Chris Paul on the Lakers?



Somewhere a rumor started about the Lakers potentially clearing enough cap space to sign Chris Paul. Let’s take a look at the plausibility of this idea.

First off, let’s get the obvious red flag out of the way — it would require the Lakers to use their amnesty on Kobe Bryant. While I’m one of the people who thinks the Lakers have to at least give it some serious thought if Kobe’s going to miss the entire season (or come back late in the season and be a shell of his old self, which is more likely), this doesn’t necessarily reflect the team’s thinking on the issue.

I know many Lakers fans would say, “The Lakers would never amnesty Kobe,” talking about loyalty, one of the greatest players ever, P.R. hit, etc. If this was an ordinary year, I might be more inclined to agree with you. However, this year the Lakers are under new management. We have some track record for what the Lakers might or might not do under Jerry Buss. We have a sample size of zero to guide us with Jim Buss in charge.

So just for the sake of argument, let’s assume the Lakers WOULD be willing to amnesty Kobe in order to make this all work. Otherwise, we can just stop here.

This scenario has the Lakers trading Pau Gasol to Houston for Donatas Motiejunas. The last time I looked at the Rockets’ cap situation (link) they could get down to about $41.8 million. If the cap is $60 million (I’m hoping for updated projections soon) that gives them $18.2 million in cap room. Gasol makes $19.3 million, but he also has a trade bonus that would pay him about $700,000 (technically it’s 15%, but it’s limited to the maximum salary), so the Rockets would have to treat him as a $20.0 million incoming player, and they would have to send out at least $1.8 million. Motiejunas will make $1.4 million, so this wouldn’t work. They’d need to send out at least $400,000  more. They have a lot of non-guaranteed salary, but the premise here is that they’re already clearing out these players in order to have this much cap room. They won’t have any non-guaranteed salaries to trade.

[Note: The following paragraph and the resulting analysis were revised. Thanks to @BimaThug for pointing out that Gasol’s trade bonus would be constrained by the maximum salary.]

So the Rockets would have to either send out a different player, or add an additional player to the Motiejunas trade. Nothing is a really good fit. It looks like Royce White at $1.7 million will be a little short. Do they add in Terrence Jones or Royce White to Motiejunas make the numbers work? Maybe, but if they do, then the Lakers’ spending ability is reduced. Another possibility would be to trade Thomas Robinson, at $3.5 million instead of Motiejunas. So just for the sake of argument let’s say they do Robinson for Gasol (note that we already had to abandon the original idea where the Rockets send out Motiejunas).

The Lakers would then have a total payroll of $64 million. I assume they’re going to waive Chris Duhon, who has a $1.5 million guarantee. That gets them down to $61.7 million. Now amnesty Kobe, and they’re at $31.2 million.

Next let’s look at their cap room. If they’re going to retain their Bird rights to Howard (which they’d need in order to re-sign him above the cap), his cap hold would be $20.5 million. There’d also be four cap holds totaling about $2 million. That brings them to $53.2 million.

This means Chris Paul would have to sign for $6.8 million. Not going to happen.

Let’s look at it a different way — say they renounce Dwight Howard and try to sign both with cap room. Dwight’s $20.5 million cap hold comes off, but we need to add $500,000 back in as a separate cap hold. They’d be at $33.2 million, with $26.8 million to split between the two of them.

Scenario 2a: Paul takes the max; Howard takes what’s left — Paul would get $18.7 million, leaving $8,1 million for Howard. Not going to happen.

Secnario 2b: They split the cap room — each takes about $13.4 million. Also not going to happen.

Finally, let’s assume that if the Lakers sign Chris Paul they don’t need Steve Nash any more, and waive/stretch him. His cap hit would be spread out over five years, $3.8 million per year. The Lakers would have to be willing to have Nash on their cap for $3.8 million for the next five years, but let’s assume they do. Their cap for Nash this summer would drop from $9.3 million to $3.8 million, saving $5.5 million. Let’s re-run the numbers:

Scenario 3a: Leave Howard on the cap, sign Paul, and then use Bird rights on Dwight — Their cap amount would be $47.7 million. Paul would get $12.3 million ($6.4 million less), and Howard gets his full $20.5 million. Paul doesn’t sign for that.

Scenario 3b: Renounce Howard, sign Paul, then re-sign Howard with cap room — Paul gets his full $18.7 million, and Howard gets $13.6 million. Howard doesn’t do this.

Scenario 3c: Split the cap room — They would split $32.3 million, each getting $16.1 million — Paul gets $2.6 million less, and Howard gets $4.4 million less. This may be the most palatable option, but again, BOTH players would have to agree to this. I think it’s very, very unlikely.

