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Cheap, Frugal Or Smart?

deepsixersuede on Aug 13 at 7:46

Brian, the fact that our coach spent time in the gym with our players this summer has lessened the summer league team fiasco a bit in my mind. I think our young guys may pick up the P.O. better than some of our vets,they have less bad habits and may be easier to adapt to something different. The Kapono move was great, he will blossom with all our slashers and may be a double figure scorer with this group although Reggie!s toughness will be missed and has to be replaced from within. I like Watson alot but they may feel L.Will., with a better outside shot, can be better than him and the fact he put his numbers up on a losing team with an open system offensively may feel he isn!t worth the risk. The Brezec and Ivey moves to me are fine for what we are paying because Jason may be a non factor for 1/2 the year and Royal can defend at least. By the way, I have a feeling they consider Kapono as much a s.g. as a s.f. with the lack of s.g. additions and if Iggy or Royal are out there with him they can always cover the toughest score.

I see where you're coming from, but even if they do see CJ Watson as a similar player to Lou, doesn't it make sense to add depth at the position and shooting in general to the roster when the guy you're adding is so young? I mean, the plan is to move forward w/ young guys and build for maybe 2 years down the road, don't you think having a guy like Watson in the guard rotation would work with that plan?

Von Wafer (2 years, $10M)

Is that what he's getting to play for Olympiacos in Greece? Wow, he really made out on that one.

Yup, here's the link. Maybe he's a really good fit over there.

johnemagee on Aug 13 at 9:47

The sixers operated this off season in not only an 'economic tightening' manner (the summer league was not only cheap but a waste of time and possible development for two key pieces to the future of the franchise) but demonstrated that they are already looking past next season, which means next off season is going to be similar, the sixers seem to be operating on the 2011 luxury tax being a foregone conclusion. Next summer is the 2010 bonanaza, but many of those players won't get big contracts, and functional contributory players will not be pursued by the sixers (in my mind) for the same reasons they weren't this off season.

It's not a matter of the players to me, it's a matter of the approach to me that indicates this will happen next off season as well...and that right now the only thing that matters to comcast is that 2011 luxury tax, more than anything else

OK, but acting this summer to avoid being over the tax next summer could be seen as cheap, frugal or smart. Do you think they're doing it simply because they don't want to pay the tax and they want their portion of the shared boon to non-tax teams (cheap). Do you think they're doing it because they want to preserve the limited cap space they'll have the following summer, and at that point they should have a better idea what they have on their roster and how they should spend that money (frugal?) or do you think they took a look at who was available and decided none of them were going to move the needle enough to warrant locking yourself into a deal that would effectively more than double in value next season (smart)?

The moves have a clearly defined goal, avoid the lux. tax, I think what I'm asking for if your opinion as to what that means. Call it a faith in the front office/ownership reading.

johnmagee reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 11:54

My opinion is that the primary and secondary goals are avoiding the tax, the CJ Watson thing was the telltale one - the cheap offer to miller as well - not even two years - two years for miller wouldn't have been awful - the motivation is not building the best roster - it's not about winning right now - it's about the bottom line - pure and simple - that's the only motivation I see in their moves.

Fair enough. Here's a question for you, though. If they could've signed Miller to a two-year deal, which I don't think they could have, but let's just say they got him for 2 years/$14M. That would mean they would be spending around $17M for him next season (factoring in the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax, plus the $3M or so you get for being under the tax). That would also make any player they paid the MLE for next season a cost of about $11M, factoring in the lux tax again. Would Miller and MLE player X make this team a real contender next season? Would they be worth $28M?

johnmagee reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 12:13

I hate that discussion, I really do, because right there, that's a financial discussion NOT a basketball discussion. Would 2 years of miller be better or worse for the sixers ON THE COURT?

That's the question.

To answer your question, I don't know. Would they be better this season with Miller? Yes, I think that's probably safe to say. But having Miller on the team would limit the minutes Jrue can play as a rookie and it may mean a longer time before he can step in as the starter. Added minutes for Jrue this season may mean he's ready to start next season, which would undoubtedly mean a better defense next season than with Miller at the point. So I don't think you can unequivocally say they'd be better next season with Miller than without.

I also don't think you can really have the on the court argument without at least taking the financial concerns into account. Forget about cheap or not, when you're dealing with a cap and a luxury tax, you have to factor in the percentage you're using for certain players, and the ramifications of bad decisions. If you don't, you turn into the Knicks.

johnmagee reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 12:22

The knicks are not the only team that constantly spends regardless of tax implications, they just do it badly.

I point you to Los ANgeles and the NBA champions. Dallas has basketball considerations first and tax considerations are secondary.

The lakers wanted ron artest cause they thought he'd be an upgrade over ariza (debateable) and were willing to pay what it took to get him, they knew it would make the tax payment but they wanted to win - they negotiated hard with lamar but in the end they kept him - and that causes more tax but makes them better on the court than without him. If it was the sixers this off season they would have made one year offers to both of em and then let em walk if they said no - regardless of impact.

Why make offers to players if you don't think they make your team better - and if you thnk they'll make your team better, why bother making one year offers you know they're going to turn down?

Oh yeah, to fool the fans into thinking you're trying to win when really all you care about is your bottom line.

