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The "Stretch" Exception Could Help The Celtics

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A New York Times article is reporting that before talks broke off, there were three new rules that actually were agreed upon.  They are as follows.

With N.B.A. Talks Halted, Sides Predict a Meeting Next Week - NYTimes.com

There will be a one-time "amnesty" provision that will allow each team to waive a player (with pay) without his salary counting against the salary cap.

There will be a "stretch" exception, available every year, allowing teams to waive players and stretch out their remaining salary over a number of seasons, thus reducing the annual salary-cap hit.

The midlevel exception will be set around $5 million, a decrease of $800,000, but more than double what the owners were seeking.

As I mentioned before, I don't think the amnesty rule helps us much at all.  In theory you could cut Paul Pierce and re-sign him immediately to a minimum deal (he's getting the money either way, and this way he gets more).  However, the league would be stupid not to put in provisions against such chicanery.  Notice I didn't say it wouldn't.  If nothing else, they've proven they are capable of any shortsightedness.

The midlevel isn't moving much at all, so I'm not sure there's any big change to discuss there.  At least the Celtics will have a vehicle with which to go after a few free agents.

When I read the description of the stretch exception I can't help but think that the Celtics will find a way to utilize that in the next 12 months or so.

Here's a scenario.  The Celtics are after a free agent who fits into the mid level pricepoint.  They want to upgrade their roster without sacrificing the Dwight money earmarked for 2012.  Other teams have no problem offering a guy a 2 or 3 year deal.  Danny can offer him a 2 or 3 year deal (or 4 if he's really got a blank check), use his services for the next year (hopefully contending for a title - you know, ...if there's a season), then waive him next offseason if he needs that extra $5M.  Sure, you still have to pay the guy, but the cost is deferred into the future.  

Now, if you do this enough times and you are looking at a lot of dead money, but once in a while, especially for guys with smaller deals, it is a no brainer.  In fact, I'm sure agents are looking at this as a way to get some of their lower tier clients more money.

Anyway, food for thought.