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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Name that player!

As is my wont of an evening, I sometimes trawl through the rosters and box scores of the more obscure leagues of this world, looking for two things - players I've heard of (so as to see what they're now up to), and any novelties I happen upon along the way. In doing so today, I found the following eyecatching player description.

According to the internet, the perfect basketball player exists. His EuroBasket.com profile describes him as follows:

An emotional leader on the court. A highflyer. Very talented player that can move easily from SG to SF and even some limited minutes at PG because of his GREAT court vision. Has great range on his shot and is a threat well beyond the 3 pt arc as he has worked to improve his accuracy beyond the line. Handles opposing pressure very well allowing team mates to score open easy buckets. He cannot be double teamed as he kills opposing teams with the right passes and athletic drives to the basket. Has the ability to take over a game when necessary at either end of the floor. A very athletic player he also has the ability to rebound with the best of them when necessary. Also a great defender will always be called upon to shut down the opposing teams' best player. Very athletic with great body control allows him to take contact and finish strongly at the rim to consistently get the shot off. Will find a variety of ways to score and will make good shot selections with the shot clock running down.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The amount of cap room teams actually have, updated

The previous post attempted to explain how much cap room all NBA teams would (or wouldn't) actually have in this upcoming free agency period. It was a bit presumptuous. It had to be.

Now, we can be reflective. Here's what's left.

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's official - Keith Bogans will earn $5,058,198 next year. All guaranteed. Keith Bogans.


Happy? You should be.

Keith Bogans has an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. He has become throughout his NBA career the archetypal three-and-D wing role player, the kind of piece you want around star point guards or big men (or both), who'll defend opposing stars for a few pesky minutes a night and not risk anything more offensively than taking some open threes. Yet despite not being significantly above average at either, and in no way any more of a stand-out talent in relation to the dozens of other suitable candidates for the role, Bogans's medicority is nonetheless a sure thing, a known commodity, a risk-free contributor who'll neither say nor do nothing confrontational. Teams like that, and, because of this, he has time and again landed starting roles, often on competitive teams. In a talent vacuum, he's not worth this opportunity or luxury, yet by continuing to land these gigs, Bogans is doing something right.

Normally, of course, this role doesn't earn very much. Keith has mostly been a minimum salary player throughout his career, only rarely exceeding it, and this reflect his minimal contributions. None of this is meant pejoratively - Bogans plays a role, plays it fairly well, and yet the role is small and replacable, so so is its salary.

This, however, is all change in light of Keith's new contract.

Did Milwaukee pick up Gustavo Ayon's option? Yes. Will they have to do so again in a week? Also yes.


Gustavo Ayon, thinking of victims

A month ago, it was widely reported via all media outlets (though seemingly originating from Mexico) that the Bucks had picked up Gustavo Ayon's team option for next season.

This week, the story's doing the rounds that the Bucks need to pick up his option. This, on the surface, rather counters the former.

In reality, both are right. The confusion stems from the terminology used. Only one is actually an option - the other just functions much like one. An explanation follows.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2013 Summer League rosters, Vegas - D-League Select

Zach Andrews

Since graduating from Bradley in 2007, Andrews spent four years touring the world's lower leagues, then joined the reformed L.A. D-Fenders in 2011. He spent a full season with the team, averaging 8.4 points and 6.8 rebounds, then left last summer to go to Italy with Montegranaro. However, Andrews disappointed there, and was released after posting 6 points and 6 fouls in 28 minutes. He then returned to the D-Fenders and posted a further 7.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in the final 32 games of the season, Andrews has a good frame (6'9, 230lbs), hustles, and is athletic. But he's not offensively skilled and defends via the foul. At 28, the D-League is the highest standard he has ever played to, save for the time in Italy, in which he looked highly overmatched. He's a D-League role player, not an NBA one.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Complete History of Luxury Tax Payments, Updated for 2012/13

This website and its sole proprietor keep a spreadsheet containing to-the-dollar information on all luxury tax paid to date. In the 12 seasons since the luxury tax was created, it has been applicable in ten seasons; in those ten seasons, 24 NBA franchises have paid over $920 million in payroll excess. The exact details can be found here.


