Hoops Rumors Originals

Early Mid-Level, Bi-Annual Projections For 2019/20

Under the NBA’s previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, the values of various exceptions like the mid-level and bi-annual were established years in advance, but the league’s current CBA tweaked how those exceptions are calculated.

Rather than being determined ahead of time, the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions – along with several other cap-related figures and exceptions – are dependent on the movement of the salary cap from year to year. If the cap increases by 5% from one league year to the next, the exceptions increase by the same rate.

As such, we don’t know yet exactly what those exceptions will be worth in 2019/20, but we can make an educated estimate. The NBA’s most recent cap projections called for a $109MM cap for next season. That would be approximately a 7% increase on this year’s $101.869MM cap. If that projection holds, the values of the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions would increase by 7% too.

[RELATED: Early Maximum Salary Projections For 2019/20]

Based on a $109MM cap, here’s what the mid-level and bi-annual exceptions would look like in 2019/20:

Mid-Level Exception

Year Standard MLE
Taxpayer MLE Room MLE
2019/20 $9,246,000 $5,711,000 $4,760,000
2020/21 $9,708,300 $5,996,550 $4,998,000
2021/22 $10,170,600 $6,282,100
2022/23 $10,632,900
Total $39,757,800 $17,989,650 $9,758,000

The standard mid-level exception is available to over-the-cap teams that haven’t dipped below the cap to use room and don’t go over the tax apron at all. It can run for up to four years, with 5% annual raises.

The taxpayer mid-level exception is for in-the-tax teams, or teams that want the flexibility to surpass the tax apron later. It can run for up to three years, with 5% annual raises.

The room exception is for teams that go under the cap and use their space. Once they’ve used all their cap room, they can use this version of the mid-level exception, which runs for up to two years with 5% annual raises.

Bi-Annual Exception

Year BAE Value
2019/20 $3,619,000
2020/21 $3,799,950
Total $7,418,950

The bi-annual exception is only available to teams that over the cap and under the tax apron. It can also only be used once every two years, which will disqualify the Bucks, Pelicans, Knicks, and Spurs from using it in 2019/20 — they all used their BAE in 2018/19.

Poll: Anthony Davis’ 2019/20 Team

When the Pelicans opted to hang onto Anthony Davis at this season’s trade deadline, it ensured that the Davis saga in New Orleans, which began when his camp publicly requested a trade last month, would drag on for at least several more months.

While Davis and the Pelicans still have to figure out how much he’ll play – or whether he should be playing at all – for the rest of the season, the two sides are essentially on a holding pattern for now. It’s not as if the team is going to buy out the All-NBA big man, so we’ll have to wait until the offseason for trade talks to heat up and for the possibility of Davis changing teams to potentially become a reality.

Given how messy things already are in New Orleans, it seems extremely unlikely that the Pelicans will once again pass on the opportunity to trade Davis during the offseason. I’d expect Davis to be on a new team by opening night of the 2019/20 season, but it remains to be seen which team that will be.

The Celtics, who weren’t eligible to trade for Davis as long as Kyrie Irving was on his current contract, may emerge as the front-runner, particularly now that AD has added them to his list of preferred destinations. However, other teams on his wish list shouldn’t be ruled out.

The Lakers can still put a tantalizing combination of young players and draft picks on the table this summer, and the Knicks may hold a trump card if they land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Bucks probably can’t make a realistic play for Davis, but the Clippers could — a package headlined by promising young prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a handful of unprotected picks would be intriguing.

Of course, as the Pelicans have tried to make clear, Davis and his camp don’t control this process, which means that New Orleans doesn’t necessarily have to send him to a team on his wish list. In recent years, teams like the Thunder (Paul George) and Raptors (Kawhi Leonard) have come out of nowhere to make trades for star players, and those moves have paid off for those franchises, at least so far.

In the case of Davis, an unlikely suitor could certainly talk itself into making a play for the All-Star — after all, if things go south quickly, that team could always flip him at the trade deadline in 2020. If things work out, a deep playoff run and a five-year maximum-salary offer could make AD re-think his long-term plans.

What do you think? Which team will Davis play for when the 2019/20 season gets underway? Is there any chance he’s still a Pelican? Will a longtime frontrunner like the Lakers or Celtics land him? Or will a dark-horse suitor make a play?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Checking In On 2019’s 10-Day Contracts

Corey Brewer‘s 10-day contract with the Kings expired overnight, and it’s not clear whether or not Sacramento will sign him to another. The Kings are now carrying just 13 players and will have to get back up to at least 14 (the league-mandated minimum) within the next two weeks. However, Brewer didn’t see any action during his 10-day stint in Sacramento, so the club may not be in a hurry to bring him back.

