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How the Wolves can offer Nicolas Batum, Brandon Roy and Alexey Shved deals *WITH UPDATES*

Since the question of how the Wolves can offer these three contracts at the reported amounts, it begs the actual question: How?

First, you'll have to accept the limitations of information. This is a guess and not an actual answer. The likelihood of receiving an answer is very slim given that NBA teams typically don't prefer to illustrate to the general public how they create monetary openings. Or, for that matter, other NBA teams. An advantage you have, no matter how slight, is an advantage. First things first, what is under the worst case scenario Wolves likely cap number?

(Note: Much of the analysis below is obsolete and is ostensibly worthless. I'm just lazy and don't feel like writing a new writeup. Because some of the writeup applies, and some of the writeup does not, what has lines through those paragraphs is no longer applicable or useful for the current situation the Wolves find themselves in after waiving Martell Webster and trading Brad Miller to New Orleans. Whatever qualifications I add in the notes will be the main takeaway for those hoping to understand the situation. If you don't, I don't blame you. I've been attempting to learn the CBA for years and find this situation as confusing as any I've encountered in 5 years of following this stuff closely.)

UPDATE: There is new evidence that suggests that the Wolves must trade even more significant salary before signing the Batum/Roy/Shved to the rumored deals. (Note: The current number at the bottom of 5.442 million does not contradict this statement. I just wanted to leave this paragraph up as a disclaimer of sorts.) All information is up to date as I know it to be accurate or believed to be accurate from various media outlets, Sham Sports, Larry Coon's Salary Cap FAQ and the 2005 CBA itself. The 2011 CBA is not available to consult which makes this even more frustrating.

"Potential" 2012-13 Wolves Roster 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Kevin Love 13,668,750 14,693,906 15,719,062 16,744,218
Nicolas Batum -- Allegedly 11,000,000 11,495,000 11,990,000 12,485,000
Brandon Roy -- Allegedly 5,200,000 5,200,000 N/A N/A
Nikola Pekovic 4,837,200 6,046,500 N/A N/A
Derrick Williams 4,809,840 5,016,960 6,331,404 8,262,482
Jose Juan Barea 4,493,500 4,687,000 4,519,500 N/A
Wesley Johnson 4,285,560 5,421,233 7,150,607 N/A
Luke Ridnour 4,000,000 4,000,000 N/A N/A
Ricky Rubio 3,741,120 4,002,120 5,070,686 6,723,730
Alexey Shved -- Allegedly 2,575,000 2,690,875 3,363,593 N/A
Wayne Ellington 2,083,042 3,103,733 N/A N/A
Malcolm Lee 762,195 884,293 1,148,163 N/A
Brad Miller 1,000,000 N/A N/A N/A
Martell Webster 800,000 N/A N/A N/A
Cap Hold (Roster Charge up to 12 roster spots) 473,604 N/A N/A N/A
Cap Hold (Roster Charge up to 12 roster spots) 473,604 N/A N/A N/A
Cap Hold (Roster Charge up to 12 roster spots) 473,604 N/A N/A N/A
Salary Cap 58,044,000 N/A N/A N/A
Total Wolves salary applying to cap before Free Agents 45,902,019 N/A N/A N/A
Available cap room 12,141,981 N/A N/A N/A
Wolves cap with Batum/Roy -- allegedly 62,575,623 N/A N/A N/A
Wolves cap with Batum/Roy + Shved -- allegedly 65,150,623 N/A N/A N/A

Key

Green: Player Option or ETO Turquoise: Team Option Red: Qualifying Offer

All salaries listed are either from guesses based on media information or from Sham Sports

I've left every possible roster charge available to make it clear where I think the Wolves salary is in the worst case scenario. As you can see, it puts the Wolves well over the cap. (This is wrong because it has too many cap holds A) and B) doesn't include Chase Budinger.)

Right now, this is what I think the salary looks like for the Wolves in total terms of cap and money. I'll break down the individual player contentions. Right now, no-one seems to be disputing the salaries for most of the roster that isn't Kevin Love, Nicolas Batum (assuming he's signed to an offer sheet), Brandon Roy (ditto as Batum except that's a contract and not offer sheet), Alexey Shved (ditto Roy), and Martell Webster.

