Could Utah Match Offer for Miles?
The Jazz have until Friday to match OKC’s four-year, $15-million offer sheet on C.J. Miles, and it’s looking like Utah is using these final few hours to clear up cap space to retain the 21-year-old shooting guard.
Utah traded backup point guard Jason Hart on Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for veteran point guard Brevin Knight. The move sheds nearly $1 million off the Jazz’s team salary and helps the team avoid the luxury tax threshold if they choose to retain Miles.
Utah currently has about $61.5 million in team salary, exceeding the $58.68 million cap set for the 2008-09 season. Because Miles is Utah’s own free agent, the Jazz can further exceed their current salary to retain him. But the luxury tax level for next season is set at $71.15 million, meaning any team whose salary exceeds that figure will pay a $1 tax for each $1 it exceeds that figure. It’s a costly position for teams to be in, but it’s not the 2008-09 season Utah would have to worry about the luxury tax if they retain Miles but the 2009-10 season.
Miles’ deal with OKC is likely to start at $3.35 million with 8% annual raises, giving him a fourth-year salary of $4.154 million. Since the Jazz still is roughly $10 million below the tax threshold for next season, they can match the first-year salary of $3.35 without paying any tax.
But with Deron Williams’ new contract kicking in for the 2009-10 season, the Jazz will be in a bind if both Carlos Boozer ($12.7 million) and Mehmet Okur ($9 million) play out the final year of their contracts rather than opting out before the 2009-10 season. Utah likely also will want to retain low-post bruiser Paul Millsap, who will be a free agent next summer and could command a salary starting at $5 million if he builds on a solid first two seasons with another strong season this year.
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