Whether or not Brewer gets a new deal from the Kings, he is currently the NBA’s leader in 10-day contracts signed during the 2018/19 season. Before signing with Sacramento, he received a pair of 10-day contracts from the Sixers, making him the only player who has inked three such deals so far in 2019.

With the help of our 10-day contract tracker, here’s a breakdown of some of the other notable numbers related to 10-day deals from 2019 so far:

  • Total 10-day contracts signed: 22
  • Teams that have signed at least one player to a 10-day contract: 12
  • Teams that have signed multiple players to 10-day contracts: 4
  • Ten-day contracts which are still active: 4
    • John Jenkins, Knicks (through 2/20)
    • Isaiah Canaan, Timberwolves (through 2/22)
    • Scotty Hopson, Thunder (through 2/23)
    • Richard Solomon, Thunder (through 2/23)
  • Players who have signed 10-day contracts with multiple teams: 2
    • John Jenkins (Wizards, Knicks)
    • Corey Brewer (Sixers, Kings)
  • Players who have parlayed 10-day contracts into a rest-of-season deal with the same team: 1

For a full breakdown of 10-day contracts from 2019 and past seasons, be sure to follow our tracker.

Weekly Mailbag: 2/11/19 – 2/17/19

We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.

If the Pelicans fall into the lottery and get a chance to draft Zion Williamson, do you think Anthony Davis might change his mind and stick with the Pelicans? — Greg Dizon

Davis has lost confidence in New Orleans’ ability to build a contender around him, and it’s too late for any personnel moves to change his mind. At 26-33, the Pelicans seem like a lock for the lottery, but their odds of landing the No. 1 pick are remote. And even if that were to happen, Williamson may not be a difference maker in his first year in the league. Davis wants to win right away and won’t go back on his desire to be traded.

Who are some realistic options for the Warriors on the buyout market? — Patrick Cavanaugh

Golden State doesn’t have many weaknesses, but the defending champs could use another veteran big man, if only to provide insurance in the event of another injury to DeMarcus Cousins. Chicago’s Robin Lopez has been rumored for a while as a possible target, but the Bulls may prefer to keep him for the rest of the season. Marcin Gortat and Greg Monroe recently agreed to buyouts, but neither seems like an ideal fit for the Warriors. Zach Randolph may be a possibility if Golden State isn’t afraid to gamble on a player who hasn’t suited up yet this season. For an even bigger wild card, how about J.R. Smith, who has been waiting months to resolve his situation in Cleveland and would provide another another outside shooter with playoff experience.

The Hall of Fame announced its 13 finalists over the weekend. Who’s the biggest omission from that list? – M.N.N., via twitter

Rudy Tomjanovich, a finalist in 2017 and 2018, was inexplicably left off of this year’s list. He not only led the Rockets to two NBA titles in the 1990s, he paved the way for the modern game by expanding the use of the 3-point shot and introducing the concept of a stretch four. His coaching resume includes 527 NBA wins and an Olympic gold medal. He should have been a Hall of Famer years ago.

Hoops Rumors Originals: 2/9/19 – 2/16/19

Every week, the Hoops Rumors writing team creates original content to complement our news feed. Below are the original segments and features from the past seven days:

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Northwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Northwest Division:

Tyler Lydon, Nuggets, 22, PF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $3.45MM deal in 2017
Lydon was the 24th overall pick in 2017 and acquired from Utah in a draft-day deal. He didn’t make much of an impression as a rookie, as the Nuggets declined his third-year option in October. Lydon has appeared in 21 games this season, mostly during garbage time. At the G League level, Lydon has averaged 5.3 three-point attempts and made 36.7%. He’s also rebounded well (8.5 in 31.3 MPG). He’ll be seeking a fresh start this summer, most likely with a rebuilding team that can offer him a greater opportunity.

Anthony Tolliver, Timberwolves, 33, PF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $5.75MM deal in 2018
Tolliver carved out a steady role under former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and delivered a career year last season. He averaged 8.9 PPG in 22.2 MPG and shot 43.6% from distance, and when he hit the free agent market, he drew interest from the Clippers, Mavericks, and Sixers as well as the Timberwolves. It hasn’t gone well in Minnesota, as Tolliver completely dropped out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation in mid-November. He’s seen more action under Ryan Saunders but hasn’t made an impact. He’ll likely have to settle for the veteran’s minimum this summer to stay in the league.

