Originally posted by LA9erFan:
^I think it's an unlikely roll of the dice, considering that the Luxury Tax is a dollar for dollar tax. Fox example, the Lakers played 9 more home games in the playoffs than San Antonio did this year, which would theoretically mean $9M in extra revenue. But that only translates to one extra player at $4.5M when you're over the LT, and that's a best case scenario. Seems like an uncharacteristic move by the Spurs from a financial perspective that doesn't have huge upside.
Per Wikipedia, Peter Holt (Spurs owner) is the owner of HOLT CAT, which is the largest Caterpillar distributor in the country. Considering what's happened to the construction industry, I'd imagine that his net worth has been hit hard over the last year.
I think it's more likely that it's a basketball move rather than a financial one.
This is not the best move, financially. RJ is overpaid. (Whenever you overpay a player, you lose financially; but then again, the big 3 are all underpaid.) But his contract only has two years remaining, so it's certainly not a catastrophic move. I'm sure remaining under the tax while making it to the first or second round of the playoffs is a much safer financial move than spending like a drunken sailor and winning a championship.
So I think this is mainly about making the most of Duncan's remaining years. Build a legacy, a tradition of excellence. Maybe sell some jerseys over the next few years, especially overseas. Maybe contend while making a seamless transition to the post-Duncan era. (Manu becomes a FA in 2010, RJ in 2011, and Duncan in 2012.) Maybe solidify the fan base---both local and international---for the wilderness years that are sure to follow Duncan's retirement. Ultimately, losing some money now could be a good financial investment for the future.
But I'm nervous as hell. The urgency is a reminder that Duncan will be gone in a few years---at least superstar Duncan will be gone---and the Spurs will have to rebuild around Parker, or someone else. Thankfully, the Spurs have some talent stashed away overseas and in Austin. Looking into my crystal ball, I see the Spurs' future roster including Tiago Splitter, James Gist, Ian Mahinmi, Austin Nichols, Tony Parker, George Hill, and God-knows-who-else.