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Saving More Mikki Moore Money

On the surface, the decision to waive Mikki Moore last week came from an amalgam of four factors: to save a few bucks this season in the event Moore was picked up by another team, to ensure maximum playing time for the youngsters, to ensure there'd be no chance of picking up that full third year, and to do the right thing by a classy, veteran player.

But there's another reason to waive Moore: the Kings can save some room under the 2009-10 salary cap.

As it stands, the Kings will be on the hook for $2 million in salary for Moore next season. Even though Moore won't be with the team, that $2 million will count against the team's salary cap. On deadline day, the NBA sent a memo to teams estimating a salary cap of $57 million for 2009-10. Given the deadline moves of the Kings, the current slotted payroll for 2009-10 is $45 million, allowing the team roughly $12 million in cap space.

There's nothing the Kings can do in a real way with Moore's $2 million hit. They can sit trade Kenny Thomas' $8.7 million salary (ha!), find a buyer for Andres Nocioni's $7 million paycheck (subtle "ha!"). But Moore's on the books for $2 million, period. (Well, I suppose that was "$2 million, comma, period." Damn, now we have "dollar sign 2 space million comma space comma comma space period period endquote period" Whatever.)

But Moore -- by wowing the world -- can decrease the Kings' 2009-10 cap hit. If Moore has a professional basketball contract next season (NBA or otherwise), the Kings' $2 million Moore hit will be decreased. It will be a small amount, in all likelihood. But every dollar counts.

The collective bargaining agreement allows for a cap set-off for a waived player who is subsequently signed by another team. This is the provision which saves Sacramento a few bucks this season. It's an odd little formula to figure out the savings: one-half the difference between the player's new salary and the minimum salary for a one-year veteran. The fact that midseason waivers are pro-rated, combined with the reality that I am not Joe Maloof's accountant have led me to ignore the set-off provision in terms of current year dollar savings. In other words, I don't particularly care if the Kings save $20 or $200,000 this season on Moore's buy-out. That affects nothing but perhaps whether it's Evian or Pellegrino in Slamson's dressing room this week.

But the summer's salary cap space, obviously, is of concern. So let's work out the math.

* Moore will be an 11-year veteran this summer. The minimum salary for veterans with 10+ years of service next season is $1.3 million.

* The minimum salary for a one-year veteran next season is $736,000.

* The difference between these amounts is $564,000. Half of that is $282,000. So if some team signs Moore to a minimum contract for 2009-10, only $1.718 million of Moore's $2 million guaranteed salary will count against Sacramento's cap. The estimated $12 million in cap space turns into a whopping $12.3 million in cap space.

Let's get optimistic. Instead of a minimum contract, let's say some bold team signs Moore to its bi-annual exception.

* The bi-annual exception is priced at $1.99 million for 2009-10.

* The minimum salary for a one-year veteran next season is $736,000.

* The difference between these amounts is $1.254 million. Half of that is $627,000. If a team signs Moore to its bi-annual exception, the Kings would gain $627,000 in 2009-10 cap space. That's actually not bad.

Things get better should some team give Moore a portion of its mid-level exception. A $3 million salary for Moore, for example, would translate to $1.1 million in extra cap space. It would take a (pipe dream) salary of $4.736 million to completely remove Moore's salary from Sacramento's books. But as you can see, the bigger the contract Moore earns this summer, the better it is for the Kings ... with the stipulation that it's unlikely to make a massive dent.

I, for one, will never root harder for Mikki than I will for the next three months. GO CELTICS! GO MIKKI MOORE!