Jax to Charlotte: Warriors financial implications

[editor's note: our own illustrious Dubs Fan in Boston does his own fine job of breaking down the numbers here.  If you've read it, you may have heard it there first.  If you haven't, you should.]

 

You heard it hear first. SBNation is reporting that Stephen Jackson is bound for the Charlotte, NC along with Acie Law for guard Raja Bell and forward Vladimir Radmanovic. Having once lived in the Queen City for all of four weeks before I came to my senses and returned to the Bay, I can't say I envy him.  In sending last season's team-leading scorer on his merry way, the Warriors reshape both the on-court product for 09-10 and open up new possibilities going forward, both in this season and beyond.

 

And like most deals in the NBA, it's all about money.

 

The short answer is "no, we cannot go out and use the money we've saved on Jax to get another big man"; It's best to not even ask the question.

 

And in terms of the immediate impact to the team, we could leave it at that. But the deal is not without implications for years to come and for the long term, may have some real impact on how the Warriors can proceed in the future, both this season and in the not-too far future.

The end result is that this erases some, but not all of the misguided extension that Rowell (apparently) handed to Jackson a year ago. Prior to the extension, Jax was going to be an expiring deal at the end of this season valued at $7.65mil. While that alone wasn't going to make the Warriors players in the off season free agent market, it was large enough that it could have been a significant piece of a package to acquire a player under contract from a team looking to shed salary for cap or tax purposes. After the extension, Jax lost that potential value, which is why he brought back Vlad and Raja, two players who do not figure to be signifcant pieces in righting the sinking ship.  They might help, but don't count on it.

 

In terms of immediate impact, Radmanovic and Bell both possess above average long range shots. Vlad, despite standing 6-10, is limited as a big man due to his Bargnani-esque rebounding, but he can provide some contribution as a "3". Bell carried a reputation as a solid perimeter defender to complement his sharp shooting, though at 33, one has to wonder if those skills haven't declined significantly.

 

What has certainly declined is the Warriors financial commitment for future years.  Bell's $5.25mil expires at the end of the season. Radmanovic is due ~$6.47 mil this year with a player option for $6.8838 for 2010-11 that, given market realities he will most likely pick up. And in short, this means that the Warriors will only clear an additional $1.57 million off the books for next year versus retaining Jax and letting Acie Law walk. That alone makes will make virtually no difference in the Warriors purchasing power or shopping habits for the coming year.

 

However, two years down the line when Radmanovic comes off the books, the Warriors are on the hook for about $9.3 million less than had they stuck with what would then be a 33 year-old Jackson. Forecasting the overall cap situation two years out is difficult as there will be many decisions vis a vis retaining players whose contracts come due in that period, but the savings will not hurt and gets the Warriors out of the inflated back end of Jackson's contract when his declining skills would overshadow the inflating salary, if that had not already happened.

 

Perhaps more significant though is the potential to make another move this year. In terms of the fabled "package of expiring deals to land a superstar", the Warriors will soon posses $14.36 million in contracts that come off the books next year. While that package would require wrapping up Raja with Mikki Moore, Speedy Claxton, Devean George and CJ Watson, sending out these players would allow the Warriors to pick up a player priced at up to $18million. (CBA rules prevent a team utilizing the traded player exception to make trades while over the cap from taking back more than 125% +$100k in salary than the combined players being traded away. Such a deal cannot happen for two month until Bell can be re-packaged in another trade. And as our illustrious and eloquent ONLXN has quite accurately stated, deals involving that many players out for far fewer coming back are exceptionally rare during the season. As such, it's less likely that the full purchasing power could be used on a single player though the ability to take back minimum salary players without regard to the cap means that it would be theoretically possible to use the biggest chunk of this for a single player. Solely in terms of cap implications, this makes it theoretically possible to construct a deal for all but 9 players in the association without the trading partner taking on a single contract that will extend into next season.

 

 

Also see:

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