But let’s say scenario 3c is the one they want to go with. The Lakers would then be back at the cap, and would have the following on their roster:

1 – Chris Paul/Steve Blake
2 – Jodie Meeks
3 – Metta World Peace/Robinson (I know he’s more of a 4)
4/5 – Howard/Jordan Hill

They’d also have a 2nd round draft pick and the Room Mid-Level ($2.652 million). With this and minimum salary contracts they’d need to sign at least three players, including a starting shooting guard (a tall order given their budget) and a lot more depth at 2/3. They’d need to get younger, more athletic, and have better shooters. Not impossible, but there would be a lot of work to do in the front office.

But to get to this point, the following would have to happen:

1. Houston would have to agree to trade Robinson for Gasol. Remember, the Rockets are also clearing cap space in order to land a big-time free agent. I know they like Gasol (they almost traded for him in 2011, in the famous “basketball reasons” debacle), but is this the best they could do this year? I’m sure they like the idea of luring Howard to the Rockets — do they abandon that idea in order to help Howard and Chris Paul team up on the Lakers?

2. The Lakers would have to be willing to waive and stretch Steve Nash, and live with his cap hit over the next five years.

3. The Lakers would have to be willing to amnesty Kobe Bryant. They would have to make this decision in early July — probably too early to get a realistic prognosis on his recovery time.

4. Paul would have to agree to come to the Lakers, taking $2.6 million less than he could make from the Clippers or elsewhere, AND take one fewer year and smaller raises than he could get from the Clippers.

5. Howard would have to agree to return to the Lakers, taking $4.4 million less than he could make on the open market.

Is all this possible? Sure. But I think the possibility is extremely remote.


I got a couple good questions on Twitter:

Q: Don’t the Lakers have a team option on Jodie Meeks?

A: Yes, they do. They could pass on the option, he would become a free agent, they could renounce him, and they would then save additional dollars on their cap. The savings would be about $1.05 million. I didn’t include this scenario for two reasons: 1) Even if the full amount went to one of Howard or Paul, it wouldn’t change the situation — they’d still have to take a big pay cut; 2) If the Lakers amnestied Kobe, they’d be extremely thin at SG, and could hardly stand to thin the roster further at that position; 3) The Lakers would have to make a decision on Meeks by June 30, and couldn’t even talk to Paul about it until July 1 — so they’d have to drop Meeks before they’d have any idea whether this unlikely scenario is even possible.

Q: What if Metta World Peace takes his opt-out and becomes a free agent?

A: Then the Lakers save about $7.7 million, and the financial objections I raised become less of a problem. But from what I hear, even though Metta raised the possibility of opting-out, it isn’t going to happen. I’d be shocked if it did.

And since a player opting-out isn’t something that’s under the team’s control, I didn’t want to consider it for this piece.

Q; Can the Lakers trade Steve Nash to Toronto, say for Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross, rather than waiving him?

A: Let’s assume they could. Lowry could be waived, and his guarantee of $1 million would be on the books. Ross is on the books for $2.7 million — so that’s $3.7 million total, Waiving & stretching Nash leaves $3.8 million on their books — hardly any savings at all.

So this idea already adds an additional contingency to our unlikely scenario where all these other pieces have to fall together, making it even more unlikely. And even if it does work, the trade idea is further constrained by the requirement that the Lakers would have to find a trade that brings back significantly less than $3.8 million.

Q: Does the maximum salary affect Pau Gasol’s trade kicker?

A: Yes it does! I neglected this in the original article. I’ve revised the analysis to take the limitation on Gasol’s trade kicker into account. Thanks to @BimaThug for the catch.



63 thoughts on “Chris Paul on the Lakers?

  1. Todd

    What if Metta opts out? Then that would free up roughly the amount of money Paul and Howard are “missing” in scenario 3c. Or, if they did agree to take a little less money ala LeBron, Wade, etc., it would be a little more money to spend on the rest of the team.

    Not saying Metta opting out is likely, either, just looking for a way this could realistically happen, no matter how remote the possibility. .

    1. lcoon Post author

      Agreed, but I don’t think he’s opting out. However, I did update the piece to at least bring this up (at the end).

      1. htj

        Can the Lakers sign MWP and immediately stretch him? Give him say 3/9 and stretch it over 7?

        1. lcoon Post author

          You wouldn’t sign a player just to stretch him. You just wouldn’t sign him.

          1. Tarek

            Well, they might do it as a handshake under-the-table agreement w MWP: ie you opt out and we’ll give you this longer contract (and then stretch him). So they both benefit. The Spurs had a similar thing in place (allegedly) with Richard Jefferson. If this resulted in meaningful cap savings they might do it.

