The Hornets signed shooting guard Luther Head this morning. Here are the players the Hornets have under contract and their salaries for the upcoming season: (salaries are in millions)
Peja Stojakovic: $15.3
Chris Paul: $14.9
Emeka Okafor: $11.5
David West: $8.2
James Posey: $6.4
Darius Songaila: $4.8
Julian Wright: $2.8
Darren Collison: $1.3
Craig Brackins: $1.3
Luther Head: $1.1
Quincy Pondexter: $1
Marcus Thornton: $762,000
12 Players for a Total: $69.8
NBA Luxury for 2010-2011: $70.3
AS OF THIS MINUTE (with the current roster) HORNETS ARE $500,000 UNDER THE DREADED NBA LUXURY TAX.
The Hornets have never and will never exceed the NBA luxury tax.
I think the Hornets will sign free agent center Brian Cusworth off their summer league team. His salary will be $400,000. Cusworth is a solid 7-footer who played his college ball at Harvard and who’s spent the past few years playing professionally in Spain.
So what else do they do from this point forward?
Does the team stay as is and hope that if Paul is healthy they can make the playoffs? Perhaps.
What seems more likely is a series of creative trades to free up money.
Teams under the NBA salary cap can do unbalanced trades. Look for the Hornets to give away Darius Songaila and Julian Wright…maybe to a team like the Clippers. The Hornets will get back future 2nd round draft picks. A move like this would free up $7.6 million dollars. The Clippers need players (they have only 6 under contract) and the Hornets need salary relief (plus, with Brackins and Pondexter the Hornets can easily live without Songaila and JuJu).
If the Hornets could swing a move like this they could make a move for two or more free agents. The Hornets could sign a player like Josh Childress for $6 million annually to play small forward and a young center like Ian Mahimni for $1.6 million annually.
I think the Hornets would love to dump the salaries of Emeka Okafor (maybe to Toronto) and James Posey…..but finding teams willing to take those salaries is going to be tough.
Just some food for thought.