Now that I have a better understanding of what the salary situation is going to be for the 2010-11 season, I now realize that any trade Ernie does between now and this upcoming season's trade deadline will primarily be for clearing salary space for 2010-11. My first trade idea for DeSagana Diop simply will not work, unless Abe decides to go into the luxury tax again for that season, because I based that idea on the wrong assumption that the ShamSports salary total for the Wizards in 2010-11 included the qualifying offers for Randy Foye ($4,795,096) and Dominic McGuire ($1,060,120). Once I discovered that it does not, I then realized that the Wizards still lack enough salary flexibility to resign Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller or Randy Foye (one or the other, not both), and still remain under the luxury tax threshold. So if we do not do a trade similar to one of the ideas I am about to propose, we can either kiss both Mike Miller and Randy Foye goodbye after this season, or Brendan Haywood. Since I think it is important that we lock in our starters for 2010-11, I decided to see what Ernie might think of to remedy this situation.
Before I get to the details of my plan, allow me to outline why such a plan is necessary. According to ShamSports, the Wizards have $55,821,215 committed to the salaries of the following 8 players: Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson (assuming he exercises his player option, a pretty good bet because of his back injury), Andray Blatche, Nick Young, JaVale McGee (assuming the Wizards exercise their team option, a good bet), and Javaris Crittenton (assuming the Wizards exercise thier team option, a good bet). Once you add in Dominic McGuire's qualifying offer, which I think will be good enough for him to stay, you are sitting at $56,881,335 for the team.
Now, the luxury tax threshold is currently set at $71.15 million, but is locked to a percentage of league revenue and therefore is expected to decrease this season and perhaps even next, depending on the economy. For conservative estimation, I am assuming that the threshold will be exactly $70 million in 2010-11. If it happens to be a bit larger, than great, but if Ernie is smart, he won't count on it. So that basically means that the Wizards will only have about $13.1 million to resign Brendan Haywood and either Mike Miller or Randy Foye. Based on the salaries that I think each will command, I just don't think that is possible.
My intuition tells me that Brendan is going to want around $10 million average per season to stay with the team. Assuming a 5 year contract that escalates at 8% a year, I calculated that to be $8,522,823 in 2010-11. That takes our total team payroll to $65,404,158, leaving us only $4.6 million to resign Mike Miller or Randy Foye. Now, I expect both players to demand at least $7 million average per season on the free agent market. If any of you think it will be more or less, please tell me so and why. The exact number they get will determine our expectations for the trade that Ernie might make. But assuming that number with a 5 year contract with 8% raises, I figure we will need to pay one of those guys $5,965,976 in 2010-11 salary. That would obviously put us back into the luxury tax.
So by now you all should see why we must clear salary for 2010-11 if we plan to keep both Haywood and one of our newly acquired guards. We need to move a chunk of salary to make space for this, and the most logical players to move are either DeShawn Stevenson ($4,151,786 2010-11 salary) or Nick Young ($2,630,503 2010-11 salary). DeShawn is the one we would probably prefer to move, because he has already hit his ceiling and is dealing with a back injury that may or may not continue to bother him for the remainder of his career. Young, on the other hand, is the one who is easier to move because of his youth and potential. When trading either of those guys, we need to remember that Young is more or less an asset and DeShawn is more or less a liability.
OK, so enough prelude. Here is my plan: we start the season with what we have, plus a small potatoes big man on a small one season contract (Rasho Nesterovic, Channing Frye, whatever). We play the first half of the season with both Miller and Foye getting significant minutes at the shooting guard position. Then we decide at some point close to the trading deadline who the better player is in terms of value to our team, considering all things like chemistry with Gilbert and likelihood of further production in our system. Once we have made our decision, we do one of the following deals to receive compensation for the player we decide we can live without:
Nick Young and Mike Miller to Chicago for Brad Miller
Please check your gag reflex until the end.
Why Chicago Does Either of These Trades
Chicago is already stacked with big men, so they don't particular need Brad Miller to make their postseason push. In the first trade, Chicago can build their backcourt around Rose and Foye, making them an even more formidable threat in the playoffs. The sweetness of Foye will help them swallow the sourness of DeShawn's contract. They can immediately "Larry Hughes" Mike James.
In the second trade, they save some immediate cash and can run with Mike Miller temporarily and then turn to Nick Young to be a replacement bench scorer now that Ben Gordon is doing his thing in Milwaukee.
Why Washington Does Either of These Trades
Yes, Brad Miller is a competent center who gives us depth for our 2009-10 playoff push, but the real reason is papery and green and already spelled out above. Brad Miller's huge contract expires at the end of the season, allowing us to keep our starting lineup entact.
OK, vomit away.