(Sorted alphabetically - click to enhance.)

(Sorted by expenditure - click to enhance.)


Please use the spreadsheet freely for resource purposes, and feel equally free to suggest any improvements. However, please do not just take it, and if you do cite its data somewhere, please acknowledge its source. While the content is not my IP, I did spend a long time sourcing the relevant information, and in return, I seek only credit for that. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Orlando

Jared Berggren

True to the Wisconsin way, Berggren makes few mistakes on the court. Or at least, he does now. Throughout his career, Berggren significantly reduced his foul and turnover rates to the point that they're now very strong suits of his. He also got bigger and tougher, turning himself into a sufficiently mediocre rebounder and much improved rim protector. Tougher, however, is not the same as tough. Berggren is frail, still too frail to play with NBA muscle on both ends. Recognising this and taking more jumpshots to diversify his decent internal finishing would have been a successful move had he hit a good number of said shots. This didn't happen, and thus Berggren projects best as a defender and finisher who can't do such things as well against bigger opponents. Not an NBA combination. But he will make money in European leagues, such as the German and Belgian ones.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Miami

Jackie Carmichael

Carmichael would likely have been drafted were he from a bigger school. He scores around the paint with good touch, rebounds the ball, and protects the rim without fouling. He's big enough, athletic enough, skilled enough, to make the NBA. But he just wasn't seen enough.

Monday, July 08, 2013

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Philadelphia

Michael Carter-Williams

Criticisms of Carter-Williams include that he can't shoot, and he can't make contested shots at the basket either, as he's too slender. He's raw, he's too turnover prone, he doesn't use his left hand enough, and he makes poor decisions. All true enough, and all sound bad. But all can be worked at. What Carter-Williams does undeniably possess is size, a handle, the ability to score in isolation and in transition, a knack for getting to the rim more with guile than speed, passing skills and vision, and an innate skill for the penetrate-and-dish. If he needs to get bigger, tougher and smarter while developing a jumpshot, that's fine. So do most 21 year old guards.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Utah

Jeff Brooks

Brooks has improved year on year and now finds himself playing a decent role for one of the best teams in a strong league. Playing for Cantu in Italy's SerieA, Brooks averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as one of the few non-shooters on a perimeter oriented team. His tremendous athleticism is a mismatch, particularly against the slower European forwards. When plugged in, Brooks can defend interior and perimeter forwards, take the slower ones off the dribble with a decent handle, fly out in transition and hit open mid range jumpshots.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Detroit

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Cuttino Mobley. Just putting it out there. And if he can't shoot like Cuttino Mobley yet, that's OK, because nor could Cuttino Mobley at that age.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Brooklyn

Keith Benson

Benson has spent the past two summer leagues and training camps with the Hawks, but seemingly that well has dried up. He briefly played in the NBA, managing nine minutes with the Warriors late in 2011-12, but didn't make it back last year. Benson spent most of last season in the D-League, averaging 10.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in only 23 minutes per game in two stints with the Erie BayHawks, bookending a stay in the Philippines, where he averaged 23.6 points, 15.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game for Talk'N'Text in the Commissioners Cup. However, import big men ALWAYS put up big numbers in the Philippines, as there are very few domestic big men to compete with them. And so despite the ostensibly gaudy numbers, Benson was released for being "ineffective", and replaced by Donnell Harvey, who was acquired to bring the "toughness, interior defense and communication" that Benson just didn't. Therein lies the story with Benson - he's tall, athletic, fluid, and fairly skill, but he's just not tough enough, and shot blocking is not the same as defense.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Boston

