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Larry Coon: Nets only big winner in CBA

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Coon, salary cap guru, says that in the third year of the collective bargaining agreement there is but one winner ... and for one reason.

"Only one team was a clear winner because it could keep spending, while other teams could no longer afford to," Coon writes, although it's questionable whether the 13 other billionaires who own NBA teams really can't "afford" to spend.

"The Nets are one of the few remaining teams with the resources to continue spending. Need to cut a big revenue-sharing check? Happy to oblige. An $87 million luxury-tax bill? Sure, whatever. The Nets have remained buyers in what -- due to other teams needing to make financial adjustments -- has become a buyer's market."

So, Coon says, Boston needed to dump Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Done. While others bemoan the Nets lack of "flexibility," Coon says the opposite is true. "Having the ability to spend gives them additional options that most teams don't have."

Who's the big loser?  The Thunder.  "To put it simply," Coon writes, "The new agreement cost the Thunder Harden, whom they likely would have retained under the old system. But in a system in which the tax bill is progressive, small-market teams cannot afford to stray very far into tax territory -- so their hand was pretty much forced."