As a quick follow up to an idea expressed by Brian in another thread, the Sonics may have begun to consider a fall back plan in case Chris Wilcox decides to spurn the reported 3 year offer and take the Qualifying 1 year Offer. If Wilcox takes the Q.O. and is not traded, he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming season. If you combine this with Danny Fortsonâ€™s expiring contract after this season, and Rashardâ€™s expressed desire to opt out of the rest of his contract (at least expressed at one time) after the upcoming season, Seattleâ€™s team salary would be at approximately 38.5 Million Dollars next off season; that is 15 Million dollars (give or take a few hundred K) under the Salary Cap of roughly 53 Million. As it stands now, in that situation, Seattle would have the second lowest team payroll in the NBA.
The way I understand the cap, a team can go over the cap to sign its own players without having to pay the luxury tax. This is a bonus when it comes time to sign Luke and Nick to new contracts which will be in their last year should the team choose to do so. They can sign all the players they want up to the cap limit, and then ink Luke and Nick without a luxury tax penalty. Perhaps new ownership will be a free spending group, willing to blow up the team if we fail to make the playoffs this year or show any reason to lock up Rashard, Chris, Luke, Nick and even Bob Hill. It may be that the team has a fall back plan to move forward after next season (should it be disappointing) with a core of Ray, Earl, Damien, Galebale, and 3 young Centers; to which they could add a Desmond Mason, a Drew Gooden or any other player that could backfill the core that is signed beyond â€™06-â€™07. Perhaps trades are the way to go.
I hope that when the dust clears, the new ownership isnâ€™t planning a whole new group of players on a team with perhaps a different name, in a different city.