Rather than doing this the difficult way, I'll simply highlight each player and go from there. (I do everything the difficult way. I was hoping for simple.)

Kevin Love

What exactly is the status of Love's contract, and more importantly the calculus of a max contract? Since I'm going to quote Coon, and since the issue of Coon getting the circumstances of the Wolves signing Rubio wrong has been brought up around here (for good reason), I would say that what happened with Rubio has never been seen before. (Including the issue with Peja Stojakovic. But, I wasn't following the CBA as closely back then so I can't answer that question as to what happened there. I do know Peja was signed using the 1996 rookie salary scale because the Kings had to extend him after his 2nd season--as the custom was with 95-98 rookies--and thus I think Peja might be the other player where that was even possible. The difference was that Peja had a knee injury, wasn't even in Greece at the time--Peja was in Sacramento--, and no-one knew how bad the lockout would get. But I digress..) Therefore, while I'm quoting Coon, I will also note that the calculus for max contracts are not an unusual circumstance so this scenario will play out several times (at bare minimum) every season. Consequently, the chances of having this detail wrong from Coon's end are rather slim. According to Coon's FAQ:

Years in NBA Defined maximum salary 2011-12 2012-13
0 - 6 25% of cap $12,922,194 $13,668,750
7 - 9 30% of cap $15,506,632 $16,402,5002
10+ 35% of cap $18,091,071 $19,136,250

There are two footnotes to this:

1 A player is credited with a year of service for each season in which he is on a team's active list or inactive list for at least one day during the regular season.
2 They use a different cap calculation to determine the maximum salaries, which is based on 42.14% of projected BRI rather than 44.74%. For this reason, the maximum salaries are not actually 25%, 30% or 35% of the cap, and instead are a slightly lower amount. For example, even though the salary cap for 2011-12 is $58.044 million and 25% of this amount is $14.511 million, the 0-6 year maximum salary is actually $12,922,194.

So, as such, this is why I think the likelihood of Love's contract is not based on 25% of the cap, but rather 25% of a different calculation of BRI (in this case 42.14% rather than the 44.74% calculation which is how the salary cap is derived).

Nicolas Batum

I've gone high on the contract for Batum but I could come down if need be to make sure the salary can fit under the cap of 58.044 million. However, the cap is really 58.144 million because there is always a fudge factor of 100K for some reason. (I don't really understand the 100K thing, but I know it's true. I just assume it's true and not worry about it. In this deal though, every dollar counts so the 100K issue is rather important. (Note: I think I'm confusing the 100K fudge factor with trades for cap room. So rather than doing that, the 100K fudge factor does not apply in this case. This won't be the first mistake I've made.)

If the Wolves are to sign Batum, this is how the Wolves will likely do it. The other way is the obvious one: Through a Sign and Trade. However, it should be noted that Batum can't get any salary in a S&T as he could from Portland. Essentially, the only advantage to a S&T for the Wolves is that you wouldn't have to worry about Portland matching as many are currently expecting.

The only thing I'll note on a potential S&T if it does happen (and who knows what will happen with this saga) because both the Wolves and Blazers have cap room, that means BYC won't apply in the transaction. That makes treating Batum as a straight up trade target much easier for both the Wolves/Blazers. From Coon's FAQ:

The 2011 CBA mostly eliminated BYC -- in fact, the term "Base Year Compensation" was removed from the agreement entirely. The rules formerly known as BYC now apply under just one circumstance -- during sign-and-trade transactions (see question number 88). If a team is over the cap and re-signs its Larry Bird or Early Bird free agent with a raise greater than 20%, in order to trade the player in a sign-and-trade arrangement, then the player's outgoing salary for trade purposes is either his previous salary or 50% of his new salary, whichever is greater. The team receiving the player always uses his new salary.

