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Miles and the Cap

A lot of people wrote me over the weekend regarding the reported Darius Miles tryout in Boston see PLJ's fanpost here:  what it would do to our cap space should he sign with another team, and whether I thought that was likely.  I’m going to split the answer into two posts.  This one deals with the cap ramifications.  Specifically, since we seem to be talking about cap stuff once a week or so, I think it’s time to lay out Portland’s exact numbers so everyone can see exactly what we’re talking about in black and white, addressing Darius’ possible impact as part of the wider story.


Technically speaking, the Blazers are only bound to a couple contracts for certain in the summer of 2009:  Joel Przybilla’s at $6.9 million and Rudy Fernandez’ at $1.2 million.  On Wednesday you’re going to hear confirmation of the draft-day trade with Indiana.  Soon after you’ll hear about contract signings for our draftees, Jerryd Bayless and Nicolas Batum.  Though there is some wiggle-room on the exact numbers they can sign for, Bayless will make around $1.8 million and Batum around $930,000 in the summer of ’09-10.  And that’s it.  Everyone else on the team is on some kind of contract option controlled by the team (at this point anyway).  Should the Blazers wish to cut everyone but the aforementioned players they could have $10.8 million on the books and take over $45 million in cap space into that summer.


Of course we all know that’s not going to happen, but it shouldn’t be missed how amazingly placed this team is right now.  It’s rare for a team to have that kind of cap control all at once.  We’ll not see this kind of thing again.


To make the numbers digestible I’m going to lay this out like a restaurant menu.  We’re going to start with the contracts we’re already committed to and the core players we’ll certainly retain.  That’s like your basic Family Menu, Option A.  After that we’ll list the possible side dishes and the cost of each, including the Darius tax.


As always I am indebted to Storyteller's site for the hard numbers.




Contracts Committed To and the Core Players  (all numbers in millions)


Joel Przybilla  $6.9

Rudy Fernandez  $1.2

Jerryd Bayless  $1.8

Nicolas Batum  $0.9

Greg Oden  $5.4

Lamarcus Aldridge  $5.8

Brandon Roy  $3.9

Total:  $25.9 million


Contract Options


Petteri Koponen (if signed this year)  Add $0.9

Steve Blake  Add $4.9

Travis Outlaw  Add $4.0

Sergio Rodriguez  Add $1.6

Total Possible Range:  $0 to $11.4 million


Possible Restricted Free Agents*

Martell Webster

     Cut  $0

     Qualifying  $5.0

     Trade  $4.0

     RFA  $11.4


Channing Frye

     Cut  $0

     Qualifying  $4.3

     Trade  $3.4

     RFA  $9.6


Ike Diogu

     Cut  $0

     Qualifying  $3.9

     Trade  $3.1

     RFA  $8.7

Total Possible Range:  $0 to $29.7 million


2009 First Round Pick

Possible Range $0.8-4.0 million


Possible Darius Miles Reinstatement**

Darius Miles  Add $9.0


*These players have four possible contract options.  “Cut” means we release them for cap space.  “Qualifying” means they accept a one-year qualifying offer.  “Trade” means we trade them this year for a comparable salary that runs past 2009-10 and thus does not involve the possibility of restricted free agency.  This number assumes an 8% raise from year to year, though this is just a ballpark guess and may be wholly inaccurate.  “RFA” means the cap hold if the player becomes a restricted free agent.  Keep in mind that we could also negotiate new contracts with any of these players for a variety of amounts or they could receive offers from other teams that we match, so these numbers don’t cover every eventuality.


**This number is unconfirmed.  I am still doing some research on how much the contract actually counts against the cap in cases like this.  I have seen it reported elsewhere as the full amount but I have not seen their sources.  For now we’ll go with it.



As you can see, how much Darius playing with another team would affect our cap status depends greatly on the other moves we make.  Obviously it’s not good.  The big LaFrentz contract we’re so excited about losing is worth $12.7 million.  Darius gives us nearly ¾ of that back.  But that doesn’t mean we’d have no room.  It just means we might have to make more cuts or earlier re-signings if we want/need that room.  It might make you release a Steve Blake or Ike Diogu, for instance, when you might have considered keeping them otherwise.


Using these numbers it’s fairly easy to build your own cap space scenario as well.  Start with the core $25.9 million and add who you wish, speculating how you’d retain them.  If you retain everybody we have now the most economical way possible you’re looking at around $50-51 million in cap space taken, not counting next year’s first-rounder.  That still leaves you some cap space to play with.  Unless, of course, the Darius thing comes up.  The likelihood of that is covered in the post above.


--Dave (