          2. lcoon Post author

            You could say that Metta has some leverage to gain some additional money from the team, for the reasons you named. But it would be against the rules. Not saying under the table agreements never happen…just saying it’s against both the spirit and the letter of the rules.

            That said — Metta is owed $7.7 million next season, and if the team is once again $30 million over the tax line, their tax bill would be $85 million. If Metta were to opt-out and re-sign for two years at $5 million/year, then the Lakers waive & stretch him, they’d have a cap charge of $2 million/year for five years. It would reduce their tax bill next year, but not as much as an amnesty would — and they’d have him on their books for an additional four season.

            Of course, it saves the amnesty for another player, but the only other eligible players are Kobe, Pau & Blake. Whom do they use it on. Kobe is a whole ‘nother discussion, but let’s just say I think it’s very unlikely in most scenarios. I also think Pau is very unlikely. Blake is possible, but he saves them the least, and it leaves the team needing to acquire another PG (and pay tax on that player’s salary). So I don’t see the advantage to the Lakers.

    1. lcoon Post author

      Quite possibly — this or any number of alternatives are possible, and even more likely. I was addressing the specific scenario of Paul & Howard teaming up on the Lakers.

          1. htj

            LOL. I’m sure ATL’s fans would get over it if they land Dwight & Paul, but it’s doubtful Dwight heads to ATL without his 3 point chucking BFF in tow. Besides, Dwight’s people have repeatedly said he has no desire to go back home for whatever that’s worth. Weren’t those the same cats who said he had no interest in the Lakers either?

  2. Wammy Giveaway

    Any way they do it, somebody is going to be forced to take a pay cut. Chris Paul’s gonna lose money, Dwight Howard’s gonna lose money. The Lakers would have to gut out their ENTIRE roster just to get their dream dynamic duo AND have their cake and eat it too. But to the Laker’s eyes, they would do anything to be this invincible.

    However, be very careful with the Lakers. They have a savvy selected group of businessmen who know how to pinpoint loopholes in a contract so they can cheat their way into getting the player(s) they want. Remember the Derek Fisher scenario, when he was traded to another team, requested to be bought out, and Fisher came back to the Lakers to sign for less. I could see the Lakers vowing to get Chris Paul by way of the CBA loopholes, if there even exists one. How bulletproof is this CBA? Are there any weak spots in the contract that could be exploited one day? (For security purposes, please do not reveal these loopholes, for fear of other teams taking advantage of them.)

  3. Brent

    This is possibly the stupidest article I’ve ever read. Here’s my scenario of how it was written:
    Scenario1a: You are high
    Scenario1b: You had to meet a deadline and threw some cr*p together
    Scenario2: Both

    1. lcoon Post author

      Hmmm, let’s see:

      1a. High? No, I don’t do drugs, sorry…unless you count daily overdoes of caffeine. I also love a good Pinot Noir or Chateneauf du Pape, a nice Scotch, or a good reposado Tequila, but none of those things were in my bloodstream when I wrote this post.

      1b. Deadline? Since this is my own blog and I post in it whenever I feel like it, there ARE no deadlines. So this one is ruled out too.

      2. Both. Well, since one and two are both false, both being true can be ruled out as well (I can diagram if for you if you’d like).

      I could also point out that you committed a logical fallacy by limiting it to one of a limited number of choices (similar to a false dichotomy, although that fallacy refers specifically to TWO choices), to which you could respond, “you’re right — I don’t understand logic. My bad.”

      So let’s ignore your logic and get to the meat — let’s see your explanation for why you think my post was so stupid.

      Oh, wait…you didn’t provide one.

      So let’s rectify this. You obviously must think there are REASONS why my piece was so stupid. Here’s your chance to tell me — and to show the world exactly why I’m such an idiot.

      Write something up explaining why it was so mind-numbingly stupid that you could only conclude that I must be either high or on a deadline to have written it. Go through the errors, the false assumptions, the missing provisos and the faulty conclusions.

      I will publish your response on this blog (assuming it’s at least minimally coherent and actually addresses the point). It will be the first ever guest piece I have allowed (and trust me, I -have- been asked by others if they could write for this blog). I will promote the shit out of it (hey, it’s my blog, and I can cuss if I want to). Here’s your chance to get yourself published and put me in my place at the same time.

      The only possible downside for you (other than having to come up with something to say) is that I will respond to it. But hey, if you make good, solid, cogent points — if you convince me with your logic and art of persuasion — then I will acknowledge that fact, and your post and my response will serve as a testimony to your superior intellect.

      So don’t just take a lame potshot and run — let’s hear what you have to say.

