There's been all kinds of trade rumors surrounding Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. And the recurring theme I keep hearing from reporters (who are presumably hearing it from front office "sources") goes something like this:
But team X is reluctant to part with its young players Y and Z unless [Paul/Howard] commits to signing an extension.
Excuse me, you guys know that there was this "lockout" thing, and that there was a new CBA agreed to right? And, oh, by the way, one of the clauses that the owners agreed to goes something like this (via Chris Sheridan):
_ Extension-and-trades permitted, except maximum length of such contract is 3 years (e.g. 2 new years if player during last year of his old contract and max annual increases are 4.5 percent. If a player signs a contract extension for a longer period or higher amount that would have been permitted for an extension-and-trade, then the team is prohibited from trading the player for a period of six months following the date of the extension. If a team acquired a player in a trade, then, for a period of six months following the date of the trade, the team is prohibited from signing the player to a contract extension for a longer period or higher amount than would have been permitted for an extension-and-trade.
What this boils down to is this. Chris Paul and/or Dwight Howard can EITHER:
- sign an extension with 4.5% annual raises (and the extension is capped at 3 years if it is part of a trade)
- opt-out and sign a brand-new deal with 7.5% raises
This means, unless CP3 or DH12 actually wants to take less money (like LeBron, Wade and Bosh did), they aren't going to agree to any extension no matter what team they get traded to, and most executives are going to end up holding their breath until they get blue in the face waiting for that to happen. That is, even if he wants to stay with the new team, he won't sign an extension. Instead, he'll opt out and sign a new contract with 7.5% annual raises. The reason, as Sheridan points out, that Paul and/or Howard want to be traded now to whatever their preferred destination is, is that the new team will hold the "Bird rights" and be able to pay more. So, for example, if Paul really wants to play for the Lakers, he'd rather be traded to them (where he'll opt-out and re-sign with them next summer), than play out the seasn in New Orleans (when he could still opt-out and sign with the Lakers, but for less money in this scenario -- even if we ignored the cap).
It seems to me like the media are pretending that things still work the way they did in the old CBA. Paul and Howard are not going to extend & trade (the way Kevin Garnett did when he was traded from Minnesota to Boston), so I find it hard to believe that potential suitors are trying to swing a deal with that provision. I find it much more likely that the average NBA beat reporter has no idea at all what offers have or have not been made for Paul and/or Howard, but that doesn't make for a very interesting story, does it?