New Orleans Pelicans Will Reportedly Meet With Former First Overall Pick Greg Oden

By:
Published: July 17, 2013
vakGr.St.58

The New Orleans Pelicans arranged a meeting with former Blazers center and #1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, Greg Oden. Do the Pelicans have what it takes to separate themselves from his other suitors?

Yesterday morning, Marc Stein of ESPN.com first reported that Greg Oden would meet with a few teams in Las Vegas during NBA Summer League – the Mavericks, Kings, and Pelicans. Up until that point, it had been widely assumed that Oden’s most likely landing spot would be with one of the two teams from the 2013 NBA Finals, either Miami or San Antonio. Even after Stein’s story, the notion of Oden ending up on the New Orleans Pelicans seemed like a long shot, as Oden would opt for the team with the superior title chances given equal salary. A player with Oden’s injury history likely draw only minimum salary offers from most teams, so the title contenders would have no reason to raise the stakes, leaving the field level.

This morning, however, Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears provided added intel on the Pelicans’ expected meeting with Oden. According to Spears, New Orleans will instead meet with Oden later this week, as he is heading home today. The meeting will reportedly include Mickey Loomis, Dell Demps, and Monty Williams, which should indicate how serious the Pelicans are in their pursuit of Oden. Unfortunately, just because the team’s front office is serious doesn’t necessarily mean that Oden is serious about ending up in New Orleans.

In order to make an offer strong enough to compete with the likes of Miami and San Antonio, Spears says that the Pelicans are offering a starting salary just shy of $3 million in the first year of his contract. Unfortunately, the team does not seem to have the requisite cap space to make this offer at present, as they are over the salary cap.

Skip this if you don’t care about the Cap stuff. Special thanks to the one and only Larry Coon for contributing to the following section. Anything correct is Larry’s; anything wrong is Jason’s. 

As it turns out, NBA teams are not constrained by space or time in making deals happen. They are constrained only by money, the CBA, creativity, and the willingness of the parties involved. While the team appears over the cap, and appeared so when they signed Greg Stiemsma to a contract that looks suspiciously Room Mid-Level Exception. In fact, it appeared as if the Pelicans had consumed the Room Mid-Level Exception.

This, however, is not the case.

NBA teams have the ability to arrange their transactions in any consistent and CBA-legal order.

Applied here, it seems the Pelicans can consider the Tyreke Evans trade to have occurred after any free agent signings up to that point in the offseason, should it prove advantageous. In this case, it does. Because the Evans trade brought back so much more money than was sent out, it eats up the much available cap room if it occurs just after the Holiday trade (which has to occur using space because of the unbalanced salary) in transaction order. By sliding it until later, other moves can be considered to happen with Harris, Lopez, and Vasquez on the books instead of Evans.

This allowed Aminu to be resigned, of course, but it also allowed Stiemsma and Morrow to be signed into cap space. This leaves the Room Mid-Level Exception available to give to Oden. This gives a deal that is consistent with the reported deal.

Moreover, further rearrangements could allow the team to up the offer to right around $3m, if I (Jason) am thinking about this correctly. The deal could be sweetened further by waiving or trading away unguaranteed players. Update: I was not thinking about this correctly. Once a deal is executed, the mechanism that allows it can not be changed. Thus, Morrow will remain as a signing into cap space. Also, Stiemsma’s deal exceeds that which can be offered by the Room Mid-Level Exception, so he could never have been signed into it.

I’ll save the wrinkles for another, far more painful, article.

Anything wrong is still Jason’s . . .

Now that we know the Pelicans have some legitimate options, we can discuss other details – health and contract structure.

Does the Pelicans’ training staff think that Oden’s knees are healthy enough for him to cost the team other roster possibilities this year and perhaps in later years? If so, will he agree to a team-friendly or performance-based contract which gives the Pelicans the option to retain him (something similar to Robin Lopez’s contract, perhaps)?

For reference, his most recent contract, in the 2011-2012 season, was worth $1.5m.

All of this talk of a contract begs the question: What’s the big deal?

