Moving Targets

Well folks, the trade deadline is passed and it's official. We suck just as much as we did yesterday! Kahn has now bypassed his 5 Windows of Opportunity and we're moving onward into the stages of firing him, right? Wrong. Instead of holding him to his word and holding him accountable for one of the main reasons he got hired, we're now talking about The Secret Window.



Anyone care to photoshop Kahn into that picture?

That's right everyone, Kahn didn't forget to tell you. He knew from the very beginning that, after the deadline had passed, he was going to surprise us all with his brilliance in unveiling his true mastermind plan of said Secret Window. The CBA Negotiations! For those keeping track, this is Window Number 6.

The idea here is that after the new CBA agreement comes out, there will be a hard cap and, looking at the list of teams that have money committed over $65M (yes, I just used that number randomly, I have no idea where the 'hard cap' would take place), that will help us steal guys from teams that need to get under the cap. I'm not about to get into which teams will need to offload or who they will try to do that with, that's for you guys in the comments. I'm just looking at how realistic it is to give Kahn the benefit of the doubt on the new and mysterious Window Number 6.


Step 1) Current salary obligations in 2011: Well, next year we have, according to Hoopshype, $42,440,622 in guaranteed salaries. Not sure if this is 100% accurate, as they don't have Lazar listed (he's guaranteed 2 years under the first round draft scale, yes?), but it's a good start.

Step 2) Draft picks: We currently have our own draft pick and most likely the Memphis draft pick that will come to us this year. Figure that will round out to exactly $5,559,378. Ok you sticklers, I admit it, I did that to make our committed salaries even at $48M, I have no idea what the exact number will be.

Step 3) Signings: If Kahn isn't fibbing about this (and do we have any reason to believe Kahn might lie to us about something?), Rubio is coming next year and would be signing this summer under the 2011(?) rookie scale for the fifth pick. We'll go with $4M because we like round numbers, but it'll likely be less than that (Wes was the fourth pick this year and is making $3.73M).

Step 4) Sum them up: We're at roughly $52M already. And that's with Telfair and Curry leaving (and apparently Lazar...). We now have 11 guaranteed roster spots, 2 draft picks (second rounders???), and Rubio for a total of 14 roster spots. 3 PGs, 1 SG, 3 SFs (Beasley included, 4 with Lazar), 3 PFs, 2 Cs, and 2 unknown picks.

Step 5) Salary cap comparison: According to the always reliable Wikipedia, "The salary cap for the 2010–2011 season is $58,044,000." Now that supposedly increases a bit every year, or so it has in the past. But for argument's sake, we'll say it stays right around $58M.

Step 6) Congratulate Kahn: on having the foresight to sign both Ridnour and Tolliver to deals where their cap hit would be less in the same year (I'm a huge fan of declining contracts when the space is available, which Tolliver has. Ridnour's is just lower this year and higher the next two again).

Step 7) Ignore: the fact that he didn't do the same with Darko and Pekovic.

Step 8) Do the math: We can take on roughly $6M of salary at the next trade deadline if the CBA comes out and has a hard cap and a roughly equivalent soft cap. That means we could package any of our guys and take on $6M + whatever the percentage is of salary (while getting the other team roughly $6M closer to the hard cap amount). The odds that this lands us a guy worth getting? You decide. I'll leave that one for discussion. Remember though, that without regards to what happened today, we have the fourth lowest salary committment this year with it only being lowered next year with Curry's big expiring. Sacramento will also be poised to trade with Dalembert coming off the books (committed to less than $30M next year). The Clipper and Cav payrolls will likely remain the same or increase. So we're positioned to be the second lowest salaried team (very rough estimate).


But let's throw a kink into things before we're done. I don't know how Jerry does his math (after signing Rubio, we'll still be darn close to the initial number), but this is what he has to say about the cap next year:

Jerry Zgoda @ Won't be that high. They'll be under $44 mil after expirings, add Rubio, they'll trade JF and perhaps picks for right guy

Clearly, the right guy is being paid no money at all in this scenario, but the point is, we most likely won't be drafting both of the spots AND keeping all of our guys. Maybe we move both picks for a 2012 pick and then have around $10M to help other teams get under the hard cap? So we have to expect something will happen around draft day (Maybe Mayo is still on the block for bits and pieces). And then we have the next deadline to look foward to (Hey waitaminute! So The Secret Window actually just looks into 3 more windows?!). I'm guessing the FA period will be a quiet one for us as Kahn is now all in on Rubio and the CBA hard cap. It'll be interesting to see what happens with the CBA (new max contract, franchise tag, hard cap, etc), but our last chance (under Kahn and before Love and Beasley walk) will be the next trade deadline. If the hard cap comes in even at $70M (once again, I could be way off on that), that leaves us very little room to trade for a guy and still sign Love and Beasley to deals the next year though. I need to hear some other peoples' thoughts on how to go about this. The opportunity is clearly there, but it's looking like it'll be difficult. So everyone, what's your opinion of the next Window that has just appeared in front of us? Sick of Windows (not the computer software...)? Curious to see what happens? Don't think the CBA will end up with a hard cap? Glen Taylor not willing to pay for it anyways? Let's hear it!
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