Blazers Salary Cap Room (July 1, 2012 Free-Agency Edition)

Happy Free Agent Season!

The Blazers can (and will) place their first calls to Free Agents at 9 pm Saturday night, June 30. They can't sign Free Agents until July 11, but most of the negotiating will be done before then. So expect the first wave of free agents to start signing on July 11.

Since my last update of the Blazers' Salary Cap Room, several important events have occurred.

1. As expected, Jamal Crawford did not opt-in. Therefore, he doesn't take any of our cap room.

2. The Blazers decided not to offer JJ Hickson a Qualifying Offer. So he is now an Unrestricted Free Agent. The Blazers could still sign him, but they can no longer match other team's offers, and there is no longer a Hickson salary cap hold against our cap room.

3. The draft occurred and we used both our #6 and #11 picks. So we now know the exact amount of the salary cap holds for those draft picks. There is no cap hold for our 2nd round draft pick, but there is a minimum player charge for that roster spot until Barton or someone else is signed.

Assumptions/Conditions for this cap room calculation:

Note: We do not have to renounce any of our free-agents or Euro players until we want to use cap room to sign other free-agents.

1. We are readily willing to renounce all our free agents except Joel Freeland IF we need cap space to sign other free agents. That includes Crawford, Felton, Craig Smith, Flynn, Thabeet, and Przy (we can still re-sign Przy if we want. We only have non-Bird rights, so renouncing Przy doesn't materially hurt our ability to resign him).

2. If Victor Claver does not join the Blazers this year, we would renounce him IF we needed his cap room. Therefore, the cap room in this calculation is not reduced by his $1.05M cap hold. However, if he joins the Blazers his salary may be low enough that we can sign him after other free agents are signed using our $2.5M Room Exception. In that case, our cap room for signing other free agents would be reduced by $1.05M because we would not renounce him. But if his salary exceeded the $2.5M Room Exception, then the cap room in this calculation would be reduced by his entire salary.

3. Freeland is included in the team salary because of his higher perceived value to the Blazers as a player or as a trade asset. But we could also renounce him to increase the cap room further. If Freeland joins the Blazers this year, our cap room would be reduced by his actual salary - $850K (his cap hold).

About the table:

1. Teams must have 13 players on the roster. There is a minimum player charge to cap space of $474K for every player less than 12 players (since signing a free agent with the cap space gets you to 13 players).

2. It is crucial to our cap room that we use the room (sign other free agents) before we sign or match an offer to Batum because we have Bird Rights for Batum, which means we can go over the Salary Cap to retain him. Until we re-sign or match a Batum offer sheet, he only counts against our cap room as a $5.4M cap hold. However, other teams may try to sign him quickly and force us to use part of our cap room to match.

3. The 1st column of the table shows our cap room if we re-sign or match a Batum offer sheet AFTER we use our cap space on other free agents. The 2nd column shows our cap room if we re-sign or match Batum for $10M BEFORE we use our cap room on other free agents. Note the effect is $4.6M ($10M-$5.4M) on our cap room.

All salary data from Storyteller's excellent contracts site.

Sign FA's Sign Batum
Before Batum Before FA's
1 LaMarcus Aldridge 14,000,000 14,000,000
2 Wesley Matthews 6,505,320 6,505,320
3 Kurt Thomas 1,352,181 1,352,181
4 Luke Babbitt 1,892,280 1,892,280
5 Elliot Williams 1,442,880 1,442,880
6 Nolan Smith 1,365,720 1,365,720
7 Shawne Williams 3,135,000 3,135,000
8 Damian Lillard 2,554,200 2,554,200
9 Meyers Leonard 1,772,100 1,772,100
10 Will Barton/min player 473,604 473,604
11 Batum (cap hold) 5,388,413 10,000,000
12 Joel Freeland 850,800 850,800
13 Free Agent(s)
Total 40,732,498 45,344,085
Salary Cap 58,000,000 58,000,000
Cap Room 17,267,502 12,655,915

Bottom line:

1. We have about $17.3M to sign other free agents if we get that done before re-signing Batum, or $12.7M to sign other free agents if we sign Batum to a $10M contract first.

2. We could increase our cap room to $18.9M (or $14.3M if we sign Batum to a $10M contract before free agents) by waiving Shawne Williams using the stretch provision.

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