Brandon Roy

Signing Roy is a pretty straight forward deal. The only flexibility the Wolves have is that perhaps the deal is signed not for what the total contract is worth and thus been reported, but rather than what the straight base guaranteed salary. Those are two different things, and media members, even good one's like Jerry Zgoda, sometimes don't clarify or don't know the difference or can't find it out. (I'm not judging here. I've seen numerous trades reported wrong over the years. It happens.) In the final analysis, it makes no real difference.

However, it must be noted that Roy can not be Sign & Traded from Portland due to being waived via amnesty. When a team no longer has Bird Rights to a player (as is the case with waiving a player), a S&T is not possible. So, Roy must be signed with cap room or an exception (which the Wolves do not have due to having cap room) which leaves the only possibility of Roy being signed is cap room or the room MLE (which is not the normal MLE). Since the Room MLE is significantly smaller than the 2 year 10.4 million reported amount Roy supposedly agreed to, the only way the Wolves can sign Roy is cap room.

Alexey Shved

(Note: In the final analysis, if the Wolves are to pursue Greg Stiesma as rumored, it's almost certain that the Room MLE I cited that the Wolves could use on Shved under the previous scenario will have to be employed if Stiemsma is signed by the Wolves.)

This is simply possible for one reason and one reason only: The Wolves could sign Shved using the "Room Mid Level Exception". This is for teams that have renounced the Mid-Level Exception (better known as the MLE), and the Bi-Annual Exception. In the Wolves case, in order to claim cap room they have to renounce the MLE and Bi-Annual to sign both Batum and Roy.

That leaves the "Room Mid Level Exception. According to Coon, that starts at 2.575 million. The only catch to this is that a player can only receive a 2 year contract in this scenario.

The salary for Shved could look like this: 2,575,000 for 2012-13 and 2,690,875 for 2013-14. This adds up to 8,072,625. I know the deal has been reported for 3 years and 9 million total, but the point here is that there is a huge difference between POTENTIAL and ACTUAL guaranteed salary.

Now, that's not to say I'm right here. But this is the most plausible scenario that has the Wolves offering a deal to Batum, Roy and Shved using what's available to them.

Martell Webster & Brad Miller

There might be some contention over whether Webster's contract is still on the Wolves books, or bought out. Either way, I'm going to assume for the sake of argument (knowing I could be wrong) that if the Wolves are to sign Batum and Roy outright, they can't do so without waiving Webster regardless of when it was done.

There are 4 potential possibilities here: Both Miller and Webster already bought out. Webster is bought out, but MIller is not. Miller is bought out but Webster is not. Or both are not bought out at all yet. (Abject silliness is always to be ignored.)

I'm going to guess that I'm wrong that both are not bought out (I'm guessing now they are not based on credible sources here and from Zgoda among others), but can be whenever it's convenient. (This actually turned out to be true.)

The most important point that could be made here is whether or not both or one is still on the cap at the full number before a waive date (whatever that modified date would be since both contracts are past the original waive date), it doesn't affect an Batum offer sheet. It would only affect Roy's salary in all reality. Alexey Shved is likely not effected if he is being signed with the "Room Mid Level Exception." (At this juncture I doubt this.)

Again the only issue with signing Brandon Roy is how much room exists after signing Batum (potentially of course). Shved can be signed with the Room MLE. (Irrelevant.)

And my conclusion is.....

If I had to guess, Kevin Love's contract is as reported. Whatever John Hollinger said, he simply said the Wolves were short of cap space by 3.3 million. Hollinger may or may not be right, I'm not sure yet. It really simply depends on the following factors: (We have the answer to this below in the final table where everything is much clearer.)

  • Love's contract being at the reported max of 12.92 million (likely) (Note: The contract is now at 13,668,750--the tables reflect the change.)
  • How big is Batum's first year salary (could vary)
  • How big is Roy's first year salary (could vary)
  • Is Shved going to be signed using the Room Mid Level exception or cap room (seems likely)
    (I'm going to assume that Stiemsma is the Wolves target with the Room MLE.)
  • Are Webster and Miller waived and what figures are they taking up on the Wolves cap (the actual question)
  • How many cap holds (or roster charges) being applied to the Wolves roster

Here might be the best new calculated guess of what Batum's first year salary looks like: 10,500,000 + 472500 + = 10,972,500 +472,500 = 11,445,000 + 472,500 = 11,917,500 (Irrelevant.)

