You get a solid idea from someone. You take it, and confirm it with your sources. It's confirmed correct. Then you publish that idea, and cite either your sources or nobody at all (rather than the someone from whom you took the idea). What are your thoughts? Is this okay? Respectful? Something else?

Getting Creative With Hassan Whiteside

May 17th, 2016 4 comments
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I have a request. I try to write posts which I believe are unique, in depth and insightful. I hope you agree. I therefore ask that you please not simply copy my work without providing proper credit. It feels rather awful to see my work being exploited. If just you ask, I am more than willing to help out anyone and everyone in any way I can.

A lot of teams talk about how they are a family. Aspire to it. But very few actually live it the way the Miami Heat organization does.

In the sports world of today, the Heat culture is rare. Heat players are nurtured. They are supported. They are disciplined. They remain family members for life (even if, eventually, they move on).

And, sometimes, they are asked to sacrifice personal successes for the greater good — be it with playing time, money, ego, or whatever else is necessary. Heat players have often sacrificed for the benefit of the organization, in ways that few other organizations can claim.

Hassan Whiteside will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He will undoubtedly be asked to make a sacrifice, a financial one, this summer.

He certainly doesn’t need to comply. After all, he’s about to turn 27 years old. He’s made just $3.3 million thus far during his NBA career. And at least one team, if not multiple teams, will surely dangle maximum money at him. That temptation can be hard to resist.

Nobody could reasonably fault Whiteside for acquiescing. Nobody can reasonably fault any player for seeking out as much earning power as he possibly can. NBA careers are short, and can end in a flash.

But the Heat will face a challenge this summer. Even though the salary cap is projected to rise to $92 million, and even though the Heat will start the summer with just $48 million in guaranteed contracts, finding enough room to allocate to Whiteside as well as Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson will be difficult, let alone finding the room to allocate to any potential upgrades on the open market.

The Heat will have more than enough cap space with which to dole out whatever contract Whiteside demands. But with only around $40 million of free cap space, allocation decisions will be both critical and limited. Paying more money to one player could potentially mean sacrificing another.

The question therefore needs to be asked: How can the Heat balance Whiteside’s desire to maximize his earning power with its need to maintain maximum flexibility?

Can the Heat build a contract that accomplishes both needs? Is it even possible?  Read more…

A Preliminary Look at the Miami Heat 2016 Offseason

May 16th, 2016 1 comment
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I have a request. I try to write posts which I believe are unique, in depth and insightful. I hope you agree. I therefore ask that you please not simply copy my work without providing proper credit. It feels rather awful to see my work being exploited. If just you ask, I am more than willing to help out anyone and everyone in any way I can (and do so on a regular basis behind the scenes).

This is the first in a series of eight posts that I believe will cover all aspects of the Miami Heat summer. This one is meant as the general overview. Each subsequent post will cover specific concepts related to this overview in greater detail, as well as provide specific possible scenarios. Though all eight posts are already written, I will publish one per day. 

The NBA salary cap is set to explode higher this summer, from $70 million this past season to an estimated $92 million.

The massive increase will give the Miami Heat a ton of cap room with which to maneuver. Choosing how to allocate it, however, will force the Heat to make some tough decisions.

Miami will start the summer with just six players under contract for the 2016-17 season – Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic, Josh McRoberts, Justise Winslow, Briante Weber ($219K guaranteed) and Josh Richardson (non-guaranteed). Those six players will cost a combined $49.8 million.

Miami will also retain the rights to potential restricted free agent Tyler Johnson.

Due to the nature of Johnson’s contract situation(1), at a cost of just a $1.2 million qualifying offer, Miami will be able to sit back this summer and wait for another team to sign him to an offer sheet which, by rule, can have a starting salary no higher than $5.6 million. Then, assuming it times everything correctly, after all of its cap space is used up elsewhere, the Heat can exceed the cap to match that offer sheet and retain him. If no other team engages with Johnson, the Heat can exceed the cap in signing him to a new contract with a starting salary as high as $6.2 million.

Taking into account the $49.8 million in 2016-17 salaries already on the books, the $1.2 million qualifying offer for Tyler Johnson, and applicable charges for open roster spots, Miami would be left with approximately $40 million in cap space with which to spend on its internal free agents – including Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson, among others – as well as any external free agents it may seek to target.