Tim Abromaitis

Abromaitis began his professional career this season in France, playing for perennial powerhouse ASVEL Villerbanne and averaging 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He shot his usual 41% from three point range, and didn't make many mistakes, yet nor did he (or does he) do much other than shoot. He doesn't have Kyle Korver's ability to get open or shoot off screens, he's not as tall as Steve Novak, not as athletic as James Jones, and not as lucky as Luke Zeller. Abromaitis could in theory have Pat Garrity's role in the NBA, but Pat Garrity was considerably better than Abromaitis before becoming the specialist that he did.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Indiana

Rasual Butler

Butler returned to the D-League last season in an attempt to springboard himself back into the NBA. He played well, averaging 17.8 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Tulsa 66ers. However, aged 34, the once good athleticism has largely gone, save for flashes. Butler would like to cash in on a reputation as a three-and-D guy, but the reality of his situation is that he's average at both, and only ever was. He has been a sub-par NBA player for years - this isn't meant pejoratively, although it's appreciated that it's hard to take it any other way - and he's not going to reverse that now.

2013 Summer League rosters, Orlando Summer Pro League - Houston

James Anderson

Anderson landed an extended run with Houston last season, and, although the unguaranteed nature of his contract makes his position rather tenuous, he's done enough to merit the minimum. He could have a Danny Green-like role for someone if he can hone that jumper further.

Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin's contract situations



In light of one or both of these two being about to be traded, there exists a new realm of questions about this two unusual, nearly-novel deals.

The questions surround what they're being paid, and what they're being charged to the salary cap. People don't know which set of figures to believe, and the confusions stems from the fact that those two questions actually have two different answers.

"Salary" and "cap number" are usually assumed to be synonymous with each other on account of the fact that they normally are, with rare exceptions. Occasionally, exceptions can be found in buyout agreements (I believe, though cannot say decisively, that the Blazers were still playing Shawn Kemp up to and including last season), but not with valid contracts. These deals, then, are an exception. And that's why they need clarifying.

Using the Arenas provision, Lin and Asik signed for the most Houston could give them over three years - $25,123,938. The contracts called for them to be paid an even $5 million in 2012/13, $5.225 million in 2013/14, and $14,898,938 in 2014/15. For the purposes of where we're going, it doesn't matter how these figure was arrived at, only what they are and where we're going.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

There IS a difference between "team option" and "unguaranteed", and it DOES matter


Several years ago, I wrote a piece called Creative Financing in the NBA, that sought to address and highlight a few quirky salaries and salaries mechanisms handed about that season.

In that piece, I also spent a long time addressing the difference between team options and unguaranteed salaries. Often times, unguaranteed salaries are reported in the mainstream press as being team options, even though the two mechanisms are different. And often times, this is fine, because the differences don't really matter. Not to the casual fan, at least. Nevertheless, differences do exist. Some of the initial post is quoted below that explains these differences:

Unguaranteed or partially guaranteed final seasons are becoming quite the trend in the NBA, and they are quickly replacing team options. In fact, there are only 11 team options in the entire league [...]

There are very few instances in which contracts must be guaranteed. In fact, there are only two; the first year of a signed-and-traded contract, and the first two years of a rookie scale contract (which must be guaranteed for a minimum of 80% of the scale amount). Nothing else has to be guaranteed, but it is self-evident that almost all are. Would you accept an unguaranteed contract as a player? Not without incentive to do so, no. It is self evident why so many contracts are fully guaranteed. Yet the unguaranteed contract fad has its basis in logic.

