OK, I may be one of the few Petrie supporters left, but I think this move is part of a bigger plan. Again, I may be naive, but I think this move means we plan to make a splash this offseason rather than in 2010. Here is the current expiring deals coming off the books at the end of the season:
Bobby Brown – $0.44 Million
Sam Cassell – 0.80 Million
Bobby Jackson – 6.49 Million
Shelden Williams – 3.40 Million
Ike Diogu – 2.9 Million
Drew Gooden – 7.1 Million
Cedric Simmons – 1.7 Million
Mikki Moore--3 million
Total savings is approximately 26 million. This means when the new cap and luxury tax threashold is announced (and is lowered), we are in a position to "Camby" some poor squad that finds itself losing more money than expected.
I think Geoff made the decision that the competition in 2010 is going to be too fierce and that we can't compete on a level playing field with the New Yorks and Miamis of the NBA. That's why taking back Nocioni's deal and slightly more salary in 2010 is not as big of a deal because if everything goes right, we will be taking on a lot more salary this offseason anyways.
That being said, we have to strike this offseason. (If we don't, then I will be seriously pissed as this is nothing more than short term savings with no real gain.) That being said, I feel that Inevitably there will be some team with a heavy payroll that underachieves, and we can use that space and picks in a trade.
Amare may be available at that time (and it looks like Tyson Chandler is now available again). We will know where we end up in the lottery, and if the stars align, we may be in a position to take back salary and give up a top draft pick for a real difference maker.