Nerlens Noel, Thunder, 24, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $3.74MM deal in 2018
Noel has a player option worth less than $2MM and it’s likely he’ll decline it and take his chances on the open market. Noel has carved out a steady bench role with the Thunder and provided a defensive presence, along with an occasional scoring outburst. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating, according to Basketball-Reference, is an outstanding 5.8. He posted a 22-point, 13-rebound stat line in 22 minutes in a loss to New Orleans on Thursday. Noel, the sixth overall pick in 2013, has revived his career to some extent after a lost season in Dallas.

Al-Farouq Aminu, Trail Blazers, 28, PF (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $30MM deal in 2015
The quintessential glue guy, Aminu never puts up big numbers but he does a little bit of everything for a playoff-bound team in the West. He’s averaging a career-best 7.9 RPG in 29.0 MPG and his defensive versatility makes him indispensable on a team lacking in stoppers. He’s also become a respectable – if not prolific – 3-point shooter (35.8%). It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if Aminu re-signs with Portland but he’ll have several suitors in July and shouldn’t have any trouble getting a multi-year deal.

Royce O’Neale, Jazz, 25, SF (Up)– Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
O’Neale, undrafted out of Baylor, has been a rotation player all season for Utah. He’s often the the last offensive option on the court but he’s pumped up his production this month. He averaged 13.8 PPG and 4.3 RPG in the last four games prior to the All-Star break. He’s shooting an outstanding 43.9% from long range and advanced defensive metrics are also kind to him (2.2 Defensive Box Plus/Minus). O’Neale’s $1.62MM salary for next season isn’t fully guaranteed until next January but the Jazz might do that a lot sooner and perhaps even negotiate an extension with the swingman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Community Shootaround: Anthony Davis Situation

The Pelicans have had a busy day, cutting ties with GM Dell Demps and naming Danny Ferry as the interim replacement. Whether that has any impact on what the franchise will do with Anthony Davis the rest of the season remains to be seen.

New Orleans wants to get a maximum return on Davis this offseason and won’t necessarily limit itself to one of his preferred destinations. The efforts of agent Rich Paul to force the Pelicans’ hand before the trade deadline backfired, as the front office refused to buckle and work out a deal with the Lakers.

However, the next two months will be tricky. Davis has been booed in his home arena and is now obviously in an awkward spot when he takes the court. So are coach Alvin Gentry and New Orleans’ remaining front office executives, who must decide how much to use the franchise player. The Pelicans risk league discipline if they choose to sit Davis when he’s healthy. Davis suffered in a shoulder contusion against Oklahoma City on Thursday, but the injury is a minor one.

It would seem to be in the Pelicans’ best interest to play Davis as little as possible, not only decreasing the chances of major injury but also improving their chances of winning the draft lottery. However, it would also be unfair to fans who paid full price to see Davis play not get their money’s worth.

That leads us to our question of the day: Should the Pelicans continue to play Anthony Davis the rest of the season or should they try to shut him down and risk league penalties? If they decide to play him, should they limit his minutes or use him as they did before his trade demand?

Please take to the comments section to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Hoops Rumors Glossary: Starter Criteria

The NBA’s rookie scale, which determines how much first round picks earn during their first four NBA seasons, also dictates how much the qualifying offers will be worth for those players once they’re eligible for restricted free agency after year four. However, the value of those qualifying offers can fluctuate depending on whether or not a player has met the “starter criteria.”

Here’s how the starter criteria works:

A player who is eligible for restricted free agency is considered to have met the starter criteria if he plays at least 2,000 minutes or starts 41 games in the season before he reaches free agency.

A player can also meet the criteria if he averages either of those marks in the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency. For instance, if a player started 50 games in 2017/18 and 32 in 2018/19, he’d meet the starter criteria, since his average number of starts over the last two seasons is 41.

A player’s ability or inability to meet the starter criteria impacts the value of the qualifying offer he receives as a restricted free agent, as follows:

  • A top-14 pick who does not meet the starter criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 15th overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
    • Note: For the summer of 2019, the value of this QO will be $4,485,665. Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Kaminsky are examples of players who fall into this group.
  • A player picked between 10th and 30th who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the ninth overall pick would receive if he signed for 120% of the rookie scale.
    • Note: For the summer of 2019, the value of this QO will be $4,915,726. Kelly Oubre and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are examples of players who may fall into this group — Oubre needs to play 229 more minutes this season, while Hollis-Jefferson must make two more starts.
  • A second-round pick or undrafted player who meets the criteria will receive a qualifying offer equal to the amount the 21st overall pick would receive if he signed for 100% of the rookie scale.
    • Note: For the summer of 2019, the value of this QO will be $3,021,354. Thomas Bryant and Rodney McGruder are examples of players who fall into this group.
  • For all other RFAs, the standard criteria determine the amounts of their qualifying offers.

