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July 01, 2009

On salary cap, free-agency

Based on some emails I got from readers, many of you are unclear on whether the Bobcats entered free-agency over the salary cap. Although the cap number for next season won't be finalized until next week, I assure you they're over the cap.

Projections I've seen suggest the cap number will be something in the range of $57 million per team. The 11 players under contract to the Bobcats add up to more than $58 million in salary, and that does not include the $5.5 million qualifying offer to Raymond Felton or what they'll pay rookie Gerald Henderson (in excess of $1.6 million next season, based on him being the 12th pick).

That leaves the Bobcats above the cap, but below the luxury tax threshold, which is the norm for NBA teams these days. That means their ways to add talent are cap exceptions -- the mid-level exception (about $5.5 million) and the bi-annual exception (just under $2 million) are both available to them. And based on a document provided by an NBA source, the Bobcats also have a $1.2 million trade exception from last season's deal with Phoenix. As the name suggests, that exception can be used only to acquire a contract in trade.

Recall what general manager Rod Higgins said before the draft: That there's no way this team is getting into luxury-tax territory (which I hear will kick in at about the $68 million range).

Bottom line: Once they do what it will take to re-sign Felton, I'd be surprised if they also make some huge, expensive signing. They'd need to be more surgical in their approach. If an Antonio McDyess or Allen Iverson wants to play here, and would accept the Mid-level, I'd think the Bobcats would have to consider that. But as coach Larry Brown pointed out last month, wouldn't Iverson be best served this late in his career by finding a title contender?

Posted by Observer Sports on July 1, 2009 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

Comments

Is it possible that Houston would be interested in Nazr Mohammed now that Yao Ming has been lost for the season. This might be a good landing place for him and also a way to jettison that salary, which would open the door for other signings.

Posted by: Eric | Jul 1, 2009 10:53:38 AM

Eric:
An interesting suggestion. The issue would be what Houston would/could send back that would make the Bobcats happy and work under the salary cap.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jul 1, 2009 11:07:44 AM

Eric:
Just spoke with someone in Houston who said the Rockets are focused on signing Gortat from Orlando.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jul 1, 2009 11:11:01 AM

We have to find a quality PF/C in free agency or acquire one via draft. Myabe since McDyess won a ring already he won't mind coming here to play with LB? Wishful thinking I suppose...

Posted by: Bobcat Terry | Jul 1, 2009 11:11:22 AM

We'll take Brooks!

Posted by: chammond | Jul 1, 2009 11:11:35 AM

I love AI, but at this point in his career, no thanks.

I love Sheed even more ... but again, no thanks.

McDyess has some fumes left in the tank and is a great character guy. I don't know why he'd want to play for anybody other than a contender, though.

So here's the guy I think we should pursue - Brandon Bass. He's still only 24, he has four years of experience, and he's shown that he has the athleticism and the skills to be a productive 4 ... he just needs the minutes. He's looking for a midlevel deal, which I think is reasonable. When you look at the unrestricted free agents power forwards, his name is the one that leaps off the page at me, in terms of value.

Posted by: Elevatorman | Jul 1, 2009 11:12:16 AM

Brandon Bass...sign his, ahem, butt.

Posted by: Will | Jul 1, 2009 11:22:56 AM

to further Rick's comments, a team that is under the cap is really free to do what they want as far as signing free agents and trading. The only teams with signficant space under the cap are Detroit, Memphis, OKC, Toronto and Atlanta.

For everyone else, trades must include 'near like' salaries for the 2009-2010 year - actually you can't accept more than 25% of what you trade away. (trade away a $1mm salary and can't take back more than $1.25mm).

there are no trading restructions if you are in 'luxury tax' land. You pay $1 to the league for every dollar your total salaries are over the 'tax cap'.

Otherwise, you can sign a player for up to $5.5mm using the midcap exception and you can sign back your own player - even if they are a free agent - without consideration of the mid cap exception or the bi-annual exception.

For a Houston trade to work, Bob's would have to accept players that are within 25% of the salaries of what Houston has to give up. Houston has a BIG problem. $40mm of their salaries are tied up in two players that are out for quite awhile (Mcgrady until Feb, Yao all year). They do pay Battier $6.9mm which would work in a trade for Nazr, but doubt Houston is THAT desperate. (both have two years left on contracts). We do need a power forward and they do need a center? hmmmm.....

