For the most part, the Golden State Warrior's offseason has gone pretty well.
Even with a bit of uncertainty surrounding rotations and just how good they'll be without Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, they addressed needs quite well given their salary cap constraints. But did they maximize their salary cap room?
Ed Bemiss of National Sports Rankings has put together one way to determine that with his NBA salary projections.
As described earlier today at Mike Prada of SB Nation's Bullets Forever regarding John Wall's freshly signed contract, NBA free agency isn't really a true market and certainly not a free one: top-tier talents are rarely available, demand doesn't entirely dictate how much a player can make because there are artificial ceilings, and then there are all the ins and outs of the CBA to take into account.
Still, what Bemiss has done in projecting salaries based upon a player's basketball value is interesting food for thought. He described the process on his salary projections page:
1. Each player is given an overall power rating based on their performance in the 2012-13 NBA regular season.
2. After determining each players rating I've set up a formula that will give each a salary based on that overall ranking.
3. After determining their "projected season salary" I factor in their age and I've created a contract value for 2,3,4 or 5 years.
4. I then determine the projection for future year contracts and salary. Every player's rating/salary, from age 20-28, is increased a preset percentage every year. (over 100%) At age 29 the player is assumed to be 100% of their rating and will decrease each year from age 30-40+.
The final step in evaluating each team's offseason (thus far), which he posted a few days ago, was to compare his projections to what players have actually been signed for.
The following are a look at the Warriors' signings (click here to see his full list for the entire league as of July 29):
Player Age New Tm. Terms 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 1 year 2 year 3 year 4 year 5 year Toney Douglas 27-134 GSW 1 yr/$1,600,000 $3.74 $1.82 $1.63 $1.68
-Projections similar to actual contract.
Player Age New Tm. Terms 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 1 year 2 year 3 year 4 year 5 year Andre Iguodala 29-181 GSW 4 yrs/$48,000,000 $12.16 $13.82 $11.60 $43.04
-Maybe a slight overpay based on his age but Iguodala continues to show he's a top tier small forward year in and year out.
Player Age New Tm. Terms 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 1 year 2 year 3 year 4 year 5 year Jermaine O'Neal 34-288 GSW 1 yr/$2,000,000 $2.21 $2.50 $1.95 $1.78
-Projections similar to actual contract.
Player Age New Tm. Terms 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 1 year 2 year 3 year 4 year 5 year Marreese Speights 25-358 GSW 3 yrs/$9,000,000 $1.82 $3.10 $1.89 $6.07
-Small overpay based on his ratings the last 3 years but he's only going to be 26 this upcoming season.
Although "salary projections" aren't necessarily equivalent to "market value", his list of salary projections allow us to look at the opportunity cost of signing these players. And honestly, it's not as if the Warriors could have done a whole lot better for the money they spent - even the guys that they might have "overpaid" for based on salary projections might end up being bargains based on what else was available in that price range.
- With Iguodala, the versatile package he brings the Warriors - ball handling and defense - makes him rather unique: there wasn't a player available within $10 million of his value range that offers the Warriors what he does. If you want to think about things in market terms, the fact that he's unique in his value range would justify the market yielding a bit more than his pure projection.
- The Speights signing is a bit more complicated: there were a number of solid players in his price range, including DeJuan Blair, Samuel Dalembert, and Brandan Wright who were all listed on Tom Ziller's best remaining free agents list a few weeks ago. However, yet again, Speights possesses a unique skill that those other players don't: he's among the best mid-range shooters of any big man in the league which could be useful for the Warriors.
- With both Douglas and O'Neal, there's a chance that they could end up being bargain signings based on these projections. What Douglas brings to the defensive end can't truly be quantified and Jermaine O'Neal might have be undervalued since he missed 27 games due to a personal issue. With each player only getting one year deals, the financial risk involved is minimal. And it's worth noting that whenever the Warriors have both Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli at full health neither O'Neal nor Speights will have to play big minutes and depth never hurt a team with playoff aspirations.
Of course, we'll have to wait and see how the team performs together on the court (at full health) before making any concrete conclusions but Bemiss' data is an interesting starting point for discussion, particularly in light of the recent Wall and Brandon Jennings signings.