NBA Roundtable

2010 Cap Space: LA Clippers

In Free Agency, General NBA, Trade Talk on December 1, 2009 at 7:04 am

Updated Version — click here

Los Angeles Clippers Salaries

Contracts above $5 million

  • Baron Davis – $13 million
  • Chris Kaman – $11.3 million
  • Blake Griffin – $5.36 million

Baron Davis has three years left on his contract. Kaman has two years left on his deal. And Blake Griffin will be beginning the second year of his rookie scale contract.

These three players total $29.66 million.

Rest Of Team’s Salaries

  • Eric Gordon – $3.02 million
  • Sebastian Telfair – $2.7 million
  • Al Thornton – $2.81 million

Sebastian Telfair and Al Thornton will be entering the penultimate season of their respective contracts whilst Eric Gordon begins the third season of his rookie contract.

Those contracts amount to $8.53 million and take the Clippers total up to $38.19 million.

Other Costs

  • Draft Picks — The Clippers will finish in the lottery but it’s unclear whereabouts in the lottery they’ll be. They currently have a record that suggests a high lottery pick but they have the talent to finish in the low lottery. Health (Blake Griffin, Baron, Kaman) will play a big role here. Let’s put them down for the #8-#13 range for now and that comes with a cap hold of $1.55-to-$2.07 million.
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary — DeAndre Jordan has a non-guaranteed contract of $850k. It’s very likely that this will be picked up so I’ll include it.
  • Open Roster Spots — The Clippers have eight used roster spots leaving a cap charge of $1.9 million for open roster slots.

The additional costs here amount to $4.3-to-$4.82 million.

That gives us a new total of $42.5-to-$44 million.

The Cap

The league sent out a memo at the beginning of free agency this year citing these numbers as possible cap figures for 2010

The NBA’s ballyhooed free-agent summer of 2010 might have quietly taken another hit late Tuesday night.

In a memo announcing next season’s salary cap and luxury-tax threshold, sent out shortly before the league’s annual July moratorium on signings and trades was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, NBA teams also received tentative projections from the league warning that the cap is estimated to drop to somewhere between $50.4 million and $53.6 million for the 2010-11 season.

2010 Cap Space

The Los Angeles Clippers have between $6-to-$11 million in cap space next offseason.

Clippers Free Agency Options

The Clippers are short on elite talent and need to find a way to acquire another elite talent. Their two best options for acquiring this player are through the draft and/or through free agency.

  • If the Clips move Al Thornton and Sebastian Telfair they’ll free up another $4.5 million (salaries less open roster spot charge). Even if the Clippers are very lucky with the salary cap + unlucky in the lottery seedings … this still leaves them a little short for a maximum contract ($16.57 million) with only $15.5 million.
  • So, if the Clippers want to play for free agency it looks like they’ll have to sacrifice one of their two top paid players — Baron Davis or Chris Kaman.

The Clippers will still have an excellent offer for potential free agents with

  • Young talent — Blake Griffin + Eric Gordon + Lottery pick
  • Established talent — Baron Davis or Chris Kaman + max contract player
  • Those two would equal a very impressive core if they managed to acquire a top talent in free agency.
  • Plus the whole living in LA thing

The Clippers just need someone brave enough + qualified enough to sell it to a free agent. That means firing Mike Dunleavy, both as a coach and as a GM, and hiring someone with gravitas. Someone that convince a big name free agent that the Clippers cheap + loser-ish ways of the past are indeed in the past and that if they join the Clippers they’ll be given the opportunity to play for a Championship soon enough plus for many years to come.

It’s achievable … but I doubt the Clippers will properly execute their ambitions. So for now, it’s probably best described as dream that is unlikely to come to reality.

  1. I was under the impression that the Clippers also have Minnesota’s upcoming first round pick as a result of the Cassell-Jaric trade from a few years pick back. For some ungodly known reason, Mchale thought Jaric was worth Cassell and a First round pick which was lottery protected but has to expire fairly soon.
    Can you look into whether the Clips have Sota’s lottery pick and if its unprotected? 2 top 10 picks in next years draft along with the core they have + their cap space and i think they along with the Thunder, Blazers are gonna be the team of the next decade.

  2. Hey Simon,

    Hard to keep track of all of these owed draft picks … forgotten about that owed draft pick by Minnesota … I think it’s still safe though if the Wolves are as bad as they are. I have it in my head that it’s top 10 protected.

    I’ll try to find some confirmation on that pick + it’s protection and will update this comment then.

    Update: The Wolves pick is top 10 protected through to 2011 and becomes unprotected in 2012. So that pick looks very safe for the time being.

    The Wolves may be owed (protected picks) two additional first rounders though. So I’ll have to edit their cap situation somewhat.

  3. What does John Salmons have anything to do with the final total in cap space??

  4. Brennan,

    My apologies. I use the same format/template for each team … copy and paste it from previous posts and change the information/analysis from there … the John Salmons part was from the previous post on the Bulls post. I missed it.

    I double checked the figures above and they all add up. It was just that one sentence that was out of place.

  5. Hey Dino Gunners,

    I was just reading through that article as I saw your comment.

    I thought it was interesting news at first, but after reading it, not so much. It looks to me like the article is using misleading information and that RealGM are basing their analysis (higher cap) on that information.

    They’re talking about attendance figures instead of gate receipts. Teams from all over the country are lowering the prices of their tickets in order to fill seats. So even though attendance has been very good (only down 1.7%), the gate receipts are way down (7.4% at the last update I’ve seen).

    Still … it’s looking positive for the league, every quote I’ve seen from league officials have been pleased with the financial reports they’re getting and consequently expect the salary cap nearer the high end of expectations ($53.6mil) instead of the low end ($50.4). Good news for teams hoping to spend money in free agency next year.

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