There is plenty of time to start getting into NBA trade deadline talk in the weeks ahead, but for now I'd like to point out what theme of this year's talks is going to be. It is the same theme we heard over the offseason, only it will be louder as the deadline approaches. Money, money, money.
Gone are the wishful thoughts of the offseason where everyone still has a chance. Now non-contending teams have been smacked with the harsh reality that their team is not getting any better and in many cases is getting worse. So the time to cut bait and save some money is drawing near. Simmons made this point in his recent column:
The long-term point: Until the NBA revamps its financial system after the 2010-11 season, we're going to see a handful of teams willingly weaken themselves just to save money. We got a taste with the Shaq/Jefferson trades this past summer, but this will be different. This will feel more like baseball: the "haves" preying on the "have-nots." This year's luxury-tax line is $69.2 million. Next year's line will drop to between $62 million (worst-case scenario) and $65 million (reasonable). What do you do if you own New Orleans, a .500 team that has $73.1 million committed this season and $71.8 million committed next season? Do you just suck it up and lose $12 million in tax money for these next two seasons on top of significant revenue losses? Or do you do something to change your destiny?
Here are just a few links and notes from around the league (which I'm sure is just scratching the surface) after the break:
On Sunday, the Wizards remained pessimistic in the extreme about Arenas' future. Even if the local and federal governments don't bring indictments -- and no one has the slightest inkling about which way that will go -- the Wizards not only think the league will ultimately throw the book at Arenas, but more than one employee believes that the incident will be the catalyst for wholesale housecleaning, on the court and in the front office
Concerned about a lackluster start that has left them in ninth place in the Western Conference and motivated not to pay a hefty luxury-tax bill for moderate success, the Utah Jazz appear willing to trade anyone on their roster but point guard Deron Williams(notes), multiple league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
the Cavs have been on the phones taking a look at their options with some or all of their non-guaranteed contracts. There are a handful of teams looking to reduce their payroll. Two franchises -- the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns -- have already made minor trades to dump salary. The New Orleans Hornets have been attempting to clear off salary for the last few weeks and had a trade to do so last week fall apart. The Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards are also teams believed to be considering making changes to save money.
If you listen closely, you'll hear opportunity knocking. Similar to the Cavs, the Celtics should be buying in this market. The Celtics even have the built in advantage that they don't have to avoid future salaries the way the Cavs do (for fear of losing LeBron).
The C's have nearly $7M in expiring contracts between Scal, Tony, and Giddens to offer anyone looking to dump some salary. The C's can't completely sacrifice the future, but I think they'd be silly to not take a little long term pain in order to give this team a shot at the title this year.
Bonus Link: CelticsHub takes a look at 3 different roads the Celtics could go down.