  • Oden was considered a “once-in-a-decade type player” prior to the draft where he was taken first overall, ahead of Kevin Durant
  • Oden has played, coincidentally, 82 games in his NBA career, and the numbers are impressive
  • Henry Abbott says Oden can really play
  • The same article, however, details all of his injury issues, including three microfractures surgeries, two on one knee, one on the other, and more issues

So while he has tremendous potential and is still below the age at which many big men show peak performance, he could very well fail to play a single game, just as in that most recent $1.5m deal. The upshot there is that he signed that deal rather than even a qualifying offer from Portland. It was not a cash grab for Oden, and he voluntarily sat out last season. He could be legitimately trying to make a comeback the right way rather than just cashing in while the player market is hungry for potential value.

None of the above matters if Oden prefers to sign elsewhere. Some of the other teams that have shown interest in him are as follows:

  • Miami Heat. The Heat can offer Oden about $3.2 million through their taxpayer mid-level exception, and using their amnesty on Mike Miller will help clear some space in their budget to sign him. Needless to say, if Oden wants to chase a title right from the start, there is no better option for him than Miami. As of now, Oden will cost the Heat 3.5 times his salary in total cost (salary plus tax). If the deal exceeds the minimum, it will erode their ability to sign higher profile free agents with their taxpayer MLE. Also, the microscope in Miami may be a negative for a player on the mend.
  • San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs may be able to offer Oden a better chance at winning a championship next season, but the team’s long-term prospects are not as strong, and he may have a more difficult time earning minutes behind Duncan and Splitter. The Spurs can only offer him a minimum contract.
  • Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks may be able to offer more minutes than the Pelicans, Heat, or Spurs, but that team does not have any clear direction at this point, and Oden runs the risk of getting stuck in a rebuilding situation next season.

As a result of the interest in Oden from other teams, the Pelicans will have to make a strong sell to Oden on the advantages of coming to New Orleans if they want to swipe him away from some of the league’s strongest franchises, especially if the Heat offer a deal over the minimum. Here are a few possible selling points from Dell Demps & Co.:

  • The opportunity to grow with the team’s young core, similar in age to him, with the goal of building a sustainable contender
  • The ability to grow as a player and prove he can still be effective on a team that would impose far less pressure on him than he may feel in other places like Miami or San Antonio along with fans that are quick to love and content to hope (at least for now)
  • A very public enduring of a nearly-two-seasons-long rehabilitation of Eric Gordon’s knee, including extraordinary measures and steadfast defense of the guard
  • Monty Williams, the assistant coach in Portland when Greg Oden was drafted in 2007, as his head coach, providing an established relationship that could make New Orleans a more comfortable place to work for Oden

Greg Oden may be just what the Pelicans are looking for: a 25 year old big man of high character who is potentially undervalued, looking to prove himself, and can be had on a reasonable and tradeable deal. Ultimately, however, the chase for Greg Oden will come down to two things – what Oden is looking for in his next NBA team and what Oden is looking for from his next NBA team.

Photo Credit: AP, Bill Haber

In case it wasn’t clear, Jason and Mason worked on this together.

38 comments
DLord_DBdotcom
DLord_DBdotcom

@Jason Calmes

Jason, you motivated me to look closer at the Pelicans transactions and see how they occurred one after another, and from that it is clear that NO still has its room MLE. So yep, I learned something in the process.

As to your statement that "there is some liberty" for a team in game-planning when they will do things, that is not what the article says, and it would be nothing more than common sense (certainly not revelatory) that any team can choose who to sign first, who to sign next, and so on. My sense is that the article above reflects your current rules beliefs, and it's STILL cap nonsense in saying a team can go back to the league after the fact and re-sequence the order of their transactions.

Hope I've cleared a few things up for others here wanting to know what the rules really are. I'm out.

BillyPolcha
BillyPolcha

Ok, it once again is being reported today that the Pelicans will offer Greg Oden a contract starting at $3m/year & if this is true, then I am right & Jason is wrong.  

mswenson
mswenson

That must be why the mavs have room for everyone 

They have like 4 or 5 million remaining. They said they were giving Wright 4 million. So you would think that would mean they are giving Dalembert the room exception.

