This post outlines some numbers and facts to consider before the start of free-agency. Teams can begin negotiating with players on July 1st but cannot sign anyone until July 11th. I obtained all the player salary data in this post from HoopsHype.com. I obtained the salary-cap and exception estimations from DraftExpress (via Canis Hoopus)
The Magic have seven players with guaranteed contracts for the 2008/09 season. They will also have the 22nd overall pick in the upcoming draft, and thus will have eight players under contract when free-agency begins July 1st. As shown below, these eight players will earn a total of $55.23 million.
|PF||Tony Battie||32||$ 05.75 M||2009/10||.|
|PF||Brian Cook||27||$ 03.50 M||2009/10||Player option after 2008/09|
|C||Dwight Howard||22||$ 13.04 M||2012/13||Player option after 2011/12|
|SF||Rashard Lewis||28||$ 17.24 M||2012/13||.|
|PG||Jameer Nelson||26||$ 05.56 M||2012/13||Player option after 2011/12|
|SG||J.J Redick||24||$ 02.14 M||2010/11||Team option after 2008/09|
|SF||Hedo Turkoglu||29||$ 06.86 M||2009/10||Player option after 2008/09|
|??||Draft pick (22nd overall)||??||$ 01.14 M3||2012/13||Team option after 2010/11|
|TOTAL||$ 55.23 M||.|
They also have three players who could return depending on their contract options. Keith Bogans and Adonal Foyle own player options, and the team has an option on Marcin Gortat. All three players are expected to return; Bogans and Foyle likely will not find better offers, and the team appears to think highly of Gortat, as he earned the backup center role in the playoffs. If all three players return, the Magic will owe them a combined $4.88 million, as this table shows.
|SG||Keith Bogans||28||$ 02.91 M||2008/09||Player option this summer|
|C||Adonal Foyle||33||$ 01.26 M||2008/09||Player option this summer|
|C||Marcin Gortat||24||$ 00.71 M||2008/09||Team option this summer|
|TOTAL||$ 04.88 M||.|
The Magic will owe these eleven players a total of $60.11 million, which is above the estimated salary cap ($58.50 million). Because the team will be over the cap, they will have the right to use the mid-level exception (estimated at $5.55 million). Additionally, the Magic will have the right to use the bi-annual exception (estimated at $1.91 million) because they did not use it last year. These exceptions give the Magic an extra $7.46 million with which to fill their roster. Please see this section of Larry Coon's invaluable NBA Salary Cap FAQ for more information on these exceptions.
So, if all eleven players return (as we suspect they will) and if the team uses both exceptions, the Magic will owe $67.57 million to their players. That figure is below the estimated luxury-tax threshold ($71 million).
We expect their first priority will be re-signing Keyon Dooling, who earned $3.5 million last season and will likely seek a raise based on his strong play, as he became the Magic's top reserve with his defensive and shot-creating skills. Maurice Evans and Carlos Arroyo might return, but Evans will look to triple his salary (he earned $1.5 million last season) and Arroyo would have to accept a heavy paycut ($4.0 million last season). We don't expect either of them to return, nor do we expect the team to offer contracts to little-used power forwards James Augustine or Pat Garrity. As such, we've left them out of the table below.
|Own Free Agents|
|Pos.||Player||Age||Est. Value||Value Comparison|
|PG||Carlos Arroyo||28||$ 02.00 M||Travis Diener|
|PG||Keyon Dooling||28||$ 05.00 M||Derek Fisher|
|SG||Maurice Evans||29||$ 04.50 M||Anthony Parker|
|TOTAL||$ 11.50 M||.|
Yes, the Magic have plenty of choices to make this offseason, but none of them as significant (or as franchise-defining) as the ones they made last summer, namely signing Rashard Lewis and extending Dwight Howard's contract. However, these smaller transactions may turn out to be more significant, as the team appears to be only a player or two away from seriously contending for the NBA title.
- 1: As of July 1, 2008
- 2: 2008/09 season
- 3: Estimated