How the Pistons can sign Luigi Datome without using cap space

I updated the salaries page by adding Luigi Datome’s two-year, $3.5 million contract, completely removing Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell (because it’s now clear the Pistons have renounced or will renounce both) and using the officially released salary cap and luxury-tax line.

For now, I have Datome’s contract counting against the cap, but by the time Datome actually signs, it might not.

Before agreeing to terms with Datome, the Pistons had about $5 million in cap space (assuming they make official all other reported moves). If they sign Datome next, his contract eats into that cap space. But if they wait to sign Datome until after they use that $5 million of cap space, they can use the room mid-level exception, which can be used to sign someone whose first-year salary is up to $2,652,000, to exceed the salary cap.

At some point, the Pistons will have to sign Datome – whether or not they’ve already used the rest of their cap space – but they should delay making his signing official as long as possible to maintain flexibility.

Unfortunately, this clause can’t do anything about the roster limit of 15. Datome gives the Pistons 13 players under contract plus their three draft picks. A review of the most sensible options:

Tags: Corey Maggette Jason Collins Luigi Datome

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