Outside of the Blazers, Marc Gasol is my favorite player.
I could talk for an hour about why he's the perfect compliment to Aldridge and our system on both ends of the court. He's gonna be a free agent after next season and with all of the turmoil in Memphis maybe he would be interested in leaving. So I wanted to find out if we had a shot at him salary cap wise.
I'm focused on Marc Gasol, but there are a multiple top shelf centers available in 2015. This discussion is relevant to how we go after any of them.
2015 Salary Cap: 68-70 million
Cap was $58 mil this year. Reported to jump five million next year to $63 mil. Given the growth trajectory of the league I think it's safe to project that same $5 mil increase or more.
Blazers won't pick up Leaonard's option, Claver's QO, or Freeland's QO.
Freeland hurts a little bit, but he's just not worth the almost 4 million his QO is. We could sign him for less as a UFA if we wanted to keep him.
Blazers will pick in the same position they would have had in this year's draft.
This makes the cap hold for the unsigned 1st round pick about $1 million
Gasol will make at least $19 million
We$ will make at least $7 million
Rolo will make at least $6 million
A max salary is 30% of the cap. Given the salary cap assumption, Gasol's max will be 20.4 - 21 million. He should get close to that.
The first and second chart show whether or not the salary cap is 68 or 70 million. Each column changes the assumption of Aldridge's salary. The rows indicate which players we choose to keep.
The number in each cell represents the cap space we have to not only go after Gasol but also re-sign We$ and Rolo.
Green - Possibility of Gasol, We$, and Rolo
Yellow - Possibility of Gasol and We$
Red - Possibility of Gasol and We$ if Aldridge took a little less than the max (~19 million)
So the good news is that the Blazers could throw a max offer to Gasol or any other 2015 FA C. The bad news is it becomes hard to keep Wesley. And nearly impossible to keep Rolo or much of the bench unless Aldridge takes the extension.
The Blazers have to make decisions about Barton's qualifying offer, CJ's team option, and TRob's team option before the FA period begins. At first glance this is a big issue, because we'll have to make those decisions before holding discussions with Gasol. However, assuming a decent level of play and their attractive rookie contracts, we could likely trade CJ and TRob (just like how we acquired TRob in the first place) and Barton's QO could be relinquished at any time.
So it becomes a much simpler process. We can talk to FAs and then decide to renounce, trade, or relinquish anyone to clear the necessary cap space. However, Olshey will be negotiating contracts with LMA, We$, and Rolo at the same time so maybe simple is the wrong word.
After looking at all of this, it really comes down to "Is it worth giving up Rolo and the entire bench to sign Gasol? I would argue yes, but I'm curious what other people think.
The other thing to recognize is that we give up the opportunity to make that decision if we sign a meaningful FA this summer. This also gets tricky because if we don't upgrade the bench and have a disappointing season, Aldridge might leave. Lots of moving pieces, it will be interesting to watch Olshey manage such a complex situation.
*Note: I cut out all the parts explaining how I got the numbers cause it was too long, but I'd be happy to talk about the salary cap rules if anyone is curious.