Posted on Wed, Aug. 09
76ers' trade exception to expireThere is $4.45 million to play with; Billy King says "there's nobody out there to use it on."
By: Joe Juliano
Inquirer Staff Writer
The plan looked like a good one at the time.
The 76ers entered the off-season armed with a $4.45 million trade exception, hoping it would help them obtain a player, preferably a tough-minded veteran who could provide a spark and get the team back into playoff contention.
However, as the expiration date of the trade exception arrives today, Sixers president and general manager Billy King is going to allow it to run out without using it. The team acquired the exception from the New Jersey Nets last August in exchange for Marc Jackson.
"There's nobody out there to use it on," King said yesterday. "There is no one out there that makes sense."
That goes double for the Sixers' midlevel exception of $5.215 million, which will be available throughout this season. "There's nobody out there to use that on, either," King said.
The team is in a bind. King confirmed that the Sixers are over the NBA's luxury-tax threshold of $65.42 million but would not go into specifics.
The Sixers are believed to be about $4.3 million over the tax number. They are paying the 12 players on their roster about $66.4 million. A 2004 buyout of former guard Greg Buckner's contract counts for an additional $3.36 million.
Under the rules of the luxury tax, the Sixers must pay a dollar-for-dollar tax on any total over the NBA-mandated figure.
The Sixers also are paying $6.5 million on their contract with Aaron McKie, who was released last year under a clause in the new collective-bargaining agreement that allowed a team to waive a player and avoid paying luxury tax on his remaining contract.
McKie now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. What the Sixers are paying him still counts against the team's salary cap.
Contributing to the Sixers' high payroll is the fact that their roster includes two of the six highest-paid players in the NBA. Chris Webber ranks second in 2006-07 salary at $20.72 million, while Allen Iverson is sixth at $18.28 million. Their $39 million combined salaries account for nearly 59 percent of the team's payroll.
King said the Sixers' goal is to start the season under the luxury-tax figure but added that ownership is not pressuring him to do that.
"It's not a mandate, and it doesn't really hamstring us if we want to do something," he said. "Our goal is to put the best possible team on the floor. If we can make a trade, we're not just going to sit there and say, 'Hey, we've got to strip [the roster] clean.'
"... We've still been talking to people [about potential trades], but there hasn't been a lot of movement throughout the league."
The Sixers traded Jackson, a veteran forward who played at Temple, to New Jersey on Aug. 9, 2005. The Nets gave the Sixers a trade exception for Jackson's salary, $4.45 million, to be used within one year.
Even though the Sixers are well over the salary cap of $53.135 million, they are allowed to use exceptions as permitted by the NBA's collective-bargaining agreement.
Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or firstname.lastname@example.org