Gilbert's Arena



Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Zards' Cap Situation

This weekend, NBAdraft.net put up a summary of our cap situation this off-season. They peg our 06-07 payroll at $56 million, which would put us roughly $4 million over the estimated salary cap. The good news is that we have Gilbert Arenas signed for the next 3 seasons, and Caron Butler signed through the next 5 years at approximately half of Larry Hughes’ cost. Gilbert will be just 27 when his contract expires, so an extension would take him to age 32. So it is realistic, and even quite probable, to expect that Arenas will be a Zard for the next 8 years. Thank you jeebus!

The only real contract mistake on this roster is Etan Thomas, as he’s got 4 years left at $6.5 million per year. Luckily, he’s an active big-man that can play Center, and he’s a good guy, so that means his contract is definitely tradable. Some people complain that Antawn Jamison’s contract is too much, since it’s easily the biggest on the team, but I’m not too worried. His veteran presence, shooting, and double-doubles have been instrumental in revitalizing this franchise, and he’s only 29. He should definitely continue to post double-doubles over the final 2 years of his contract.

The Zards should be able to pick up someone with the mid-level exception this off-season who is of similar caliber to the Antonio Daniels pick-up last year, but that’s not the kind of move that’s really going to improve this team to the 50-win level. I think the key to this off-season is going to be Brendan Haywood’s contract. He might be the most tradable starting Center in the NBA. We all know he’s never going to be a star, but A) he’s only 26, B) he’s a legit 7-footer, C) his contract is eminently reasonable (4 years left at $5 mil per year), and D) there’s nothing more than hot garbage available at the Center position in this year’s draft. Haywood would be a VERY attractive trade chip for just about any team in the league. I bet we could get something interesting for some combination of Thomas, Haywood, and our first round pick (18th overall).

Another year down the line, I think the key for the Zards will be Antawn Jamison’s expiring contract. He’ll be 31, reaching the point where a physical and statistical decline is imminent, and he’ll have an expiring $15 million contract that teams will drool over. Plus, at that point, Andray Blatche should be developing enough to begin taking over playing time. I am REALLY high on Andray Blatche. His size, skills, and game remind me a lot of Lamar Odom, he’s got great instincts, and he’s very physically mature. Don’t be shocked if he earns a steady rotation spot next season.

In the end, despite giving us bonus points for unloading Kwame for Caron, NBAdraft.net only gives us a C-grade for the state of our cap. They are far more pessimistic than I am, stating that “with little cap room and no good trade bait, it will be very difficult to become a contender”. I believe in Ernie Grunfeld though. He built the Knicks into a Finals team, then he put together the Cassell/Big-Dog/Allen teams and found Michael Redd in the 2nd round in Milwaukee, and now he’s quickly made one of the NBA’s most downtrodden franchises into a back-to-back playoff team. We have our young core (all 26 or under) of Arenas/Butler/Blatche, we always have the mid-level exception, we have a very tradable asset in Haywood, and we have a huge trading chip in Jamison in 2007. That’s more than enough for Ernie to get it done.

Notes:

> Obviously, game 2 is tonight at 7:00pm on TNT. Just remember, nothing important has happened in an NBA playoff series until someone loses at home.

> This link won’t work unless you have ESPN Insider, but Scouts Inc. still likes the Zards in 6.

“Prediction: I don't give up easily, Wizards in 6.”

Why? A) pace, B) Butler getting tough with Lebron, and C) the Cavs supporting cast laying their typical bricks. The Cavs will keep running a slow offense through James to try and control the game. If Butler plays Lebron, Scouts Inc. thinks that Tough Juice can slow down James by getting mean and tough with him, unlike Jared Jeffries. He also expects more double-teaming, which Lebron will counter by hitting his teammates for open jumpers, which is exactly what the Zards want. You have to force guys like Eric Snow, Drew Gooden, and Larry Hughes to beat you. The Cavs shooters were bums in the regular season, and Scouts Inc. expects the supporting cast to keep missing those shots in the playoffs (as do I). On top of that, if the Zards can control the pace by running and shooting like we’re capable of, then it’ll be our game.

> Mike Wise profiles the Cavaliers’ brain trust.

> Ivan Carter: The Zards need to make Lebron work on the defensive end.

> Wizards selfish? Easy tiger, it was just one game where the shots weren’t falling.

> Cleveland has confidence in Eric Snow’s scoring ability. I have NO IDEA why. Apparently they don’t realize that he’s 33 years old and shot 39% over the past two season. We should keep leaving him open and dare him to hit shots again like he did in Game 1.

2 Comments:

  • As far as the whole trade-bait, what about Jared Jefferies?

    By Anonymous gidge, at 3:35 PM  

  • Jeffries is a free agent, and he'll probably sign somewhere for the mid-level exception. the only way we could trade him is if we did a sign-and-trade, which probably won't happen since any team (even ones over the cap) can use their MLE on him. if we resign him, then he wouldn't be trade eligible until the middle of the 06-07 season.

    By Blogger Coach, at 3:38 PM  

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