Tuck: Is The NBA Salary Cap Floor A Blessing Or Curse?

The new NBA CBA features a salary cap floor.  Why?  So that teams like the Sixers, Magic, and Jazz can’t just have a team of rookie contracts and cheap veterans totaling nowhere near the actual salary cap.  You can rebuild, but you have to pay the players to do it.  The floor is for the players and the luxury tax is for the teams.  Is it a blessing or a curse though?  Let’s examine.

The salary cap is expected to go up this year to around $63 million.  The floor is 90% of that, so around $56 million.

The Orlando Magic today signed veteran SG Ben Gordon to a 2 year, $9 million deal, with the second year a club option.

The Magic are paying about $12 million to make Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson, and Al Harrington not play for them this season. After that, currently the other 12 players under contract are scheduled to make about $30 million.

So as bad as the Gordon signing looks on paper, and it is awful for a player who hasn’t been good since 2009, the Magic still have to spend another $14 million to get to the floor. They could spend that on 3 players, or possibly 4 if they decide to exercise their team option of $2.5 million on Jason Maxiell and let him walk.

Based on the Gordon signing, the Magic might be content to grossly overpay veterans to make it happen.  Certainly that is a system that works well for NBA players, especially vets.  They keep cashing checks as teams like Orlando just can’t sign cheap options or refuse to pay high price tags.

It certainly creates confusion for fan bases wondering why they’d spend so much money on a flat tire.  It makes you wonder what a franchises goals are when they trade away more expensive, but much more productive players like Aaron Afflalo and waive a productive player like Jameer Nelson to save $6 just to spend it on…

Baseball has a bad system with no salary cap.  It isn’t crazy that a player can make $30 million in a year, but it’s crazy a team can spend $200 million.  And equally as bad another team can spend $30 million on their entire roster.

So I think the floor is a good idea, but how it is executed by certain teams leaves me with doubt.  Ideally it should be more about forcing teams to compete, not just getting vets paid.

Blessing or a curse?  I’d say it’s a blessing that will cause fans to curse.