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Doesn’t it seem like we’re just here? If it feels like this, don’t imagine things. The Lakers completed their 2019-20 Championship quest on October 11; 71 days later, the Lakers begin their title defense against their rival within the arena, the LA Clippers.

But if you get the impression that not much has happened due to the shortest off-season in NBA history, then we have your back here. (And why not check in for the latest James Harden trade rumors?)

• Results and timetables | The Athletic NBA Podcasts
• • tracker: Free agency and trade
• • Vecenie and Hollinger: 2020 NBA Draft Analysis | NBA offseason moves for all 30 teams

Lakers preview: LeBron vs. Father Time

LeBron James continues to oppose the laws of aging. He was the MVP of the finals and finished second after Giannis Antetokounmpo in the vote for the regular season award. He has kept himself in the best of physical shape and, statistically speaking, his level of performance can hardly be distinguished from that of five years ago.

He’ll also be 36 when the next postseason kicks off after having a brief off-season playing a condensed 72-game schedule. Ordinarily, you could probably laugh at everyone’s concerns; Even if he fails in the regular season, he could choose it again and again in the playoffs. Davis’ presence also offers a margin of error, a second star that takes on the load of scoring and shooting on the nights James doesn’t have him.

Celtics preview: The tempting exception

Boston sent two picks in the second round to generate a $ 28.5 million trade exception when Hayward left, and the Celtics must figure out how best to arm these. Shrewd watchers dreaming of a Celtics dream team will find that a certain Washington Wizards all-star has a salary that can be accounted for within the exception. Unfortunately, Boston is unlikely to have the collection of assets equivalent to what other applicants might put on the table in a Bradley Beal deal.

A more realistic endgame is that it becomes a multi-layered asset that Boston uses once at the close of trade and again after the season. Boston can take on mid-sized salaries from teams looking to save money, or the Celtics can add their 2021 first (they don’t need another young player at this point) to up the ante and pick up a bigger talent – especially one with several years on his deal left over.

Mike Vorkunov: Who are the NBA’s best and worst team owners? League insiders vote

There is a lot to be won in the NBA. The players are rightly the stars and the forward-looking part of any organization. The head coach is a genius when his team is successful and a shine when it loses. The senior basketball managers, who now have many names, sum it up.

Then there’s the team owner who lifts the trophy if their franchise wins the title and fires the whole lottery ticket if they fail. In the midst of the regular drift of roster, sidelines, and front office, the spotlight often avoids them, even when they really are the loudest voice in the organization.

Every year the media that cover the NBA publish their list of the league’s top players, top coaches, or top executives. They are all important. This also applies to the owner, who makes the final decision about everything important and is the only constant even in the ever-changing team. There are of course perceptions of who is bad and who is good. Win-loss records are just a panacea at times, although that’s not all that matters in separating good and bad in ownership.

Eric Nehm: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer dream of big things for Bucks

There isn’t a manual outlining exactly how to deal with your star gamer signing a Supermax expansion to stay with your team for the next five years. On Tuesday, after holding their breath from the nervousness of waiting longer than expected, the bucks exhaled and adopted their coach’s solemn tone.

On Wednesday, with those positive vibes still pouring out of the exercise facility, when Budenholzer and Antetokounmpo spoke to reporters for the first time since the star’s announcement, those in charge of the organization decided to go beyond the celebration and instead think about what seemed impossible could dream in the modern day NBA.

“I know that there is probably more exposure and more media when guys move and change, but I think about the guys who stayed,” said Budenholzer. “For me, a guy like Tim Duncan, a Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, guys who stayed in one place and made it their legacy to win championships and win and win at a high level wherever it is is that they were designed, be it a big market, a small market. “

• Tier 1 | Tier 2 | Tier 3 | Tier 4 | Series intro and Tier 5

While the focus is and will continue to be on the ranked aspect of the levels, the process of going through and winning players to the best of the best is as important as the list itself. In casual conversation, it’s easy to say, “Oh, players X is a top 15 player, so … “In fact, you dive in and compare and contrast through the lens of what you think is successful and how best to construct in the modern NBA. A championship level squad doesn’t just sharpen everyone’s minds Player, but also the state of the game.

