The Warriors’ free agency options were looking bleak based on the salary cap once the Andre Iguodala acquisition would go through, but Golden State has reportedly worked the phones once again to maneuver itself into a more flexible salary cap situation.
First, what they’re in the works of completing—a three-team deal involving the Nuggets for Iguodala, as first reported by, who else, Adrian Wojnarowski in the middle of the night:
In the deal, which could be finalized on Monday, Denver would sign-and-trade forward Andre Iguodala to Golden State for the four-year, $48 million contract he had agreed to sign with the Warriors. This would create a $12 million trade exception that the Nuggets would have a full year to use before it expires.
Utah would sign-and-trade [Randy] Foye to Denver on a three-year, $9 million deal, with a team option on the third season, sources said. [...] Golden State would send Utah a future second-round pick for its role in facilitating the deal.
Igudala would still be getting the same contract he originally agreed to with the Warriors last week. The only difference is how the team will be acquiring him.
The apparent original plan was to ship Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush to Utah in a massive salary dump and then renounce the cap holds on Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, which would carve out enough room to sign Iguodala outright. The plan is slightly different now.
The Warriors are still sending Biedrins & Co. and all those draft picks to the Jazz (which, oh, hey, Jazz fans are TOTALLY thrilled about), which nets Golden State over $23 million in traded player exceptions. But instead of renouncing the rights to Jack and Landry, the Warriors are going to hang onto their cap holds (even though they’ve agreed to deals with other teams they’re still on the Warriors’ books until Wednesday), as well as the rookie cap hold for Nemanja Nedovic, which would keep the team over the soft cap threshhold.
Here are some numbers via Marcus Thompson:
The trade with the Jazz drops the Warriors salary cap number down to about $48 million, including the non-guaranteed contracts of Murphy, Kent Bazemore, Scott Machado and Dwayne Jones. But with the cap holds of guard Jarrett Jack ($8.1 million), Carl Landry ($4.8 million) and draft pick Nemamja Nedovic, the Warriors are still considered over the cap.
So, why does any of this matter? The Warriors still end up with Andre “Don’t Call Me Iggy” Iguodala, they keep the rights to two players who already already looking for real estate agents in Cleveland and Sacramento, they have to surrender ANOTHER draft pick to the Jazz and, plus, they remain over the cap? What type of hallucinogens is Bob Myers on?
Well, remaining over the cap is sort of the point. If you’re in the exact position as the Warriors, being over the cap gives a lot more flexibility to make moves than if you’re a few million under it.
If you go under the cap threshold, as the Warriors were about to in their original course of action, you have to surrender your rights to all traded player exceptions and the full $5.15 million mid-level exception—the bones thrown your way via the CBA to help you fill out your roster if you have literally no cap space. The MLE can be used to sign free agents if you’re over the cap (which the Warriors might be using on Marreese Speights). Trade exceptions can be used to acquire other players in trades without having to send one of your own players, so long as the player you receive is around the same value as the exception. Pretty much it’s a gift card for trades. So, when the Warriors get around an $11 million exception for Jefferson and a $9 million one for Biedrins, that’s huge and gives the Warriors more outs to fill holes on the roster.
And so had the Warriors gone through on the Iguodala deal without the Nuggets’ help, they would have had to give up all their trade exceptions, and instead of the MLE, they would have been stuck with the cheaper $2.65 million room exception and minimum contracts to add players. Fuck that noise. You can’t build a bench with those limitations. Just put a noose around your neck. So, yeah, the Warriors are definitely on the come up thanks to the Jazz and Nuggets.
This is always what made most sense for the Warriors, but the belief early on was that the Nuggets were all like, “ain’t nobody got time for that” when it came to a sign-and-trade. Why help out a conference rival get more salary cap flexibility? Everything has a price, however, and getting a trade exception of their own and the Jazz throwing in Randy Foye (Randy Foye? Really, Nuggets?) was enough to convince the Nuggets.
Here are a few toppers per Thompson:
Using the sign-and-trade, however, means Golden State will have a hard cap. New CBA rules state that teams receiving a player in a sign-and-trade cannot for any reason go more than more than $4 million above the luxury tax line — which is expected to be $75.6 million.
The Warriors are at about $59 million, including non-guaranteed contracts and Iguodala’s first year is just shy of $12 million. That would leave Golden State about $16 million of room to add players, including the MLE to sign a free-agent. Even more if they cut the non-guaranteed contracts of Scott Machado, Dwayne Jones and Kevin Murphy.
Again, those numbers are subject to change because of Speights.
So, TL;DR: Sign-and-trade = good.