2018 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: New Orleans Pelicans

Re-signing Jrue Holiday to a massive five-year contract during the 2017 offseason ensured that the Pelicans didn’t have any cap room available last year, and that figures to be the case again this summer. Now, the big question will be whether the team can bring back its two key free agents – DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo – without going deep into luxury-tax territory.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Pelicans financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2018:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $101,000,000

Projected Cap Room: None

  • Even if the Pelicans were to renounce all their free agents and waive all their non-guaranteed salaries, their total team salary would still reach a minimum of $96,447,177, creating less than $5MM in cap room. The mid-level exception projects to be worth about $8.57MM, so New Orleans is better off remaining an over-the-cap team. Plus, cap holds for Cousins and Rondo would put the club way over the cap anyway.
  • For what it’s worth, Cousins’ max salary projects to be $30.3MM. Adding that figure to the Pelicans’ current guaranteed salaries increases team salary to $122,590,622 for just eight players, meaning New Orleans would have to go well past the tax line to fill out its roster. As such, if the club plans to bring back Cousins on a max deal, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one or two of those other guaranteed contracts traded or waived.

Footnotes:

  1. Diallo’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 7.
  2. Okafor’s salary becomes guaranteed for $100K after July 12.
  3. Miller’s salary becomes guaranteed for $300K after June 28, then fully guaranteed after July 24.
  4. Liggins’ salary becomes guaranteed for $50K after July 15, then guaranteed for $75K after July 30.

Note: Rookie scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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7 thoughts on “2018 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: New Orleans Pelicans

  1. Z-A

    Rudy Gay came back from his achillies tear 273 days after it happened 1/18/17 to 10/18/17. Boogie went down 1/26/18 so 10/26/18 would be the same time frame.

    Gay is 31 and only playing 21MPG, whereas Boogie is 27 and expected/paid to play 32+.

    If anyone is going to be your case study/comp it’s Elton Brand. Same position, around same age. Brand was def NOT the player he was before the injury – 20 PT 10 TRB for 8 Seasons before the injury. 13 PT 7 TRB for the 3 seasons as a starter after the injury.

    Let the Lakers or someone else give him 4 years, max. NOLA needs a wing player.

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  2. cesc

    I am afraid you might be right. This year Boogie had a historical season absolutely amazing, like the best centers ever, it was an MVP caliber season up to his injury, very fun to watch such a big guy balling & rnning the fast break, shooting treys, passing… unbelievable. But as much as I absolutely love the way he plays, I am afraid he will never be the same that he was, a bit like KP6 though not such a bad injury… but I think we might have seen the best of them, such a shame, specially from boogie, he deserved to have been MVP one day… Let’s hope he can still come back to a decent level, I hate seeing great guys crawling around, I do really feel down about his injury, it couldn’t happened to a nicer guy

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  3. rxbrgr

    HR — isn’t Jordan Crawford an Early Bird free agent? He’s played two seasons now with them without changes teams, amirite?

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    • Luke Adams

      If he had just played out two contracts in a row with the Pelicans, he’d have Early Bird rights, but I believe a player’s Bird clock resets if he clears waivers, so Crawford started over after he was cut in October.

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      • rxbrgr

        OK, that’s interesting. Yes, this shows I’m a nerd, but CBAFAQ #32 makes it seem as if being waived doesn’t reset a Bird clock, though being renounced does (they use CHI’s John Lucas as an example). Perhaps NO renounced Crawford after waiving him mid-season…

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        • Luke Adams

          I think you might be right about Crawford — I was looking at the wrong specific rule. However, the Lucas example in #32 doesn’t provide much clarity, IMO (his waivers occur before the contract that gives him Early Bird rights, rather than between two contracts). In fact, none of the examples in that section perfectly match up with Crawford’s situation (signed in one league year, waived in the next). I’ll take a closer look at the exact CBA wording to confirm and to see if I’m missing anything, but I’m leaning toward Early Bird.

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          • rxbrgr

            Good point on Lucas’ situation. I know this is kind of pointless since Crawford wouldn’t merit more than a minimum deal either way, but for NO (with a tight cap situation), having an Early Bird guy to use outgoing in a S&T could carry more value than having him as a Non-Bird — thinking Keith Bogans here.

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