The Heat could increase its cap space even further if it were to waive and stretch the contract of McRoberts, which has two years and $11.8 million remaining on it. By doing so, the Heat would replace his $5.8 million and $6.0 million salaries for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, respectively, with a $2.4 million dead-money cap charge that would be placed onto the Heat’s books for each of the next five seasons (through 2020-21). That, in turn, would increase the Heat’s cap space to as much as $43 million.

If Miami could instead somehow find a taker for McRoberts without taking any salary back in return, cap space could grow to $45 million. Beyond player assets and a first-round pick all the way out in the year 2023, however, the Heat doesn’t have much with which to entice a potential trade partner to do so.

Choosing how to allocate that $40 million to $45 million of cap space will be of critical concern.  Read more…

NBA Increases 2016-17 Salary Cap Projection to $92M, Tax to $111M

April 16th, 2016 No comments
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I have a request. I try to write posts which I believe are unique, in depth and insightful. I hope you agree. I therefore ask that you please not simply copy my work without providing proper credit. It feels rather awful to see my work being exploited. If just you ask, I am more than willing to help out anyone and everyone in any way I can.

The NBA has issued updated projections for the 2016-17 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds.

All 30 teams were informed this week via league memorandum that the 2016-17 salary cap is now projected to be $92 million, while the luxury tax threshold is projected at $111 million.

The numbers represent a substantial increase from the NBA’s initial projections for the 2016-17 season issued last July – which called for a salary cap of $89 million and tax threshold of $108 million – as well as a massive increase over the 2015-16 cap and tax of $70.0 million and $84.74 million, respectively.

The primary reason for the jump is the new national TV rights deals with ESPN/ABC and TNT, nine-year pacts worth a combined $24 billion which will pump in an incremental $1.1 billion of revenues next season.

National TV revenues, however, aren’t the league’s only source of revenue growth. Not by a long shot.

The updated cap figures suggest the league is now expecting revenue growth for the 2015-16 season from sources other than national TV rights to come in at more than 9 percent, when the figures are finalized in less than three months.

The huge increase in revenues, which comes on the heels of a huge increase last season as well (8.2 percent year-over-year growth), will come from a variety of sources.

Gate receipts, which grew by about $100 million in 2014-15, will spike again, along with related concessions and merchandise sales, thanks in large part to the Golden State Warriors’ record-breaking 73 win season and the retirement tour of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.

Commissioner Adam Silver has also landed several new sponsorship deals and extensions of existing arrangements at rates that far outpace their previous amounts.  Read more…

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NBA Owners Approve Advertising on Jerseys Starting in 2017-18

April 15th, 2016 No comments
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The NBA board of governors on Thursday approved a three-year pilot program to allow teams to sell advertising space on their jerseys. The program will begin with the 2017-18 season, and extend through the 2019-20 season.

Each team will be responsible for selling its own sponsorships. The sponsorships, in the form of patches that will measure approximately 2.5-inches by 2.5-inches, will be placed on the front left of game jerseys. Teams can now start engaging with potential advertisers, giving them enough lead time to secure contracts.

The value individual teams could hope to generate from such jersey ad sales could range widely, from perhaps as low as $1 million per year for smaller-market or lower-profile teams such as the Memphis Grizzlies or Charlotte Bobcats to more than $15 million per year for larger-market or higher-profile teams such as the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers, which could equate to at least $150 million per year in total.

Individual teams will keep 50 percent of the ad money they generate, and contribute the remaining 50 percent to the revenue-sharing pool for the benefit of smaller-market, lower-revenue-generating teams.

The new revenue would be counted as basketball-related income in accordance with the terms of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement and, therefore, split with the players. It would also, in turn, increase future salary cap levels.

Based upon the currently negotiated split of revenues, players would be in line to receive 51 percent of the new revenues, which equates to $77 million of a potential $150 million total.

Based on the current salary cap calculation methodology, the new revenues would increase future cap levels by at least $2.2 million (excluding any associated adjustments).   Read more…

Miami Heat Signs Guard Briante Weber to Three-Year Deal

April 10th, 2016 No comments
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The Miami Heat ultimately got its man.

The Heat signed Briante Weber to a three-year, $1.9 million minimum-salary contract on Sunday.

The contract will pay out a guaranteed $12,355 for the rest of the season. The second year, at $874,363, will initially be 25 percent guaranteed while the third year, at $1.0 million, will initially be non-guaranteed.

