One thing no one seems to be talking about is the possibility, and ramifications of, a hard cap. If the cap is in the $50-55M range and cannot be exceeded, and if there is no grandfather clause, then all these luxury cap teams will be waiving about half their team.
Take the Miami Glitter, with some $43.2M for just The Big 3egos this season; and with raises, by the 2011-2012 season they would be due about $47.7M for Their Three Highnesses. If the hard cap was set at $53M, then they would have to fill the rest of the roster with vet min contracts. No, vet min runs nearer $900K (depending on years in the league) and if it is a hard cap you could only afford 5 or 6 of these. O.K. maybe a couple of vet mins and the rest rookies. No, it will have to be 2nd round or FA rookie contracts to stay under the new hard cap.
But aren't they doing that this year, you ask? Well no. If we take the "rest" of the team, let's call them the Miami Paupers, just the next three (Miller, Haslem, and Joel Anthony) "playing at a discount" ring up $11M this year and are due around $12M next year. As it stands, these six players would tally in at over $59 million next season. Right now, with only 11 players under contract, they are at $56M and even with vet mins filling out the roster they will almost certainly be over the current "soft" cap. They don't have the MLE to work with this year since they started under the cap, but you can bet they plan to use in next year. However with a hard cap no one will have the MLE because it is an "allowed" cap exceeder.
Looking at the Celtics situation, they are currently committed to $70.5M for seven (let's call it $68.5M for seven with Nate and without Rasheed) players for '11-'12 and $28.6 for three (Pierce, Rondo, Bradley) the following season. Even considering a 30% cut (the owners are proposing) that is $48M for seven players and with a hard cap of $53M, the rest of the roster will have to come from the remaining $5M (whoopee, we can afford minimum vets). My guess is that the owners will get their hard cap, and maybe a 25% across the board reduction in salaries, with a shortened (with a corresponding reduction of the already percentage-reduced salaries) season with the hard cap to be implemented the next season. Maybe some kind of voiding of all contracts with the players becoming restricted free agents--now won't that be a fun scenario to watch play out? With a hard cap, your offer sheet better make sense for your own team because the original team may let you "win" your way into a six man team "because you splurged right up to the cap." My God, I think that off-season might be more entertaining than the regular season to follow!
Almost any way you look at it the post-CBA-negotiation NBA will be a changed animal. If you think there are some FA's this summer that are getting squeezed, next year is likely to see an entire league pared down. I personally think a lot of owners are throwing around money this off season in the pretty certain liklihood that most of it will be never be paid. Maybe someone that knows hockey can shed some light on how their renegotiation played, and is continuing to play, out. [Discuss on CG Forums!]