The Heat signed Joe Johnson on Saturday, even though inking him so soon put them above the luxury-tax line.
Apparently, they have a way back under: Dropping Beno Udrih.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Miami Heat are nearing agreement with guard Beno Udrih on a contract buyout to offset the salary and luxury-tax implications of signing Joe Johnson, league sources told The Vertical.
The Heat approached Udrih’s representatives late last week about a possible buyout and discussions progressed over the weekend, sources said. Ultimately, the choice to settle for a buyout or be released outright rests with Udrih.
Miami has also held discussions with free-agent guard Marcus Thornton and could pursue a third point guard behind Goran Dragic and Josh Richardson, sources said.
The Heat are $42,582 over the luxury-tax line. Udrih is owed $574,535 the rest of the season.
So, if he gives up a portion of his guaranteed salary, Miami could dip far enough below the tax line to add another player (like Thornton) and remain below the tax. The tax is determined by team salary on the final day of the regular season.
But why would Udrih — in the final season of his contract and likely out the rest of the year due to injury — relinquish any money? Is he that loyal to the Heat, who acquired him in November and tried to flip him before even getting him?
If Udrih accepts a buyout, the NBA should investigate Miami. There’s no apparent reason for him to do so without receiving under-the-table payments.
However, even if the Heat agree to a buyout with Udrih, that doesn’t mean it would take effect. A player must clear waivers first, and the 76ers — below the salary floor — could save money by claiming him.
That’d be a huge win for Miami, which would clear Udrih’s entire $2,170,465 off its books. Udrih would also be owed the rest of his full salary from Philadelphia, the buyout agreement negated by the waiver claim.
The Heat should dangle Udrih on the waiver wire. They might even have known the 76ers would claim him before agreeing to terms with Johnson.
But Udrih accepting a buyout? That doesn’t make any sense for him.