A question came up in one of the threads, and I spent so much time crafting a response, that I figured I'd be donkey's bottom and make a fanpost out of it. The thought came up that if we were to let Miller and Camby expire, we could have some cap savings instead of giving the savings to another team. So I figured why not make a hypothetical situation and see what happens.
In this scenario, I'm going to make this as cap savings friendly as possible. 2011 won't get us anything. So we've got to go out to 2012. (And thanks Storyteller for the website info).
Miller and Camby expire. That leaves Roy's 16.5 Million, Aldridge's 13.5 million, Wallace's 9.5 million, and Matthews 6.5 milion. And Gomes' contract worth three quarters of a million. For a total of 46.75 Million dollars. We'll assume that Babbitt and Williams do not have their options picked up by the Blazers.
This year's cap was 57 Million. Now I highly doubt it stays there. It's probably going to drop significantly, if the owners have their way. But for the sake of argument lets say it stay's the same. And for the sake of argument, let's say they kept the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (also extremely unlikely, but we're trying to get the most favorable scenario possible).
We haven't figured everything yet. Do we resign Oden? For how much? If we sign him for the reported 4/40 or even 2/20, we have zero cap space left, even with Miller and Camby's contracts gone. But let's keep the argument going. and assume we let Oden sign with another team, without receiving compensation. And therefore Oden would count as zero.
Next up are the qualifying offers for Batum and Rudy. Since they made below the NBA Average Salary, there is a hold placed on our salary cap of 300 percent of their previous year's salary. That equals 6.5 million dollars apiece for a total of 13 million dollars, putting us over the salary cap. But let's say we renounce our rights to Rudy. That takes our salary commitment down to 53.25 million. Giving us only a 3.75 million dollar chunk to work with. And that's half of the MLE that one could get if one stayed over the salary cap. So to get salary cap relief, Batum's 6.5 million dollar cap hold has to be renounced, and he can no longer sign with the Blazers. So we are once again at 46.75 million dollars.
But we're not done yet. Our Number 21 draft pick is guaranteed at least two years of money at 1.2 million. And for the sake of argument, let's say we land in the same spot next season, and once again have a Number 21 draft pick, the first year being 1.1 million. That is 2.3 million that must go on to our 46.25 million, making (roughly) 48.5 million. We still have the cap holds from our Euros, worth about 3 million, but we can renounce them if needed.
But with all this cutting of players, we would only have six players on our roster. A minimum salary cap hold is placed on the cap automatically for each player short of 13. 13 minus 6 equals 7. 7 times 0.5 million equals 3.5 million. And that must count against the salary cap. making the total 52 million.
52 million, bare minimum salary in 2012, cutting every player possible. The argument kept the salary cap the same at 57 million (unlikely). and got rid of as much salary as legally possible under the current CBA. And we still ended up with less cap space that we would have using the Mid-Level Exception (if it still exists).
One option that has been left unexplored is the possibility of an amnesty clause for Roy (minus 16.5 for Brandon, +0.5 for not-enough-players cap hold). The problem is that such a clause must come with a new CBA, which opens a whole new can of worms. I such a CBA would have to have a much lower cap number to justify such a clause. So sure, we might be able to swing a 36 million dollar team salary figure. But that's renouncing Oden and Batum. That's refusing to take any extra salary from anywhere. That's filling our bench with League Minimum players on unguaranteed contracts. And having only (guessing) 9 million dollars to fill 8 roster spots with a hard salary cap.
So yes, I'm going to say that reasonably, we are not going to have ANY salary cap space whatsoever in 2012, barring the trading away of players like Aldridge and Wallace for expiring contracts.
Hope that helps.