After seeing Blazers’ Edge implode after not picking a backup PF in the draft, I saw many people trying to reassure those people ready to jump out of buildings by saying, "Wait until July 8th!" But what if July 8th comes and goes and nothing happens? And July 9th, and 10th. I’m pretty sure things will be a disaster around here and people will call for Pritchard to be fired for not making a spectacular move.
So if nothing happens this summer, is all hope lost? Will Pritchard have wasted the only opportunity he had to do something big? After all, Roy and Aldridge are due contract extensions this summer. Our cap space will be gone when that happens. However, those extensions don’t actually kick in until July 1st, 2010.
But those second rounders we drafted will be signed and eat into our capspace. True. Assuming Portland does nothing this summer, except renounce Michael Ruffin, Shavlik Randolph, Raef LaFrentz and Channing Frye, they walk into the season with the following contracts (via Storyteller’s website):
Darius Miles’s Contract: $9,000,000
Joel Przybilla: $6,857,725
Greg Oden: $5,361,240
LaMarcus Aldridge: $5,844,827
Steve Blake: $4,000,000
Travis Outlaw: $3,600,000
Martell Webster: $4,319,654
Brandon Roy: $3,910,816
Jerryd Bayless: $2,143,080
Rudy Fernandez: $1,165,320
Nicolas Batum: $1,118,760
Victor Claver: $1,012,900 (Cap Hold)
Petteri Koponen: $824,200 (Cap Hold)
Joel Freeland: $824,200 (Cap Hold)
Also this is an assumption as far as personel, but it needs to be made going into the season without changes:
Dante Cunningham: $457,588 (Rookie Minimum)
One minimum rookie contract to make the minimum 13 roster spots (hopefully 3rd string PG): $457,588
Total 2009-2010 Salary: $51,355,486
Total 2009-2010 Salary, not counting our 2nd rounders: $49,982,722
That’s a 1.5 million dollar loss just to get the team up and running for the season. Except the day the season starts, the cap holds on our overseas 1st rounders falls off until July 1st 2010. So in reality, if this scenario were to happen, our salary would be lower.
Total 2009-2010 salary, with cap holds removed and 2nd rounders signed: $48,694,206
Instead of a 1.5 million dollar loss, we’re looking at a 1.3 million dollar gain in cap space by waiting until the season starts.
Instead of being our enemy, it's possible that it could be our friend. How many other teams with cap space will blow it all on July 8th? How many teams will enter the season under the cap? A feasible $10 million under the cap (assuming there is no raising or lowering of the cap threshold this year)?
If things get tighter this year instead of better, the pressure goes up even more. What if we go to the 2009-2010 NBA trade deadline with $10 million under the cap? I think it is entirely possible that we would be the only team with that kind of flexibility, while fielding a decent team. While the rest of the NBA gets even more desperate for cap relief, we have an overabundance. Time only makes our space more attractive.
Of course, if this happens, and the trade deadline comes, Portland fans will get even more hyped about it. But what if nothing happens then either? Turns out, all is not lost. We would have that cap space until July 1st, 2010. That includes draft day 2010, when John Wall, is available, or the next superstar is available for cap space. (I hear a lot of teams want to dump salaries for the 2010 free agent bonanza.) And teams will know that our commodity is only available for a short time longer. Act now, or be stuck forever.
I certainly don’t want to wait that long. Patience is not my strongest suit. I’ll be pulling my hair out on July 8th, 2009. However, by looking at things this way, at least I wont be looking for the nearest window if for some reason nothing happens.
One last thought. It's a long shot, and I don't believe it could happen. But what if. What if Portland wins a case for Daruis Miles' contract to be removed from our cap? It certainly couldn't happen before July 8th. But by the start of next season, or the trade deadline? There is a possibility. Of course, you cannot bank on that and use it as an excuse to not do anything this summer. But it's there. It is possible. Not likely, but possible. <shiver>
Of course, this thought can always use more input. Any salary guys out there might see errors in my though processes. Maybe I’m missing something vitally important. Maybe there’s some better ideas out there. Please chime in with any thoughts, corrections, constructive criticisms, et cetera.