(headline provided with apologies to Stacey King, of course)
For those who crave reading about rules, Sam Amick of SI is providing the memo circulating amongst players and league officials that gives a digestible synopsis of the tentatively agreed-upon changes to the CBA.
A lot of speculated changes now have some details attached, including the shorter contract lengths, increased luxury tax, and new constraints on player movement (especially for tax-paying teams).
But remember, such rules don't hinder what the Bulls can do this offseason. KC Johnson has his bucket of cold water at the ready, but acknowledges this is a choice from the Bulls standpoint. Overall this provides a solid look into, as he would likely say, 'what the Bulls may be thinking':
The mid-level exception will be $5 million for non-luxury-tax-paying teams, like the Bulls....While intriguing options will be unrestricted free agents, the Bulls likely will monitor the amnesty wire to see which high-priced veterans from other teams get waived.
[New CBA rules] place Rose's starting salary closer to $17.4 million. With roughly $39.6 million already committed to, and in 2012-13, the Bulls would be at $57 million for four players.
The luxury tax is slated to remain static near $70 million for the first two years of the new agreement...In a July 2009 interview with the Tribune, Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he would pay the luxury tax "if I felt we had a guy who would put us over the top and put us in the Finals." Whether that applies with an increased revenue sharing plan and more punitive luxury tax penalties in the third year of this pending deal is unknown.
Until the luxury tax threshold increases for the 2013-14 season, the shooting guard position might be upgraded via trade or a smaller signing rather than a big splash.
So again, it's not that the Bulls can't spend as much as other over-the-cap teams (i.e., Miami) this season, just that they may choose not to. I don't want to harp on this point constantly all offseason, but sometimes it feels necessary. Like, for example, when reading ESPNChicago's otherwise solid post outlining potential SG targets one can see this line hidden in the OJ Mayo paragraph:
Mayo is going to want a big contract once his rookie deal expires. And once the Bulls extend Rose's contract, they are not going to have much cap space to work with.
Using 'cap space' in this example is a complete misnomer, and tying possible acquisitions to Rose's contract is bordering on misleading. Rose's extension is happening regardless, and for good reason, and while future chances to acquire players are limited if the Bulls become a tax-payer*, it doesn't affect this offseason and is a situation attributed to many things outside of Rose's still-a-bargain contract.
Moving on from that, another salary cap provision sure to be of interest to the Bulls is the amnesty clause. As noted in both above links, that clause will make for an extra-interesting offseason with possible targets including SGs like Rip Hamilton if he's waived by the Pistons. But two notes in the released memo that should be pointed out:
- Waived players can be first bid on by teams under the cap for a portion of their deals before they become free agents. Not really likely given that so few teams have cap room and those that do likely wouldn't want to take on the usual amnesty targets, but the provided example of Brandon Roy being snatched up by the Pacers or Kings does make some sense.
- A team can waive a player with tax/cap amnesty at any point during the CBA. So while all reports indicate that the Bulls will not be considering waiving Carlos Boozer this offseason (a move I agree with), they could do so in future years if he has a poor/injured season or two.
* No doubting that being a tax-paying team will be challenging in this new agreement, year three of it especially. I do acknowledge that it's an option for the Bulls to say they'd rather not use a full MLE on whoever's available now if they can likely stay under the tax next season and keep all the flexibility of non-tax teams on a potentially better target. But that looks to be extremely hard to do without going into the tax at that point then anyway, and: this team made the conference finals last season, and their main rivals look to be pouncing on FAs while they can, so not making the move now would be interesting to say the least.