Just as an FYI, raises are calculated at 4.5% of the first year in the contract, and then are added on in additional years. Raises ARE NOT compounded based on the previous years salary. At either rate, this would bring Batum's contract to about 44.835 million over the base years of the salary. (The salary I've calculated for Batum is about 46.54 million which is consistent with the reported amount.) And it's very possible the base salary is something around this number with bonuses that could be reachable, but are not considered likely as of today, that you see in the reported calculus. (I don't care for paranoia. That's too paranoid for my taste.) Again, I wouldn't trust the reported numbers by media members because there are many ways that number can be made up. The only thing that matters right now in the Wolves scenario is A) can they fit Batum, Roy and Shved under the available cap rules.

Also, before its said elsewhere, the salary Batum can get from the Wolves is the same that he can get in a S&T. That was a rule change from the previous CBA that pretty much allows teams to strategically sign players, such as Batum in this case, but that's about it. Sign and Trades are now useless to get players more money.

Now adjusting Roy's salary by 500K, I'll say it starts at 4,700,000 + 211,500 = 4,911,500. Add that up and it becomes 9,611,500 in guaranteed salary. Remember the bonus bit? Apply it here. Bonuses that aren't seen as likely do not count in salary. However, quite often reported salaries include unlikely bonuses. (Irrelevant.)

My guess is they can. Up top, I guesstimated the worst case scenario assuming that both Webster and Miller are bought out in any circumstance. I also increased the cap holds to a higher amount than they would be once Batum is signed an offer sheet (that cap hold goes away) and this is equally true of Brandon Roy. While eliminating 2 cap holds doesn't get the Wolves to the cap ---they started at 60,143,26 in the doomsday scenario---but that's only 2 million over the cap. (Irrelevant.)

You make an adjustment in the two ways I did to Batum and Roy's contracts you eliminate 2 cap holds, and you make one last assumption: That Webster and Miller's buyouts qualify as a cap hold. This is the one thing I'm rather dubious of. However, it may be possible and Kahn may have found a loophole in the NBA's bylaws (I doubt it's in the CBA) that suggests a team can submit buyouts as a cap hold when attempting to pursue Free Agents. If that's the case, the Wolves may be able to pull off all the deals even if the "announcements" do not jibe with what we know about the cap number of 58.04 million. (Irrelevant.)

The Wolves do not need to sign Brandon Roy in the next 4 days. Or Alexey Shved for that matter. What they need to figure out is Batum, and then worry about the other two guys. Wolves fans already know that. That's not new information.

Based on some gut guesses that can't be affirmed by Coon, the 2005 CBA available on the players website, or other sources, I'm going to make a guesstimate on whether the Wolves can pull all 3 off without trading another player.

  • Love's contract is what's been reported by Mark Deeks (This is irrelevant and should not have been in here in the first place. Apologies.)
  • Batum's contract is somewhere between 10.5 million and 11 million in the starting range which is all that counts when dealing with cap room for the 2012-13 season (or any other for that matter)
    (I've computed this and the contract should start at 10.9 million if the reported contract worth of 46.5 million is correct.)
  • Webster/Miller need to be waived to cut the cap number down to sign Brandon Roy (Duh.)
  • Brandon Roy's starting salary won't start at 5 million but likely somewhere between 4.5 and 4.7 million and the total number being reported is based on bonuses that are not seen as likely today (I'm now going to assume that Roy's starting salary is around 5.2 million until it's illustrated elsewhere otherwise.)
  • Shved won't be signed until Batum/Roy is sorted out because he is being signed with the Room MLE and the Wolves need to have used all their cap space before using that

My goal here isn't to say what will happen. My goal, from the top to now, is to paint a scenario where it's possible to sign all 3 reported targets -- Batum, Roy and Shved -- and within the monetary ranges that have been reported. Whether Miller or Webster are still on the cap, it makes no difference until final decisions are made. That's why if Miller and Webster are still on the cap for their full cap number, or, at the buyouts reported, it absolutely makes no difference at this juncture.