The Lakers are a very poor example. They're coming off a championship and their window is obviously right now. They're willing to pay the tax because they have a legitimate shot at winning a championship.

I think a better corollary would be the Raptors. They're spending willy-nilly on questionable players, simply to mollify Bosh and win now and it's going to lead to two things. They're not going to improve much in the win-loss category and they're going to be paying way too much money for a sub-par roster for years to come.

Maybe New Orleans is an even better example. They paid way too much for Peja, among others, now they don't have the financial flexibility to improve the team, in fact they're giving away players for nothing.

Signing guys for more years than you think is reasonable leads to contracts like Willie Green's. Take a look at the Warrior's roster and payroll for another example of what happens when you start handing out long contracts to middling players.

I'm not saying the bottom line isn't the primary concern this summer, but there's a lot of evidence that they do still care about winning. If saving money was the only concern, the Evans for Kapono trade wouldn't have been made. They've also shown in the past, as recently as last summer, that they're willing to pay to move the team forward.

Isn't it possible that there just weren't any moves that moved the needle enough to warrant the expense in their eyes?

Jake reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 14:44

Good stuff, Brian. I think paying $25 mil/5 years for Lou Will strapped us a bit. We could have picked up CJ Watson or any number of other guys had Ed not overpaid the young gunner. If he doesn't prove himself useful this year, Lou's contract might look worse than Willie Green's (though not nearly as bad as Sammy's). I'd add that I'll be quite surprised if he proves himself a capable starter... after four years, it's hard to believe he can start at either guard position. So, why's he starting this year and why'd Ed pay him that much money? It really makes no sense to me.

Legitimate thoughts. Lou is going to have to prove he was worth that contract (which I didn't mind at the time). Actually, taking a look at the comments on that post, some of the questions we're asking now were brought up at the time. Did the team see him as the PG of the future when they gave him the deal?

Here's a comp that Joe came up with at the time, these are four players who got nearly full MLE money at the same point in their careers. Check out how Lou measured up. Another to throw in the mix is Sasha Vujacic.

johnmagee reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 17:25

Actually - i know the lakers were a bad example - but not for the reasons you think

Remember I live in the market, the reason the lakers don't care about the tax has to do with the cache of a lakers game - those hollywood idiots show up and pay much more for thier seats than anyone else - thus they always have more home court revenue than any other city as long as they stay above average - they could have let odom go and still sold out every one of those high priced seats...to them the tax is no disincentive cause they make gobs and gobs of money on tickets compared to other teams - kind of like your yankees tried to do but failed :)

Eh, I don't think the Yanks are complaining about anything these days.

I am mixed as it appears you are, Brian. I owned my own company for many years and it is hard for others to understand decisions w/out being an owner. I overall believe the Sixers are being realistic. I think (and hope) that they will go into luxury tax WHEN they have a possible contending club. But this year is a building year w/ the young players maturing 1 more year. There is no reason to pay a tax when it will not make a difference in the very end, winning it all!

I guess the big question is whether they passed on any moves that could've taken them a step closer to winning it all two or three years down the road because of financial concerns this year or next. I'm not sure there's an easy answer to that question.

It is interesting that the Sixers ranged from 4th-7th in payroll from 2002-2007. They typically had a payroll in the 70M range. When did the Lux tax come into effect?

In the past 2 years the Sixers are one of many teams coming in just under the Lux tax (this year well under it.) So is the new philosophy a permanent change (they did look to sell the team a few years back?) Or just a temp issue related to low expectations both in terms of wins and gate revenue?

The issue that gets to me is how they would only need to pay the tax next year. They are well under the tax this year, and have lots of money coming off in 2 years. It seems like a few mil tax for only one season is a s,mall price to pay if you can get a great value on a young player you need (like a Gortat or Sessions.) As discussed earlier, they will not have tons of cap space in 2 years either way, so other than the tax there is no real reason not to get the best players you can.

Well, last year was the result of planning to improve the team. This year, maybe they think they've learned their lesson. The last time they over-inflated their payroll it took how many years to get cap space?

In two years they're also going to have to extend Thad, so that cap space will probably be of the use it or lose it variety, like it was last summer. Not sure if that matters, but there it is.

I'm guessing had they won more games, drawn more fans or gotten to the 2nd round they would have at least used their money under the tax this summer.

Their payroll during the 11/12 season will be about 40mill. However they have to extend Young and Smith's contracts. Smith may not be that expensive, but Young won't come cheap. Will he demand a salary at Igoudala's range?

Also why pay a luxury tax when you won't can't even sell out half the seats in your building? How much would a player at MLE help your team improve? and would it be enough to get more people to come to the games?

johnmagee on Aug 13 at 19:14

People will not come until the team wins - it's not the other way around

Michael Vick Signed With The Eagles?! WTF?!

Holy crap! I bet McNabb's psyched about that.

DeanH reply to Brian on Aug 13 at 23:30

McNabb lobbied for Vick to be signed. It appears he was signed for McNabb's sake, actually. McNabb is on CSN now and talking very high and happy about it. Weird???

Very, very weird. Initially I thought this was another blindsiding, like the Kolb pick.

Can't really get my mind around this.

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