(Evanz: I'm moving this to the front page, since it contains very helpful insight into the salary cap situation.)
I think there is some confusion about who the Warriors can target in free agency. Because I am sick of reading unreasonable free agent signing ideas, I did some research on the new CBA and the mid level exception and I thought that I would share some of my findings. Basically: it's a cruel world out there for teams near or over the luxury tax.
Even if they were willing to go over the luxury tax by signing a decent free agent using the full MLE, the Warriors literally CAN'T. This was one of the main points of contention during the lockout. Owners wanted a hard cap to even the playing field and the players did not. The final compromise ended up being a sorta mostly hard cap. A team's MLE gets smaller as they go into the luxury tax. This is on top of the other financial penalties that we would normally berate owners for not being willing to pay.
Old Deal: Every team received a Mid-Level Exception every year (up to five years starting at $5.8 million last year) and a Bi-Annual Exception (up to two years starting at $2.1 million last year) every other year.
New Deal: The MLE is now four years and will start at $5 million. Teams near or over the luxury tax line will be limited in the amount they can spend, being restricted to only adding a MLE deal up to $74 million in total salary (in the first year). A team with $69.5 million in commitments, for example, is limited to $4.5 million for the MLE. Teams over that amount can offer a mini MLE of three years starting at $3 million. The Bi-Annual Exception remains. A new exception worth $2.5 million is available to teams who use all their cap space to sign free agents.
The Players wanted the MLE to remain unchanged for luxury tax teams. However, from the Owners original demands of no ability to use the MLE for tax teams as well as wanting to restrict the length of the deals to alternating between three and four years each season at their last offer, it’s a win for the Players. Scaling the tax starting at $69 million in cap commitments from $5 million down to $3 million was an excellent idea and means teams with a lot of committed money can still add a free agent. Call the new exception the Miami Exception.
from Jason Fleming of Hoopsworld
So where does that leave us?
The conclusion is that we are going to have to get creative if we want to shore up our backup PG and PF positions. Since we can't pay one of the better free agents, we are going to need to find someone on the cheap and/or figure out a way to trade for a decent backup hopefully using one of our extra wing players and filler without losing depth at any other positions. Other than our starters, D Wright is probably our best trade chip as Jefferson or maybe Barnes could easily fill his spot. Otherwise, maybe we can get Larry Riley to look into his crystal ball and pluck up another gem out of the D League or undrafted rookie pool.
From what I understand (I didn't do too much research on this front) we can resign our own free agents such as Rush but not Dom or Nate Rob by using his "bird rights" which are unrelated to the MLE. Long story short, cross your fingers and rub your lucky shark's tooth in hopes that our starters make it through the season in one piece. Got any better ideas?