non roster-related questions: Where do the Raptors rank in attendance? And where do they rank in profit compared to the rest of the league?
Shawn L, Bowmanville
A: The Raptors were ninth in attendance, averaging 19,435 fans and playing to 98.2 per cent capacity. As for profits? Because they’re part of a privately-held company, we’ll never see the real figures. They didn’t lose money, that’s for sure.
Q: Watching the Raps over the years, they have lacked that 'edge' - they seemed a little to 'nice'.
Do you have a sense that the Raps are trying to get a little 'tougher' by getting O'Neal. Raps need a guy who will give the occasional 'hard foul', get into a teammate's face and chew a strip off of someone if they are not doing there job. Do you agree? Is O'Neal that kind of guy?
Borys C, Toronto
A: I think O’Neal has a level of toughness and, yes, nastiness, this team has sorely lacked for years and it’ll be welcome. No so much with his teammates but with opponents.
Q: I was wondering what your take on the whole Brand and Davisthing. Both of them opting out and willing to take a discount to sign with the clippers. Well now it looks like Golden State put a nice offer on the table for Brand. Do you see more players opting to do this in the future? Take a discount to play with 1-2 good players to put a nice core together? I agree with you as well that Agent Zero is better elsewhere than the wizards
Mitty P, Brampton
A: I think you’ll see more players of a certain age, who’ve already made more money than they or the next two generations of their family could ever spend, will indeed look for winning potential rather than to maximize earnings.
Q: I know you aren't a big fan of Magloire, and you were actually rather perturbed when a few of us suggested that the Raptors pick him up when he was let go by the Nets last season, but, respectfully do you see any team interested in him now? Is he washed up? For Pete's sake, he is only 30 years old, which ain't old by any stretch. Also, when I saw the Canadian National Team's roster, I wondered how/why Denham Brown didn't make it. Speaking of the Men's National Team, how about "Beavers" as their nickname. Industrious, hardwood munching, workman-like, creatures of the north. Attributes our men's team could replicate on the hardcourt.
Frank K, Orillia
A: There is no interest out there in Magloire at all. He’s not old, no, by normal standards but teams are always going to look for young big men rather that someone who hasn’t had an impact in a game in two, maybe three seasons.
Denham Brown blew off an invitation to training camp without telling anyone why.
Q: I know the roster is pretty much set and most roles are well defined. However, I'm surprised that Carlos Delfino is on the outside looking in (or overseas). Of the four prime wings (him, Parker, Moon, Kapono), his package of size, court vision, defence, athleticism and youth would seem - to me at least - to be the best. If not a core building block, at least a very useful asset to retain. Moon's not going anywhere, but what about Kapono or Parker? Wouldn't moving one of these two for future picks in order to sign Carlos be better asset management for the Raptors as well as help the on-court product now and into the future? Thanks.
Jim H, Ottawa
A: The way trades work, there’s no “moving one of these two for future picks” without taking something back. They like Parker better as a player than Delfino right now; Kapono has a chance to make a greater and more consistent impact that Delfino does, in the opinion of many, including me.
I like Delfino’s game, it’s the inconsistency that plagued it and the contract status that combined to make him more expendable than any of the others.
Remember, this is a guy who averaged nine points and four rebounds a game, it’s not Kobewe’re talking about.
Q: If the cap is 59 and the tax is 71, why is there even a "cap". I see how there has to be a little flex room above the cap, but 12 million??? Is this put in place so the larger market/larger television rating teams have an unfair advantage??
Derek C, Toronto
A: Actually, it was put in place so that the “big market” teams wouldn’t be able to grossly out-spend the “smaller market” teams without incurring some kind of significant financial penalty.