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Friday, September 26, 2014

How Agents Make Money Out Of Rookie Contracts

(originally posted elsewhere)

The general rule for agents is that their earnings off of negotiated player contracts are capped at 4% of the player's salary. Indeed, 4% is an assumed amount unless otherwise agreed upon, as outlined in section 3(B) of the Standard Player Agent Contract:

If the Player receives compensation in excess of the minimum compensation applicable under the CBA for one or more playing seasons, the Agent shall receive a fee of four percent (4%) of the compensation received by the Player for each such playing season, unless a lesser percent (%) or amount has been agreed to by the parties [...]

In practice, this 4% is rarely deviated from. 4% is the norm, and rarely is it any different, especially in contracts involving the more powerful agents. There was an intriguing case involving Antoine Walker and agent Mark Bartelstein some years ago, in which Bartelstein had agreed the fairly unusual concession upon Antoine's signing of a contract with Atlanta of lowering his standard fee from 4% at the time of signing to 3%, at the player's discretion, if it was felt that Bartelstein 'wasn't doing a good job'. (The case went to arbitration over a disagreement over quite what that phrasing meant, and of how much Walker had to pay him. It was not in dispute that Walker owed Bartelstein, but merely how much, based on the arbiter's findings of whether Walker was entitled to pay only 3% or not. Bartelstein won the case and was awarded a judgement of $671,373.) But this case stands out for its novelty, and is certainly not par for the course.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Jusuf Nurkic revisited

This post from yesterday talks about how Nuggets drafteee Jusuf Nurkic was set to receive less than 120% of the rookie scale, the customary amount. And in doing so, it was mentioned that he would be the highest first round pick to ever do so.

Not quite. It turns out this is a misreporting on my part. Nurkic will receive less than the salary of the 120% rookie scale amount, but he will count on the cap for the 120% amount. Nurkic's buyout with Cedevita was for larger than the amount NBA teams can pay cap-exempt ($600,000 this season), and while teams are eligible to pay more than that amount in an international player's buyout, they must do so by putting any amount greater than that paid into the cap hit in the form of a signing bonus. This is not especially to do in a rookie scale contract, with its fixed parameters, but it is doable if sufficiently small. The figures listed for Nurkic were an even $350,000 smaller than what the full rookie scale would have been, and that is the extra amount of buyout Denver paid, charged as a signing bonus.

These rules were known to me, of course, and the practice is not uncommon. Bismack Biyombo, Andrea Bargnani and several others have been in this same situation, getting less than the full 120% in actual salary yet counting against the cap as the full 120% (and to anyone other than the people signing and receiving the cheques, i.e. us team building fans, only the cap number matters). Nevertheless, it was understood in the instance that the figures given were the actual cap hits and thus included the buyout signing bonus. It was counter checked and passed both tests. And yet now the opposite is said to be true, that Nurkic is signed for the full 120%, and that the whole issue is irrelevant.

There is a process we (I) go through in order to get salary information. It does not always work.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The amount of cap room teams have remaining

The bulk of free agency is behind us, maybe, but we're far from done. There follows a look at how much cap space NBA teams still have outstanding, which, with the exception of the occasions I blatantly do the opposite, will be presented without analysis as to how the situation came about.

All the teams that have cap space, or have had cap space this offseason, are included in the list. That is a total of fifteen teams and half the league. The other fifteen - Boston, Brooklyn, Denver, Golden State, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma City, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Toronto and Washington - are not mentioned at all.

All salary information is taken from this website's own salary pages. All figures taken from the day of publication - if subsequent trades/signings are made, then adjust accordingly.

It is vital - VITAL - that you understand what a "cap hold" is before you read this. An explanation can be found here.

Players with asterisks by their names are not under contract with the team, and cap holds are separated from active contracts by the use of a simple link break.




