The Pacers are in a great position at the trade deadline, but they have to be careful. Take on a bad contract, and things could turn out poorly. Stay the course, and the options look terrific. I present you, Maths: Pacers edition.
The Pacers General Manager Chad Buchanan already said that the team won’t be actively looking to change the team up at the deadline. This team is fun, enjoyable and loves playing together. We should enjoy them for as long as they are around. With many of the players on short-term deals, it may only be one or two seasons. But because of this, the Pacers cap situation for the next couple summers looks great.
Stay with me. I promise this won’t be long. If at any time you need a laugh, just remember to Look Around You.
This season the Pacers are about $6 million under the cap, giving them some wiggle room should a trade develop that asks them to take back salary. However, I want to focus on next season, and the season after that, because hope is in the future. In the Pacers case, the grass really is greener, and right now it’s being cared for by a grounds crew that would make the PGA jealous.
Next year, the Pacers have $74 million in guaranteed salary. There are a few key caveats, though, that might give them more or less, and two player options that will affect who is targeted in free agency.
Assuming Thad Young picks up his player option ($13.7 million), which for our purposes, I hope he does, and assuming Corey Joseph picks up his player option ($7.9 million), which for our purposes, I hope he does (though it’s probably unlikely), the team must decide if Lance Stephenson ($4.6 million) and Joe Young ($1.6 million) are worth it. They are. Boom, we are at $74 million. Or are we (gets paper and pencil)?
Darren Collison and Bojan Threepointovic were signed last summer to two-year, partially guaranteed deals. Should either player be waived before next season, the Pacers open cap room. Collison is guaranteed $2 million and Bojan $1.5 million. Al Jefferson, the forgotten man this season, is guaranteed $4 million next year, and he is in all likelihood very much, very certainly, absolutely, gone.
For our sake (because they have been terrific), let’s just keep DC and BB and give them their $10 and $10.5 million next year. With Al gone (calculating…calculating), the Pacers team salary will be $83 million, and the cap is expected to be $101 million.
With that $18 million, they will need to pay Glenn Robinson, their draft picks, and fill out the roster. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s actually not too bad, and Pritchard has shown his ability to sign players under reasonable deals. Also, as reported by ESPN, a future cash crunch is looming. This makes the money available even better, as the competition to sign contributing players will soften.
What’s really not too bad is the 2019-2020 season. Brace yourself.
The Pacers will have only $34 million in guaranteed salary within a $108 million cap. Whose salary is guaranteed and included in that number? Victor Oladipo ($21 million), Domantas Sabonis ($3.5 million), Myles Turner ($4.5 million), TJ Leaf ($2.8 million), and the ghost of Monta Ellis ($2.2 million).
Are you hyperventilating? Just Look Around You. The Pacers will have the cap space to, hypothetically, buy the moon.
Lastly, and this short post has been much longer than I wanted, but look again at Oladipo’s salary two years from now. I argued his contract was fine (not good, not bad), in the summer, and that he had a chance to make it look like a good contract. He is, without question, balling out, and I’m hopeful that will continue. Someone else will be making about $35 million…or, you know, the Pacers core combined salaries (plus a ghost) at that time.
To HOPE, my friends!