I was taking a look at this upcoming season's contract situation out of curiosity stemming from doing a lot of reading about the structure of the new CBA system. As far as I know the ESPN numbers for the 2011-2012 contracts are accurate as they have Walker and Biyombo on already and doesn't include Brown or Mcguire's numbers.
If something is off about the contract then this post is relatively meaningless other than an exercise in examining a hypothetical team's contract situation.
If these numbers are accurate, this places us at $47.63 million give or take a couple hundred thousand for rounding. We then have to take into consideration the rookie contracts for Walker and Biyombo, which according to multiple sites I've read will operate on the same scale as last season's. I used this scale to figure out what we would pay them next year (the only one locked in under the new rookie guaranteed contract operation) for the 7th and 9th picks in the draft. With these numbers included, the total comes to $52.06 million for the 2010-2011 season without any free agents coming in (which seems unlikely given the center shortage and rumors on Diop's pending amnesty exit, but more on that in a second).
Minimum 2011-12 Salary Cap: $48.9 million
Maximum 2011-12 Salary Cap: $58 million
Bobcats Projected 2011-12 Salary Cap: $52.06 million
So without anyone exiting or entering the team, which once again seems unlikely, Charlotte is right in the middle of the cap. The team can of course go over the cap if they want as there is a substantial level between the salary cap and the "tax-paying status" (roughly a $13 million difference) but going over the cap would place us in a different category in determining contracts for MLE's, as well as prevent us from using the room exception for teams under the cap. Also with the current outlook of the team and where we stand right now I don't really think there's anyone concern we would be anywhere close to starting this season above the cap, it wouldn't make any sense with no chance of the playoffs this year and a vision around new players where this season is a rebuilding year.
Another question that should be addressed from both a team and contract vantage point is what to do with the amnesty clause which has been brought back. It allows each team to release 1 player prior to any season the new CBA who had a contract at the implementation of the deal which completely removes the player from both cap and tax-paying levels. As I see it the Bobcats have two options here: Diop and Maggette, for two different reasons. Diop is obvious, we're overpaying a player who hasn't panned out. He has something like 52 points over the past two seasons and isn't really giving us much on either side of the ball. We're paying this guy 6.9 million. If we amnesty him now we're down to 45 million on the salary cap. We have to get up to 48 million or pay for it (which no team should ever do) but that won't be a problem if we resign Kwame Brown and another player to supplement the current roster. We could keep Diop on though with nothing bad really happening. He isn't going to put us over the cap and we're not really trying to use 7 million to sign anyone for this immediate season.
The case for Maggette is a little tricker. We took on his entire contract from the draft-day trade which was over 5 years paying 50 million. We're in the final two seasons of that contract now and he's getting over 10 million for both years. If we keep Maggette this year and then use the amnesty prior to next season, which is the same time Diop's contract expires, we would be looking at a total of 17 million to spend which is a decent chunk of change even subtracting a high lottery pick's rookie contract and the possibility of Walker or Biyombo's increasing on the rookie scale for their second year.
Both cases have their merits, I think the Bobcats will either hold off on the amnesty or use it on Diop though (I mean those are really the only two options given Silas' remarks about Maggette, and the fact that we need him). I would rather wait and use it on Maggette next year but I understand if we use it on Diop.
The Bobcats look good for the future and I think this will continue. I trust in Cho and I'm confident that he knows what he's doing. If this year goes poorly the draft class is loaded so that's a benefit to not having a great year this season as well.
Sorry for the length, but any comments are appreciated as always!