If you go onto ESPN's trade machine you will see Sacramento's salary as 77 million plus. This is clearly not so. So why does ESPN list that? Well for one important reason really. There are cap holds that Anthony Johnson and Lorenzen Wright have on the roster that actually increase potential team salary until a decision is made. Because cap holds are usually larger than the previous salary, a good example of this is Shaun Livingston who had to be waived because of his cap hold for the Clippers, and I suggest you read that because it's very informative. (It also leads some insight into how cap holds work, and why teams have to consider all implications before signing FA's.)
So why am I bringing this up? Well for 3 reasons really. The first is that Hoopshype has Artest's salary wrong, and hasn't taken the time to fill in Udrih's salary yet, or Thompson's, and those are easy to fill in if you already know what the full MLE already is, and the rookie contract scale is easier because it's already set regardless. You have ShamSports who haven't updated their salary pages, and now isn't the best time either, in any way. The ESPN trade checker has updated their salary pages, but because of cap holds, and technically accurate at that, it's misleading the Kings cap situation. I took the liberty of using a calculator to add the salaries that I KNOW are going to be on the Kings cap at a minimum. The calculator says the current salaries are at 69,499,889. For those who don't understand that number it's 69 million, four hundred and eight nine thousand, and eight hundred and eighty nine dollars. For those wanting simplicity they basically have 69 and 1/2 mil (that's actually 111 dollars too high) tied up in current salary, and this is without Singletary or Ewing Jr added to the mix.
That is of course my next point. What's the possibility of Singletary or Ewing Jr being added to the roster? Well, in the case of Singletary it's high. A backup PG, unless Johnson is re-signed, is needed, and if you take this roster younger, or don't, you still need a backup PG. Singletary is cheaper, and perhaps a better basketball option, than Johnson is at this point. But the more pressing question, in my mind anyway, is what Ewing Jr and Singletary would represent to the cap if they were signed for a year. Via the "Coon."
There are both minimum and maximum salaries, and both are based on how long the player has been in the league. The minimum salaries scale upward each season. Here are the minimum salaries: For 2008-2009 it's 442,114 as the minimum salary for a player with 0 years of experience. Because 2nd round draft picks don't qualify for the rookie scale contract most are signed to small contracts reserved for rookie free agents. It's a loophole that allows a team to sign a talent, but at the same time give him a chance to produce. Also because of the Gilbert Arenas provision, there is a great chance of re-signing that 2nd round player as opposed to when Golden State lost Arenas. (To be fair though, San Antonio had the same problem with Manu Ginobili and they managed to sign him to a significantly larger contract with the same restrictions Golden State had in re-signing Arenas.) So what is the likelihood salary of the Kings going into training camp? 70,384,4117 is what I submit it will be close to assuming Ron Artest is not traded. (I'm in favor of trading Wally Szczerbiak/future 1st for K9/Artest which would decrease the Kings salary this season by about a million bucks.) Either way, and this is an important factor, the Kings not paying luxury tax is one factor that helps a team stay competitive without giving something away (like 2 future 2nd round picks to the Utah Jazz to take Keon Clark so they can get above the minimum salary threshold). If the Kings aren't paying luxury tax, for no real reason at that, then you are doing something right. I've said it before, but this is where Bibby's trade value is so integral to the future of this team. You cut 10 million off the salary, and you don't prevent the team from making moves like Singletary or Ewing Jr by making it a financial disincentive to do so. (One could argue 2 players making a combined less than a million bucks isn't a finacial risk for a NBA team, but at the same time when it costs you extra money, it costs you extra money. You think about that beforehand.)
What does all this mean at the end of the day? Singletary and Ewing Jr probably have spots on the roster sewn up (provided they perform in Summer League as the team thinks they can) unless the Kings can find a better option elsewhere. It's also true that if the Kings can shed some salary in trading Artest/Thomas (which they can assuming a trade for either Odom or Szczerbiak goes down) then they can also go after a veteran for a season at the backup PG spot they think makes them better. Even more appealing, they can always trade for a player out there on the market like Luke Ridnour if they don't think Singletary can make the grade. Having financial flexibility gives you options to do deals that you might not otherwise consider when you're so close to a financial disincentive that is unflinching. That's the point.