1:10pm: The move is official, the team announced via press release, so Delfino hits waivers in time for the Clippers to stretch his salary.
12:16pm: The Clippers will indeed waive Carlos Delfino today, a source tells Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). USA Today’s Sam Amick reported earlier this week that the move was likely to happen. The team will use the stretch provision to spread out his remaining salary, just as the Clippers will do with Miroslav Raduljica, whom the Clippers are also reportedly set to release, Bolch adds.
Delfino has a guaranteed salary of $3.25MM for the coming season, while his salary of the same amount for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed. Using the stretch provision allows a team to evenly spread a player’s remaining salary out over two times the number of years remaining on his contract, plus one. That means Delfino’s salary will be stretched over five seasons, as Bolch points out. Since only half of Delfino’s remaining salary is guaranteed, that would reduce his cap hit to $65K for this season and each year through 2018/19. There had been confusion about whether the non-guaranteed season would count, and thus whether Delfino’s guaranteed salary would be stretched over three years instead of five. However, NBA Salary Cap FAQ author Larry Coon confirms to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times that Delfino’s salary will indeed be stretched over five years (Twitter link).
Raduljica’s contract is similarly structured, with fully guaranteed salary for this year and non-guaranteed salary for 2015/16. He’s set to make $1.5MM for this coming season, so waiving and stretching him drops his payout to $300K each year. Put together, today’s anticipated moves would give the Clippers an extra $3.8MM in breathing room against their hard cap. The team had been only $649,228 shy of that cap after Tuesday’s trade, according to the data compiled by Pincus for Basketball Insiders, so this gives the Clippers enough ammunition to sign veterans like Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ekpe Udoh, whom they have been eyeing, as Amick reported this week.
Cutting Delfino and Raduljica would drop the team’s roster to 11 players. The Clippers can only sign free agents for the minimum salary, having exhausted their cap exceptions, but it appears as though they’ll be able to add four minimum-salary veterans to field a full 15-man regular season roster once Delfino and Raduljica are officially gone. The timing of the moves will be key, since Sunday is the last day that teams can use the stretch provision to reduce salaries for the coming season, but it appears that the team will pull the trigger today.
Delfino missed all of last season with a right foot injury, and he’s reportedly expected to miss part of this one. The former 25th overall pick, who turns 32 today, has been a double-digit scorer in three of his last four healthy seasons, so it would seem there would be strong interest if he can fully recover.