 But how are they signing Devin Harris who was about to get 3 million per and still interested in oden.

It seems they can only give harris and oden veteran minimum contracts unless the wright deal was false


and how come there is rumors the cavs can make a bid on mike miller all of a sudden. The other day Espn's Nick Silva said only the kings, mavs, philly, and bucks could.  
Once again the mavs showing up but how?  I thought teams had to have 6.2 million in cap room(mike millers contract) to make a minimum bid of 1.4 mill 

DLord_DBdotcom
DLord_DBdotcom

By all appearances, all NO can offer is a minimum salary deal, with their MLE having been used for Stiesma. Their most likely avenue for a bigger offer, if they prioritized one, would be a trade that reduced their payroll considerably. If a $3M offer is what they are truly panning, it would probably take about a $6M payroll reduction to make that offer, and you would want to figure out who is leaving and where they are going..

DLord_DBdotcom
DLord_DBdotcom

"Applied here, it seems the Pelicans can consider the Tyreke Evans trade to have occurred after any free agent signings this offseason, should it prove advantageous."

 I think you have probably misinterpreted what Coon was saying. As each transaction is submitted to the league, I believe  the sequence is set in stone. You might want to double-check with LC.

PeliCAN You Dig It
PeliCAN You Dig It

How can you not like this move? If he pans out, Monty looks like a genius, and this would probably be one of the greatest offseasons ever by an NBA general manager. If he doesn't work out, did he really cost that much anyway? Is he taking development time away from our other players? The answer is no.

He either gives us a true center presence with more potential than any big man on our roster (minus AD) or he's still hurt and Jason Smith, Steimsma, and Withey split the minutes they would have anyway. There's no downside to this deal in my eyes, even if we do pay him a full $3 million. 

Hank_
Hank_

love this move

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

About the MLE. Each team gets exactly one MLE. The Pelicans got the smallest one, the Room MLE, because they are using cap room.

About going over the cap. Forget the money spent. When moves take you over the cap, or leave you over, you are greatly restricted in the moves you can make. So, there may be a component of willingness to spend, but there is certainly a component of being allowed to spend.

Jimb0
Jimb0

I'm ignorant on salary cap stuff, so I guess prepare for a stupid question.

It sounds like we have our hands tied with the salary cap situation, but i dont understand why. The cap doesnt seem to mean much when u have teams over it by so much. Most of which are large market teams but then there is small market okc sitting at 12 mil over (according to spotrac).

So why should we care if we go over the cap a little? Why is it a necessity to be under the cap?

BillyPolcha
BillyPolcha

If the Pelicans arrange these transactions so that the Reke trade is last then the Pelicans are now over The $58.6m Salary Cap thus the Pels would now have the full Mid-Level-Exception so the Pels could offer Oden $3m in the first year of  the Pels' contract offer to Oden.  It was reported by Yahoo that the Pels would offer Oden $3m in the fist year. 

LateNite504FC
LateNite504FC

Thanks for the cap explanation.

In this situation, it might not be all about the money. This is from a January 2013 Grantland interview: 

"I don't care about what all of these injuries mean for any legacy I might have," he said. "I just want to play basketball. I could've signed with a team after Portland cut me and just sat on the bench and collected paychecks, but that's not my style. That just seems really unethical. Besides, money doesn't matter to me. I've got enough money. All I want is to get 100 percent healthy and get back on the court."

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7908766/a-rare-interview-former-no-1-overall-pick-greg-oden-injury-plagued-career

Very interesting.  Sounds like NOLA might be the best place for him to just play ball without the unwanted attention.  Would be good if we had a more veteran big man for him to learn from.  Other than wise veteran Jason Smith, we got nothing.

But when they say it isn't all about the money..... 

Best case, Oden gives you 20 min per night for 65 games at all star level play.  Worst case - Mr. Benson wastes a few mil.  As long as we don't have to give up J Smith to shed cap space, I love it.