    Atlanta Hawks


Committed salary for 2014/15: $48,416,058 (view full forecast)

Remaining cap space: $10,839,436


Atlanta has made only one signing in free agency, facilitated by one trade, and the money jointly spent on Thabo Sefolosha and John Salmons is actually less than the money they were due to spend on Louis Williams. They started with cap space, added more possibly unnecessarily, and still haven't used up the extra bit, let alone dip into the reserves. I say "possibly unnecessarily" because it does not appear as though they have looked to do much with it, got shot down when they did, and the list of candidates is really running out. Here is their current position:

Al Horford - $12,000,000
Paul Millsap - $9,500,000
Jeff Teague - $8,000,000
Kyle Korver - $6,253,521
Thabo Sefolosha - $4,150,000
DeMarre Carroll - $2,442,455
Dennis Schroder - $1,690,680
John Jenkins - $1,312,920
Pero Antic - $1,250,000
John Salmons* - $1,000,000
Mike Muscala - $816,482

Elton Brand* - $4,800,000
Gustavo Ayon* - $2,850,000
Adreian Payne* - $1,546,100
Shelvin Mack* - $1,148,163
Mike Scott* - $1,115,243
Cartier Martin* - $915,243

Renouce Ayon, Brand and Martin, and that's $10,839,436 to spend in cap space. But what on?

They need an extra big and an extra scoring guard. Which they could have had in Lou Williams and Lucas Nogueira. Which they traded for a chance at star power. Which they got absolutely no bites on. The decent but low ceilinged Hawks need a great infusion of talent, something they don't have and stand no obvious chance of getting, despite the spending power. They could at least give it a go with Eric Bledsoe, however inevitable a matched offer sheet is. As it is, the Hawks gave up two of their very few assets for what has amounted to no returning assets. Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha don't count. Could a deal to create space not have been worked out after they had found someone to use it on? It's what Cleveland did.

Friday, July 11, 2014

"Consideration In Trades And Trade Structure" - a league instruction manual

At the end of the July Moratorium each year, the league sends out a memo containing all of the findings from the audit it conducted during it. That audit is what the moratorium period is for - the moratorium is one long end-of-season book-keep in which it crunches all the numbers related to revenue, BRI, escrow, tax and the like, and makes determinations on both the past and the future. That memo generally filters through to the mainstream media - it has to, because it contains all the things that will make the league work next year, such as the salary cap numbers and exact size of the luxury tax threshold. It also contains things such as the latest projection of the season after next ($66.3 million salary cap, $80.7 million luxury tax threshold) and the sizes of next year's exceptions.

This year, however, the league sent out a second memo. Entitled "Consideration in Trades and Trade Structure", it is a reminder and/or clarifier to teams about some of the specifics of what they can and cannot do in trades. Seemingly, they felt this was necessary

Considering the presence of this memo suggests that some teams do not entirely understand the rules (or, perhaps, have been intent on pushing them back a bit), it is self-evidently the case that those of us outside of the league will not fully know them either. So, here goes.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Complete History Of NBA Luxury Tax Payments, 2001-2014

This website and its sole proprietor keep a spreadsheet containing to-the-dollar information on all luxury tax paid to date, updated annually. Here is the latest update.

In the 13 seasons since the luxury tax was created, it has been applicable in eleven seasons; in those eleven seasons, 24 NBA franchises have paid over $1 billion in payroll excess. The exact details can be found here.


(Sorted alphabetically - click to enhance.)

(Sorted by expenditure - click to enhance.)


(Orange cells denote the team that won the championship that year.)

Please use the spreadsheet freely for resource purposes, and feel equally free to suggest any improvements. However, please do not just take it, and if you do cite its data somewhere, please acknowledge its source. While the content is not my IP, I did spend a long time sourcing the relevant information, and in return, I seek only credit and a few page hits for that. Thank you.

Monday, July 07, 2014

2014 Summer League rosters - Miami

Ivan Aska - Murray State graduate Aska has played two professional seasons, splitting last one between Greece and Puerto Rico. He averaged 15.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.4 fouls in 29.9 minutes per game for Ikaros, then averaged 6.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 fouls in 13.8 minutes per game for Santurce. The 6'7 power forward never really developed at Murray State, saved for an improved free throw stroke he has subsequently lost again, but he brings plenty of athleticism to the table, easily his most alluring quality. There are occasional post ups, straight line dribble drives and mid-range catch-and-shoots in there, but the athleticism doesn't seem to make him a shot blocker, and there are no NBA calibre skills other than it.

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