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Paying luxury tax can cost more than money for Heat in 2016

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Teams going above the luxury tax "apron" are hindered in getting quality players.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Money isn't the only issue in going over the luxury tax "apron" for the Miami Heat in 2016. The CBA also has rules in place that make getting impact players more difficult. That aspect may be more vital to the team's future than paying a tax to the NBA.

Some of the limits the CBA places on NBA teams that go over the luxury tax apron are:

  • The team may not get a player in a sign-and-trade deal, like the ones that landed LeBron James from Cleveland and Chris Bosh from Toronto.
  • The bi-annual exception cannot be used by the team.
  • The amounts offered under the mid-level exception are less.
  • Only three year contracts, instead of four-year contracts, can be signed using the mid-level exception.
  • In trades more salary must be shipped out than received from other teams, which makes doing trades harder.

Even if an owner was willing to pay the luxury tax, it may not be in the best interests of the team to do so. Critics who are willing to spend the owner's money often are not aware of the restrictions on building a championship team that going over the apron brings.

Staying under the salary cap in 2016 would give the team more breathing space to put together quality pieces when the salary cap explodes. Teams over the luxury tax apron will be at a disadvantage signing players for the lucrative 2016-17 season.

The salary books for luxury taxes are closed for 2015, so shipping out players now, solely to go under the salary cap, does not help the team this calendar year. The team payroll has already been set at the end of last season, and changing it in the last months of 2015 doesn't affect this year's luxury tax situation whatsoever.

In the upcoming season, the Miami Heat's final payroll figures won't be finalized until the summer of 2016. Trading away valuable talent even before the games begin would hurt the team's chances to win another title right from the start. The Heat will have a better idea whose salary is expendable in January 2016, just before trade deadline in February.

The designated player (DP) clause allows the Miami Heat to have only one player on its team with a five-year extension to his rookie contract. The Heat have the entire season to decide if they have a rookie, such as Justise Winslow or Josh Richardson, worthy of giving a five-year deal to, instead of the usual four.

Currently there are only seven designated players in the NBA:

Team Designated Player Expires
Chicago Derrick Rose 2017
Oklahoma City Russell Westbrook 2017
Houston James Harden 2018
Indiana Paul George 2018
LA Clippers Blake Griffin 2018
Washington John Wall 2019
Cleveland Kyrie Irving 2020

Designating a rookie may be useful towards the end of next season, because if the Heat do well, they won't have another possible candidate for the next few years. Or a new CBA may eliminate the DP option altogether.