    2. glee


      That said, great article Larry. Finally something I can show my Laker friends when they bring up that ridiculous trade proposal.

    3. jerry25

      For anyone wanting to be a GM, Larry did his job. You must know every possibility.
      I’ve requested he discuss amnestying Kobe before.
      If Howard leaves the subject will come up.

  4. jerry25a

    Love analysis like this.
    All moot if Howard goes to Houston. CP3 better off with Clips.
    Kobe desiring to return in fall, before fully recovered may push DH away quicker.

    ATL trying to get Howard + CP3 with new coach looks good on paper.

    1. lcoon Post author

      The Lakers have never really been a team that has concentrated on the draft and player development. One problem is that they play in a market where fans don’t have the patience to wait for that talent to develop (presuming the team lands the draft picks to acquire that talent). The Lakers’ picks are usually used as chips in the trade market; the team uses its position as a free agent market to sign talent, and uses its position as a high-revenue team to take on players in salary dumps. That gives them a quicker turnaround when it’s time to re-load.

  5. htj

    Damn Larry, you don’t need to point out the fact that this dude’s a moron. But you did make me LOL just the same.

  6. Spenser

    Larry, I just found this blog and must say that I enjoy it. My question doesn’t pertain to the Laker’s cap issues but rather their future. In a loaded class like the 2014 draft, can you see this Lakers organization trying to gain a few first rounders with so much talent out there? Or will they continue to rely on luring big time free agents to the Los Angeles market? I’m thinking that if they do begin packaging trades together to clear cap room then they are going to look for some picks next year in return.

  7. Birchnbrook

    Larry – don’t let the dipshits grind you down. Great post – in the area of nevagonnahappen but hearing the options learns me some edumecation. Thanks for your stuff its very interesting.

    1. lcoon Post author

      Oh, I don’t. But the fact that this blog is controlled by me and I have essentially unlimited space to use gives me the opportunity to engage them as I see fit.

      1. HeyESPN___

        lcoon you have to be one of the most pompous, delusion, Lakers lovers to ever write for ESPN. To think you would waste time thinking about these kind of scenarios is pathetic. You my friend are lost in lala land and you need to get back into the real world. You have to have your head so far up Hollywood’s fairytale make believe movie magic lifestyle for even coming up with all those scenarios. Wake up, the Lakers are in trouble because they have a GM who doesn’t try to build an organization into championship caliber teams, he tries to buy them. All those scenarios you came up with just to get one player? It’s just another typical, delusion theory from another spoiled Lakers fan who wants his way even if it’s not feasible. Yeah Paul,Howard and Gasol will take millions upon millions less to play with the Lakers just so they make ESPN happy and plus so they can help Kobe get his 6th ring once he come backs from being amnestied. Hey dreamer, I feel sorry for you hommie and I’m so glad I’m a Spurs fan.
        Spread the word and let the truth be heard, Since Jordan retired Duncan has been this era’s best player not Kobe. Over 16 years Duncan has lead his team to 16 str8 playoff appearances, Kobe can’t say that. Duncan has been the Caption of a team that has won 50 more games 14 str8 years, which btw is an NBA record. Kobe can’t say that. Over 16 years Duncan has only had 3 allstars players that made the team while playing with him. Kobe can’t say that, he’s had 7. Through 16 years Duncan has 4 rings being the main star, Kobe can’t say that, he only has 2. Remember Shaq gave him 3 of his 5 rings. Through 16 years Duncan has had the least talent between the two of them but Kobe has one more ring than Duncan. Isn’t that funny? That’s why my math tells me Duncan is better than Kobe. If you put Duncan on all of the teams Kobe played with, Duncan would have at least 8 rings. You put Kobe on all the teams Duncan has had , I don’t think Kobe would have own one ring. See math doesn’t lie. Why don’t you write about real life stuff like that instead of make believe stuff like you just wrote?

        1. lcoon Post author

          Hmm….where to begin….

          1. It wasn’t my scenario. I wrote about it because I got asked about it a bunch of times. Turns out it came from here: (link). The TRUE irony here comes when you realize how the guy who DID come up with the proposal feels about the Lakers.

          2. I agree with your insight. Analyzing a proposal saying the Lakes could get both CP3 and Dwight, and concluding that this plan is very, very unlikely definitely reveals that I bleed purple & gold.

          3. On the topic of building versus buying, we could have a philosophical discussion of how to build a team in a small market versus a big market — that while small market teams need to work via the draft and player development, the big-market teams can’t afford the cycle time that comes with developing talent, and instead leverage the revenue streams and free agent attractiveness that come with being in a big market and clear the roster & do a quick rebuild periodically. Well…we COULD have that kind of discussion, but I’m afraid you’d shout “TIM DUNCAN!” every five seconds and make it impossible for anyone else to speak.

