How does the new CBA affect my team? It’s the number one question fans are asking themselves right now, and with Washington—a big market team armed with a promising youthful foundation and an ability to create profit—nothing is different. Ever since the Gilbert Arenas extension was signed, the Wizards have been bogged down with a franchise player who didn’t know how to act like one, and it haunts them to this day in the form of Rashard Lewis’ massive contract.
Where the team goes from this moment forward will be huge. Immediate expectations are tempered, but as John Wall continues his ascension into the league’s elite stratosphere, that won’t last. The team is built for the future, and that future revolves around keeping Wall in a Washington uniform. Let’s take a quick look at three key provisions that could work to the Wizards benefit in the years ahead.
Amnesty Clause: In comparison to the last CBA, this is the most fun addition from a fan’s viewpoint. One hideous contract can be stricken form a team’s payroll. In the process, said player is waived, giving his team the opportunity to replace his value with a smaller price tag. The Wizards have Rashard Lewis—one of the league’s most notorious pay check collectors—on their books right now. His 11 points and six rebounds per game stand to make approximately $45 million over the next two years, which is kind of the whole reason owners were so angry in the first place. He’s the most likely candidate to be waived, although Andray Blatche stands to make about $30 million over the next four years. That doesn’t sound too good, either.
Minimum Team Salary: The minimum salary a team must afford its roster has been bumped up to 85% of the salary cap in the deal’s first two years, and 90% from year three going forward. Last year the Wizards had the league’s fifth lowest payroll (lower than the Hornets, Bobcats, and Raptors for those paying attention) which is not something you’d like to see if you root for them to evenly compete. If this were enacted last year, Washington would have been forced to spend roughly $9 million more than they originally spent. Despite the Wizards having a sleeping giant of a fan base, they’ve acted like a small market team these last few years. This will change. Money will be spent.
Maximum Player Salary: From Yahoo! Sports: “A player finishing his rookie scale contract will be eligible to receive a maximum salary equal to 30 percent of the salary cap if he signs with his prior team and meets certain performance benchmarks: first, second or third team All-NBA two times; an All-Star starter two times; or a one-time MVP.”
This applies directly to only a few special players, and John Wall could be one of them. The performance benchmarks are steep, but so are Wall’s abilities, and how far of a leap he makes before his qualifying offer kicks in for the 2014-15 season could only help himself become one of the league’s highest paid players. If he were thinking of leaving Washington, a lot of money would be left on the table. Obvious good news.