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The Case for Cap Space

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by finsraider, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. finsraider

    finsraider Member

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    Now that we are past the deadline, the next significant moves the Rockets can make are in the offseason.

    I know that Bima and others have said several times that the Rockets will not have significant cap space this summer IF we do not trade Ariza. My argument is that due to a number of different factors, the Rockets should consider trading Ariza and using cap space, WHETHER OR NOT they use that space to sign a max player.

    As always, signing a star should be the priority. The list of potential unrestricted free agents this summer is fairly short, with most focused on the big cap jump in 2016 and beyond. That list is:

    Kevin Love
    Lamarcus Aldridge
    Marc Gasol
    LeBron James

    It's unlikely any of these names will be available to the Rockets, with Love and James staying under contract and Aldridge/Gasol being on very good teams that can offer 5 year max contracts.

    That said, restricted free agency is interesting. There are 2-3 wings in line for max pay days:

    Kawhi Leonard
    Jimmy Butler
    Draymond Green

    Because of the aforementioned jump in the cap, it is very possible that they demand a max contract or legitimately threaten to take the QO (they may take the QO anyway, regardless of the offer). Now, do I think San Antonio, Chicago, and Golden State will offer max contracts? Yes, with the possible exception of Golden State. But what all this does, I believe, is create an opportunity for Morey to work some magic.

    But anyways, forget all of that. Let's assume we can't get any of the players listed above. What then?

    The Rockets have a complicated decision to make around a very simple question: should we use cap exceptions or cap space?

    On the "cap exception" side of the ledger, you get to:

    1) keep Ariza
    2) re-sign Brewer using his bird rights
    3) re-sign Beverley using his bird rights
    4) Use the mid level exception

    But here's the problem: all of these players are a year older, signed to higher contracts, and the only way to keep other players like Smith/KJ McDaniels or add Euros like Llull/Gentile is the MLE.

    Effectively, if you stay above the cap, you are saying "bye" to Smith, risking losing McDaniels, and potentially forgoing bringing Llull or Gentile over for another year.

    I realize that losing Ariza may hurt our defense in the short term. We can't expect someone like McDaniels to step into that role immediately, so a stop gap of some kind may be necessary. Perhaps we can convince Brewer to sign a reasonable contract to fill that void somewhat....maybe 1 year room exception.

    Losing Brewer himself doesn't bother me much. I believe the floor for McDaniel's is Brewer, and he's younger and likely to be on a better contract.

    Losing Beverley doesn't concern me at all, and I think it's likely we try to work a SnT to get a 2nd out of someone for him.

    At the end of the day, it's about better positioning this roster to get a 3rd star. IMO, going below the cap by trading Ariza keeps us younger, gives us more roster flexibility, and gets us closer to a championship than staying over it does.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Corrosion

    Corrosion Member

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    Currently $12.9M over the cap.


    Contracts expiring - Terry $5.8m , Brewer $4.7m , Smith $2.1m , Beverley $915k , McDaniels $507k

    Those expiring contracts get you under the cap by .... $1.122m.

    Now you have 5 holes in your roster and little $ to fill them with other than use of bird rights & the MLE.

    Then you want to complicate matters by trading Ariza for cap space to sign a free agent ?! You now have ~$9.72m in cap space minus cap holds for empty roster spots & free agents of which you have bird rights to that you haven't renounced.
    This number doesn't take into account any rise in the cap but that isn't expected to be very much.

    $9.72m in cap space , six roster spots / cap holds. Who do you expect to sign with that windfall ?!
     
  3. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    I just heard an interview with the Portland Trailblazers GM on Sirius NBA radio, and he said that Paul Allen tells them to not worry about any financial considerations, just make basketball moves.

    Must be nice.

    DD
     
  4. WinkFan

    WinkFan Contributing Member

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    I heard that interview as well. Obviously, he was talking about things like the tax. They still have to deal with the salary cap structure like everyone else.

    It's not possible to "just make basketball moves" in the NBA.
     
  5. RoxBeliever

    RoxBeliever Member

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    Yeah, but eating Joey Dorsey's small contract to sign a better back-up center--that should be a no-brainer.

    Morey has been unwilling to give it up since the opening of the season.
     
  6. WinkFan

    WinkFan Contributing Member

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    That's a cap problem, not a cash problem. If we waive Dorsey, we lose a million in cap space next year. Not only that, we could only sign guys to minimum contracts at this point.
     
  7. Corrosion

    Corrosion Member

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    Who would they replace Dorsey with that is available and willing to accept a pro-rated vet minimum contract .... That's all they would have to work with to upgrade the position.
    He's guaranteed for next season so it impacts next years cap too .... Just look at the above numbers and you'll see how precarious the situation is.