          4. “…who wants his way even if not feasible.” You do realize that the entire point of this article was to show that it’s not feasible, right?

          5. On your Spurs paragraph/diatribe: I’m actually a great admirer of Duncan & the Spurs and all they’ve done. I’m friends with R.C. Buford, and I think he’s one of the great GMs in NBA history. I’m just confused because I’m looking for the place in the article where I said I think Kobe is the era’s best player, and I can’t find it. It must be in there somewhere, because otherwise why would you write an overly-long paragraph countering a point I never made? Or do you just interject that diatribe into random, unrelated conversations?

          6. As to what you think I should or shouldn’t be writing about — start your own blog and write about whatever pleases you. But don’t presume to tell me what I should or shouldn’t write about on mine.

        2. Big Will

          And tell me why you are on this page? You’re a freaking troll. You went out of your way to come here and bash kobe? You need to quit sipping on that haterade homeboy. You are truly pathetic. Duncan is cool and all, but if you are a spurs fan, then stick to their blog you idiot. You won’t ever catch me posting on a cHeat blog. For future reference…..keep that bullshit to yourself. Btw how many championships do the Lakers have? I thought so. Shut up hater!

          1. Jon

            Ummm… under Duncan and Kobe their respective teams have won 4 and 5 championships. If you can point out one player who represents half the talent of Shaq at his prime (3 of the 5 “Kobe” championships) I would be interested. I love me some Manu and Parker has been consistently very good, but Shaq at his prime was a dominating force that Kobe could never dream of being. As for the last two they only happened because Pau was the second best center in the league and the BEST post passer and they were gifted him for nothing (I know his brother has turned out to be great, but nobody knew that at the time). Pau and Odom were an awesome pairing and allowed Kobe to function within the triangle effectively and covered up for the poor perimeter defense. I’m not saying Kobe is a bad player, I’m just saying that Shaq and Duncan would have won 10 straight. That’s the difference between Duncan and Kobe… Duncan has always been the best player by far on his championship teams and Kobe has always been number two or 1a.

  8. RP

    What about a sign and trade – Paul to the Lakers, Gasol to the Rockets, Motiejunas/Robinson/Trade Exception to the Clippers?

    1. lcoon Post author

      The Lakers won’t be able to receive a player in a sign-and-trade because their team salary will be above the apron — the point $4 million over the cap line.

      But to answer the larger point — yes, it’s possible to imagine all sorts of alternative scenarios, some more plausible and some less plausible than the one I wrote about here. The purpose of my post was to address a specific scenario that got raised elsewhere, and on which I received a lot of questions.

  9. Pingback: NBA Info - May 2013 - Page 3

  10. Sdog

    Hey Larry, can’t the lakers first sign paul to rasie thier cap to about 52 and then absorb howard with their hard cap

    1. lcoon Post author

      No. The only way they get the cap room to sign Paul is if they renounce their Bird rights to Howard, after which the only money they could give him is the money that remains under their cap. That was one of the scenarios I covered.

      Hard cap has nothing to do with it. As long as they don’t receive a player in a sign-and-trade, use their full Mid-Level exception or use their Bi-Annual exception, teams aren’t hard-capped.

    1. lcoon Post author

      That’s a reasonable question. The Clippers will be at $48.4 million. They have some non-guaranteed salary (Willie Green, Grant Hill, DaJuan Summers, Maalik Wayns) totaling about $5 million. If they waive them, they could save about $3 million off their cap (I didn’t look to see if any of these players have partial guarantees for 2013-14 which would reduce this amount). They’ll also have their own first round pick.

      So all in all, if they renounce Paul, they’ll have about $11.6 million in cap room. The obvious trade target would be DeAndre Jordan at $11 million.

      The Lakers scenario required a Gasol trade, so it’s only fair to speculate on a hypothetical Jordan trade where they can dump him off to a team with cap room with little to nothing coming back. Let’s assume they are able to do this.

      That’d increase their cap room to about $21.5 million. Now they could sign Howard, but they don’t have Bird rights to Paul, so they can’t re-sign him.

      They can’t amnesty a player — they used their amnesty last year. The Lakers’ scenario required them to essentially unload about $50 million in salaries to create room. The Clippers simply don’t have that option.

      You could start proposing additional trades — Caron Butler? Eric Bledsoe? — but now you’re adding contingency to contingency to contingency. If you stretch it far enough, you can construct a scenario where any team can acquire any player, so your line of demarcation between what you’ll consider and what you won’t is meaningless.

