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News » A falling cap helps Thunder


A falling cap helps Thunder


A falling cap helps Thunder
The Thunder apparently won't sign a free agent this off-season - rats; I was hoping for the Cavs' Anderson Varejao - but the key to this franchise is developing and retaining its own players.

Sign Kevin Durant and Jeff Green to long-term contracts next summer, and Russell Westbrook the summer after that.

And that task appears to be getting easier.

According to an NBA memo obtained by ESPN, the league's salary cap and luxury-tax threshold are expected to drop for the 2010-11 season.

The cap for 2009-10 has been set at $57.7 million, down $1 million from 2008-09, with a luxury-tax threshold at $69.9 million, meaning any team that spends over that level will have to pay a dollar-for-dollar tax.

And the memo suggests further erosion of revenues for 2010-11, with the cap estimated between $50.4 million and $53.6 million, with a luxury-tax threshold of $61.2 million.

What does all that mean? Less money to spend on free agents, and since franchises already have the advantage in signing their own free agents - with longer contracts - the news should play well into the Thunder's plans.

The Thunder would do everything in its power to keep Durant and Co., but the price might not be driven as high under the current economic conditions.

Locking up Durant and Green, with the ability to do the same with Westbrook a year later, fortifies the Thunder's future.

No franchise can stand pat.

Eventually, all teams, good or bad, must add players via free agency. But adding role players is much less expensive than adding prime parts.

"We have needs and things we want to address," general manager Sam Presti said earlier this summer. "We're not going to address them in one draft or in one summer. We could try to do that, but if we did, we'd be sacrificing value."

The NBA's revenue outlook makes it appear easier for the Thunder to keep its core together.

CHEERS & JEERS

CHEERS

→To Roger Federer's 15th major title. And Rafael Nadal's absence doesn't take away from Federer's victory. Nadal is a great foe, but he's won only two majors off clay.

→To baseball's all-star voting. The fans aren't just punching in the same old tired names. Of the top 31 active home run leaders, only Albert Pujols (13th) was voted to start.

JEERS

→To NBATV, which is not televising the summer league games from Orlando or Las Vegas. What else does the network have to telecast in summer?

→To Miami's Dwyane Wade and his attitude, shared by some other NBA superstars, that he wants to stay with his franchise if he can be assured it is building a title contender. But how can a team build a title contender without a commitment from its franchise player?

LOOK-ALIKES

D.J. WhiteNew Thunder

James HardenNewer Thunder


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: July 11, 2009

 

 
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