WEDNESDAY, 4:26pm: The Wizards are waiving power forward Melvin Ely, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Ely came to Washington from the Pelicans as part of the three-team sign-and-trade that sent Trevor Ariza to the Rockets. His non-guaranteed minimum salary has been scheduled to become fully guaranteed at the end of Friday, but it appears the Wizards are releasing him before that happens.
New Orleans brought the 36-year-old back into the NBA after a three-year absence from the league with a contract signed with just two days to go in the season. The inclusion of the non-guaranteed 2014/15 salary made it plain that the Pelicans intended to use him as trade fodder, and his contract proved key in the team’s ability to acquire Omer Asik, as I explained earlier.
Washington has been less than $200K shy of the tax line, but dropping Ely will allow the team to open up more than $1.3MM of extra space beneath the threshold, room to add another minimum salary or two. The Wizards are also hard-capped, so even if they go over the tax line, they can’t go more than $4MM into the tax at any point this season.