Things are quiet on the Darius Miles front, despite Danny Ainge's testimonial on Miles behalf that he can still play. It's been pretty well-documented that the Portland Trail Blazers stand to lose a lot of money and cap flexibility if Darius Miles suits up for 10 NBA games this season. If that happens, the Blazers are on the hook for $9 million for Miles' 2008-09 salary, and another $9 million next season.
What hasn't been discussed as much are all the peculiar consequences of Miles playing or not playing. The ancillary effects are staggering not just on Portland, but on the league, and quite possibly the planet's lithosphetic plates. To explain it all, TrueHoop hit up one of our CBA resources for a full explanation of The Miles Effect&
If Miles plays 10 games:
• In addition to the aforementioned $18 million over two season, the Blazers would go from $1.08 million under the luxury tax line, to $7.9 million over the cap for 2008-09 money they'd owe to the league in luxury taxes.
• By virtue of being a luxury taxpayer, the Blazers would lose a first payout of about $3.5 million.
• Blazers would miss out on $14.4 million in insurance compensation they would have claimed had Miles been inactive. By playing ten games, Miles essentially proves the doctors wrong and, therefore, can't legitimately be regarded as having a career-ending injury.
• Each non-taxpaying team would receive 1/30 of $7.9 million, or $263,300. That might not buy your team an impact player, but it's more than chump change.
If Miles doesn't play 10 games:
• The Blazers would owe Miles $1.8 million. This represents the 20% of Miles' salary that insurance doesn't cover.
• For being under the luxury tax line, the Blazers would receive a $3.5 million payout.
• The Blazers would enter the summer of 2009 with a great deal of cap space. They could get as far as $32 million under if they renounce all free agents, Surrey U.K.'s Joel Freeland, Petteri Koponen, and trade their 2009 #1 draft pick.
Now, if Miles logs his ten games, things aren't entirely hopeless for the Blazers. They could still conceivably get under the cap. It'll take salary cap acrobatics, but it's doable. Here's one hypothetical for you, courtesy of our CBA guru:
• Portland could get under the cap even if Miles is added to the payroll. Say LaFrentz and other spare parts go to Memphis. Memphis would first have to renounce Juan Carlos Navarro. They'd then send Greg Buckner to Portland. While the salaries don't match, they don't have to since the Grizzlies are so far under the cap. Buckner would add about $1 million to Portland's payroll for 09-10 and 10-11 [his contract has some salary protection if he's waived] Meanwhile, insurance will pay 80% after 41 games. So Portland would actually pay LaFrentz less than what Memphis pays Buckner and gets under the cap in the process.
Got all that?