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Salary cap fallout: The only sure thing about the Carmelo Anthony signing

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Melo costs the Blazers $50,715 per day!

Nuggets v Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

I’m not crazy enough to try to guess how the Carmelo Anthony and Portland Trail Blazers marriage will work out. History doesn’t bode well but, hey, desperate times and all that.

What I am crazy enough to do is write a few hundred words on the salary cap minutiae of a minimum salary signing! Consider it Blazer’s Edge’s version of micro-targeting.

How much is Carmelo Anthony getting paid?

The NBA veteran minimum for a player with more than ten seasons of experience is $2,564,753. Seasons are chunked into 177 single days segments and, as near as I can tell, Anthony will be paid for 152 days if he sticks with the team for the rest of the season.

That means he’s making $14,490 per day and can earn a maximum of $2,202,500 for the season. Not a bad payday to stay home and “flip that back mentally” for a few days!

The Blazers are not on the hook for the full 15 grand. Teams are only responsible for the equivalent of a minimum contract for a player with two years of experience — $1,620,564 this season. That translates to roughly $10,677 per day. The league will cover the rest of Melo’s salary.

The Blazers are more than $20 million over the luxury tax, though, so they pay a tax penalty multiplier of 3.75 for every dollar that goes to Melo. That translates to about $50,715 per day for Jody Allen and the Vulcans, and up to $4.8 million for the season.

Here’s cap guru Albert Nahmad to confirm my back-of-napkin math.

Why didn’t the Blazers sign Melo to a 10-day contract?

NBA teams can’t sign players to 10-day contracts until Jan. 5, 2020. Non-guaranteed minimum contracts are the relative equivalent for the first half of the season.

Can the Blazers get rid of Melo if things don’t go well?

Anthony is on a non-guaranteed contract so the Blazers can cut him, for now, without having to pay additional salary. That changes on Jan. 10, 2020 — the date all contracts become guaranteed for the rest of the season. If Anthony is cut after that date the Blazers will pay him for the rest of the season even though he has left the team. As such, Jan. 10 should be viewed as the deadline to make a final decision on Anthony’s fit for the season.

But what if the Blazers need an extra roster spot after Jan. 10?

The Blazers figure to be big players on the trade market so they might need an extra roster spot if they have to take back more players than they send out. For example, general manager Neil Olshey may need to take back two players in exchange for Hassan Whiteside to match Whiteside’s massive $27 million contract.

If the Blazers do need an extra roster spot, they can cut any player at any time. The downside is they will be on the hook for the full salary for the rest of the season. Given the latter point, minimum salary players like Anthony or Anthony Tolliver are the most likely to be cut, if necessary.

Can Melo be part of a trade package?

The Blazers will not be able to trade Anthony. Teams must wait three months after signing a player to include them in a deal. The Blazers signed Melo on Nov. 15 and the trade deadline is Feb. 6, so the trade deadline will pass before Anthony is trade-eligible.


Salary cap questions? Let me know in the comments!