Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: July 6, 2009 11:28 am

Salary Cap Primer: Ariza WAS slapped in the face

I've noticed a ton of users here at CBS with the misconception on how the Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest situation went down in regard to the cap rules. I'd like to clarify some of the finer points on this situation to help people understand where Ariza is coming from on this issue and see if I can't also clarify the always confusing NBA salary cap on issues like this.

The top misconception I see that is spreading around here is that Ariza turned down the mid-level exception from the Lakers hoping to find more money elsewhere. That is false. The Lakers did not offer Ariza the mid-level, because you cannot offer your own players the mid-level. The Lakers are an over the cap team. That means they can only sign free agents a few ways, if they own their bird rights, or if they use an exception to the salary cap that allows them to go over, if they do a sign and trade that makes it a trade and not a signing, or if they have a disabled player waiver, which is kinda like a special exception for when players have career ending injuries.

Ariza falls under the category of Bird Rights. The Lakers could have offered Ariza pretty much anything they wanted to. They could have given Ariza Ben Gordon money if they chose to, they even could have went a little higher. But the Lakers chose to make Ariza an offer that was the equivalent of what OTHER teams could have offered Ariza, teams like Cleveland. They said "Ok Trevor, we know that teams like Cleveland and Boston and whoever can only offer you the mid-level exception. We will offer you, using our Bird Rights, the exact same amount of the mid-level. We won't give you a bonus for helping us win a title, but we will offer you the same amount you can get elsewhere."

Meanwhile, Ron Artest shows up as available. The Lakers can only offer him the actual mid-level, just like Sheed got. The Lakers jump on that and lock up Artest for the same amount they offered Ariza. But interestingly, the Lakers could have signed both Artest and Ariza if they really wanted to. Sure it would look odd if Artest signed for 5 years starting at 5.9 or whatever the MLE comes in at with Ariza making 6.4 million or the like backing Artest up, but it was totally possible under the rules of the cap.

The actual amount of the MLE won't be known until the NBA announces the 2009 salary cap. Do you know why nobody can sign a official contract until the 8th? It's because the NBA number crunchers are doing the math and calculating what the 2009 cap will be. The cap is set off of 51% of BRI, or Basketball Related Income. It takes about a week to do all this math. These players agreeing to the mid-level don't actually know what they are making yet exactly.

But hopefully this clears some things up for people. It's not like Ariza said "I'm too good to accept your mid-level Lakers!", then Artest said "I'm not too good to accept it Lakers!" Ariza was upset that the Lakers only would match what other teams could pay him, while Artest was happy to make as much as he was going to make. Nobody in the NBA as of right now can offer Artest more then the MLE except for the Trailblazers, the Thunder , or the Rockets , those are the only three teams that could make Artest pull a Hedo and bail on the LA deal for much more money. Artest didn't really accept less to play for LA. There is no money out there for Artest. There was the exact amount of money in free agency out there for Ariza as he knew there was, as LA knew there was, and as Ariza's agent knew there was. But Ariza and his agent wanted LA to come correct and offer more then another team could, and LA balked at that, so Ariza felt slapped and took his game to Houston. Is it reasonable to wish for the place you helped succeed to slightly overpay you? That's for you to decide. But Ariza felt that was reasonable.

Hopefully most of you at least learned something about the inner workings of NBA contracts, when certain salary cap exceptions are used and which exceptions are being offered at what time, and/or why contracts arn't official yet. Or at least learned where Ariza was coming from.

Posted on: December 16, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2008 6:38 pm

Review/Preview Phoenix 111-103 NYK, Tue NYK @ LAL

Review: New York Knicks 103-111 Phoenix Suns

- Back to back games mean I'm gonna skip on the blog intro and give a rather smallish post. Anybody looking for some serious Knicks commentary will find a lot of tidbits about the week ahead and the state of the team have been in previous posts. I just want to get a quick recap in and my Lakers prediction for tonight, then I will sum up the road trip before the Milwaukee game.

- Shaq and Amare were just too much. Amare didn't have a great game, numbers be dammed, but Shaq played very well. Shaq could have had a triple double if the Suns would have converted on a few more of his passes and kept their big lead (then just played to get Shaq a triple double). Shaq moved the ball very well in the first half, then the Suns got away for some reason and gave the Knicks hope.

- Then Steve Nash crushed that hope. Nash can still ball. Numbers don't tell the full story, Nash was a machine down the stretch, making good decisions and keeping the Knicks from getting the game to 1 possession. Feel free to come to New York in 2 years, Nash. I'll welcome you.

- How did the Knicks get 4 blocks? Did the Knicks block 4 shots in November as a whole? Just an odd sub-story to a valient effort from New York that came up short. It was a good game like I hoped, but the Knicks are staring a 2-3 road trip in the face tonight, as NBA TV hosts it's third straight Knicks game. The delightful combo of GP and C-Webb on the pregame show may be as entertaining as it gets for Knicks fans tonight.