      So to sum it up, I don’t see a scenario where the Clips can acquire Howard and keep Paul.

  11. scooter

    I dunno Larry. I think the Lakers will amnesty Metta to try and mitigate the incremental tax. With their current gauranteed contracts minus Metta puts them at about 93 mil including min salary cap holds. All told, that’s about 130+ MIL for salaries including vet min contracts to fill out roster holds–which is about exactly what they will pay this season. Cutting Metta loose allows them not to worry as much about salary constraints when trading Gasol (or Howard). IOW, they will be able to get a better return in talent than they otherwise would having to try and cut salary in a Gasol trade. Either way, however, I think if they amnesty Metta they have to break up Gasol or Howard into a couple of players. I dunno, I just think the Lakers are screwed.

    1. lcoon Post author

      I also think amnestying Metta is the most likely outcome. It saves them $30 million in luxury tax — but it doesn’t give the team any additional cap flexibility.

  12. Brent

    FYI I just tried to post my counter-argument but it appears it didn’t go through..

  13. James

    Hello Larry,
    Excellent article bro. I was waiting for you to write something like this. If you were high while writing this article is all good. hahaha.
    I think this might happen. Not because I want it to happen as a Lakers fan but because what better way to send David Stearn into his retirement. lol…
    Anyways… People think is a bad Idea to amnesty Kobe Bryant. Look at the end of the day Lakers is a brand and it’s a business.
    If that means making a business move to help them land a player of Chris Paul’s caliber then management will look at this very closely. I’m sure is going through Kobe’s mind the idea to be amnestied wouldn’t be so bad. Hey he would still gets paid regardless. He would sit out 1 year and come back to a Lakers team reloaded and very healthy Kobe.
    Kobe wants another ring and if it means sitting out one year I think he might do it.
    My only beef would be that if they (management) are going to do this then do it with some class.
    Not like a two faced hoe and do this behind his back.
    My bad for my grammar… I’m just hood. lol… GO LAKERS!!!

  14. bard207

    Hello Larry,

    I assume they’re going to waive Chris Duhon, who has a $1.5 million guarantee.

    Would the Lakers be able (allowed) to trade Duhon + $3 million to a team such as Charlotte and let them handle the disposal of Duhon’s contract to avoid taking the hit in these payroll projecions ?

    1. lcoon Post author

      Yes, for teams wanting to dump guaranteed salary, trades (with much less or zero money coming back) are preferable to waivers and amnesty. But you’re adding another contingency to the proposal — that they’d find a taker for a trade like this.

  15. steve (worried Lakers fan)

    Mr. Coon, I have enjoyed watching your cbafaq document and it really helped me learn a lot more about the NBA and have a better understanding in it.

    I have thought about one other CP3 proposal

    Can the Lakers hypothetically sign CP3 to a minimum and then offer him a max contract next year using cap space PENDING they renounce his bird rights?

    Since CP3 would be counted as a OWN FA of LAL in addition to being a NON-BIRD FA he would not be able to recieve a true max contract, only one that fits within the non-bird FA agreement which would be about 6 million probably.

    But say hypothetically CP3 decides to forgo max contract for minimum and instead works with LAL on more endorsement to cover for his loss of a max contract.

    CAN THE LAKERS sign CP3 for 2014-2015 season using cap space which they would have from KB, Gasol, MWP, Blake, Duhon, Hill expiring contract removing 70 million dollar plus burden off their shoulders by FIRST renouncing his bird rights (or whatever left of it) and then SIGN him again using cap space as a UFA.

    I know this is really a 0.0000000000001 percent type situation and that it would probably never happen, but say it did, can the Lakers pull of such a deal or they cannot?

    If they cannot pull of such a deal (outside CP3 simply not choosing to take minimum in first place) can the league and David Stern block such a signing in the first place, and if SO can the Lakers possibly take Stern and the league to court for trying to infringe on a FA signing between team and player since the “player” in this scenario would not be owned by the NBA like when he was with the Hornets.

    THX any and all response will be appreciated.

    Keep up the good work sir, I enjoy reading through the CBA guide a lot and hope there are more and more that I can find out about the NBA from reading it.

  16. Mad Rob

    What if the Lakers let Dwight walk, move Pau to forward, take the money that was supposed to go to re-signing Dwight, and sign Chris Paul instead. Is that doable?

    1. lcoon Post author

      No. The Lakers have Bird rights to Howard, which means they can disregard the cap when they re-sign him. They don’t have Bird rights to Paul (he’s coming off a Clippers contract, not a Lakers contract). There’s no ability to offer Paul more than around $3 million.

