Of course, Detroit had a disappointing year, falling out of the playoffs. And when push came to shove, the Pistons traded for the cheaper Avery Bradley and let Caldwell-Pope walk. They’ll avoid the luxury tax this season.
What about next summer, when Bradley will be an unrestricted free agent? Detroit projects to have just $13 million to pay him while staying below the tax, and he’ll likely command a much higher salary.
Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy, via Pistons.com:
“We’ve got other strategies,” Van Gundy said. “The finances will not inhibit our ability to re-sign Avery at whatever it takes. If we’re in a situation where we want Avery back and Avery wants to be here, we’ll be able to bring him back.”
“In the right situation for the right people, Tom’s more than willing to pay the tax,” Van Gundy said. “I think about half the league’s going to be paying the tax this year. Tom’s not opposed to that.”
Many owners say they’re willing to pay the luxury tax. Fewer actually do it.
Maybe the Pistons would pay the tax to keep Bradley. Maybe they’d dump other players so they can re-sign him and dodge the tax. Maybe they’ll lose him.
But it’s hard to look at Detroit’s payroll and Bradley’s status and assume this is a simple issue that will solve itself.