How the NBA TV deal affects the Clippers and DeAndre Jordan


The wonders of $24 billion.

To the common individual, dreams and a lifetime are made with $24 billion. To a multi-million corporation like the NBA, it’s prize for growth following an agreement with Disney (ESPN/ABC) and Turner Sports to extend the television deal.

The implications of the deal are huge, but the biggest — and most important — all lie in how the salary cap will inflate following the surplus of cash flowing in.

And no one on the Clippers, at least in regards to the current roster, can benefit more from this jump than center and impending free agent DeAndre Jordan.

Since the arrival of Doc Rivers, Jordan has grown as a player, shaping closer to the rim protecting figure many assumed he could be. But even after a career-best season, the jury isn’t out on him receiving a max contract.

The main reasoning? To some it’s talent, but with bigs often rounding into prime form closer to their 30s, it wouldn’t be out of the question to continue betting on Jordan, especially with Rivers around for the long hail after signing an extension in the off-season.

Instead, the worries of the Clippers destroying any cap flexibility with a Jordan max arise.

“The importance of the league’s cap situation cannot be overstated. It has been the single biggest topic of conversation among team executives for the last year. The salary cap rises and falls hand in hand with league revenues, and this TV contract will be the largest injection of revenues in NBA history. It is a goddamned jolt.” – Zach Lowe

With a years time passed, Jordan will be entering his eighth pro season. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, players between year seven and nine are eligible to receive a max contract worth 30 percent of the salary cap. Hypothetically speaking, if Jordan received a max contract offer this past off-season, his deal would start at roughly $17.6 million. If the projections of Zach Lowe from Grantland are right — or close to being so — and the cap rises to $66.5 million in 2015-16, the max for Jordan increases to $19.95 million. Once you add together that $19.95 million with Paul’s and Griffin’s salary for the ’15-16 season ($41.36 million), you’ve $61.31 million (or 92% of the cap) tied into three players. Then there’s Hawes, Redick, Farmar (player option), Wilcox, Ingles, and Bullock, roughly $17 million combined. In laments-terms, it’s all-in on this core unless a move is made by the front office.

In comes the cap rise.

Let’s be clear first — because the cap is rising, that doesn’t decrease the responsibility of the front office to construct deals that benefit both the player and the franchise (mostly the franchise). But it creates a little leeway in the future if the front office hands out a usually-backbreaking deal (and at this point, I wouldn’t Doc Rivers to do so as president of bball operations).

As stated previously, if Lowe’s projections are correct or in the ballpark, the cap could increase to nearly $90 million in 2016-17.

Now that $61.31 million isn’t as bad. Instead of 92% of the cap, the Jordan-Paul-Griffin trio’s cap space would take up 68% of the cap. When including the deals of the non-core players, it’s $78 million or 86% of the cap.

Not only will the Clippers have ample space to add players at small forward or any other hole needed to be filled, but the deals of Redick and Hawes become nice trade chips depending on how good those two are in a few years.

You could play with the numbers all day, but the fact remains: if Jordan demands a max deal and the Clippers see no alternative to replacing him and his production, there may be no other way but to bow into his demands and give up the funds.

The 2015 free agency class is solid in regards to centers — Kosta Koufos, Omer Asik, Marc Gasol, Tyson Chandler, Anderson Varejao, Robin Lopez, Greg Monroe, etc. — but Los Angeles’ ability to offer Jordan another year of stability, the unpredictability of free agency (as well as the lack of guarantees — see Houston, 2014), and Jordan’s ceiling being close to championship-Tyson Chandler makes DAJ the number one option.

Or Jordan could sign a one-year deal with an opt out to capitalize on the cap jump, throwing a wrench in this supposed plan.

We’ll see.

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