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Part II - Salary Cap Situation - Summer of 2014 and Beyond

Free agent targets and the Mid-Level Exception

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Catch up with Part I.

Slim Pickings

At the MLE level, there just are not a lot of options. Being completely honest, the free agent class this summer is rather terrible. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo, are out immediately. Even if the Pelicans had $30 Million in cap space, those players would not come to New Orleans. Sifting through the remaining players in potentially the MLE area reveal a limited group that fits Dell's current plan of "young veterans". The cut off is 28 years old for me in this exercise, which eliminates Thabo Sefolosha, Luol Deng (too expensive anyway), Danny Granger (probably ring chasing here on out), Trevor Ariza (please no), Caron Butler (see Granger), etc.

On this list there are no big bangers. Spencer Hawes might be an option to start at center (his rebounding numbers are much better than you think defensively) as may Jordan Hill (rebounding machine). C.J. Miles and Marvin Williams won't light your hair on fire, but they both have shot well in recent years from three and do not require high usage. New Orleans fans can continue to make fun of Atlanta selecting Williams over Paul but that is beyond this exercise. The point now is to bring in players who can shoot the three (both Miles and Williams are shooting 39% from deep this season) with the necessary size and length to play on the wing.

  1. Jordan Hamilton (24) - The youngest man on this list and in an odd situation. His option for next season was not picked up making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. While not particularly long according to Draft Express, he is a volume shooter at the wing. 44.8% of all attempts in his career have been from three and he is converting at a respectable (albeit not amazing) 35.8%. A portion of the MLE (or even the Bi-Annual Exception) may be enough to convince Hamilton to come to New Orleans.
  2. Spencer Hawes (26) - A big body (7'1" and 245+ according to Draft Express) who can rebound on the defensive glass and space the floor on offense (averaging nearly 4 3PA/G shooting 41% this year). Effort and ability on defense will be a concern, as will price. The full MLE might not be enough to snag him.
  3. Jordan Hill (27) - A little small for a center (6'10" and 235-ish according to Draft Express) but absolutely assaults the glass on both ends. Nearly putting up a 20% total rebound rate in his time in Los Angeles and racking up 12.9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
  4. C.J. Miles (27) - Possibly too small to log long minutes at small forward. Shooting has dramatically improved since leaving Utah for Cleveland. Will not require the full MLE, but also probably not good for many more than 20-ish minutes a night.
  5. Marvin Williams (28) - Really long (6'8" with a 7'3" wingspan according to Draft Express) with a ton of NBA experience. A good player to be your fourth or fifth best guy on the court, but do not ask him to be more than that. Only average from the corner three, but knocking down the above-break three at a high rate (40.71%) this season.

Underwhelmed yet? The best fit I see here is to use the MLE to bring in Marvin Williams and utilize the Bi-Annual Exception to bring back Anthony Morrow. Offering Smith (2 years/$5M) and Aminu (2 years/$8M) at numbers relatively close to what they are making this season results in the following salary cap situation.

Age 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Eric Gordon 26 $14,898,938 $15,514,031
Jrue Holiday 24 $10,404,495 $11,095,507 $11,786,518
Tyreke Evans 25 $11,265,416 $10,734,586 $10,203,755
Ryan Anderson 26 $8,491,500 $8,500,000
Anthony Davis 21 $5,607,240 $7,070,730
Marvin Williams 28 $5,305,000 $5,543,725 $5,782,450
Al-Farouq Aminu 23 $4,000,000 $4,000,000
Jason Smith 28 $2,500,000 $2,500,000
Austin Rivers 22 $2,439,840 $3,110,796
Anthony Morrow 29 $2,077,000 $2,097,315
Alexis Ajinca 26 $981,084
Luke Babbitt 25 $948,163
Jeff Withey 24 $816,482
Total $69,735,158 $70,166,690 $27,772,723

That $69.7M number looks huge but the luxury tax next year is projected to be $75.7M.

Tomorrow we will focus on the big fish.  Part III.