Posted by: Bobfan1 | Jul 1, 2009 11:23:58 AM

And when I say he just needs the minutes, the reason he's not currently getting them is that he happens to be Nowitzki's backup. Honestly, not a lot of guys would steal minutes from Dirk.

Bass is a good defender and, more importantly for the offense-impaired Bobcats, has a reliable midrange game. He can run the court, he finishes, he plays with great energy, and he's physical (although admittedly not as good of a rebounder as he should be). Bobcats, don't waste your money on an over-the-hill AI! Sign Bass to a midlevel deal instead!

Posted by: Elevatorman | Jul 1, 2009 11:27:52 AM

The midlevel for Bass would be reasonable.

Posted by: Bobby | Jul 1, 2009 11:37:04 AM

"For everyone else, trades must include 'near like' salaries for the 2009-2010 year - actually you can't accept more than 25% of what you trade away. (trade away a $1mm salary and can't take back more than $1.25mm)."

Actually it's 125% plus 100K. So 1 mill could take back 1.35 mill.

Posted by: Will | Jul 1, 2009 12:16:40 PM

Bass would be a backup for Charlotte too. I doubt anyone the cats could pick up in free agency would displace Diaw from the starting lineup.

I would rather have a rebounding machine like Paul Millsap coming off the bench. Realistically I don't see the cats signing anyone though. This is just too rough an economy and the team isn't even a sure bet to make the playoffs -- why spend a ton of money just to be a playoff team?

Posted by: David | Jul 1, 2009 12:40:56 PM

From what I hear, Millsaps does better than the mid-level. Oklahoma City makes lots of sense for him.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jul 1, 2009 12:43:28 PM

Well, yeah, of course Bass would be a backup for Charlotte ... a VASTLY better backup than we currently have. And he's someone we could actually sign, as opposed to Paul Millsap.

No. 1, Millsap is seeking $10 million/year. So really, that's the end of the story as far as Charlotte's concerned.

No. 2, Utah seems committed to keeping him. They called him at midnight to say so.

No. 3, if he somehow gets out of Utah, he's going to the Thunder or Blazers (i.e., a team with cap space).

Posted by: Elevatorman | Jul 1, 2009 12:53:24 PM

will - good catch!

Posted by: bobfan1 | Jul 1, 2009 1:10:19 PM

The Bobcats front office is awful. It's not easy to put together a team this mediocre and still be over the cap. This is the first time in recent memory it's easy to find bargains in free agency, and Charlotte did nothing to prepare for it.

Charlotte was screwed when the NBA opted for the public relations coup of going with Bob Johnson over the more deserving Belkin-Bird group. Does anyone doubt we would be in better shape if Larry Bird had been guiding the decisions for the last few years? At the very least, we would have avoided the obsession with Tar Heels that saddled the franchise with Mays and Felton.

Posted by: chg | Jul 1, 2009 2:46:41 PM

Also, if anyone outside of Charlotte is dumb enough to take Nazr's contract, give him away for a rack of basketballs, then test the GM for mental deficiencies.

Posted by: chg | Jul 1, 2009 2:50:26 PM

Rick...

Any inside intel on the web rumblings regarding Iverson to CLT?

Posted by: Zed | Jul 1, 2009 2:51:25 PM

Zed;
Never say never in free-agency, but I found it telling that Larry Brown advised Iverson to find a team a lot closer to title contention than the Bobcats.
I have tried contacting Iverson's agent twice in the past three days. Didn't get a reply. I should think if Iverson ends up here, it would be weeks away. They can't offer him better than the mid-level exception and if the Bobcats can't offer more than the field, I should think Iverson would play the field for a while. That's just common sense.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jul 1, 2009 3:00:28 PM

CHG:
It's a myth that Johnson was awarded this franchise as a "public relations'' stunt. The Belkin-Bird group was underfunded when it was time to actually demonstrate the resources to buy and operate an NBA expansion franchise. Johnson hasn't done a particularly good job here, but the original decision was about net worth, not public relations.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Jul 1, 2009 3:15:48 PM

"Does anyone doubt we would be in better shape if Larry Bird had been guiding the decisions for the last few years?"

