With Butler Trade, Hornets Smoothly Slipping Toward Solvency
While the Clips get an able back-up wing that, yes, New Orleans could have used, the Hornets sit $4 million closer to the tax line. For every dollar over the threshold a team sits come June 30, said team must pay $1, which is then spread among the teams under the line. Before trading Tyson Chandler for Emeka Okafor and Butler for squat, New Orleans was some $10 million over the tax line. Now the team is less than $4 million away from escaping the tax.
Teams often shed a few million at the trade deadline for tax reasons. GMs (non-Pritchard division) like to help each other out, as self-defeating as that sounds, and high-salary teams can often cobble together proper incentives for a non-contender, non-taxpayer to take a small contract away. This winter, that could mean finding a taker for Devin Brown's expiring contract, which would shed another $1 million for New Orleans' payroll. Or maybe the team will give up on Hilton Armstrong, first by rejecting his 2010-11 option before October 27, and then by sending him to a young team, clearing $2.8 million.
The point is that now New Orleans has options. That seemed so impossible even a month ago that smart people were actually wasting time contemplating whether George Shinn would push to trade Chris Paul provided he got the most amazing financial considerations known to man. Chris Paul! But Bower has saved the franchise from that sort of rumor pit by deftly maneuvering around the fringe. The Chandler-Okafor swap was major, and some feel it will hurt New Orleans. But even if it's a downgrade -- and I'm not convinced it was -- it's not big enough, combined with the loss of Butler, to destroy the Hornets' chances. And that's the key here: cutting salary while maintaining your talent base is difficult. Bower has done it.
NBA observers at large have lost faith in Bower and the Hornets in whole several times. The Morris Peterson signing, Peja Stojakovic's mammoth contract, the James Posey poaching, the refusal to draft another big ... all these demerits remain in the back of our mind. But this latest playlist from Bower is a good bit of absolution, and I dig it. Let's see what he can come up with next.