The State of the (Hornets) Union

Published: March 9, 2010

I realize that this late in the season, when the hornets desperately need to make a playoff push, so this entry may be poorly timed. However, I have gotten so sick of hearing of hearing that the team is in irreversible financial doom that I decided to compile some of my ideas from the comments sections into a post about the future of the hornets cap.

Player Option / Early Termination Option / Team Option / Qualifying Offer / Non-guaranteed

Player 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
Peja Stojakovic $13,392,000 $14,256,000        
Chris Paul $13,520,500 $14,940,153 $16,359,805 $17,779,458    
Emeka Okafor $10,538,938 $11,540,375 $12,541,813 $13,543,250 $14,544,688   
David West $9,075,000 $8,287,500 $7,525,000      
James Posey $6,031,800 $6,478,000 $6,925,400      
Morris Peterson $5,800,000 $6,200,000        
Darius Songaila $4,526,000 $4,818,000        
Julian Wright $2,000,040 $2,858,057 Q-$3,952,653      
Darren Collison $1,266,120 $1,361,040 $1,455,960 $2,319,344 Q-$3,342,175  
Sean Marks $1,187,686          
Aaron Gray $1,000,497          
Ike Diogu $825,497          
Marcus Thornton $457,588 $762,195         
Jason Hart# $69,518          
TOTAL $69,691,184 $71,501,320 $44,807,978 $33,642,052 $14,544,688 $0

* No Longer With Team

1. The elevation of bad contracts
The hornets’ only expirings going into this summer are Diagu, Marks, and Grey, so we won’t be able to make much of a splash in free agency. However, once the season starts, take a look at the expirings they hold:
Stojakovic: $14,256,000
Peterson:  $6,200,000
Songaila: $4,818,000
For a grand total of: 19,694,000
There are only 26 players getting paid more than Peja right now. Considering all of these guys are overpaid for their production, the hornets will get an immediate boost by getting rid of these bad contracts.
2. Rookie effect
When I was considering the hornets cap woes in the summer, I came to similar conclusions. However, the emergence of Thornton and Collison have given the hornets a huge boost, on the court and in the books.
Thornton: $762,195 expiring
Collison: $1,361,040
What this means is that rotation players, at the very least, are being paid minimum player contracts. This buys the hornets a lot of time to alleviate bad contracts before they need to ante up and pay these guys (esp. Collison)
The Posey Effect:
People go back and look at all the moves Bower made and decide the Peja move was the worst. Going into next season, the Posey signing is going to hurt us quite a bit.
Luckily, at the start of the 2011-2012 season the Posey contract will become expiring also and we will be rid of the aged contracts Bower signed.
Assuming the loss of the bad expirings here’s future players’ salaries (going into 2011-2012)
Okafor: $12,541,813
West: $7,525,000 (Expiring)
Posey: $6,925,400 (expiring)
Collison: $1,455,960
We won’t take on Wright’s qualifying offer, but assuming that 3.5 million goes to paying marcus thornton, we have a grand total of :$44,807,978
Minus Posey, that is a young, solid core with reasonable contracts. This also gives us the option to abandon the west-okafor experiment by letting west go (I’m not saying that’s a good idea, but we have a year to find out). Plus, assuming the Cap stays around 70 million, over 25 million to fill in the holes and still stay under the cap.