Blazers Current Cap-Space Analysis

Edited on May 30 following the draft lottery to update the previously assumed #7 pick to the #6 pick, a very small ($220K) decrease in our cap space.

Here's a look at our current cap space going into this summer.


1. Crawford opts out, as he already has said he will.

2. We are willing to renounce all other free agents except Joel Freeland as soon as we need cap space to sign other free agents. That includes Crawford, Felton, Craig Smith, Victor Claver (just $1.05M), and Przy (we can still resign him if we want. We only have non-Bird rights, so renouncing Przy doesn't hurt our ability to resign him). JJ Hickson is handled in the table below with his cap hold and without his cap hold (renounced).

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). If we renounce JJ Hickson, then his cap hold is replaced by that minimum cap space charge.

2. As I have been saying for months, it is crucial to our cap space that we use the space (sign other free agents) before we sign or match an offer to Batum because we have Bird Rights to 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 space as a $5.4M cap hold (Dave has an article on the front page about this, which he has now updated with the correct information). But that may be difficult because other teams will try to sign him quickly and force us to match using our cap space (before we get other free agents signed) to make it less likely we would match.

3. The first 2 columns of the table show our cap room if we re-sign or match a Batum offer sheet AFTER we use our cap space on other free agents, and the last 2 columns show our cap space if we re-sign or match Batum for $10M (a worst case guess) BEFORE we use our cap space on other free agents. Note the effect is $4.6M ($10M-$5.4M) on our cap room.

4. The 1st and 3rd columns include JJ Hickson's cap hold. The 2nd and 4th columns show our cap space if we renounce Hickson to create more cap space to sign other free agents. Even if we make the $4.4M Qualifying Offer to Hickson, which gives us the right to retain him by matching any offer he receives, we can still renounce it to get the cap space back. Unfortunately, unlike the Batum situation, we only have non-Bird rights to Hickson, so we could only go about $4.4M over the cap to retain him and he is likely to get a $4M-$5M offer.

(The NBA Players Association is challenging the rule that gives us only non-Bird Rights for Hickson. A decision will occur in mid-June before the draft. If the Players Association is successful - not likely in my opinion - we could get full Bird Rights to exceed the salary cap for matching any offer to Hickson, and his situation would be equivalent to Batum's situation.)

Sign FA's Sign FA's Sign Batum Sign Batum
Before Batum Before Batum Before FA's Before FA's
With Renounce With Renounce
Hickson CH Hickson Hickson CH Hickson
1 LaMarcus Aldridge 14,000,000 14,000,000 14,000,000 14,000,000
2 Wesley Matthews 6,505,320 6,505,320 6,505,320 6,505,320
3 Kurt Thomas 1,352,181 1,352,181 1,352,181 1,352,181
4 Luke Babbitt 1,892,280 1,892,280 1,892,280 1,892,280
5 Elliot Williams 1,442,880 1,442,880 1,442,880 1,442,880
6 Nolan Smith 1,365,720 1,365,720 1,365,720 1,365,720
7 Shawne Williams 3,135,000 3,135,000 3,135,000 3,135,000
8 1st Round Pick (#6) 2,554,200 2,554,200 2,554,200 2,554,200
9 1st Round Pick (#11) 1,772,100 1,772,100 1,772,100 1,772,100
10 Batum (cap hold) 5,388,413 5,388,413 10,000,000 10,000,000
11 JJ Hickson/min player 4,385,416 473,604 4,385,416 473,604
12 Joel Freeland 850,800 850,800 850,800 850,800
13 Free Agent(s)
Total 44,644,310 40,732,498 49,255,897 45,344,085
Salary Cap 58,000,000 58,000,000 58,000,000 58,000,000
Cap Room 13,355,690 17,267,502 8,744,103 12,655,915

Bottom line:

1. If we do NOT resign Hickson we should have about $17.3M to sign other free agents if we get it done before resigning Batum, or $12.7M to sign other free agents if we sign Batum to a $10M contract first.

2. If we want to keep open the option to resign Hickson, we will lose about $3.9M off those numbers because of his cap hold, and we will lose his actual salary minus about $474K from our cap space if we eventually do re-sign him.

Alternative Trade the Draft Picks option:

I'm on the record predicting that the Blazers will trade the draft picks for a veteran starter. I expect the Blazers to trade both draft picks (assuming they get both picks) AND try to include Shawne Williams in the deal, returning a starting player (targeting, but not necessarily getting a PG) and a lower 1st round draft pick. The effect that would have on their summer cap space depends of course on the salary of the incoming player and the success in getting another team to take Williams. But moving Williams and getting one lower 1st round pick in return, would mean they could get back a player that makes around $5.5M without changing their summer cap space, and by trading for a player still on a rookie contract they could increase their summer cap space.