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Salary cap implications of Anthony Davis missing All-NBA team selections

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Pelicans still cannot reach a maximum cap slot without making a guaranteed contract or two disappear.

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The media voted and Anthony Davis missed all three All-NBA teams. Davis finished 8th among forwards with 76 points and one first team vote; behind LeBron James (637), Kawhi Leonard (575), Kevin Durant (452), Draymond Green (431), Paul George (157), LaMarcus Aldridge (103), and Paul Millsap (84). In total Davis is out over $24 million in guaranteed money over the lifetime of his contract. The New Orleans Pelicans have more cap space to work with, which is good from a team-building perspective.

Thanks to Amin Elhassan we can calculate how much more space New Orleans will have this summer. Roughly $4.3 million if they choose to dip under the salary cap by renouncing Eric Gordon and possibly Ryan Anderson. That's a significant sum and the difference between creating a max cap slot or not without a web of transactions.

Let's take a look at two salary cap tables. First is what Dell Demps has to work with if he renounces the rights to Gordon, Anderson, Norris Cole, and Kendrick Perkins.

Pos Age 2016-2017
Anthony Davis PF/C 23 $21,600,000
Jrue Holiday PG 26 $11,286,518
Tyreke Evans SG 27 $10,203,755
Omer Asik C 30 $9,904,494
Alexis Ajinca C 28 $4,713,203
Quincy Pondexter SG/SF 28 $3,617,978
Dante Cunningham SF/PF 29 $2,978,250
Alonzo Gee SG/SF 29 $1,379,400
Toney Douglas PG/SG 30 $1,315,448
Luke Babbitt SF/PF 27 $1,227,286
Tim Frazier PG 26 $1,180,431
James Ennis SG/SF 26 $1,180,431
Bryce Dejean-Jones SG 24 $874,636
2016 1st Round Pick (#6) $2,931,000
Cap Space $17,607,170
Total 27.15 $92,000,000
Salary Cap $92,000,000

That seems like a lot of cap space, but it isn't enough to get in the door with a number of favorite Pelicans free agent targets. Nicolas Batum commands a possible max salary of $25.9M while Chandler Parsons and Harrison Barnes are both expected to be close to their max of $21.6M. Even if New Orleans clears as much space as possible without making some trades they fail to reach even one max cap slot, as shown below.

Pos Age 2016-2017
Anthony Davis PF/C 23 $21,600,000
Jrue Holiday PG 26 $11,286,518
Tyreke Evans SG 27 $10,203,755
Omer Asik C 30 $9,904,494
Alexis Ajinca C 28 $4,713,203
Quincy Pondexter SG/SF 28 $3,617,978
Dante Cunningham SF/PF 29 $2,978,250
Alonzo Gee SG/SF 29 $1,379,400
Bryce Dejean-Jones SG 24 $874,636
2016 1st Round Pick (#6) $2,931,000
Luke Babbitt (Waived) SF/PF $200,000
Cap Holds (x2) $1,086,942
Cap Space $21,223,824
Total 27.11 $92,000,000
Salary Cap $92,000,000

Note: They could waive Bryce Dejean-Jones too but hopefully they're not THAT shortsighted.

That might be enough to convince Harrison Barnes or Chandler Parsons to come to the Crescent City and surely should make Kent Bazemore attainable. But, that team is going to be shallow (again) and eventually Dell Demps is going to learn from his mistakes. Right? The lack of real cap space means trades are going to be on the mind of Dealer Demps as the franchise and owner look to make a big splash.

Who's on the block? Tyreke Evans is probably at the top of the list thanks to his inability to fit into Alvin Gentry's scheme. Alexis Ajinca could be searching for a new first home as well. Many fans hope Omer Asik is traded but the market (and cost to the Pelicans) is almost certainly too high. (Waiting until next year is also an option.) If Demps is on the cusp of signing an impact free agent, dumping Tyreke Evans for nothing (a fake 2nd round pick), or even waiving and stretching him, could be explored.

The Pelicans received an unexpected (at least compared to expectations before the season) boost in cap space. Will they use it properly? The clock is ticking. Chris Paul and Kevin Love both forced their way out of uninspiring franchises the season before their option year. That gives the Pelicans three seasons to build a contender. If not, this will be exhibit A on why Davis left town.