This late evening Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski dropped some bombs, some of them relate to the Utah Jazz! Yes, I know, I'm surprised as well. But to be perfectly honest they relate to the Jazz in that his tweets related to the entire NBA. It looks like the cap projections of the B.R.I. split we all got were severely conservative. The Cap is actually over $3 million dollars more than previously thought. For a team that was already under the cap, like the Jazz, they are now super-duper under the cap. Yes, Jeremy Evans has agreed to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. So his cap hold is gone. Joe Ingles agreed to sign with the Jazz, so his numbers are on the books. First round draft pick Trey Lyles has also agreed to sign, and while his cap hold isn't all the difference in the world, when you bump it up to 120% (which most first round lotto picks get no questions asked) it's still not that large. If you add it all up, and break it down by groups this is what you get:
Gold Team 2015-2016:
The Gold team is everyone currently on the books: Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Trey Burke, Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood, Trey Lyles, and Grant Jerrett. The Gold team also includes Trevor Booker's minimum guaranteed $250,000. As you can see the Jazz, if they renounce all of their non-guaranteed contracts and don't sign 2nd round pick Olivier Hanlan only have $46.695 million on the books, which is much lower than $70.000 million. In fact, in this case the Jazz would be $23.305 million under the cap, and need to spend that money on three more players to meet the minimum roster size. Of course, they'd need to spend only $16.305 million to reach the minimum salary size of $63.000 million dollars. (For those doing the math at home, that would be three players at the going rate of $5.435 million each.)
There would be enough space to actually pay people, but that would mean Dennis Lindsey would first have to get rid of all the guys with a red square next to their contract value. I know that Lindsey uses these guys to make trades to get salary dumps and future picks (see what he did with John Lucas III, Diante Garrett, Malcolm Thomas, and so forth, over the last few seasons). I don't think Lindsey just jettisons these low level assets for nothing.
Purple Team 2015-2016:
This is everyone from the gold team plus all the players that have a contract that is governed by a team option. For 2015-2016 that's no one. These do come into play for guys on their original rookie deals, so players like Dante Exum, Rodney Hood, and Trey Lyles this matters down the line. The cap space for the Jazz doesn't change for this season if we go for Gold and Purple -- still at least $16.305 left to spend.
Blue Team 2015-2016:
This is the original gold team, plus all of the options -- team and player's options. This doesn't affect the outcome at all either as the only player with a player's option is Gordon Hayward, and that is in 2017-2018 (aka right before the next Lockout). So we'll continue worrying about that at a later date.
Red Team 2015-2016:
This is everyone on the list from player number #1 to #15, so everyone except Olivier Hanlan. If the Jazz do keep everyone they'll be at a 15 man roster, a max roster, and paying only $59.375. That number, ladies and gentlemen is a) under the $70.000 million dollar salary cap, and b) also under the $63.000 million 90% minimum salary for the roster. It's not the end of the world, that means everyone's contracts either get prorated upwards, or the team will have to drop someone and sign someone else for the difference. (This is why the Jazz were likely to be in a mode to collect salary from another team, despite what some local writers thought. I guess they were wrong! Heavens no!)
This Red Team is just as unlikely as just a Gold Team. The Jazz will probably NOT hold onto every non-guaranteed contract. Especially not if they have the opportunity to sign either Raul Neto or
Ante Tomic, er, I mean Tibor Pleiss. In fact, it's probably better for them to sign one of those foreign players and pay him a little bit more and say goodbye to one of the Red Team members.
There aren't a lot of good free agents remaining; however, if you wanted to do something silly like purely just speculate, then you could have a team like this:
- Point Guard: Dante Exum, Trey Burke, Raul Neto
- Shooting Guard: Alec Burks, Elijah Millsap
- Small Forward: Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles
- Power Forward: Derrick Favors, Trevor Booker, Grant Jerrett
- Center: Rudy Gobert, Trey Lyles, Tibor Pleiss
This gives you one free roster spot (a Jazz doctrine), while having to pay out $56.840 million for everyone but Neto and Pleiss. That means in order to reach the remaining minimum value the team will have to spread out $6.160 million between the Brazilian and the German. It's something they could be able to do, or they could go slightly higher and still remain under the cap (specifically they could go anywhere from $1 dollar to approaching $7 million more). You do have to say goodbye to Cotton, Johnson, and Cooley though.
Of course, you can switch out almost any of these guys, you could eat Jerrett's contract and sign another guy instead (Cooley? Cotton?). You could even see something out of Hanlan and sign him and keep him in Idaho all season long.
The extra $3 million in capspace helps give the Jazz flexibility. And the $7 margin between the minimum salary and the salary cap gives the team a lot more flexibility. Having so many non-guaranteed contracts essentially gives the Jazz $23 million in capspace to work with if they want.
So while most of free agency appears settled (or has it, DeAndre Jordan?), our team still has a lot of moves yet to be made.