The new collective barging agreement is already having massive impacts on how NBA teams are conducting trades this off-season. The Washington Wizards only got Landry Shamet, Jordan Poole, a protected first-round pick, pick swaps, and second-round picks for Bradley Beal. The Atlanta Hawks only got Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick for John Collins. Teams are giving up less in order to keep some level of financial flexibility due to the new CBA rules.
ESPN Sources: The Hawks are finalizing a trade to send F/C John Collins to the Jazz for Rudy Gay and a future second-round pick. Atlanta’s largely unloading Collins’ three years, $78M for some roster building flexibility and alignment with looming changes to salary cap. pic.twitter.com/CpAfTNXKMq— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2023
These new rules could have massive ramifications for how the Bucks maneuver this off-season with 10 of their own free agents to resign. However, before I get into how this could potentially affect the Bucks once June 30 arrives, I should go over exactly what this new CBA does.
The main thing in this CBA is that it punishes teams who go into the luxury tax to an extreme degree. There is now a second tax apron if a team spends over $182.5 million on players and it heavily restricts what teams are able to do.
The restrictions include denying teams being able to use the taxpayer mid-level exception to sign free agents, signing players on the buyout market, trading draft picks that are further than six years into the future, taking in more salary in a trade than they trading away and even sending cash out in trades. That MLE is the only tool tax teams currently have to pay free agents above the minimum salary.
So teams like the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers that were paying $192 million this past season would not have been able to sign Donte DiVincenzo and John Wall because they were well over that second apron.
Currently, the Bucks have just about $67 million of luxury tax space before they would potentially reach that second apron where the restrictions would start kicking in. However, with having to resign Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Jae Crowder that money could dry up very quickly and the Bucks would be hamstrung in terms of how many players they could add in free agency or via trade.
This would even shape what type of return the Bucks could even get for a trade of a guy like Jrue Holiday, who is making $36.9 million for the upcoming season. Packages could look a lot different than most fans are thinking of. The idea of getting a Zach LaVine for Jrue would be way less appetizing moving forward considering LaVine has four years left and will be paid $40+ million per season each of those seasons. Even on the opposite end, a team could get away with giving up less than what Holiday is worth due to the contract. I would look for the Bucks to get lesser role players, rather than another comparable All-Star level player for Holiday should they decide to trade him.
With those trade packages for Collins and Beal, it really felt like those teams were trying to get off those contracts in order to prepare for the new CBA. Having Beal make nearly $50 million and Collins make $25 million is less appetizing because those deals could limit what those teams do moving forward. Despite the value that Holiday brings, With this in mind, the Bucks would be put in that type of situation with Holiday where they are just looking for more financial flexibility.
This new CBA is going to continue to change how teams operate in the NBA and how they are able to build contending rosters, including the Bucks. June 30 is going to be a very important day and should tell us a lot about not only the Bucks but how the rest of the league will move forward in this new territory.