In a lot of cases, unguaranteed contracts function much like team options do. However, there are some significant advantages to doing it in this way, which is why it happens. The differences:

1) Team options have to be decided upon by the final day of the previous season. Seasons change over on July 1st, and thus team options must be decided upon by June 30th. This is not the case with unguaranteed contracts, which either have guarantee dates that can be negotiated to different dates, or which have no guarantee date at all. A lot of unguaranteed contracts have some guaranteed money, becoming fully guaranteed upon a certain date, or no guaranteed money at all becoming slowly guaranteed upon several dates; for players earning the minimum salary is often the latter, which bigger contracts are usually the former. Common dates include July 15th (two weeks after free agency starts, giving teams times to analyse the situation), August 1st (same sort of thing) and August 15th (for the very tardy); however, in practice, anything goes. In this way, these contracts serve as delayed team options.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Salary Bookkeeping, 2013

July 1st is (the date on which one season ends and the next one begins, and thus June 30th (and the week preceding it) is an important cut-off date for certain transactions.

Players with player or early termination options had to decide if they were coming back; the few players with team options awaited an uncertain future; players eligible for QO's had to see if they got them.

All the results are in now, and there follows a list of who did what before July 1st. NB: free agent statuses taken as of April 22nd 2013.

Mavericks to sign Gal Mekel to three year guaranteed deal

It was actually three, but close enough.

Looking to reinvent their point guard rotation, the Dallas Mavericks have looked to the overseas market, and will sign Israeli national team point guard Gal Mekel.

Mekel has been named in NBA circles in recent times, as he has participated in a series of workouts and free agent camps for teams around the league, hoping to catch on. Recently, this culminated into accepting an offer to join the Milwaukee Bucks' summer league team. Yet in signing a three year, fully guaranteed deal, Mekel has done much more than merely catch on.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Anthony Tolliver earned $273,697 and counting for one day of work, and it's all thanks to Sasha Pavlovic

After going undrafted out of Creighton in 2007, Anthony Tolliver played in summer league for the Miami Heat, and was granted the honour of being the 16th overall pick in the 2007 Continental Basketball Association draft. These things eventually parlayed themselves into a training camp contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tolliver's contract with Cleveland was a typical 'summer' (read as 'training camp') contract. It was a fully unguaranteed rookie minimum salary contract, which, in the 2007/08 season, was worth $427,163. Tolliver was one of several camp signings for the Cavaliers that season - alongside Noel Felix, Chet Mason, Hassan Adams, Darius Rice, and a re-signed Dwayne Jones - and was an outside shot to make the roster based purely on the numbers game alone.

Concurrent with these moves, Cleveland was embroiled in the long-since-forgotten-about holdouts of Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic. Both restricted free agents out of contract that summer, both unhappy with Cleveland's best offer, and yet both seemingly unable to get more on the market, the two held out of training camp, waiting for enormous deals that never came. From memory, Pavlovic wanted roughly six years and $40 million, while Varejao wanted $10 million per annum.

The two held out all through the free agency period, all through training camp, all through preseason, and into the regular season. It is precisely because of this that Tolliver, as well as Demetris Nichols, made the Cavaliers roster that season. Pavlovic was the first to crack - he agreed to re-sign to a partially guaranteed three year $13,696,250 contract that he was waived after only two years of. He signed this contract on October 31st 2007, the second day of the regular season. And when he did so, Tolliver was waived to open up a roster spot.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The amount of cap room teams will actually have

All salary information is taken from this website's own salary pages. All figures taken from the day of publication - if subsequent trades/signings are made, then adjust accordingly.

NOTE: All cap space amounts are calculated to an estimated salary cap of $58.5 million. This inexact figure is the most recent (and thus accurate) projection released yet, and will suffice for now. When the actual amount is calculated/announced, the sums below will be altered accordingly.

It is vital - VITAL - that you understand what a "cap hold" is before you read this. An explanation can be found here.


    Atlanta Hawks


Committed salary for 2013/14: $22,497,415 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: At most, $35,504,580, but not really.


