I do not know how closely everyone is following this, but I find this soap opera riveting. The Memphis Grizzlies recently re-signed Darius Miles (after cutting him the week before) to a 10-day contract. If Miles plays two more games for Memphis, he will have achieved the 10-game minimum needed to overturn the medical exemption Portland received for Miles awhile back (the six games he played for Boston in the pre-season count, so add them to the two he played for Memphis before he got cut and you have eight so far). Such an event has massive implications for the Portland Trailblazers.
When they received the “career-ending” exemption for Miles, the Blazers were able to remove the $27 million he was owed for this year (and the next two) off of the salary cap (they still had to pay whatever insurance did not cover, but it was off of the cap). If Miles plays two more games, that money comes back on to their cap, and instead of having $16 million in cap space this offseason, they will only have $7 million.
In addition, adding his salary puts them over the luxury tax limit, so they will have to pay an additional $7.5 million this year in luxury tax!!
As you might imagine, the Trailblazers are not happy about this, but their methods of dealing with the situation are…well…quite curious.
Here is an e-mail Portland team president Larry Miller sent out to all the other NBA teams recently:
The Portland Trail Blazers are aware that certain teams may be contemplating signing Darius Miles to a contract for the purpose of adversely impacting the Portland Trail Blazers Salary Cap and tax positions
Such conduct by a team would violate its fiduciary duty as an NBA joint venturer. In addition, persons or entities involved in such conduct may be individually liable to the Portland Trail Blazers for tortuously interfering with the Portland Trail Blazers contract rights and perspective economic opportunities.
Please be aware that if a team engages in such conduct, the Portland Trail Blazers will take all necessary steps to safeguard its rights, including, without limitation, litigation.
Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert had the following response to this threat of litigation:
With all due respect…although the Cleveland Cavaliers have no interest in signing Darius Miles and will not be signing Darius Miles, I find your email quite peculiar from two standpoints:
1. It’s dead wrong. I believe that all 30 NBA teams were and are fully aware of the terms and provisions of the collective bargaining agreement as to which all teams and the NBA are a party to, including the Portland Trailblazers.
2. Are legal threats through a mass email the best way to circumvent the known potential consequences that could result from the Trailblazers decisions and actions they took with respect to Darius Miles?
I fully understand the frustration you and your team’s ownership must be feeling in regards to this situation, but a preemptive threat of ‘litigation’ directed at all of your partners through a group email does not sit well with me and seems to be incongruent with the spirit of keeping a ‘fiduciary duty’ and good ‘partner-like duty’ to your ‘NBA joint venturers.’
I would think there has got to be a better tactic than this one.
Now, apparently, it turns out that the NBA had to step in as the Trailblazers actually picked Miles up off of waivers when the Grizzlies waived him!
You see, they planned to sign him and then not play him all year!
This is absolutely bizarre.