The Golden State Warriors didn’t pull off a major deal today, but they made two trades that are hard to argue with. Bob Myers shipped Charles Jenkins — who fell out of favor this year after playing significant minutes as a rookie — to Philadelphia for a second round draft choice. He also sent Jeremy Tyler — who never really did much of anything for the Warriors besides throw down some decent pregame dunks — to Atlanta for another second-rounder.
Normally draft choices after the first 30 are generally considered afterthoughts, but the Warriors were slated to have no picks whatsoever in the 2013 NBA Draft. No official announcement has been made regarding the draft considerations Golden State received for Jenkins and Tyler, but Philadelphia currently has two picks in the second round of June’s draft (Nos. 37 and 41 if the season ended today), and so does Atlanta (Nos. 46 and 50).
The fans can cling to hopes of giving a crap about the NBA Draft this summer, while the owners rejoice because these deals brought Golden State below the luxury tax threshold. They wouldn’t have been on the hook for a huge penalty had they kept Jenkins and Tyler on the roster, but the new CBA brings about something call the “repeater tax.” SB Nation’s Tom Ziller explains:
What is the repeater tax? It’s a clause in the new collective bargaining agreement that raises the luxury tax rate for teams that are serial tax payers. It doesn’t actually go into effect until 2014-15 as a penalty, but what teams do now affects whether they’ll be on the hook then. Basically, if you exceed the tax threshold in three out of the previous four seasons, you’re on the hook for the higher tax if you exceed the threshold again. The “clock” began last year. The first year of the repeater tax is in 2014-15. Only teams that have been taxpayers in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 will pay it. In 2015-16, teams that have paid the tax in three out of four of those seasons will pay repeater tax. Then 2011-12 falls off. And so it goes.
How bad is the repeater tax? At the first level of luxury tax — up to $5 million over the threshold — the base tax will be $1.50 for every dollar over the line. The repeater tax is $2.50 for every dollar over the line. It matches as you rise up the ladder from there — the repeater tax is always $1 per dollar in exceedance of the threshold more than the base rate. For $20 million over the threshold, that’s a $20 million difference based on whether you’re a repeater or not.
Here’s an example. Let’s assume the luxury tax threshold rises to $75 million by 2014-15. Let’s say a team like the Lakers has a payroll of $95 million — $20 million over the threshold. If they were notrepeater, their total tax payment would be $45 million, and their total payroll would be $140 million. If they were a repeater, their total tax payment would be $65 million, and their total payroll would be $160 million.
That’s why teams want to avoid the repeater tag.
While the fans can (and probably should) demand that Joe Lacob and Co. show a willingness to pay the tax in future years, there was no reason to have this season count toward a possible repeater penalty for two guys Mark Jackson has no interest in using.
Tyler was a waste of $2 million (what the Warriors spent to acquire him from Charlotte), with NBA size and athleticism but no discernible basketball skills or smarts. However, Jenkins is an interesting case who’ll probably always be known around here as the guy the Warriors chose over Jeremy Lin.
Jenkins didn’t have 3-point range but loved nailing 20-foot jumpers, which among the numbers people is about as close to a basketball sin as one could get while still making shots. His departure also leaves the Warriors short of point guard insurance if Stephen Curry goes down to injury, although Jenkins only averaged 11 minutes in the four games Curry has missed this year, and that includes 22 mostly garbage time minutes in a blowout loss at home to Miami.