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Brandon Roy's waiting game

On the Oregonian's website, Jason Quick writes:

If the Blazers waive Roy, it will put them under the luxury tax threshold, likely saving owner Paul Allen more than $25 million in taxes this season.

I was all set to write a post about no matter how much you like Brandon Roy, nobody can afford any NBA player with that kind of surcharge.

But I ran the numbers by Larry Coon who explains that this year, Roy will likely be fairly cheap in terms of the tax -- because the new punitive luxury tax won't kick in yet. He writes:

The tax is dollar-for-dollar this year, so the most they’d save is his salary, $15,032,144.

At this moment Portland's taxable salary is $70,223,875, so they are just a little under the tax threshold.

The correct answer is that they will save the amount they are over the tax threshold, up to $15,032,144.

In other words, if without waiving Roy they would have ended up $5 million over the tax threshold, then they would save $5 million in taxes. If they would have ended up $20 million over the tax threshold, then they would have saved $15,032,144.

So he'll cost them $15,032,144 at most, and likely far, far less, depending who else is on the payroll.

Complicating factor: The tentative agreement governing these kinds of decisions to date does not make crystal clear where the salary cap and luxury tax lines will be.

Further complicating factor: If the team can get below the tax line this year, that could save them mightily down the road by staving off the dreaded repeater tax, which is a deathly surcharge on teams that pay the tax in four out of any five years.

Even further complicating factor is that the team has been barred from talking to Roy all summer, let alone watching him workout. It matters how well he can move.

If you read Quick's article, you'll see that Roy and his agent are eager for Portland to make a decision now. But if you think about what Portland has at stake, it makes all the sense in the world that they might want to keep him around for a few weeks while gathering information that isn't even available to them now.

Unreasonable though Paul Allen has been in this lockout, by paying Roy's salary he has bought this bit of time to make a huge decision.