  17. Brandon Neal

    Larry, to clarify right off the bat, I don’t think this will happen, but how about working a S&T for Paul after shrinking the payroll while keeping Gasol? Hitting KB with the amnesty (which would make me sick to my stomach), letting all TO’s expire (including Meeks), waiving Duhon (but with guaranteed $1.5 mill), stretch provision to Nash, keep Gasol (for the trade), Ron opts out (which won’t happen). Total payroll would be around $32.1 million, with Gasol on the roster.

    Give Howard his $20.5 million, landing at $52.6 million. Deal Gasol to the Clippers for CP3, S&T for $18.7 mill/year, for a $71.3 million payroll (and assuming that touches above the tax threshold, not sure what it is this upcoming season, we could deal Blake to a team that will swallow that $4 million of his and return a second rounder. And yes, the Clippers don’t want to lose CP3 for zilch, and Paul is requesting to be traded to the Lakers, so this happens…haha.

    Being a non-tax team after re-signing Dwight, and non-tax after the S&T, we should be able to bring in CP3.

    Seems to be the only way to bring Howard and CP3 together, in Lakerland, for the 2013-14 season, while paying them BOTH the money they desire.

    But, it’s almost laughable to think all of the pieces will fall perfectly, and even then, a roster of Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Jordan Hill, Allen Iverson, Eddie Gill, Adam Morrison, Pavel Podkolzin, Smush Parker, and Randolph Morris doesn’t exactly have me rushing to the TV every game.

    1. lcoon Post author

      This piece talked specifically about that — showing just how big of a pay cut one or both would have to take. I don’t think any of these scenarios is likely.

  18. sickchangeup

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, it’s very fun to read these when they are done by a world class cap expert. Given that you’ve shown that the exact original premises as written by Bill Simmons very likely won’t happen, I have a question about 2 of the tweaks you can make to get it closer:

    First I am thinking it makes the most sense to do your article by sticking as close to the original scenario as possible, say: Gasol for Motiejunas + Ohlbrecht for example (1.4+.8) instead of the pricier Robinson scenario. Or is that trade not possible for some reason? The best would be if Gasol for Chandler Parsons + Greg Smith (.9+.9) worked, but it seems unrealistic to hope Houston does that.

    Regarding trading Nash to the Raptors vs. stretching him, wouldn’t Lowery for Nash work straight up? Per Hoops Hype Lowery will make $6,210,000, and 150% of that plus $100,000 would be $9,415,000 which is less than Nash’s $9,300,500 2013 salary.

    In those two tweaks are in fact possible, then you would have (Salaries from Hoops Hype):

    Metta World Peace: $7,727,280
    Steve Blake: $4,000,000
    Jordan Hill: $3,500,000
    Jodie Meeks: $1,550,000
    Donatas Motiejunas: $1,422,720
    Tim Ohlbrecht: $788,872
    *Chris Duhon: $1,500,000
    *Kyle Lowery: $1,000,000
    6 Cap Holds: $3,000,000 (incomplete roster charge)

    Total: $24,488,872

    Did I mess up any maths there? Even if you had to add in a minimum salary for the Nash trade (maybe Q. Acy) it’s still close to that number.

    In this case they can now each get ~17.75 million. That would’t be too shabby, and perhaps more importantly I think it would be within the original sentiment of “That’s more than enough to sign Chris Paul and re-sign Dwight Howard if they took a little less … which they might, since it’s the Lakers and all.” expressed in the article.

  19. dkborna

    I apologize in advance for the simplicity of what I know I must be missing, but wouldn’t the salaries have to match within 20% in any trade scenario? The proposed Gasol trades to Houston do not come anywhere near this. What am I missing?

    1. lcoon Post author

      There is only a limitation to increasing payroll in a trade. There is no limit to decreasing payroll.

      1. BLPCB

        But what about Houston? If one side is cutting payroll, obviously the other side is increasing it.

  20. CJ P.

    Instead of T-Rob, how about a package of Parsons/Motiejunas for Pau or maybe Parsons/White for Pau?

  21. BLPCB

    Not sure if my previous comment went through, but what is this about teams being hard-capped if they use a sign-and-trade, mid-level exception, or a bi-annual exception? What is that hard cap level? This is the first time I am hearing about this. Was this something that was added to the new CBA, and why did I not hear about this before? After the new CBA was reached, there was nothing about this on ESPN, and there was nothing about this on the NBA Salary Cap Wikipedia page, a good amount of which has been constructed thanks to your work.

    1. lcoon Post author

      Yes, teams are hard-capped if they use any of those mechanisms.