Let me clarify a point here: Until a team needs to clear cap room or save money, they almost never waive players just because they "can". When a team is ready to sign Free Agents, that's when waiving players, renouncing cap holds (like on Beasley, Tolliver and Randolph) and the like happens. This of course includes the amnesty of Darko Milicic which is the most important aspect of the monetary opening up process for the Wolves. This is all pretty straight forward stuff which is why I have not addressed it until now.

This is what I can guarantee. The Wolves have 9 guaranteed salaries at almost certainly the reported numbers, the Wolves have 2 players with buyouts that may or may not replace cap holds (I'm still guessing no but I could be very wrong) and we know the Wolves have pursued the aforementioned three of Batum, Roy and Shved.

What we don't know is whether or not buyouts can replace cap holds.This would serve two things. One, it would eliminate 947,208 in cap room obstacles for the Wolves to sign these Batum/Roy/Shved. Second is that once the Wolves hit 12 roster spots with either Batum/Roy, those charges disappear anyway. Cap holds exist only up to 12 roster spots. If Webster/Miller count as a cap hold, and you add Batum/Roy, that's 12 roster spots filled. (Either one works.) Next, it's assumed in some corners that Shved is being signed with cap room, but what if he's really signed with the Room MLE? That means cap room doesn't need to be used to sign Shved. Next, assuming the dollar reports for specific players (especially Roy and Shved) is only reasonable if you believe the dollar amounts being offered to the players. It's quite possible the dollar amounts are, again, not being reported actually because the only thing being offered from "sources" are the total dollar amounts. Even when agents know their client won't merit a 2 year 10.6 million contract like in Brandon Roy's contract, there is no incentive for Arn Tellem (Roy's agent) to say ," Oh yeah, by the way, my client really got 9.6 million but I was just joshin' you for the hell of it." (Note: This paragraph is really rendered moot as Budinger will be added and when a player is signed, or given an offer sheet, that replaces the cap hold. Other than the sometimes reported offer to a player doesn't jibe with the reported amount, the rest of that paragraph is pointless or redundant. Apologies.)

Again, for simplicity purposes, I want to paint the picture of what the roster will look like in this scenario before signing Shved (but I'll add that in after the salary cap is reached) in the scenario of signing Batum, Roy and Shved:

"Potential" 2012-13 Wolves Roster 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Kevin Love 13,668,750 14,693,906 15,719,062 16,744,218
Nicolas Batum 10,500,000 10,972,500 11,445,000 11,917,500
Nikola Pekovic 4,837,200 6,046,500 N/A N/A
Derrick Williams 4,809,840 5,016,960 6,331,404 8,262,482
Jose Juan Barea 4,493,500 4,687,000 4,519,500 N/A
Wesley Johnson 4,285,560 5,421,233 7,150,607 N/A
Luke Ridnour 4,000,000 4,000,000 N/A N/A
Ricky Rubio 3,741,120 4,002,120 5,070,686 6,723,730
Wayne Ellington 2,083,042 3,103,733 N/A N/A
Malcolm Lee 762,195 884,293 1,148,163 N/A
Brad Miller 1,000,000 N/A N/A N/A
Martell Webster 800,000
N/A N/A N/A
Wolves cap number at this point:
54,981,207 N/A N/A N/A
Brandon Roy
4,700,000 4,911,500 N/A N/A
Wolves cap number at this point: 59,681,207 N/A N/A N/A
Alexey Shved 2,575,000 2,690,875 3,363,593 N/A
Final Cap Number
62,256,207 N/A N/A N/A

Key

Green: Player Option or ETO Turquoise: Team Option Red: Qualifying Offer

The general perception is that the Wolves cannot sign Batum and Roy to the reported amounts. The general perception happens to be correct. It's quite possible though that the reported amounts do not tell the whole story, and it's just as likely that the Wolves need a Sign and Trade with Batum to get Roy and Shved any way you slice it.

