DISCLAIMER: I'm using current CBA rules that I'm aware of to do this. I understand that the CBA could change and it might even be drastic, but I'm not betting on it. I think the leagues wields in the # of years, and the Union gets some sort of concession to that in the form of a raised MLE or perhaps tiered MLE system to allow multiple MLE type signings at different rates. Something like that. "Like anyone could even know that, Napolean".
So we heard about this rumor a couple of years ago. When I first heard of it I went through a series of thoughts...first it was, NO BRAINER get it done. Second, Hey wait, what about 2010 cap space, Third, How are we gonna afford that contract going forward and fourth, aw screw two and three, GET 'ER done. And I'm still at thought #4 at this moment. However, I've been digging deeper into the issue and thinking, what ARE the financial ramifications at this point. How will it affect our cap, finances and ability to draft, and re-sign our current crop of rookies. Well, to start out I'd like to give you a snap shot of the next 5 years salaries.
So I've taken the liberty of adjusting out payroll with Thomas' contract exiting, and Okafor's contract entering. I'd like to break down the year by year effects of having Okafor's contract on the books, rather than Thomas. I'll look at adding rookie scale deals each year, as well as rookie options on players we plan to keep. Also, I'll try to project what players will earn with extensions and also maintain a min. 13 man roster as well.
This year is irrelevant in this evaluation, we're still under the cap and have a full complement of players. FINANCIAL OUTLOOK - GOOD.
2010/2011: I would imagine keeping Brockman and Rodriguz on their rather cheap deals would be a priority as each are RFA's and would have the QO in play. We could match any other offer out there, and I highly doubt anyone offers them more than the QO. We would have 12 players under contract, + need to add the guaranteed salary of our 1st round pick(we're currently in the 8th-10th seeds, so I'll use the #8 overall pick to use as a conservative, realistic cap hold for our rookie contract as I don't see us getting worse with Okafor, but rather better, with probably a lesser contract. Rookie contract scale would be: 10/11 - 2,069,400. So the total salary would definitely be below the LTT and be right around the projected Salary cap figure range of 52-56 million. FINANCIAL OUTLOOK - GOOD
2010 rookie salary for 2011/12 = 2,224,600 So
This is the year where things get slightly hairier, as Spencer Hawes is an RFA this year. It appears all the rookie deals are deals on players we'd want to keep, other than Spencer who's QO is roughly some 4 odd million. Obviously, it would be prudent to extend the QO, but then at what cost do we re-sign Spence? With Okafor on board, and JT/Greene needing extensions the next year, and Evans/Casspi the year after, this is the pivotal to decide, what do we do with who. We have just under 56 million commited to 10 players. Add a 1st round pick, probably around 1-2 million a year and that's 57-58 million for 11 players. A cheap 2nd round pick or a vet min salary could help bring the total roster to 12 or just re-signing Brockman to a modest contract and then we have to decide do we extend Spencer? Or do we let him go. My money is on extending Spencer. He's just too talented at such a young age to let go, especially when you consider the position he plays, and the fact that bigs ALWAYS take additional time to develop. Of course, we'll have another 1.5 years to evaluate Spencers worth. But how much would you throw at him considering age, postion, talent, etc. I'd guess he finds him self at around 9 million a year annually for 6 years on average. To pull that off within the current CBA he's need to be getting roughly 7.5 million give or take. That'd put an estimated total salary at 65-66 million dollar range, which might put us up right next to the LTT. This might be a nice year to have Nocioni's contract off the books in all honesty, just for the sake of having some financial Breathing room. FINANCIAL OUTLOOK - GOOD, but TIGHT.
This is the year that Andres Nocioni deal comes off the books, which is definitely helpful. As now we need to extend one or both of Thompson and Greene. In my mind, Thompson is an obvious no brainer to re-sign. However, Greene, while I like him, is definitely a question mark. Gauging by today's evaluation of his play, IMO, I think we will end up, WANTING to resign Greene.
Adding up the salaries, we'll have an additional 13 million added to our payroll between the Rookie 2010, Rookie 2011 and Rookie 2012 along with 8-8.5 million going to Hawes. Our salary BEFORE extending Thompson/Greene will be around 67 million. Add in Thompson's new Salary alone(estimating a similar contract to what Spencer gets -- 6 years @ 50-55 million) and we're looking at being Lux Tax payers this year. Extedning Greene might be something similar to what Garcia got, 6 years 30-35 million range. It appears to me that one or both of Udrih and/or Garcia needs to be moved for a shorter contract to be able to afford Okafor this year considering the obligatory additions and contracts of younger players. We'd have roughly 12(13) players tied up to 75(76) million give or take. This might be the ONE year we're lux tax payers as both Cisco and Beno are potentially off the books next year.
FINANCIAL OUTLOOK - POOR
Martin's off the books at a savings of 12.5 million dollars. He'll be 30 years old going into the off-season. If still on the roster by then, I think he would definitely consider re-signing at a reduced rate. Something like 4 or 5 years at just above the MLE(like 7-8 million a year, maybe even a declining at that point. He'll still be a VERY useful player, but his best days will be coming to end very soon from that point on. He could be the wiry veteran presence along with Emeka to keep our team competing.
Beno's off the books, and Cisco has a team option that we can decline. This is the year that we need to extend both Casspi and Evans though. Evans, gauging by today, would require a max contract(9 million BYC) and Casspi would probably need a good sized contract(probably something with a BYC around 7 million) as well. You also have rookie 2010, 2011, 2012 and now rookie 2013 on board, which would add an addtional 6-7 million in salary. That's 12 players on our roster(4 guaranteed rookie contracts Okafor, Thompson, Hawes, Casspi, Evans, Greene, Brockman and the re-signing of Martin(4 years 30 million with the base year being around 8 million) @ around 70 million(probably right up against the tax burden).
FINANCIAL OUTLOOK: OKAY, but TIGHT.
At which point, Okafor expires and gives the Kings the breathing room to continue competing(if they re-sign him at a reduced rate or let him go altogether).
So forecasting the future, I see the Kings realistically being a tax paying team in the penultimate year of Okafor's deal, making no other trades to free up future salary. I'm much more in favor of adding an Okafor, than say, a Bosh or Amare or Boozer for these reasons).
1) Okafor would be cheaper IMO.
2) Okafor wouldn't require giving up much other than future capspace, thus keeping most, all of our current assets.
3) Okafor would be signed for at least 1 less year, maybe even 2 less years than either Bosh, Amare or Boozer(as they'd likely require a SnT, requiring an extra year along with more financial commitment, along with some type of value exiting to their former teams).
4) And most importantly Okafor fills a gaping void on the Kings roster that consists of defensive rebounding and protecting the paint. We don't need another ball dominant player, and I think Okafor is an Ideal fit for the way this current Kings team is constructed.
So in short, I think we should deal for Okafor and look to move one or both of Beno and.or Garcia to abstain from being a taxpaying team.
This article is proof that it's ALWAYS easier to spend other people's money.