      Here’s the logic — those mechanisms are reserved for non-taxpayers (it’s actually a point $4 million above the tax line, called the “apron” amount). If a team uses something reserved for non-taxpayers, they’re committing themselves to BEING non-taxpayers — so the team is not allowed to stray into tax territory (above the apron) if they utilize one of these exceptions. It happened to the Bulls this year, among other teams.

      As to why you didn’t see anything about this before, Question number 25 in my FAQ covers it. It IS something new with the current CBA.

      1. BLPCB

        Thanks. So this means that teams that are above this apron such as the Lakers, Heat, or Celtics are not allowed to acquire players via sign-and-trade deals, mid-level exceptions, or the bi-annual exception? I did read that about the Bulls, and I read that their cap was 74M, but looking at the team payrolls on, it listed the Bulls payroll at 75M for the 2012-13 season:

        As for why it was not reported, I meant why ESPN and other news outlets didn’t report about this

        1. lcoon Post author

          Teams over the apron can’t receive a player via sign-and-trade or use the Bi-Annual exception. As for the Mid-Level, they do get one, but it’s smaller.

          As for the Bulls, their team salary right now is $74,245,794. The apron is $74,307,000.

          As to it not being reported on ESPN, I’ve written about it several times on

  22. Ryan

    Not that this particularly changes the math, but at this point:

    >Next let’s look at their cap room. If they’re going to retain their Bird rights to Howard (which they’d need in order to re-sign him above the cap), his cap hold would be $20.5 million. There’d also be four cap holds totaling about $2 million. That brings them to $53.2 million.

    Wouldn’t there be five roster holds for just under $2.5M? By my count, there would be six players on the roster (Nash, MWP, Blake, Hill, Robinson, Meeks) plus Howard’s hold makes seven so wouldn’t there be five holds to get to a full twelve man roster?

    Great post, thanks!

  23. Mark

    Great post, I was pondering about this scenario the other day.

    If Kobe needs to be amnestied for it to happen, then it never will. Kobe is like Magic Johnson in this respect: a Laker for life. Even when retired, Kobe will still be a part of the Laker’s family and brand in the same manner Magic is today. The Buss’s have said that even though Kobe receives max salary, he is still underpaid and deserves much more – they know his worth to the Lakers franchise, and they will milk it for the next 25 years.

    Honestly I think they won’t do much this summer other than resign Howard and maybe try to land a cheap gaurd. If Howard goes elsewhere though, then what do the Lakers do? Do they consider tanking? I doubt they would as Laker fans are impatient. Trading Gasol is pretty much all they can do if they really want to add different players now – but wouldn’t it be better to play his contract out to have free cap space in 2014?

  24. Rich

    Hey Larry,

    Can they sign Paul to the MLE for 1 year and then sign him to a max deal in 2014? Assuming he would be willing to do that because he leaving a lot of money on the table everyone knows how pissed he was to have the trade to the Lakers voided in 2011. This would be a perfect F you, you can’t stop this one to the NBA. Can every Lakers fan dream come true this way?

    1. lcoon Post author

      No — it takes three years to build-up full Bird rights. He isn’t going to take a massive pay cut for three seasons.

  25. Jay

    Hi Larry,

    I submitted this earlier, not sure if it went through:

    1) Is there any way the Lakers could end up with Kobe, CP3, and D12 (along with a bunch of minimum salaries of course)? If they, say, traded Gasol and Nash, taking back as little as possible in return, then amnestied MWP and didn’t pick up Meeks’ option, would they have enough room to sign CP3 and Dwight if they were willing to take a little less money like the Heat trio?

    2) Would it be possible (or likely) to structure contracts for D12 and CP3 that were a little more cap friendly. One thought that came to mind was starting one player at a higher number and decreasing his salary every year, while starting the other player at a lower number and increasing his salary every year. So, for instance, Dwight could start at 17 mil (just throwing out numbers here) and Paul could start at 13 mil, and Dwight’s contract could decrease each year while Paul’s increased, so that at the end Dwight was making $13 mil and Paul was making 17.

    1. lcoon Post author

      Kobe & Dwight together will make (assuming Dwight re-signs at $20.5 million) about $51.0 million. The cap will be about $58.5 million. Even if the Lakers somehow were able to dump EVERYONE on the roster except for Kobe and Dwight and nothing else was left but those two, you’d still need to add about $5 million in cap holds, and now they’re at $56.0 million. There’s not nearly enough room to add CP3.

      For your second question, you’d be asking one player to take a decreasing contract, and the other to take a lower starting salary, when both can earn contracts that start at the max and increase. I don’t think either player is going to give up that much money.

  26. thechillaxin

    thanks for the education and a great article. Look forward to reading more on salary cap issues. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a more thorough understanding.

Comments are closed.