Originally written on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 5/28/13
With the three-second-rule, offensive players found themselves learning a strange dance getting both feet out of the lane to “re-start” the count that could cost them possession of the ball.  The behemoths of the game found themselves prancing a tippy-toe ballet that was both comical and a bit depressing.  Formerly King-Kong’s, they now often resembled the sad dancing bear on the circus.  Then came the defensive three-second-rule, and now defenders found themselves lurching to get outside the lane just because their defensive assignment had taken a step back.  Although infractions are infrequently (probably too infrequently) caught, it did indeed reduce the traffic in the lane which had become something of a mob scene.  Awkward rules, uneven enforcement, but on the whole a needed and worthwhile adjustment in the game. Now ownership joins the dancing bear troupe.  With the new CBA came series of ramped-up penalties, both financial and operational, for exceeding the Salary and Luxury Caps.  Danny Ainge found himself mincing around the Luxury “apron” (could they have chosen a more mawkishly effeminate phrasing for their danger zone trigger).  Go over the apron and they take away your sign-and-trade’s, cut short your MLE, steal your lunch money, and make you stand in the corner on one foot. Think OKC shedding Harden (particularly injurious) and Memphis dumping Rudy Gay (oddly salubrious) were basketball decisions?  As if the new tiered penalty progression was not enough, there is the additional “repeater” kicker for teams exceeding the Luxury Cap in three of the past four years.  This means that there is a heavy coercion to stay below the Luxury Cap half the time.  Sure there are owners in LA and NY whose avalanche of basketball income make an extra $100M only a trifle, and the Russian billionaires in NJ and Dallas might scoff at such petty change; but for the rank and file (pretty much everybody else) this represents a crippling blow in an attempt to run a business without having the car (franchise) repossessed. Yes, you can now add the owners to the two-step bruins on the sawdust in the center ring.  The Celtics’ ownership group paid almost $15M in 2010-11.  As repeaters in 2014-15 that tax bill would be on the order of $44M.  How many of you would laugh off your mortgage payment going up by fifty percent? It would seem the inducement to stay under the Luxury Cap for the next two years (or at least the two before exceeding it again) is pretty overwhelming.  I think you will see a lot of teams (strong but not insanely extravagant) “planning” a two-year window to go for the golden ring; before ducking below the Luxury threshold to re-establish their position "outside the paint".  As you ponder the Pierce/Garnett dilemma, think about the new cost of doing business—I’m pretty sure Danny (and Wyc and company) will be. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
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