Crunching Roy numbers shines a little light, no?

Zach Harper —  June 26, 2012 — 1 Comment

Our friend Darren Wolfson at ESPN 1500 has reported that the Wolves are going to offer Brandon Roy a two-year contract and that the money is not known.

I don’t even know if I’m ready to deal with the idea of Roy’s knees actually being healthy enough to be a serviceable player in the NBA. It’s not even like he had a catastrophic injury that left him in deep Shaun Livingston type of territory. He had injuries that were manageable (relatively speaking of course) and the wear-and-tear-and-more-tear just deteriorated the situation in his middle-leg-joints (medical term) past the point of no return.

But there apparently is a return in sight. With that return, it means the Wolves have to woo him with money over those proposed two years in order to convince him Minnesota is more attractive than a more instant title contender. So how much money do they have?

For committed salary heading into next year (courtesy of Sham Sports), the Wolves currently stand at $52,874,151. That is with the understanding that Brad Miller’s retirement paperwork has all of the Ts crossed and the lower case Js dotted. But that number can be deceiving. 

The T’Wolves have free agent rights to Michael Beasley, Anthony Tolliver and Anthony Randolph, and with those rights come great responsibility cap holds. Beasley’s cap hold is $12.5 million, Randolph’s cap hold is $7.2 million and Tolliver’s hold is $2.6 million. The 18th pick (still currently possess it) will start at $1.2 million.

Add that to the current committed salary number and you get $76.3 million, which is over the salary cap and luxury tax threshold. Now, don’t worry about that big number. They would never actually give those salary numbers to Beas and Rando. It’s really just a point to illustrate that they’re technically over the cap as of right now.

That means that unless they renounce those free agency rights with at least Beasley and Randolph, they can only offer Brandon Roy the midlevel exception. It might take more than the $5 million starting salary to get Roy; so having him sign for the MLE seems unlikely to convince him to move to Minneapolis.

And hopefully, that’s where we start to see some vision with where the team is headed.

The likelihood that the Timberwolves will offer the $8.2 million qualifying offer to retain Beasley’s restricted free agency rights seems to be evaporating like Marty McFly’s siblings in his wallet photo that was far too big for his wallet. The same can be said for the $4 million QO they would need to retain the restricted free agency rights for Anthony Randolph.

If they’re not extending qualifying offers to those two players, then they’re renouncing their free agency rights and pretty much guaranteeing they play somewhere else next season. This is very good news. No longer will we have to pretend that either player will realize their potential (I still fail to see why Randolph ever was considered to have potential but that’s a rant for another day) under a new coach or a new system or a new style or a new point guard or that new car smell.

The only way the Wolves can really make a competitive offer is to renounce those two, first and foremost. Then there are other finagling moves that can be made with the roster to create more cap space. By renouncing Beas and Rando, it brings the Wolves’ number to roughly $56.6 million, which isn’t very far under the projected salary cap for next season (roughly $58 million). Remember, we still have the 18th pick salary and the Tolliver free agency cap hold (don’t think we should cut those off the books yet).

Next, the Wolves have until July 1st to waive Martell Webster. If they do, they only have to pay an assumed $600,000 of his $5.7 million salary number for next year. If they do that, we’ve moved our number down to $51.5 million while retaining Tolliver’s rights and paying the 18th pick. The Wolves could also (possibly) convince Glen Taylor to amnesty Darko Milicic.

Amnestying Darko would clear another $5.2 million off the cap (although they still have to pay him the money. It just doesn’t count against their cap number). So that moves the number down to $46.3 million with Tolliver’s rights and the 18th pick salary still included. While there are some that think Taylor wouldn’t want to pay Darko to not be on the team, the new revenue-sharing deal that happened during the lockout could definitely help ease the pain of admitting he was a horrific signing in the first place.

Now the Wolves would have roughly $11.5 million in salary cap to play with, and could offer Roy significantly more than the $3-5 million most contending teams would be able to offer per season to obtain his services. With it being just a two-year contract, it wouldn’t be an awful experiment to tie up $6-8 million per season in kicking the tires on Brandon Roy.

Even if Roy doesn’t happen (not even sure it should), there are options with Alexey Shved (fantastic Russian guard) or Rudy Fernandez or really any competent wing player that can give the Wolves some production on a nightly basis.

I’m not exactly enamored with the news that Brandon Roy’s creaky knees might be on their way to Minnesota at some point, but just the fact that a contract will be offered shows us that the Wolves seem serious about freeing up these free agent cap holds and moving away from potential of failed first rounders’ past.

We may have at least a little insight into where the Wolves are headed with their salary structure in the near future (assuming I’m reading the latest CBA correctly and haven’t missed something by the new rules making me go cross-eyed).

Now watch a move happen on Draft Night that just makes these 900 words completely useless.

Zach Harper

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One response to Crunching Roy numbers shines a little light, no?

  1. I’d rather take a (reasonably priced) flier on Shved than overpay for Roy (which is likely since several teams seem interested). I can understand wanting to win now, but the core is a couple of years (at least) away from being championship caliber. Why sign a player whose knees are probably going to give out when you need him most. Roy at this point in his career is best used as a scoring sixth man (sort of like Budinger is too), but the Wolves need a starting shooting guard.

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