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

If he can play when he's on the court, I have no issues signing him.  I think Miller needs to develop overseas as his game is limited.   Having 4 bigs where Smith could also rotate at PF isn't a bad thing.  

Mostly b/c we are going to run and the centers will be tired.  Rotation will be great and we can see if Greg can get back to is oden self

yaboytonez
yaboytonez

Anyone think he can actually last a season after all those repairs?

504ever
504ever

Great summary. I agree we have a real shot at Oden, assuming we want him. Now fans just have to see how this plays out.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

Well, and willfully misinterpret statements in a poor atrempt to recover.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

Really you have done nothing but claim things that were not true but what I said and get corrected.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

Billy, I am sorry you are hallucinating, but we are here to help.

Your first step is to admit that you have a problem. To show you this, I will simply point you to two facts: the Holiday trade required the use of cap space and that teams whe use cap space in a season do not get the full mle in that season.

Any response that fails to reconcile these points, or attempts to, is an indication of continued affliction. I would suggest getting immediate help at that point.

You're welcome.

DLord_DBdotcom
DLord_DBdotcom

@mswenson Apparently the Mavs moves are now beginning, and all the pieces will fit quite well. They have made deals, but couldn't actually do them because they have to be submitted in the proper order rather than in the order they reached agreement. You'll see Dalembert, Ellis, and Ledo first (if they sign Ledo), plus maybe one other rookie free agent. Then Wright, Harris, and Ellington after the first set is done.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@mswenson Looking at Hoopsworld, of their free agent signings there, I can get about $4.2m by pushing what I can into exceptions, waiving what they can. If they plan on signing Wright to anything more than $2m they will not be able to outbid the Pelicans. Same if Dalembert signs for more than then min.

The Cavs were interested, even post-Bynum, then were not. Now they are back in? We'll see.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@DLord_DBdotcom We'll see what happens if Oden signs. 

I can tell you that I got the basis for the comments directly from Larry Coon himself prior to publication. He confirmed, for instance, the Stiemsma and Morrow could be signed into cap space. This is what led me to ask about the rearrangements, which he then confirmed is a common practice. 

So you advice was pre-taken, and what you see is the result. Yesterday, I was exactly where you are today. I get it. But what is written here is correct.

BillyPolcha
BillyPolcha

@Jason Calmes Jason, there are different kinds of "Exceptions."   1) Mid Level Exception(MLE)  2) Bi-Annual Exception  3) Trade Exceptions. 4) Room Exception (RE)  5) Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception.  An NBA team may own multiple exceptions for example the Memphis Grizzles currently have the MLE & the Bi Annual Exceptions + several trade exceptions at  their exposure this off season.  This link details the Grizzles' Exceptions.  http://www.hoopsworld.com/memphis-grizzlies-team-salary  

Ok, it is being assumed that The Pels used the "Room Exception" to sign Greg Stiemsma for $2.652m.  If the Pels did use the RE then the Pels would not be granted the MLE for this off-season.  If the Pels are now over The Cap b/c  of the RE being used on Stemsma then all the Pels could offer Oden is the Veterans Minimum of around $1m/year for Oden. 

What I hoped happened is this Pels signed all free agents via "cap room" & the Reke trade moved the Pels over The Salary Cap thus the Pels would be granted the full MLE but the RE would not be available for use to sign a player.  If so, the Pels could then offer Oden a contract starting at $3m/year.






DeFrank
DeFrank

No, because Pels had to use cap space to acquire Jrue. Anytime a team uses cap space, it relinquishes its full MLE in favor of using cap space and getting the Room MLE. Therefore, Pels gave up full MLE for the draft night trade.

Papa Pelican
Papa Pelican

Jalen Rose just hate the south and hate for the fact that Michigan didn't win in the 1993 Final Four in NOLA. He should blame his dumba$$ teamate Chris "though they had a timeout" Webber.I know our southern history stinks incuding race realations.If he think New York or L.A is great places for a brother he got another thing coming they no better than us.

mateor
mateor

This is a chance you have to take, as the Pelicans. Perfect fit, overwhelming talent and a highly reduced sticker price due to (very very real) injury concerns.

mswenson
mswenson

@Jason Calmes

I don't think the cavs are still interested in Oden. I meant Mike Miller on that part and edited it.

