Cap & Trade
Though basketball is a game, the NBA is a business. As much as we would like all of the decisions of the Indiana Pacers to be dictated by their needs on the basketball court, the reality is that financial concerns and limitations play a very large role.
To help those interested in the Pacers find some clarity between these two inextricable worlds of basketball and finance, Eight Points, Nine Seconds is introducing a new feature called “Cap & Trade.” It’s purpose is to help explain the salary cap and luxury tax implications of any personnel moves made by Pacers, and occasionally explain why certain moves were not made. This will generally appear as a companion piece to the more important (and more entertaining) basketball analysis, but there will also be periodic updates at key points, such as the start of the season, and the beginning of the summer free-agency period.
We will also have a resource page called “Salary Central” (coming soon) that will show player salaries by year, along with information on cap and tax positions, player/team options, trade and other exceptions available to the Pacers.
For our sources, we will use Shamsports, Hoopshype and the ESPN Trade Machine. For CBA questions, we will rely on the fine work of Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ. Other sources, such as the NBA Players’ Association Website, will be noted when used.
Here’s an update on where the Pacers currently stand on a few notable fronts.
The Pacers current payroll for the 2010 season is about $65.4 million, including the Jamaal Tinsley payout. They are over the $57.7 million salary cap, but they are still about $4.5 million below the luxury tax.
The Pacers had three types of exceptions available to them to use to sign free agents this summer, and they’ve used up two of them. They used their Mid-Level Exception (MLE) to sign Earl Watson and Dahntay Jones. They used their Bi-Annual Exception (BAE/LLE) to sign Solomon Jones. This leaves only Minimum Player Exceptions (MPE) available to them if they want to sign any free agents.
The Pacers currently have 13 of their 15 allowable roster spots filled. They are almost certain to add one more player before the season starts, but probably not two. Here is a breakdown:
- Bigs (6): Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough, Solomon Jones, Josh McRoberts
- Wings (4): Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Brandon Rush, Dahntay Jones
- Points (3): T.J. Ford, Earl Watson, Travis Diener
Allen Iverson: AYFKM?
Rumors have circulated that the Pacers might be interested in adding The Answer at a one-year deal around the full MLE. Though these have been attributed to his agent, they are wholly unreliable. The Pacers, as noted above, no longer have their MLE. The only two ways they could get Iverson would be through a sign-and-trade with Detroit (very doubtful) or if AI were to accept the veteran minimum (to play in Indy???). This dog don’t hunt.
The Pacers still hold the rights to Marquis Daniels, affording them the option of re-signing him without needing one of the exceptions listed above. This almost certainly will not happen. Instead, the Pacers are hoping to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with the Celtics that will bring them back some asset, be it a promising young prospect, draft picks, cash or some combination of them. As of 8/8, it appeared that a deal with Boston would be unlikely. The Pacers have no interest in taking back either Brain Scalabrine or Tony Allen, and they have been unable to find a third team to broker the deal.
The other player in limbo is second round draft pick A.J. Price from Connecticut. The Pacers hold his rights, as well, so they don’t need one of the exceptions to sign him. As the 52nd pick, he has little leverage, so he will probably have to wait for a resolution of the Daniels situation before getting a contract offer. If he signs, it will likely be at or slightly above the rookie minimum of about $450 thousand.
Will It Be 14 or 15?
Both Larry Bird and Jim O’Brien have expressed the desire to enter the season with only 14 players on the roster. This would provide flexibility in terms of adding players later in the year, either through free agency or taking back more players than they send out in a trade. It also makes sense not to spend a million or so dollars to pay someone to wear a suit on the end of the bench.
All in all, unless something can shake loose in the Daniels/Celtics situation, expect a quiet August and September from the Blue and Gold.