Hey great news! The NBA has announced the salary cap is at $94.143 million.1
Possibly somber news, it sounds like Al Horford has left Atlanta. OK, but they have retained Kent Bazemore and acquired Dwight Howard. I talked about it before, but reports put Kent's starting salary at $15,730,338 and Dwight at $22,488,039.
If we're salary cap luddites, then I'd straight up tell you that Atlanta signed both players through cap space. Then I'd tell you:
Atlanta now with $90,325,400 on the books for $3,817,600 in cap space.— robert (@atlhawksfanatic) July 2, 2016
So geez man, $3.8 million in cap space? That stinks!
Yes, that does. But let's not go all eeyore on this shit. We're Atlanta fans and that means we're more intelligent than most.2 We are not prisoners to $3.8 million in cap space. We can do better than this.
So I'm going to talk about how this can be expanded with a bit of creativity.
Sign And Trade for Dwight
So the above statement of $90,325,400 on the books assumes that Atlanta has already made the Jeff Teague trade for the #12 pick. Why do I assume this? Honestly, so it doesn't confuse people. But at this point, I need to break down the doors of reality.
On June 21st, we've known that Jeff Teague is going to Indiana. Reports indicated that the deal may be expanded. Well, this is probably something to expand it.
What if I told you that the Jeff Teague trade could be expanded to include Houston? Yes, it's possible and can be fulfilled by Houston trading away an asset (Dwight) and receiving one from another team.
Assuming the $22,488,039 salary for Dwight and that Atlanta acquires him, it means Atlanta needs to send away $17,488,039 in salaries. We already know that Atlanta is sending out $8,000,000 in Jeff Teague's contract, so now Atlanta is at the impasse of finding $9,488,039 additional salaries to trade away. And a suitor. This suitor could be Houston, Indiana, or Utah. So that lessens the burden a bit.
If we assume Dwight is acquired through a sign-and-trade, this implies that the Hawks would have Bazemore at $15,730,338 plus the slew of Paul, Tiago, Jeff, Kyle, Thabo, Scott, Dennis, Tim, Edy, Muskie, Lamar, and Bembry for a total of $73,905,461 (across 13 spots).
Oh my, now this means Atlanta has $20,228,539 in cap space. Well, conditionally because the team needs to actually trade for Dwight.
Talking loosely, we know that Tiago Splitter is $8.55 million in salaries. Mike Muscala is around $1 million, which would match up almost perfectly. Possibly, in place of Muscala the team could use Mike Scott's non-guaranteed contract. So this is one option. Who wants them? I'm not sure, but Houston sure could use another center with Dwight leaving...
But there's honestly other combinations and I'd rather not continue talking about particular players. It's not too difficult for you, the reader, the go through and pick out which combination of players match up. But I've set the parameters for you. And Atlanta could do something with this.
One downside in this path is that Atlanta would technically be hard capped at $4 million over the luxury tax. So Atlanta could in no way shape or form have total team salary in excess of $117.287 million. But no worries, I've already talked about how it's highly unlikely the team reaches the luxury tax, much less $4 million in excess of it.
So stay tuned! Atlanta still has options available here if they can convince some teams to tango.
1. In case anyone cares, that implies a maximum salary structure of $22.117 million for 0-6 years, $26.54 million for 7-9 years, and $30.964 million for 10+ years experience. Oh look, this guy
If the $131M shortfall is accurate, then max classes are $22.117M, $26.54M, and $30.964M for NBA— robert (@atlhawksfanatic) July 3, 2016
Determined it before some dude named Larry Coon did
...is $22.117M (0-6), $26.540M (7-9), $30.964M (10+). This assumes what we think are reasonable estimates for last year's BRI @AlbertRandom1— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) July 3, 2016
2. Has Tito graduated?↩