The minimum bid for mike miller is actually around 2.8 million because of having another year left on his contract

zakk22
zakk22

@Jason Calmes Larry Coon just confirmed that teams cannot retroactively rearrange their transaction. I wonder if you are kind enough to show us the source of "the comments directly from Larry Coon", like i am.  https://twitter.com/LarryCoon Go back his tweets to about an hour ago, then you'll find them (tweets which are directed to @zakk22). Thanks.

DLord_DBdotcom
DLord_DBdotcom

@Jason Calmes @DLord_DBdotcom For the future benefit of you and your readers, I'd suggest you go back and talk to Larry again in more detail. I think you misunderstood what he was saying. 

My guess is that he was telling you a team could arrange their moves in any sequence - by doing them (officially) in the way that works best. And then something got lost in the translation. 

 FYI that's exactly what the Mavericks have been doing. Because the order they do things makes a difference, they have reached agreements with multiple players this summer, yet submitted only a few to the league. Wright, Harris, Ellington, Larkin, Ledo, and Ellis have all waited while other moves that needed to be done first have been worked on.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

There are many exceptions, but each team gets exactly one MLE each season, and once you use cap room, it is the Room flavor. Biannual is not available to teams who uses room. Any team can make trades, sign min players, draft picks, their bird players.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

Zakk, I feel no compulsion to justify something I never said.

Go read the article about Oden and worry about unsaid things about the cba in another article.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@DLord_DBdotcom @Jason Calmes

I agree NO took some risk in signing the players, as I noted in the post you replied to. 

It sounds like you didn't listen to what Dell said at the 9:00 mark and are focused on your misinterpretation of what I said plus my misunderstanding of applying the mechanisms to make trades happen. I corrected the latter. I'm not sure why you insist on attributing your interpretation of what I could I have meant to what I actually thought.

But the fact of the matter is: These was some liberty, all CBA legal, taken in the order of these transactions and this allows the Pelicans to offer Oden up to the full Room MLE, two things you have begrudingingly learned, so I'm happy to have helped you grow in that regard. 

Other than this, I'm not sure there is much left to say.

Have a good one.




Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@DLord_DBdotcom @Jason Calmes Again, I'm glad you stuck this out. You can feel free to try to change my explanations into '"mistakes" if you want, but I freely admit errors and acknowledged beforehand that errors would have been my own. The only error, preceeded by an "if" was thinking about how they could get the biggest possible offer to Greg. They can not redo things that much. 

I can't help if you won't listen to Dell talk about when deals were completed, but I'm going off of publicly available info provided by an expert. 

The claim from the beginning was that they can rearrange things in a consistent and  CBA-legal way. That was always written that way. You can call it a submission order v completion order if you want. Fine by me. Biut if they have X moves they want to make in some time span (not sure how long they can stretch things), they can clearly act in a way that is consistent with deal A being complete when it is not, since Holiday was out of the country.

So, if they had planned an Oden deal, it is not crazy to think they had in fact made some sort of arrangement to hold the space in order to maximize their use of cap room. That didn't happen, and could not have, because they can't reclassofy Stiemsma's deal.

Now, again, you can call this a mistake, or you can call it a line in an article this is about Oden included to attemtp to explain to people how the Pelicans can offer Oden more than the min without losing players. 

That has been completed, as you now have been converted from one who believes this is impossible to one who believes it is possible. They may, of course, still trade people to create room. It's possible.

I also did not know Stiemsma's deal was larger than the MLE until Thursday. Had I, it certainly would have stopped me from speculating on how to get a larger amount for Oden, but I may not be clear on the rigidity of the mechanism for signings. I'm very glad I've gone through this and learned a good deal. 

Also, according to two people who are not me, Morrow was signed into cap space. It won't matter, and we'll never be able to detect it as far as I can tell, but that is what I was told.