If Atlanta renounce (or lose) Josh Smith, and renounce their remaining free agents (Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Ivan Johnson, Jeff Teague, Dahntay Jones, Hilton Armstrong, Erick Dampier, Etan Thomas, Randolph Morris and Anthony Tolliver), waive DeShawn Stevenson ($2,240,450, fully unguaranteed with no guarantee date), Shelvin Mack ($884,293, fully unguaranteed with no guarantee date) and Mike Scott ($788,872, fully unguaranteed until August 15th, thereafter $100,000 guaranteed) and sell or renounce their first round draft picks (#17 and #18, cap holds of $1,348,200 and $1,280,800), they will have a cap number of $22,995,420 (the committed salary plus nine minimum salary roster charges of $490,180 for having less than twelve things on the cap).

(If you want to get really absurd, they could even amnesty Al Horford. Hypotheticals are fun.)

This is, however, a maximum amount. And it's not a realistic one. Smith's cap hold will be equal to the maximum amount for a nine year veteran, and, while this amount will not be known until the new salary cap figure is determined, a slight increase in the cap will mean a slight increase in the $16,402,500 nine year veteran maximum amount that this year's cap produced. So unless he is renounced, or until he is signed elsewhere, that's a $16.5 million cap hold cutting into that $35.5 million figure. The same is true of Teague's $6,082,692 cap hold, and the negligible amounts saved by trading the picks, not giving Johnson his $1,250,854 qualifying offer, and waiving Scott, are also not likely to happen. In a scenario where they are all retained, then, Atlanta's cap situation then looks like this:


Josh Smith: $16,500,000 (circa, cap hold)
Al Horford: $12,000,000
Jeff Teague: $6,082,692 (cap hold)
Lou Williams: $5,225,000
#17 pick): $1,348,200
#18 pick: $1,280,800
Ivan Johnson: $1,250,854 (cap hold & qualifying offer)
John Jenkins: $1,258,800
Mike Scott: $788,872
Jeremy Tyler: $100,000 (waived)
Roster charge (rookie minimum cap hold for not having 12 things on the cap, one for each number under - Tyler doesn't count): $490,180
Roster charge: $490,180
Roster charge: $490,180


Total: $47,305,758 = $11,194,242 in cap room


Even this scenario assumes the renouncements of Korver and Pachulia, quality role players who won't be easily replaced. Yet such is the reality of the gamble of cap space. Atlanta can and likely will have eight figures worth of cap space, and they could have an awful lot more than that should Smith move on. But it's a choice.

(Note: "things on the cap" constitute players under contract, free agents not under contract who have cap holds, and the cap holds of unsigned first round picks. Unsigned second round picks do not have cap holds and thus do not count for anything, and nor do waived players.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bookkeeping The Retired Guys, 2013 Edition

Every now and then, it's fun to comb through the list of recently retired players (almost, but not quite exclusively, NBA ones), and track down their current post-playing career whereabouts. The last such list was compiled two years ago and is rather out of date now, so here's a fresh one.




Tariq Abdul-Wahad - Abdul-Wahad is now the head coach at Lincoln high school in San Jose.


Shareef Abdur-Rahim - Still the Kings assistant general manager. Last year returned to university to finish the degree he left unfinished 16 years earlier.


Maurice Ager - Ager hasn't played since a four game stint with the Timberwolves at the very start of the 2010/11 season. Instead, he's turned to music, and is now a producer and occasional rapper. Ager's first album, "Moe Town," was released last month; here's a video clip of a bonus track, called "Pistons." You'll recognise one sample.


Briefly mentioned at the end is "Sports 'n' Music", a radio show Ager also hosts. Here's an episode of that.


Cory Alexander - Last time we checked in, Alexander had had some problems. He'd lost all his money, and was suing Bank of America to get it back, claiming it was their fault. It is unclear how successful this action was. But what is clear is that Alexander turned his occasional commentary role on Virginia games into a bigger media career, and is now an analyst and announcer on the ACC Network.


Courtney Alexander - Now coaching high school basketball at Dominion Christian High School in Marietta, Georgia. Alexander also still runs his not-for-profit, Georgia Press, although the website has changed location since last time. It now points to a subdirectory of imsopure.com. Alrighty then.

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