Miami leveraged a small portion of its remaining taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the long-term signing (in much the same way as it previously did with second-round draft pick Josh Richardson).

The Heat quickly identified Weber, a defensive-minded guard in the mold of former Heat guard Patrick Beverley, as an attractive prospect after he went undrafted in June because of reconstructive surgery following a devastating right knee injury in which he tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee in January of last season at Virginia Commonwealth.

Despite going undrafted, Weber attracted interest from more than half the league. But he kept close ties with the Heat organization. In September, he failed a physical with the team prior to the start of its training camp. However, the Heat nonetheless signed him to a training camp contract on October 19, then waived him five days later so that it could direct him to its D-League affiliate.  Read more…

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Josh Richardson is Very Much A Part of Miami Heat’s Future

March 19th, 2016 4 comments
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The Miami Heat scouting and development machine continues to amaze, having churned out yet another talented prospect at a point in time in which the team needs it most.

With the Heat handcuffed in its ability to execute any roster-building trade scenarios for more than a year by a lack of tradable assets, and possessing just three total draft picks over the next six years (the bare minimum possible under NBA rules), Josh Richardson, its 2015 second-round pick, has transformed himself into a crucial roster component, validating the first-round grade placed upon him by general manager Pat Riley.

Richardson was rated 24th on the team’s draft board. The Heat snagged him with pick No. 40.

Richardson is the latest in a string of unlikely success stories that also includes undrafted guard Tyler Johnson and banished former second-round draft pick Hassan Whiteside. The prospect for success on players selected at such levels across the NBA is notoriously low, yet the Heat appears to have converted an unprecedented triple play which has the potential to lead it to a promising future.

Richardson’s story has been particularly unlikely. Not highly touted out of high school in 2011. An adequate four-year college career at Tennessee, after which most draft analysts had him being selected late into the second-round if at all. The victim of a roster crunch with the Heat that could very easily have left him without NBA work. An uninspiring first half of the first year of his pro career, during which he shot just 25.9 percent from the floor while being shuffled back and forth between Miami and Sioux Falls.

His emergence was borne primarily out of necessity. After the trade of Mario Chalmers and subsequent injuries to Tyler Johnson and Beno Udrih, Richardson’s minutes have started to soar. He now ranks seventh overall among rookies in minutes played since the All-Star break, 395, and first among second-round draft picks.

Still, to get those minutes in the game’s best league, one has to earn it.

Richardson has done just that — leading all NBA players in three-point shooting since the All-Star break at 64.1 percent, including an 83.3 percent mark versus tight defense and 60.6 percent when open. He’s hit at least one three-pointer in each of the last 10 games.  Read more…

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NBA and NBPA Agree to Shorten July Moratorium by Five Days

March 17th, 2016 No comments
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The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed to shorten the league’s moratorium period by five days for next season, according to a memo sent from the league office to its member teams on Thursday evening.

It will now last six days, from July 1 to July 6, with free agency beginning on July 7.

Both the NBA and the union had to agree to the change, since the moratorium rules fall under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an agreement which, as the name states, was collectively bargained. The agreement had called for the moratorium period to run from July 1-11 in 2016.

While teams can still sign their first-round draft picks and players to minimum salary contracts of up to two years in length, and make a few other specific moves that are not impacted by the salary cap, most transactions are prohibited during the moratorium period, including trades and most free-agent signings.

The change was surely inspired by DeAndre Jordan’s notorious free-agent flip-flop last summer that saw the center commit to sign with the Dallas Mavericks on July 3, only to renege on the verbal deal five days later and instead choose to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Clippers ownership, management and players converged on Jordan at his family’s home in Houston and helped change his mind, then stayed with him for the final hours until the signing could be made official at 12:01 am on July 9, effectively blocking the Mavericks organization from re-gaining access to him.

Technically, even verbal agreements aren’t allowed during moratorium. In theory, then, Jordan didn’t renege on the Mavericks. In practice, however, such verbal agreements are commonplace as early as July 1.

The rule change for next season allows players and teams to execute agreed-to deals faster, and is designed to help reduce second-guessing scenarios such as that with Jordan.

It does, however, come at a minor potential risk.  Read more…

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Is Avoiding the Tax Worth Watching Quality Free Agents Pass By?

