The Mavericks will look at avenues of ridding themselves of Raymond Felton‘s salary of more than $3.95MM for next season in an effort to clear flexibility to re-sign Al-Farouq Aminu, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. The point guard has a player option for next season, but he’s reportedly opting in. It’s no surprise that the Mavs would seek to offload Felton, who turns 31 later this month, after a season in which he put up career lows across the board and appeared in only 29 games. Members of the Mavs front office recently tossed around the idea of including Felton in a would-be sign-and-trade proposal to the Clippers involving Tyson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan, as MacMahon previously reported.
Aminu also has a player option for next season, but he’s turning it down, creating a financial jam for the Mavs, who want to keep him. Dallas has only Non-Bird rights with Aminu, so the team can’t give him a new deal with a starting salary of better than 20% of the minimum salary without using cap space or another exception. The Mavs, who appear poised to clear cap room to go after marquee free agents, would have only the $2.814MM room exception to offer Aminu as an alternative to cap space in that scenario, as MacMahon points out. Aminu is in line for a deal with annual salaries around $4MM, as league sources who spoke with MacMahon estimated, so cap space would likely be the only avenue for the Mavs to keep the versatile forward.
Felton’s opt-in would give the Mavs about $32MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap, not counting an $8.72MM player option for Monta Ellis that he’s expected to opt out of or a more than $1.2MM cap hold for the No. 21 pick in this month’s draft. It would be a tight squeeze under the cap for the Mavs to re-sign Chandler and Ellis, find a starter at point guard and bring in a star target like Jordan or LaMarcus Aldridge, never mind the task of re-signing Aminu.
The stretch provision would give Dallas another avenue of clearing Felton’s salary, or two-thirds of it anyway, MacMahon notes. The Mavs can waive Felton and spread his salary out over the next three seasons.
MacMahon suggests that Aminu might be willing to re-sign at a discount, perhaps on a two-year deal with a player option, but that it would require that the Mavs promise to “negotiate in good faith” next summer when Aminu would be able to opt out with Early Bird rights. Those would give Dallas much more latitude to exceed the cap to re-sign Aminu in 2016, but any specific promises that the Mavs might make about a future deal would violate collective bargaining agreement rules.