- I still say Phoenix stinks. They play a stupid style for their talent and have the most success when they defy Porter and just push the ball. If Phoenix is a .500 team after February, don't be shocked. Knicks shot 5-37 from the arc and were still in the game. That is sad and still somewhat a good sign for Knicks fans, but has to be hard for Suns fans.

Preview: New York Knicks (+13.5) at Los Angeles Lakers, Tuesday 10:30 pm EST

Kobe eats the Knicks apart like he always does, Gasol uses his veteran wile to abuse Lee, Trevor Azira probably dumps 16 on New York, I've seen this story what seems like a hundred times. Lamar Odom will probably find a way to get a double double in his 9 minutes of action he gets these days. I love Kobe and he is my dream Knick, and I enjoy watching the Lakers play a lot (I am by no means a Lakers hater, I consider them the NBA favorites right now), but I hate playing the Lakers.

Knicks-centric stats match-up:

Again: Since the Knicks are a team that runs the D'Antoni offense, posting typical team offensive/defensive stats is pretty silly. I will use offensive and defensive efficiency, a.k.a. how many points a team scores and allows per 100 possessions. Hopefully this will give people a better idea on how teams will stack up against the unique style the Knicks offer.

Knicks are average, Lakers are good. No need to see the numbers on this one. AKA I'm composing this post offline due to my current location and can't get to them. But seriously, do you need to see that the Knicks aren't quite on the Lakers level posted in numerical fashion?

Psst! Hey Donnie Walsh!

This is the section where I usually will take the Knicks next opponent and suggest a legal NBA trade that is feasible for both teams and achieves the Knicks primary objectives moving forward, which are to move Eddy Curry, move Jared Jeffries, or maybe get something for Marbury. Like I said, I'm offline typing this, but being one of the 5 best trade machine Wizards of all time (If they had an all-NBA Trade Machine team, I would be the KG to Simmons' Pierce), I can put together something from memory. Warning, this one is just plain stupid and features me rambling about my obsession with Kobe by the end.

Knicks get: Lamar Odom (14 and change/1 year), first round pick in 2012
Lakers get: Eddy Curry (9.8 million/3 years), David Lee (1.8 million/1 year)

If you are the Lakers you jump on this one. Odom is a ticking time bomb of team chemistry and the single greatest issue the Lake Show might have to an NBA title this season. LA can eat Curry because a Bynum/Lee/Gasol rotation is just scary and LA has so much money tied up past 2010 right now, 9 million isn't going to change anything. How do the Lakers not win the title this year with this team? Lee sets great screens and gives you two looks for Kobe on a pick and roll, rebounds well off the iso plays, and can defend the Duncan's and Dirks of the West, and can come help on KG or Big Z in a finals. Defense and rebounding wins titles, and the Lakers would be beasts on the glass with this trade, and it's not a retarded Clippers situation with Z-Bo and Kamen and Camby, because Gasol can play the high post if they need to go super big and the Lakers need to give Bynum and Gasol a spell during the year or they will wear down. Lee is also insurance for Bynum breaking another 14 bones or whatever injury he wants to get. The Knicks jump on dumping Curry at all costs, even Lee. Knicks write 2008 off with this trade, but the Knicks need to move Curry to have a future in the NBA, and with Miami heating up trade talks for the Matrix with other teams, the Knicks need to act now. If Curry isn't in a Miami uniform by New Years, then Lee is going to have to go to move Eddy, and Odom is at least entertaining, coming back to the Northeast, and can play multiple positions, Odom can play in Dantoni's system.

Knicks can't get a pick off LA until 2012 due to the Gasol trade taking LA's pick in 2010, but the Knicks could use a first rounder to play with since they are gonna lose their 2010 first rounder to Utah. Plus this opens up my wildest dream, Odom is off the books in 2009, Lee and Curry are off the 2009 books, Harrington opts out after his All-Star year to go make 16 million somewhere, Knicks have a 2009 max contract to give out (69 million - 23 million off from Curry/Lee/Harrington = 46 million, Knicks get to save 7.5 million on Mobley = 38.5 million, cap will be about 61 million next  year), Kobe shocks the NBA and opts after this year under the direction of David Stern, and signs to play in MSG and the Knicks still have a max to give out in 2010 to Bosh. This scenario has zero chance of happening, but man would I love it. Duhon/Rubio off the draft, Kobe/Nate, Chandler/Q-Rich, Gallinari/Chandler, Thomas. It's not a bad 2009 team and deadly in 2010 with Rubio/Kobe/Chandler/Gallinari/Bosh starting, too bad I have to wake up from the dream.

Knicks Prediction:

Prediction? Pain.

Lakers 129-Knicks 101 (season record: 6-1 straight up, 4-3 ATS)

Thanks for reading!
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com