Another addition: Once a deal is done, it can not be changed. What seems to be fluid is the order of completion relative to the order of submission, with order of submission driving the cap rules. But, there would have to be some way for subsequent deals to be done if an earlier submitted deal, intended to be completed later, failed. In this case, if the Holiday trade failed, the team could just have brought everyone in with room. There has to be some allowable for `surprises'. Voluntary changes after the fact seem to be what is not allowed. 

But, again, you can call it a mistake, or you can call it an approximation to something complicated presented in one line to show that something we didn't expect to be true is in fact true. 

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@DLord_DBdotcom @Jason Calmes I appreciate you not just dismissing this. I have been traveling, so my commincations have not been as complete as I would have liked.

Clearly, the trade exception was used get Evans, because you can't remove just Murrow's and Stiemsma's salaries and end up under the cap. There has to be a third exception. We both agree on this.

Two more things.

What you are ignoring is the Dell said the Holiday trade was completed on December 12, when Tyreke was clearly introduced in New Orleans on December 11, so the Tyreke deal was done before the Holiday deal.

Here is the video: http://www.nba.com/pelicans/video/2013/07/16/JrueHolidayPressersmmp4-2542169

And you can hear Dell say it explicitly just after the 9:00 mark ("tonight"), and the video was recorded on July 12 as can be seen in the video notes.

Additionally, and I double-checked this with Eric Pincus, as in I asked him after he published the information, that Stiemsma makes $2,676,000, which is $25k more than Room Exception, so there's no way he could have been signed into that exception. 

http://www.hoopsworld.com/new-orleans-pelicans-team-salary

You are yada-yada-yadaing over some of the details that are key.

Not all rearrangements are ok, but there are games that can be played, a point you have come around to.

Oden will be offered the Room Exception or a trade will have to create the room. The trade was the initial fear, but now we now the Pelicans can offer the Room, so they need not have to trade.


Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

Also, look at Stiemsma's deal. He was not signed into an exception. They can clearly structure the deals in a beneficial way. Not any way, but ine allowed by the CBA.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

There are limits, but the Evans trade was clearly done prior to the Holiday trade, per Dell, and the continues to sign people into space.

While there are limitations, this is a fact.

I did say one thing that was not correct: you can't reclassify the mechanism that allows the transaction. I will update the article when I am not on a phone. So you can't slip Stiemsma's deal into an ezception after the fact, but the Room Exception is quite intact.

If the main point I made was not true, that would not be the case. Time will tell if this shows itself to be true.

I appreciate your comment, and I appreciate the patience of our readees as they watch us struggle with this, but rest assured, the major points are true and the Pelicans have their Room, not full, MLE.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@BillyPolcha @Jason Calmes Billy, there's enough true in what you are saying to confuse you and others, but it's just wrong. 

I said it correctly above: Once you use cap room, your MLE is the cap room MLE. Likewise, if you use the full MLE, you can't go above the apron. And so on. 

You are ignoring a ton of stuff, but fear not! I'll have a post explaining it all some time next week.

BillyPolcha
BillyPolcha

@Jason Calmes And the Room Exception is not the Mid Level Exception & the Mid Level is not the Room Exception but you are calling the Room Exception the Mid Level Exception. .  

BillyPolcha
BillyPolcha

@Jason Calmes  A team only gets the Mid Level Exception (MLE)  if  the team is over the cap but not a tax payer, per year.  Teams who are under the  cap get the Room Exception.   Teams who are tax-payers get the Tax-Payer Mid Level Exception

MLE right now is $5.15m..  The Room Exception is $2.652m.  The Tax-Payer Mid Level Exception is $3.18m.  

Right now the Pels are at  approx $59,700,000 which is over the cap ($58.6m).


So the question is, how did the Pels cross over the cap:  1) by signing Stiemsmato the RE $2.652 or  2) by signing their new free agents via cap room then going over the cap via the Reke trade.  Teams who are under the cap can go over the cap via a Trade.  

The MLE, RE, & Tax-Payer MLE are an either or situation on a per year basis based on a team being either under the cap or over the cap, or a tax payer.