March 11th, 2016 No comments
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This post is not a reflection of how I personally feel. I tend to agree with the approach the Miami Heat has taken. But I have been asked numerous times by frustrated fans as to why the Heat is so concerned about avoiding the luxury tax, and whether it is truly worth waiting so long to fill out the roster as quality free agents choose to sign elsewhere. This post is simply meant to address those questions, so that you can decide for yourselves. 

Pat Riley proclaimed in the days following the All-Star break that the Miami Heat’s trade deadline dealings in no way impacted the team’s competitiveness in its quest to make and advance through the playoffs.

He was right.

The Heat was $11.3 million over the NBA’s $84.74 million luxury tax threshold on July 10th. It rather brilliantly executed five trades over the course of the following eight months, two at the trade deadline, in achieving a season-long goal to fall below it.

In accomplishing that goal, the Heat managed to trade away just one rotation player (Mario Chalmers(1), but even at that, trading him, through a series of subsequent developments, also led to the emergence of newly-minted rotation player Josh Richardson) and just three future second-round draft picks.

And when the Heat did have the opportunity to materially improve its competitiveness, when Joe Johnson became available, it did not hesitate, not even for the mere eight additional days that would have prevented it from vaulting right back into the same tax territory it had spent eight months to avoid. Riley took care of that problem by asking Beno Udrih to accept a small discount in conjunction with his waiver, a request Udrih graciously granted.

The result? The Heat is now $46,108 below the luxury tax threshold, despite perhaps being in better shape competitively than it was to start the season.  Read more…

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Miami Heat Complete Buyout Agreement with Beno Udrih

February 29th, 2016 3 comments
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Miami Heat point guard Beno Udrih is out of commission for three months after undergoing surgery on Thursday to repair a torn plantar plate in his right foot. Apparently, however, that doesn’t mean he can’t still contribute.

The Heat has been locked in a seemingly endless on-again, off-again battle with the luxury tax thus far this season. On July 10th, it was $11.3 million over the threshold. Eight months and five trades later, Miami accomplished its season-long goal to drop below the tax threshold at the trade deadline, by a mere $218,000.

Then, on Thursday, Joe Johnson was released from his contract by the Brooklyn Nets. He cleared waivers two days later. Just over an hour after that, he was an official member of the Heat, signing a rest-of-season minimum salary contract. The $261,894 salary cap hit associated with the contract vaulted the Heat right back over the tax line, by $43,894. 

Earlier today, the Heat waived Udrih in conjunction with a buyout. According to Eric Pincus, Udrih agreed to give up $90,000, which again takes the Heat below the tax threshold, presumably this time for good. The Heat now officially stands at $46,106 below the tax level. The roster currently stands at 13, two players below the 15-player maximum.  Read more…

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Miami Heat Sign Joe Johnson to Rest-of-Season Minimum Salary Deal

February 28th, 2016 No comments
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Pat Riley wanted to add what could very well be a core piece to the Miami Heat roster, and he apparently wasn’t willing to wait to do it.

Just days after extolling the virtues of cleansing his team of its repeater tax issues, Riley officially signed coveted guard-forward Joe Johnson to a rest-of-season minimum-salary contract just an hour or so after he cleared waivers on Saturday night.

The move vaults the Heat right back over the luxury tax threshold.

If Riley had instead signed Johnson a mere eight days later, on March 6th (or thereafter), Miami would have instead remained below the tax threshold.

Johnson will earn $414,481, of which the Heat will owe just $261,894. The rest will also be paid out by the Heat but be reimbursed to the team by the league office at the end of the season.

The true cost of the Johnson signing for the Heat could be significantly higher, however, if Riley doesn’t take action to drop the team below the tax threshold by April 13th. That’s the final day of the regular season, the day in which the Heat’s team salary will be locked in for the purposes of the tax calculation.

Crossing the tax line would impact both this and future seasons.

The Johnson signing puts the Heat $43,894 over the line, which would trigger a tax payment of $109,736. Crossing the line would also disqualify the Heat from receiving a tax distribution – a pro rata payout given to non-taxpaying teams totaling 50 percent of the payments made by tax teams – currently projected at $2.6 million.

The cost of Johnson’s contract would therefore effectively become: $262K in salary + $110K in luxury taxes + $2.6 million in tax distributions forgone = $2.9 million.  Read more…

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