Based on information that we know, I suspect Kahn is trying to free up room in a Batum S&T that will allow the signing or Roy and Shved, and perhaps Stiemsma down the road. But that's nothing we didn't know, and despite all the trickery and wizardy I attempted to employ, what I've found is that there is really no clear scenario to how the Wolves are able to pull off Batum/Roy/Shved without pulling off a S&T with Batum.

In otherwords, David Kahn will have to pull off a miracle to get his preferred targets. And, other than a few numbers pulled here or there, that wasn't anything Hoopus (or folks anywhere else for that matter) didn't know already. Good luck David Kahn; you're going to need it.

UPDATE:

Due to events that happened yesterday, and the fact that I completely forgot Chase Budinger in the original calculation, this is a far greater and accurate representation of what the Wolves roster should look like. Again, I'll stand by the opinion that has been opined by SnP most prominently which is that all the contracts "promised" do not add up to what the space the Wolves had.

"Potential" 2012-13 Wolves Roster 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Kevin Love 13,668,750 14,693,906 15,719,062 16,744,218
Nikola Pekovic 4,837,200 6,046,500 N/A N/A
Derrick Williams 4,809,840 5,016,960 6,331,404 8,262,482
Jose Juan Barea 4,493,500 4,687,000 4,519,500 N/A
Wesley Johnson 4,285,560 5,421,233 7,150,607 N/A
Luke Ridnour 4,000,000 4,000,000 N/A N/A
Ricky Rubio 3,741,120 4,002,120 5,070,686 6,723,730
Wayne Ellington 2,083,042 3,103,733 N/A N/A
Chase Budinger 885,120 N/A N/A N/A
Martell Webster 800,000 N/A N/A N/A
Malcolm Lee 762,195 884,293 1,148,163 N/A
Cap Hold
473,604 N/A N/A N/A
Cap Hold
473,604 N/A N/A N/A
Wolves cap number at this point: 45,313,535 N/A N/A N/A
Nicolas Batum
10,900,000 11,390,500 11,881,000 12,371,500
Brandon Roy
5,200,000 5,200,000 N/A N/A
Alexey Shved 3,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000 N/A
Final Cap Number with Batum and Roy
60,466,327 N/A N/A N/A
Final Cap Number with Batum, Roy and Shved
63,466,327 N/A N/A N/A
Needed Cap Space to sign Batum, Roy and Shved
5,422,327 N/A N/A N/A

Key

Green: Player Option or ETO Turquoise: Team Option Red: Qualifying Offer

I'd like to make a point about Chase Budinger that I'm not sure has been mentioned yet: Next summer, Budinger is not a RFA. This gives the Wolves a great shot at extending Budinger sometime before the season starts, and that could save the Wolves money. I don't know if that happens, but that's one way you could get cheap production on the next contract without overpaying. Whether Budinger and his agent consent to that is another matter, but it is an option. The disadvantage, naturally, is that Budinger if he hits the FA market next summer will be an UFA as opposed to an RFA. The good news is that Budinger can sign an extension anytime between the time his contract will get guaranteed, and June 30th given that Budinger now qualifies for veteran extensions.

To get Batum at the reported 46.5 million over 4 years, Roy at the reported 10.4 million over 2 years and Shved at 9 million for 3 years, the Wolves have to clear about 3.775 million more at the bare minimum in additional space after the Webster buyout/Miller trade. (This number is about 5.422 million now. Apologies, again, for the bad miscalculation yet again.)

As I've mentioned throughout the writeup in conjunction with the now numerous strikeout portions of the original writeup, Greg Stiemsma, assuming the Wolves do pursue him, is a realistic target for the Room MLE provided Batum/Roy/Shved are signed with cap room beforehand.

Okay I think this does it. Again, I apologize for the errors and the obvious mistake of Budinger, but, well, I'm not perfect. (As my mother can tell you.) If you notice any other error I've made or observation that you think is incorrect, please don't hesitate to point it out..

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