None of us can predict what is going to happen with the CBA, but by all accounts, the salary cap is certainly going to lower. I cannot picture the salary cap decreasing below the 2006 mark of 53 million, however. So for this excersize, we'll us the 53 million mark as a hard cap for us, since MJ certainly isn't going over it. Keep in mind that the rookie exceptions and the non-Bird exceptions won't count against us if we do go over.
Here is a list of 2011-2012 Free Agents.
The Charlotte Bobcats are on the hook for slightly under 50 million next season. That doesn't leave much wiggle room does it? That also only includes a roster of 10. (Thank you Michael Jordan). We're most probably going to resign Kwame Brown and Dominic McGuire. We could sign both of them for the vet's minimum, but Kwame I think earned his non-Bird exception of a 20% raise, which is a little more than the current vet's min for a 10 year player. Since salaries are expected to come down across the board, I can only assume that vet's min contracts will as well, but for the sake of argument, we'll use this current season's salaries. McGuire will get a little under 1 million for next season, Kwame would get about 1.5 million. However, since we smartly used the non-Bird exception on Kwame Brown, which unlike Bird exceptions and early-Bird exceptions has no time restraints, Kwame's 1.5 million doesn't count. That leaves us with 12 players and 2 million to sign 3 of them.
Actually, it doesn't. It leaves us with 2 million to sign ONE player. Why? Because that rookie exception I mentioned doesn't count against us. We have three draft picks, but the second rounder isn't likely to be more than an NBDL player. Our two first rounders, though? Well they're probably keepers. Even if we pay them whatever next year's rookie scale is, it won't matter. So there's two more players, rookies, to fill up spots. That leaves us 2 million to sign one player to give us our 15 player max.
Worst case scenario, of all of the incoming free agents, who would you think we could sign for 2 million? Unfortunately, we don't qualify for the MLE (as far as I understand it) because we won't be over the cap once the offseason begins. Ironically, if MJ hadn't been so adamant about being under the cap this year, we would have more wiggle room next year. Of course, that's easy to say as a fan when the money isn't coming out of my own pocket.
Starting lineup: Augustin, Henderson, Jackson, Thomas/Diaw, Diaw/Kwame - potentially small lineup, but I can't bear another season of Thomas on the bench, with what we're paying him.
I wouldn't mind seeing T-Mac come to Charlotte, just to put some butts in the seats. He made less than 2 million this season for the Pistons.
Best case scenario? We trade both Diaw and Jax, or Diaw decides to sign with a contender (haha that totally sounds like Diaw doesn't it?) and turns down his 9 million. However we gotta get rid of them, their is no reason to have them around when the plan is to start young and rebuild. That gives us 20 million to play with (Jax + Diaw + 2 million aformentioned) to sign three players. Now things start to get fun.
Rosterbate to your heart's content, folks.
Starting lineup: Augustin, Henderson, Free Agent, Thomas, Free Agent
Most likely scenario?
Jax can offer a team out there looking for punch at the 2 or 3. (I'm looking at you New Jersey) He has to be traded this offseason. Even though I'd rather see Diaw gone, I don't think teams can justify paying 9 million to someone who wouldn't start on most teams in the NBA. At least Jackson is a starter and an upgrade to a lot of teams at either of those positions.
That leaves us about 11 million (a little more actually) to spend on two free agents. It also means we're gonna need a SF.
Starting lineup: Augustin, Hendo, Thomas/Free Agent, Diaw/Thomas, Kwame/Diaw
So taking each scenario (or maybe you're own, maybe you think we trade Augustin or something), 2 million, 20 million and 11 million, what free agents out there based on that list and our needs do you think we should/could sign?
Also, if I made any mistakes in my salary cap language/rules, please let me know.