When asked about the Nets’ current cap situation, maxed out for the next four years with little upward mobility, Cuban was frank: “That’s the position we didn’t want to be in.”
The Mavericks pursued Nets point guard Deron Williams this summer, offering him the maximum four-year deal worth approximately $75 million; Williams eventually signed with the Nets, who could — and did — offer him five years and $98 million, but Cuban downplayed Williams’s decision as a factor in his thinking, calling that “old, old, old, old news.”
Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo had a curt, playful response to Cuban’s dismissive tone.
“I’m not talking about any one player, but that’s why we were concerned in our approach [last summer]. Because if you sign a max-out guy, you get to a point where you’re above that tax-plus four million, then you’re limited in sign-and-trades, you’re limited in your ability to use the exceptions, there’s all kinds of limitations.”
Cuban was talking about the punitive luxury tax rules in the new collective bargaining agreement, complete with a repeater tax and multiplying tax. With their current salaries, the Nets are in luxury tax territory through the 2015-16 season.
“Unless you think that’s a championship team, it’s going to be tough to improve,” Cuban added. That’s been the message I’ve been giving the fans in Dallas here since the CBA [was implemented], and that’s been guiding our approach. … Our goal is to win championships, not win the summer.”