With one of the leagues youngest rosters and a light payroll, the Charlotte Bobcats could the flexibility this offseason to improve their team. Speculation is that team officials hope to make a splash in the summer.
Before fans jump into endless trade proposals and the twilight zone of free agency rumors, teams have to know how much is in their wallet. There are many ways to make moves around the NBA’s salary cap and the Bobcats are likely considering different options.
Last week ESPN reporter Marc Stein reported that the projected 2013-14 salary cap will be an estimated $58.5 million.
Confirming @espnsteinline tweet — league’s projected cap/tax for 2013-14 is currently $58.5M & $71.6M. For 2014-15 it’s $62.1M & $75.7M.
— Larry Coon (@LarryCoon) June 3, 2013
This figure is a slight increase from the 2012-13 cap of $58.044 million. Currently, the Bobcats have $21.96 million in committed salary for next season.
The Bobcats could have up to six free agents this offseason. Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens are in line to be restricted free agents. DeSagana Diop, Reggie Wlliams and Jeff Adrien will be unrestricted.
Ben Gordon could also be unrestricted if he opts out of $13.2 million for next season. Gordon is widely expected to opt into his contract. With him, the Bobcats will have $35.16 million in committed salary.
Ben Gordon said he can’t see any reason to opt out of final season on contract. Considering he makes $13.2 million why would he?
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 18, 2013
When projecting cap space it’s important to understand cap holds. Cap holds are figures charged to team salary for free agents, first round draft picks and minimum roster requirements. Cap holds exist to prevent teams from being able to sign other team’s free agents, while being able to re-sign their own through bird rights.
The Bobcats could have up to seven capholds. This amount includes their free agents and the fourth pick in the 2013 draft. Without Gordon the Bobcats capholds would total a little over $35.1 million:
- DeSagana Diop, $11,058,300
- Gerald Henderson, $7,753,318
- Byron Mullens, $5,632,655
- Josh McRoberts, $4,o75,000
- Reggie Williams, $3,396,250
- 2013 #4 Pick, $3,214,000
This would put the Bobcats offseason salary a little over $71.2 million.
In order to get carve into this figure, the Bobcats would need to renounce the rights of players. When renounced, teams lose the Larry Bird, Early Bird and Non-Bird rights to their free agents. Their cap holds are no longer figured into team salary.
Unless the Bobcats decide to move out of the first round, the caphold for their pick will count on team salary until they sign their selecton to a rookie contract, likely worth 120% of the scale salary. This would put the committed payroll at $39.02 million.
Diop and Williams combined to play 606 minutes last season. They’re safe bets to be renounced.
Mullens is tough to figure out. He’s a frustrating player, but nonetheless a contributor a team. Depending on what options the Bobcats can find in free agency, or the draft, they might find that a $5.6 million cap hold is a bit much. They could also choose not to extend Mullens his $4.5 million qualifying offer.
McRoberts played well with the Bobcats after being acquired from Orlando. With Early Bird rights, the Bobcats can pay him up to $5.48 million, which is 175% of his 2012-13 salary.
It would be surprising if any team paid him as much of his Early Bird or cap hold. I would lean towards the Bobcats renouncing McRoberts. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t or couldn’t resign him, but it would just be about value. The Bobcats might be smarter to sign McRoberts to a two-year, $6 million deal, as he did two offseasons ago.
Henderson makes a strong case to be the only non-renounced player. His improvement, particularly after the all-star break was very noticeable. As an athletic, 25-year-old two-way guard, Henderson could draw a good amount of interest on the open market.
Henederson is unlikely to sign his $4.5 million qualifying offer and his $7.7 million cap hold is a realistic figure of what he could fetch on the open market. Renouncing Henderson would open up quite a bit of room, but it’s a high risk given his improvement each year in Charlotte. With Henderson’s caphold, the Bobcats would be at $46.77 million in salary, which is 11.72 million under the projected cap.
Because of this figure, the Bobcats are probably likely to use the amnesty provision on the much-maligned Tyrus Thomas. Thomas is due $8.69 million next season and a hefty $9.38 million in 2014-15.
After an amnesty of Thomas and four roster charges to meet the minimum roster requirements, the Bobcats would have $40.03 million in committed salary for the offseason. This would This would be an estimated figure until the exact amount of the salary cap is released during the offseason. This leaves the Bobcats with over $18 million to spend.
This is just one of the few scenarios the Bobcats could use this summer to make roster changes.
Salary figures used are from Sham Sports.
Should The Bobcats Spend Big On Free Agents This Offseason?
- Yes, they need to improve the roster immediately. (45%, 69 Votes)
- No, they should preserve their flexibility and only make value deals (55%, 86 Votes)
Total Voters: 155