New CBA targets Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors, halting summer plans

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The NBA and NBA Players Association recently came to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, and there are some huge changes. While the details are still trickling out, several changes dramatically affect a handful of playoff teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors.

All three teams are currently over the luxury tax and, under the new rules, will be significantly limited this summer.  In fact, the new rules seem to target the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors in everything but name.

The rule rules changes take aim at the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors.

Under the new CBA, the Lakers would have been barred from trading away their 2027 first-round pick in the deal that netted them Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and D’Angelo Russell. All three players have helped turn their season around and put Los Angeles in a position to make the playoffs.

Yet the NBA and owners chose to prevent trades like this in the future from teams over the luxury tax. That sounds like smaller markets are handcuffing the Lakers. The Clippers and Golden State weren’t spared either. The Clippers and the Warriors have the largest payrolls in the NBA and will be subject to the repeater tax and more restrictive rules.

Instead of slashing salaries, the Warriors have largely kept spending. They extended Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins instead of trading them. Of course, letting them leave for nothing probably wasn’t a realistic option, but they are being penalized for keeping their own players. Lucky for them, they did re-sign them; otherwise, they could have been much worse off this summer.

The Warriors could still opt to trade Wiggins and Poole, and they have most of their picks going forward. That said, they can’t exactly salary dump two good players to shed salary, and this new rule makes it harder for luxury tax teams to get out of the luxury tax. Go figure. Additionally, Golden State helped popularize buying second-round picks but would be prohibited from doing so.

Even the three teams’ ability to sign players in the buyout market would be restricted. In fact, the Clippers wouldn’t have been able to sign Russell Westbrook after he was bought out by the Utah Jazz.

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Ultimately, the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors could be handcuffed by the new CBA in terms of off-season options. Fortunately, they have most of their current roster locked in and can bring back key pieces using existing rules.