Not that it matters to those who pine for Larry Bird simply because he's white, but the Pacers had a whopping 36 wins last year, which is exactly ONE more than the Bobcats.

Posted by: Elevatorman | Jul 1, 2009 3:37:30 PM

Nevermind the fact that the Belkin entourage has been a true cluster "screw" to put it as nicely as possible. The fact that Johnson had his own money and didn't need the entourage that Steve and crew assembled is plain and simple the reason he got the franchise. Larry Legend was my first favorite basketball player, but I am glad we got no part of the Belkin entourage.

On a basketball related note, if Brandon Bass wanted to come here and we could economically pull it off, that would give us a CLEAN 2 deep at the PF position as well as other combo guys like Vlad and perhaps Brown who could fill in. He is a guy I have wanted for 2 years now.

Finally, I'm still in hopes of finding a cheap guy on the wing who can knock down the perimeter shot and spread the floor for our slashers and pick and roll game while possibly having a little bit of a handle.

I know it's being greedy.

Posted by: jperry | Jul 1, 2009 4:49:38 PM

Do You Think there is anyone we can really get to come to Charlotte that will help us get over the hump into the Playoffs. Gerald Henderson will certainly help this season but I don't know if he is enough. Still with the group the Bobcats have now starting next season they should be close to making it if not ready.

Posted by: Tyler | Jul 1, 2009 4:55:00 PM

Hey we need a back up PF and there are two out there that we might have a shot at:

Bonnell:
Is it possible from a financial point of view that the Bobcats could resign either Brandon Bass or Leon Powe. Powe is an unrestricted Free Agent and both of them could sign for the mid level exception, and fill our need at PF. Bass is better overall in my opinion, but Powe is very good as well and I beleive he is a better defensive player.

Posted by: RobC | Jul 1, 2009 5:48:55 PM

How about Drew Gooden or Hakim Warrick?

Posted by: d-run | Jul 1, 2009 6:36:45 PM

Bobfan, Battier ain't a PF. He's an SF, but he's closer to a 2 than a 4.

chg, I'm mostly with you, but it's clear they have something of a strategy. They know they can't attract the marquee players in FA, so they might as well trade for guys who are already locked up.

Rick, if net worth was what was behind the selection, then why wasn't that what David Stern was touting at all of the introductory announcements?

Rob, Powe will not be ready to play until midseason at the earliest.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jul 1, 2009 6:48:58 PM

Powe destroyed his knee

Posted by: Elevatorman | Jul 1, 2009 7:55:00 PM

hey what about Anderson Varejoa, we need someone to back up Diaw, and Charlie V is out of the equation. Varejoa shouldnt be that pricy either

Posted by: parker daughtry | Jul 1, 2009 9:00:16 PM

Elevatorman, not that it matters to anyone that wants to turn this into a discussion on race, but how does Bird's full post-playing career stack up with Jordan's?

Posted by: chg | Jul 1, 2009 11:46:35 PM

I would love to have McDyess or Bass. Go after Anderson Varejao again since he opted out. History shows usually when a team offers an offer sheet. They usually wound up going. Or Landry or the one I really like is CAMBY. Hey, he went and played for the weakest franchise in the Clippers. He'll be suitable to play here with us. Not saying we are the weakest because we are not! We are up and coming baby'. I digress. By the way, sorry Bobcat Terry, McDyess did not win a ring. He came after the Pistons won hoping to get on the repeat train which we know did not happen. One of the flop sided Finals ever with the Spurs winning in seven. Go Bobcats-Cougars! LB reference...:)

Posted by: BobCat Fan Fo'lyfe | Jul 2, 2009 12:51:14 AM

Larry Bird in my opinion is the best basketball player I have ever seen..But as a GM or whatever his title is w/ the Pacers has been horrible the Pacers havent been legit contenders since he took over & Belkin and his crew took over the Atlanta Hawks and that has been a horrible situation ownership wise every since....so how can anyone still sit here and justify wanting any part of that group...sounds more like a personal vendetta again Bob Johnson than common sense or basketball knowledge

Posted by: Toriano | Jul 2, 2009 10:51:21 AM

No thanks to Powe. I've had enough players w/ career threatening knee injuries

Posted by: Bobby | Jul 3, 2009 4:13:01 PM

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