I surmise that Donnie came to the conclusion that even if we bought Billups out, we would not have had enough cap space or assets for a defensive big, such as D. Jordan or M. Gasol or a point guard with Chauncey's talents. If the MLE exception remains in a new CBA, it will help next year, but we could not make it more than a one year contract without eliminating any meager chance we would have for CP3. But Billups is a true professional and still a very good point guard.
I assume we want to sign Shawne Williams and I would expect him to look for more than a one year deal. There are trade possibilities with Fields, Douglas and Turiaf, but I have a feeling we will add J. Jordan and our 1st round pick and otherwise have about the same team we had at the end of this season. As I have indicated in at least one other post, I cannot see us getting CP3 when he becomes. available. As LJ4ptPlay notes, we just do not have either space or assets going forward.
As for a new CBA, although I do not expect a cap that will provide more room than the current cap, there are likely to be several adjustments that will prevent teams from automatically going over the cap with current contracts. For example, under the current CBA, a veteran player such as CP3 can not be paid more than 30% of the cap. If the cap goes down but the percentage for a max salary remains the same, then perhaps current contracts will be adjusted -- for cap purposes, but without changing amounts due the players -- so that they count as if they were equal to the lower max contracts under a new CBA. This gets complicated because max contracts given in one year are permitted under the current CBA to increase at rates of up to 10.5% of the first year's contract for each of the subsequent contract years. Thus by 2014/15 Amare' and Melo will be making more than $23M each.
Donnie may be expecting a new CBA that will ot kill our future.