The Bay of Biscayne in Miami is beautiful, just in case you didn’t already know that. It would be a pretty cool place to own a yacht or a jet ski or something like that, no? Well, Beno Udrih just got one (or four) of his own, despite the fact that the NBA says that his salary was recently decreased.
After the Heat signed Joe Johnson upon his buyout from the Brooklyn Nets, the Heat were about $40k over the luxury tax line, which makes way more of a difference than that figure would suggest. Teams who are not in the luxury tax receive a bonus of about $2.6 million each from the taxpaying teams, and they avoid counting the given year towards the NBA’s new repeater tax system that punishes teams who are over the tax line multiple years in a row. The Heat wanted to dip below the luxury tax line, and the only guy whose contract could realistically be bought out was Beno Udrih. They approached Udrih after Johnson signed on, and Udrih agreed to give up enough salary to get the team back below the tax.
Only one problem. Udrih is out for the year, so there’s no way that he gains anything from becoming a free agent. He gave up a little bit of cash to supposedly help out the Heat franchise… which is also known as “Micky Arison and Pat Riley paid him under the table.”
To be honest, I really don’t care about stuff like this. In the age of getting outraged about every minor rule break, I can’t pretend to get worked up about this. Beno Udrih got a jet ski or a yacht which Micky Arison probably bought the pricey gift in cash and delivered it right to Udrih’s house so there was no record of purchase. He didn’t lose anything, and unlike many cases of the rich using loopholes to keep a few million bucks, this move didn’t hurt anyone in the general public. The only losers in this case are the other non-taxpaying owners who lose some dollars because their share of the luxury tax payments are diluted, but I don’t think anyone among us is gonna spill any tears over that.
I don’t write this column to claim that there’s a grave injustice here, because there’s a lot more important moral issues to care about in professional sports. I write this column for this lone reason: to say congratulations to Beno Udrih on his new yacht/jet ski/lambo/plethora of hookers!