0 Flares 0 Flares ×
The argument would go like this:
- The CBA clearly states that anything that violates the spirit or intent of the CBA is a circumvention of the CBA. It need not be a violation of the letter of the CBA.
- The CBA states that a player’s salary in any single season may not be more than 20% of the Upper Limit as set in the year in which the player signed his contract.
- Using the signing bonus mechanism to pay Weber $14MM in season one and another $13MM on 7/1/2013 has, literally, the effect of paying him $27MM in season one.
- You could argue that paying Weber $27MM between late July 2012 and July 1 2013 violates the spirit and intent of the rule that caps compensation at 20% of the Upper Limit, which, I might add, the contract exceeds by almost 200%.
- But that’s not all. There’s also the matter of the “100% Rule.”
- Reportedly, the deal is for $14MM for four years, $12MM for two years, $6MM for four years, $3MM for one year, and three years of $1MM. All of that, considered as straight salary, is fine with regard to the 100% Rule.
- But the contract pays out signing bonuses in each of the first six years, to the tune of $13MM, $13MM, $13MM, $13MM, $8MM, $8MM. Let’s assume that these bonuses are kosher, too, in and of themselves.
- However, if the timing of the bonuses is such that each bonus is paid on 7/1 (except for the first one, which happens sometime in the next week), then the effect of the bonuses is to alter the alter the actual salary totals for several of the seasons over the course of the deal.
- Remember that the reported salary numbers are 14, 14, 14, 14, 12, 12, 6, 6, 6, 6, 3, 1, 1, 1.
- The effect of paying two bonuses in the first year means that each subsequent bonus “moves up a year.”
- As a result — and as a practical matter — the effective salary numbers are: 27, 14, 14, 9, 12, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 3, 1, 1, 1.
- I put the numbers that are different in red.
- The problem is season six. Stripped of its bonus, the effective salary for that season is only $4MM.
- The 100% Rule says that after the first two seasons of a contract, the difference from season to season cannot exceed half of the smaller of the salaries for the first two seasons. Half of 14 is 7.
- But the effective difference between season five and season six is $8MM.
- That’s a violation of the intent and spirit of the 100% Rule.
- Signing bonuses were intended — as the name suggests — as bonuses for signing. The CBA allows teams to spread out the signing bonus over several years, and I think it’s safe to assume that the intent of that was to make it easier on teams to pay an otherwise prohibitively big chunk of change.
- One interpretation of Philly’s offer sheet is that they’re trying to make it actually impossible for Nashville to come up with the money. They’re not trying to force Nashville into a cap-crisis (which is a strategy the CBA anticipates). They’re trying (if you believe this interpretation) to force more money into season one of the deal than is allowed by the CBA, for the (arguable) purpose of undermining Nashville’s ability to compete.
- The CBA makes specific reference to its intention of striking a balance between the cash-rich and cash-poor teams, making it easier for the poorer teams to compete.
- Again, we’re talking spirit and intent, not letter.
- And if you think all this spirit and intent stuff is a bunch of B.S., check out the Kovalchuk decision.
I’m not saying the league would want to disallow this offer sheet. I’m saying, if they were so inclined, I think those are the grounds for the argument.