In discussing the possibility of a Dwight Howard deal and the rumors of Andrew Bynam going to Cleveland, Terry Pluto points out some strange new rules in the CBA that make a deal very unlikely.
1. There are at least 40 million reasons why Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum won’t sign contract extensions to help complete a trade. That’s right, 40 million, as in about $40 million. Howard and Bynum are under contract through the 2012-13 season. If they are traded and sign an extension now, it can be for no longer than three years.
2. That’s why Howard’s agent has said his client has no interest in signing an extension now. He’ll wait for free agency. The new labor agreement changed the rules on players signing extensions before free agency. It made it wiser for players to wait to become free agents because they can sign longer, more lucrative deals. (So much for helping teams keep their stars.)
3. Bynum is expected to follow the same path as Howard. Why sign a three-year deal in the $60 million range when he can wait a year, and sign for more than $100 million over five seasons?
4. Any agent that takes a contract extension for a prime-time player in the final year of his contract is either giving poor advice or has a client — who because of injuries — wants security now. That’s why every proposed deal for Howard has been a mess. He won’t commit to a contract now because he can get so much more later.
Dwight Howard is taking a lot of heat for his flip-flops on what he wants to do, but it’s hard to blame him for this CBA quirk that seems to be making it much harder to get deals done. Also, as Pluto points out, it makes it much harder for teams to lock up and keep their star players.