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New NBA “stretch provision” ideas?

Because the John Wall situation is friendly, but absurd

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The situation with with John Wall and the Rockets is amicable, thoughtful, adult. There’s no holdout. There’s no barrage of unhappy messages coming from Wall’s camp. (Given that he is literally “Wall” does John Wall need a camp? Or does he have a castle, a fortress (to hold his treasure)? Or a campus? Seems safer than a camp.)

Like thoughtful parents whose relationship has come to a sad, but predictable, end, John Wall and the Rockets are doing what’s best for the kids. Letting the kids grow, have their own space, flourish on their own. John Wall, by all accounts, is satisfied with sitting on the bench, offering avuncular, if not paternal, advice to the young Rockets, while he waits to be “on the market” (and speaking of such things - NBA obsessives should read this).

The problem of course, is that John Wall, whilst a catch for certain teams, comes with baggage. In his case, it is literally, “the bag” ($44 million this season, $47 million next).

So a team would need to be able to move nearly that amount in salary to take on Wall’s deal, as no teams I am aware of, can simply take it into cap space. Those contracts that Houston is taking back are likely to be less onerous on their own than Wall’s salary, but will eat the roster spots a rebuilding team covets to audition prospects. Moreover, a Wall deal is probably the first of several deals, and the Rockets would likely attempt to unload the bad contracts elsewhere.

It’s foreseeable that it would cost the Rockets assets of some sort to move Wall, and then assets to move the contracts the team took back in trading Wall. This is far from ideal.

What is also far from ideal is that what’s being talked about here are deals, more than players.

John Wall is a player that could help a lot of teams at, say, $20 million per season. I’d even venture there would be a fair few bidders at that price.

Instead what seems most likely is that the Rockets will be unable to deal Wall, and next season would stretch his contract, essentially paying $47 million over time, and “buying out” Walls contract, leaving him free to sign elsewhere.

What if there was a way to trade Wall for some value, and combine the “stretch” provision, without having to do a buyout? A buyout that rewards some team with a nearly free player, who would have earned $47 million, if his deal wasn’t bought out?

The rough concept is what I’m calling “partial stretch provision”. The idea is an NBA team, once every certain period of time (5 years? 7 years? 10 years?) can opt to stretch a part of a players deal, up to half of it, while retaining or trading the player. We might want to limit the stretch to no more than two years of salary, with the player having been paid at least one, maybe two, years of the his current deal (not applicable to rookie deals, no deal can be both “partial stretched” and “stretched”).

So what does a $22 million John Wall look like to other teams? Mind you, the Rockets are on the hook for the other $22 million this season, and $23.5 next, but it’s off their cap, and not included in any trade for Wall. Wall is traded at $22 million per season, and $23.5 next season.

I think this unlocks value for players who aren’t perceived as being worth their high dollar deals (the Rockets now having experienced not one, not two, but three, such deals, would appreciate it) while not giving “unearned” value to a team that signs a bought out, but previously highly-paid, player.

A team could even choose to keep this player, so that they could rebuild, while keeping a star no longer performing at his contract value.

What do you think?


Partial Stretch?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    No, do the full stretch.
    (30 votes)
  • 59%
    Yes, it makes sense.
    (166 votes)
  • 14%
    Not sure, let’s ask some lawyers.
    (40 votes)
  • 15%
    Yes, but Dallas can’t have it.
    (43 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now