The levels themselves represent a snapshot. While I was finishing the attributions for the players in Tier 1, I was thinking about edge cases up and down the list and about where I might have overestimated or underestimated certain players and what the players in the next season must show their current positions to improve or maintain.

The rating of player talent and production in the NBA is constant and never ends. I hope this project provides a framework for these discussions using common terms. Let’s do it again in a few months when we have the new information that a new season offers.

Are you ready for some rankings?!?

The columns in this cheatsheet are sortable, whereby the default setting is Roto-Leagues with 8 cats (8 / ROTO). If you are playing in the 9 cat roto, I recommend making only minor adjustments for low or high turnover players rather than making extreme changes.

The second column is for 9-cat H2H leagues (9 / H2H), where players like Giannis and Zion move up the leaderboard, albeit not as much as some would expect.

Danny Leroux’s salary cap analysis

How does the NBA hard cap work? Triggers, Headaches and What’s Next?

If a team takes one of the actions that trigger the hard cap (see below), for whatever reason it cannot exceed this limit for a certain period of time for the entire league year. In normal years, the league year turns around July 1st. There are no workarounds and no exceptions, even with historically poor injury luck or temporarily exceeding the hard cap as part of a series of moves that will eventually drown a team.

While it would thematically make more sense for the hard cap to be on the luxury tax limit itself, as the basic idea is to prevent taxpayer teams from adding talent more easily, the CBA gives front offices a little more leeway by having a slightly higher limit for the hard cap called an apron. The apron used to be exactly $ 6 million above the luxury tax limit, now it moves up and down a little with the cap, so it’s now $ 6.3 million higher.

Here are the numbers for the 2020-21 season:

Upper salary limit: $ 109.14 million
Luxury tax: $ 132.627 million
Hard cap: $ 138.928 million

NBA Salary Cap: Preliminary Team-by-Team Cap Projections Summer 2021

While a lot will change between now and next summer, these team-by-team predictions broadly assume that their front offices won’t sign multi-year contracts during this off-season unless specifically stated otherwise in Summer 2021.

This is what the books of all 30 teams look like, grouped according to their planned purchasing power for 2021.

Ball, Fultz, Kuzma and more: Project planning of negotiation results on a rookie scale

The NBA preseason is an important time for teams to evaluate new additions and see how the players will look after the off season. However, it is also a central window for extensions. Over the next week we will be looking into the various renewal negotiations taking place in the league, broken down by type of negotiation and the timeline to close deals.

While some arrangements can be made during the season, there are some situations where players and teams cannot agree to terms and conditions until the regular season begins. The first group with immediate time pressures are those eligible for rookie-scale expansions, players who are former first-round picks. Since these come before their fourth NBA season, the 2017 class is currently up for negotiation. Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox have already agreed on rookie extensions, but there was nothing for the rest of the class.

This college basketball season is strange and different from any other. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that has ravaged the United States, and it’s creating little eccentricities in the process that teams are still trying to navigate. Boss under these valuation difficulties? How to rate the newbies who have played so far.

Due to the stop-start nature of the season due to COVID-19 breaks and the shortened preseason and summer players with their new college programs, it is difficult to get an overview of what is and is not fair about the freshman Class on college basketball. Remember: The 2020 recruitment class is considered one of the better ones to have come across college tires in the past decade. It’s deep up and consistently strong in terms of depth. And honestly, as Boy Scouts, we just haven’t seen the level of production that we expected from these players coming into the year. Is that because they just aren’t very good and have been overrated at lower levels? Or is it because they weren’t placed in a high-profile situation to be successful? After all, newbies have less practice time to assimilate with their teammates and less development time in the summer than usually with coaches or coaches.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic)

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