Contract Considerations Heading Into the Season

With Jerry Zgoda's post last night about Corey Brewer and all the talk about Ryan Gomes' contract, there's a good deal of cap consideration for the Wolves before reaching free agency next year (or even this year's trade deadline, for that matter). As always, you can find Wolves cap information at Hoopus, and I recommend ShamSports for league-wide salary info (especially over HoopsHype).

Ryan Gomes. Contrary to the most common description, Gomes does not have team options on his contract for 10/11 and 11/12. In fact, contracts can only have one "option" on them (the one exception is rookie contracts for 1st round picks). What Gomes does have is a partial guarantee on each of those years, and an Early Termination Option on 12/13 (an ETO is very similar to a player option).

Gomes' contract becomes fully guaranteed if the team does not cut him by 6/30/10. If they do cut him, Gomes will be owed $1 million in each of 10/11 and 11/12 and $750,000 in 12/13. Were he cut, those amounts would count against the Wolves cap figure in their respective years.

Kevin Love, Corey Brewer & Oleksiy Pecherov.  While Zgoda described the process pretty accurately, the vocabulary was slightly off. All three players have team options (not qualifying offers) for next year that must be exercised by 10/31/09. If they are not exercised the players, as Zgoda said, become unrestricted free agents next summer and the Wolves are limited to each player's team option amount for the first year of a new contract.

Qualifying offers must be made to eligible players before they become restricted free agents. This will happen at the end of each of these players' rookie contracts, should the team options be exercised).

Mark Blount & Antonio Daniels. If the Wolves are unable to trade the two vets they relieved of camp duties, they essentially have two options:

1. They can waive the players outright. If another team picks them up off the waiver wire that team would assume the full contract of the player they picked up, and the Wolves would be completely relieved of them. This is, of course, highly unlikely since the contracts are so large. If no other team picks them up, they "clear waivers" and become free agents with the Wolves having to pay the salary and hold the salary on their cap figure.

2.They can reach a buyout agreement with the players. In this case, the player and team mutually agree upon a portion of the contract to be paid to the player (the buyout amount). This buyout amount is what will count against the Wolves' salary cap figure. While the buyout can be paid in any agreed upon fashion, the salary cap hit corresponds to the remaining years and amounts of the bought out contract (eg Juwan Howard was bought out and paid over 4 years, despite the cap hit being over 2 years).

Ricky Rubio. As a 1st round pick, Rubio is bound by the Rookie Salary Scale, determined by the pick he was taken at (#5) with negotiating room of 80% to 120% of the scale. Until he signs a contract with the Wolves, though, Rubio has a cap hold of $2.7 million (the 1st year scale amount) on the Wolves' salary cap figure.

During the regular season (between Opening Day and July 1, 2010) the cap hold removed. That means that on the first day of the season, the Wolves will get $2.7 million in cap space. If Rubio eventually signs under the salary scale, the scale amount for the year he signs is used as the starting point.

Nikola Pekovic & Loukas Mavrokefalidis. Since these guys were 2nd round picks, there is no salary scale and the Wolves must use cap space or salary cap exceptions (Mid-Level, Bi-Annual, Minimum Salary) to sign them.

This is your brain on the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Any questions?

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