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Wednesday Bird Feed: Jason Smith is a Knick, Russ Smith Contract

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Jason Smith Signs with Knicks

Jason Smith was the longest tenured New Orleans Pelican/Hornet. Smith was one of the first players GM Dell Demps acquired in 2010 after taking over. Demps traded Craig Brackens and Darius Songalia for Smith and Willie Green.

Unsurprisingly, Liberty Ballers (the SB Nation 76ers site) thought Philadelphia had convincingly won that trade. Brackens and Songalia logged a grand total of 172 minutes for the 76ers and have not played in the NBA since. Jason Smith played in 199 games, logged 3,755 minutes, scored 1,448 points, and snagged 804 rebounds throughout four injury plagued seasons in New Orleans. The (then) Hornets won that trade. It might be one of the most lopsided trades you never hear about.

Jason Smith will be missed. His knockdown mid-range shooting keeping the bench unit afloat. His tenacity in all things on the court. His leadership. Thank you, Jason Smith for everything. Most of all, for this.

No layups.

Pelican Departure Review

Anthony Morrow signs with Oklahoma City for 3 years, $10 Million.

Many expected that Morrow was going to be even more expensive than that. There is an obvious discount provided by Morrow for signing with a contender. Remember that New Orleans signed Morrow last summer for the league minimum.

Brian Roberts signs with Charlotte for 2 years, $5.5 Million.

Roberts, like Morrow, made the league minimum last year. Brian Roberts was the second big hit out of Europe for Dell Demps, following in the footsteps of Gustavo Ayon. Like Morrow he will get a substantial raise this coming season, making a cool $2 Million more in a Hornets jersey than he did with the Pelicans.

Jason Smith signs with New York for 1 year, $3.3 Million.

This is a bit of a surprise. Not because Smith is not a capable player, but due to his injury history and the relative dearth of assets available to the Knicks. Smith was likely going to get a look from some team with the room exception or the mini-mid level (which is what the Knicks used). With Smith's departure official Eric Gordon becomes the longest tenured New Orleans Pelican.

The only players left who could potentially depart through free agency are Al-Farouq Aminu and Darius Miller (James Southerland played so few games I do not include him on the list). On the court and in the locker room I think Anthony Morrow will be the player missed the most.

Russ Smith Contract Details

John Reid reported some details on Russ Smith's contract yesterday.

The Pelicans did not release the financial details of the contract or its length, but a league source confirmed that Smith agreed to a two-year guaranteed contract with an option for a third year.

Since this contract is potentially a three year contract and not a two year contract it must be signed with either an exception (the room exception) or with cap space. Minimum contracts, as noted by the CBA FAQ, can only be for a maximum of two seasons.

Taking this new found information into account, the scenario discussed yesterday on the order of transactions saving the room exception is no longer valid. John Salmons was almost certainly signed with the room exception, meaning just $732,000 of it remains.

Importance of $732,000

This value is pretty negligible in the world of the NBA. The minimum contract for a player with no NBA experience is $507,336. For a player with just one year of experience (A player is credited with a year of service for each season in which he is on a team's active list or inactive list for at least one day during the regular season., footnote 1 here) the minimum jumps to $816,482. Players signed to minimum contracts do not require cap space or the room exception; they are signed with the minimum exception (scroll down a bit). Exceptions, such as the remaining $732,000, cannot be combined.

What possible use is this to Dell Demps?

We can only speculate. It could mean that Tom Benson has placed a hard cap on how much the team will spend in salaries this season. The balloon payment due to Omer Asik plays into this scenario. Another option would be that Dell Demps is going to use it to either sign Patric Young or another undrafted rookie to a larger than minimum contract.

Or, Dell Demps could be looking overseas. An international player who has also gone undrafted could be his next move. The NBA caps how much an NBA team can spend on an international player's buyout at $600,000 this season. The $224,664 difference between a minimum contract and the remainder of the room exception could be used to entice a player to choose the Pelicans over another franchise or help that player pay the remainder of his buyout should it exceed the $600,000 allowed.

Thus far, there is only one rumor we can point to. David Pick is the senior correspondent for eurobasket.com. He might be the European equivalent to Adrian Wojnarowski or Chris Broussard.

The more likely method (if Demps is planning on using the remainder overseas at all) is that there will be little to no information or rumors, and then an imminent signing will be announced. It could be Ingles. It most likely be someone who is a wing player, 6'6"-6'9" or so, and ideally one with some demonstrated shooting ability behind the arc. Ingles, along with a slew of other players you and I have never heard of, probably fit that bill. Someone from the summer league team (almost certainly on a minimum contract) may be signed instead.

I would have preferred to maintain the Room Exception and sign a younger small forward than the current path. However, these last moves are are the extreme edges of effecting if the team is successful or not. The ability of the core six players (Ryan Anderson, Omer Asik, Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Jrue Holiday) to mesh as a unit and stay healthy is the greatest factor in if this team will ultimately reach the playoffs.

These last moves only change my personal off-season grade from an A (met all needs, thank you Omer Asik) to an A- or B+ (really not liking the John Salmons signing plus using the room exception to do so). It has been a great off season so far with a mild disappointment for at the close. Do not forget that the cook provided an amazing four course meal before the unremarkable cheesecake for dessert.