The Atlanta Hawks have handed out some sizable contracts to several players in recent years but have annually stopped short of going over the luxury tax threshold. However, a couple of new provisions in the NBA's new CBA agreement could change their stance.
Under the old CBA agreement, the Atlanta Hawks received approximately $2.4 million as a non-tax paying team. That means that by staying under the luxury tax threshold, the franchise received $2.4 million dollars from the league which was their share of the moneys paid by teams whose salaries were over the tax threshold. However, that format is changing this season as no more than 50 percent of tax funds can go exclusively to teams that did not pay the tax.
Hawks beat writer Micheal Cunningham writes that since it might not be as rewarding to stay out of the tax, the Hawks might loosen the purse strings a little to give themselves options for rounding out the roster.
My educated guess: If it isn't as lucrative for the Hawks to be a non-taxpaying team anymore, that might be the thing that prods them to spend into the tax. And outside of using the amnesty now, which I'm still hearing they won't do, I can't think of any scenario under which they can avoid paying the tax if they add veteran players.
It is essentially that cut and dry. If Atlanta tries to remain under the tax then it will have roughly $5 million to use to try and add six players to get to the league minimum of 13. That is further compounded by the news that Kirk Hinrich will miss the first part of the season after shoulder surgery.
Another caveat of the new CBA that could lesson the sting of the luxury tax is the new revenue-sharing plan of which details haven't fully been released. The new plan according to cap expert Larry Coon is said to triple the amount of money that was previously shared but it is still unknown how big of a cut the Hawks would be in line to get.
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