    Maybe you can find a guy getting bought out for the vet min that is an upgrade now that we are beyond the trade deadline .... but it still hurts next years cap. Yes , its only $1m but considering the circumstances , that $1m seems much larger.


    Giving Dorsey the guaranteed second year was trouble from the get go. It has already cost them Tarick Black ....
     
  8. Downtown Sniper

    Downtown Sniper Contributing Member

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    People are out of their god damn minds if they want to trade Ariza.

    You get rid of Trevor and watch our defense slide a whoooooole lot.

    Just wait around until the playoffs, when players like Trevor earn their name. Then tell me whether you'd trade him and settle for a subpar player in his place.
     
  9. sammy

    sammy Contributing Member

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    Our D has been back to pathetic the past few games. Gotta start off strong after this break tonight.
     
  10. pmac

    pmac Contributing Member

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    The Rockets will almost certainly opt to not use cap space and operate as if they are above the cap. They have a couple interesting contracts in Papanikolaou ($4.7MM, non guaranateed) and Prigioni ($1.7MM, 290k partial guarantee) that can be added to other assets to make a decent trade for a good veteran player with a larger contract.

    Then again, I wouldn't expect one of those overpaid role players being added out of desperation. The rockets will probably want to maintain the ability to shed cap fast if Durant decides to leave OKC in 2016. I think Morey still strongly believes in the 3 star configuration.
     
  11. finsraider

    finsraider Member

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    Here's the Rocket's cap situation next year, without Ariza:

    Guaranteed
    22.4 - Howard
    15.8 - Harden
    2.5 - TJones
    2.3 - DMo
    1.3 - Capela
    1.0 - Dorsey
    0.9 - Johnson
    0.3 - Prigioni

    46.5 Guaranteed Total

    Non-guaranteed
    4.6 - Papanikolaou
    1.4 - Prigioni

    6.0 Non-guaranteed Total

    52.5 Guaranteed +Non-guaranteed Total

    Cap Holds - All estimates
    3.0 - Smith
    7.0 - Brewer
    9.0 - Terry
    1.3 - KJ McDaniels

    20.3 Cap Hold Total

    72.8 Guaranteed + Non-guaranteed + Cap Holds Total

    $68 million - Estimated cap

    What this cap space gives you is options.

    First, you can have 15.5 in cap space and still keep the non-guaranteed contracts of Papa and Prigioni, which I agree are important to taking back salary.

    So what to do with the space? Here's my best idea.

    Sign your NOP 1st round pick. I believe the starting salary would be around 1.65.
    I believe the qualifying offer for McDaniels is 1.3.

    So you've got about 12.5 million left to spend

    Sign Josh Smith to a 1 year $5 million contract
    Sign Brewer to a 1 year $4 million contract
    Sign Sergio Llull to a 3 year $11 million contract, 3.5 starting salary

    Right on the dot, $68 million. Then you use the room exception to resign KJ McDaniels to a 2 year $4 million contract, which should make him a RFA again in 2 years.

    I know the big question will be "why would Brewer and Smith sign one year contracts for 5 and 4 million? 2016 free agency. They stay with Houston because this is the best place for them to showcase their skills.

    The team looks like:

    Llull / Prigioni
    Harden / KJ McDaniels
    Brewer / Papanikolaou
    DMo / Smith / TJones
    Howard / Dorsey / Capela

    Plus the 1st round pick.

    This team is young and signed to good contracts. It also gives Houston plenty of flexibility to make a variety of different trades. This is a better option than keeping Ariza, letting Smith walk, signing Brewer to a long term contract, re-signing Beverley, and leaving Llull overseas.
     
  12. J Sizzle

    J Sizzle Member

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    Need Dwight back. We just get roasted inside without him.
     
  13. Rocket2008

    Rocket2008 Member

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    Watch us lose Brewer and Josh because they want bigger contracts / more money / more years. We should've gone all in with that NOP pick.
     
  14. scolandry1

    scolandry1 Member

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    Khris Middleton is intriguing, as a backup plan.
     
  15. Ubigman

    Ubigman Member

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    those players are not coming to houston no matter how flexible this team is
     
  16. J Sizzle

    J Sizzle Member

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    Trade deadline's over bro
     
  17. scolandry1

    scolandry1 Member

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    It's never over.
     
  18. Aruba77

    Aruba77 Contributing Member

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    Great post.

    So...if we keep Ariza, resign KJ, not resign Brewer (I think he signs somewhere else for more money), and let Papa walk, can offer Smith a two year $16 mil deal without it screwing up our cap?
     
  19. RoxBeliever

    RoxBeliever Member

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    But is Smith our best target?

    He can be good and then very bad in one game.
     
  20. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    I'm convinced that the trade deadline has become the new NBA Finals for a growing number of posters. The off-season is the new regular season. The regular season before and after the deadline is now the off-season.
     

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