Extending a qualifying offer to a player who is eligible for restricted free agency officially makes that player an RFA, ensuring that his team has the right of first refusal if he signs an offer sheet with another club. It also gives the player the option of signing that one-year QO.

Generally, the value of a restricted free agent’s qualifying offer isn’t hugely important, since very few RFAs accept those offers outright. There are exceptions though.

Last offseason, for instance, Rodney Hood was the only player to accept his qualifying offer, which was worth $3,472,888. Hood was nagged by injuries during the two seasons prior to his restricted free agency and was limited to just 119 total games, including 78 starts. If he had started four more games during that two-year stretch, he would have met the starter criteria and bumped the value of his QO up to $4,749,591, which could have changed the way his free agency played out.

We’ll revisit the starter criteria at season’s end to see which potential restricted free agents will have their qualifying offers impacted by meeting – or failing to meet – the starter criteria.

Note: This is a Hoops Rumors Glossary entry. Our glossary posts will explain specific rules relating to trades, free agency, or other aspects of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019’s Most Valuable Traded Second Round Picks

For fans of teams like the Knicks, Suns, Cavaliers, and Bulls, the bottom of the NBA’s standings are of particular interest this season because of the effect they’ll have on the first-round order of the 2019 NBA draft.

Of course, those reverse standings will also dictate the order of the draft’s second round, and an early second round pick can nearly as valuable as a first rounder.

So, while traded first round selections like the one the Raptors sent the Spurs or the one the Nuggets traded to the Nets may have received more attention, it’s worth taking a closer look at some traded 2019 second rounders that now project to be valuable picks.

[RELATED: Traded Second Round Picks For 2019 NBA Draft]

Here are five of those picks:

1. Knicks’ pick traded to Nets

The Knicks originally sent their 2019 second round pick to Philadelphia in a 2014 salary dump involving Travis Outlaw. The Sixers subsequently sent it to to the Nets, along with Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas, last season for Trevor Booker.

Now, that pick looks pretty intriguing — if the season ended today, it would be the No. 32 overall selection.

2. Cavaliers’ pick traded to Sixers (or Kings)

Cleveland initially surrendered this pick in a 2015 trade that netted them Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, and it has since changed hands multiple times and become tied up in a convoluted series of swaps — the Sixers will receive it as a result of this month’s Markelle Fultz trade, assuming it’s more favorable than the Orlando, Houston, and Portland second rounders, which seems like a safe bet.

While this selection projects to be No. 33 overall, the Cavaliers probably feel it was worth it to give it up years ago, since Shumpert and Smith played roles on 2016’s title team.

3. Bulls’ pick traded to Sixers

The Bulls attached this pick to Jose Calderon in a salary-dump deal during the 2016 offseason, trading it to the Lakers. L.A., in turn, sent it to Philadelphia as part of a draft-day deal this past summer — it was the price to acquire Isaac Bonga.

It now projects to be the No. 34 pick this year, which could give the Sixers two of the first four selections in the second round.

4. Grizzlies’ pick traded to Bulls

It may seem hard to believe now, but less than a month and a half ago, the Grizzlies were still in buying mode, sending a pair of second round picks – including their 2019 selection – to Chicago for Justin Holiday.

Memphis has slumped badly since then, and that pick would be No. 36 overall if the season ended today. For the Bulls, getting this selection helps make up for having moved their own second rounder.

5. Wizards’ pick traded to Hornets or Nuggets

The Wizards first dealt this pick on draft night in 2015 in a trade that allowed them to move up to select Kelly Oubre. The Hawks, who received it in that deal, flipped it to Denver in a 2017 three-way trade involving Danilo Gallinari and Jamal Crawford.

Here’s where it gets complicated: When they moved up two spots in the 2018 draft to nab Jarred Vanderbilt, the Nuggets agreed to give the Magic the least favorable of Denver’s own 2019 second round pick and that Wizards’ second rounder they got from Atlanta. Orlando then sent the least favorable of those two picks to Charlotte in a deal involving Timofey Mozgov, Jerian Grant, and Bismack Biyombo.

But the Nuggets had sent their own top-55 protected second rounder to New Orleans – by way of Milwaukee – in a separate deal, meaning the “least favorable” pick sent to Charlotte via Orlando had to account for those conditions too. So, if Denver’s pick falls between 56-60, the Pelicans will acquire it and the Hornets will instead get the more favorable pick, Washington’s second rounder. Got all that?

For now, the Nuggets’ second rounder projects to be No. 57 — in that scenario, the Pelicans would receive it and the Hornets would receive Washington’s pick, which would be No. 37. But if Denver’s pick ends up at, say, No. 54, Orlando will get it, New Orleans won’t get anything, and the Nuggets will get the Wizards’ selection.

Information from RealGM was used in the creation of this post.

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