Report: Beno Udrih sacrificed $90,000 to help Heat dodge luxury tax

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There was a chance the 76ers would claim Beno Udrih on waivers, a move that would’ve saved them money by counting his full-season salary toward the salary floor while paying him only a prorated amount.

That would’ve quieted the outrage over Udrih accepting a buyout that got the Heat under the luxury-tax line after signing Joe Johnson put them over it.

Alas, Philadelphia passed.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

This gets the Heat – who have two roster vacancies – far enough below the tax to sign a new player or two to a combined seven duty days the rest of the season. Forty-two days remain in the season.

Surely, Miami will wait to sign someone and avoid the tax. So, the Heat got a great break from Udrih.

But why did the NBA even allow this?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement states:

At no time shall there be any agreements or transactions of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), express or implied, oral or written, or promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), between a player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) and any Team (or Team Affiliate):

(i) concerning any future Renegotiation, Extension, or other amendment of an existing Player Contract, or entry into a new Player Contract; or

(ii) except as permitted by this Agreement or as set forth in a Uniform Player Contract (provided that the Team has not intentionally delayed submitting such Uniform Player Contract for approval by the NBA), involving compensation or consideration of any kind or anything else of value, to be paid, furnished or made available by, to, or for the benefit of the player, or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of the player; or

(iii) except as permitted by this Agreement, involving an investment or business opportunity to be furnished or made available by, to, or for the benefit of the player, or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of the player).

(b) In addition to the foregoing, it shall be a violation of this Section 2 for any Team (or Team Affiliate) or any player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) to attempt to enter into or to intentionally solicit any agreement, transaction, promise, undertaking, representation, commitment, inducement, assurance of intent or understanding that would be prohibited by Section 2(a) above.

(c) A violation of Section 2(a) or 2(b) above may be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence, including, but not limited to, evidence that a Player Contract or any term or provision thereof cannot rationally be explained in the absence of conduct violative of Section 2(a) or 2(b).

In simplest terms, it’s illegal for a team to promise a player a future contract or pay him off the books. One way to prove that’s happening, per the CBA: A player acting in a way that couldn’t otherwise be rationally explained.

How does Udrih – out for the season due to injury and in the final year of his contract – rationally explain sacrificing $90,000 without an illegal inducement?