Projecting the Pistons’ cap room: $13,615,136

How much cap room do the Pistons have right now?

Probably none.

Huh?

Free agents continue to count against the cap – at a percentage greater than 100 of their previous salary, until renounced. That means the Pistons have the following cap holds:

Those bring the Pistons’ team salary to $78,014,010 – well above the projected salary cap of $63.2 million.

So why don’t the Pistons just renounce those players?

They will – besides Monroe – as soon as it’s necessary to sign a new player. There’s no incentive for doing it early. If the Pistons drop far enough below the cap, they lose the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions. Potentially, though extremely unlikely, the Pistons could sign-and-trades those players and preserve the exceptions.

Nobody is signing-and-trading for Villanueva, Stuckey or Billups.

Probably not. Like I said, it’s merely a formality to renounce them when the time comes.

If the Pistons renounce those three, they’d have a team salary $13,305,990 below the projected cap. That’s a much truer representation of Detroit’s cap space.

Any way to get more cap room?

Peyton Siva and Josh Harrellson both have fully unguaranteed contracts for next season. The Pistons could gain an extra $309,146 in cap room by waiving Siva before July 13 and an extra $440,827 by waiving Harrelson before July 21.

To me, Harrellson is a valuable backup center on a minimum contract. I wouldn’t rush to dump him.

Siva is much more expendable, and I consider waiving him a no-brainer if necessary to land a bigger free agent. Doing so would bring the Pistons’ cap room to $13,615,136, the figure used in the title of this post.

Siva’s 2014-15 salary is $816,482, and Harrellson’s is $948,163. Why wouldn’t waiving them clear those amounts in cap space?

A cap hold equal to the rookie minimum ($507,336) applies when a team’s roster dips below 12 players during the offseason.

Once the Pistons renounce Villanueva, Stuckey and Billups, they’d be down to 12 players.

So, waiving Siva and/or Harrellson would bring Detroit below 12 players, causing each to get replaced by a $507,336 cap hold. Therefore, the cap savings would be only the difference between their salaries and that hold.

What about Monroe?

As a player the Pistons want to keep – at least unless a fair sign-and-trade offer emerges – he falls into a different category than Villanueva, Stuckey and Billups.

Monroe is also a restricted free agent, meaning the Pistons can match any offer he receives from another team. I think they’d match any such offer.

Once he signs an offer sheet, a sign-and-trade is no longer allowed. Most likely, a team would threaten to sign Monroe to an offer sheet and then engage the Pistons in sign-and-trade negotiations before actually having Monroe sign the offer sheet.

Can the Pistons exceed the cap to re-sign Monroe?

Yes, as long as they have his bird rights. But to keep his bird rights, he counts against the cap at $10,216,135 until he signs.

As soon as Monroe signs, either with the Pistons or an offer sheet with another team, his 2014-15 salary replaces his cap hold. Considering his max salary is projected to be $14,756,881 – $4,540,745 more than his cap hold of $10,216,135 – the Pistons would do well to sign other free agents before Monroe signs. Essentially, they lose $4,540,745 in cap room if Monroe signs first.

Monroe might be amenable to waiting to make his deal official, especially if he’s assured there’s a max contract waiting for him. But Monroe can’t sign until July 10, so the Pistons could negotiate with other free agents during the next nine days and have a deal reached with another player that becomes official at 12:01 a.m. July 10. I doubt Monroe signs so quickly.

So, waive Siva, spend the $13,615,136 in cap room and then exceed the cap to re-sign Monroe. Anything else?

Once the Pistons use their cap space, they’d also get the room exception – $2,732,000 next season. That can be used to sign anyone to a contract up to two years with a 4.5 percent raises, and it can be split among multiple players.

That it?

The Pistons can always exceed the cap to sign players to one-year or two-year minimum-salary contracts. That will likely be the mechanism they use to sign Spencer Dinwiddie, who currently does not count toward team salary. It could also be used to add any veterans to fill out the roster.

If you have any other questions, I’ll try to answer them in the comments.

Tags: Charlie Villanueva Chauncey Billups Greg Monroe Josh Harrellson Peyton Siva Rodney Stuckey Spencer Dinwiddie

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