Trade Deadline Math

Barely a week before the February 19th trade deadline, the Knicks are keeping a low profile.  Even though the team sits just 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, Donnie Walsh almost certainly won’t be bringing in reinforcements for the stretch run.  In fact, the biggest speculation is over whether he’ll trade his best player for a draft pick.  By all accounts, Walsh’s primary goal is to clear cap space in 2010.  This is an update on where that stands.

A few things have combined to squeeze the Knicks’ options. One is the strong play of David Lee and Nate Robinson, which has likely made their extensions more expensive.  Another is the collapsing economy. More teams than ever are desperately looking to dump salary, which makes moving Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries more of a pipe dream than ever.  And it gets worse.  Looking down the road, the salary cap has risen by $2-3 million each of the past two years, but some forecasters now predict it will stay flat or shrink.  The headline here is that if the Knicks extend both Lee and Robinson, they may not have enough cap room for even one max free agent, much less two.  Good as he’s been, that’s an argument for trading Robinson. However, even at a $6.5 million contract, he’s probably tradeable next year, so it’s not a make-or-break decision.

You can also see why it’s likely that the Knicks will try to move Harringon, Q and even Duhon – if not now, then by the 2010 trade deadline. When their contracts end in 2010, they linger as “cap holds” until the Knicks re-sign them or formally renounce them. Duhon’s cap hold, the smallest of the three, would still take up $7.8 million of that cap space.  On the other hand, as trade chips, each of those guys could be worth a (late) first-round pick, although those rookie contracts would take up a few million dollars of cap room.

So… here goes. Since the last overview, I’ve modified my cap forecast, and my guesstimate on the cost of extending Lee & Robinson.  Keep in mind that the Knicks can offer Lee a 6-year, $60 million contract by starting the deal around $8.5 millon and including maximum annual raises. I’m now projecting that the cap will stay flat this year, and grow by $1 million each of the following years.  All this math involves a lot of estimates and guesswork.  It also assumes that we don’t sign any new players between now and 2010.  No mid-levels!  These rosters include 12 players; that assumes we would reach the 13-player minimum by signing a (star) free agent. To find more cap space, our options include renouncing Lee and/or Robinson, trading them for picks or shorter contracts, trading Curry or Jeffries for players with shorter contracts or trading away the 2009 draft pick.

2010-2011 (summer of 2010)

  • Eddy Curry                     11,276,863
  • David Lee                         9,000,000 (est)
  • Jared Jeffries                    6,883,800
  • Nate Robinson                 6,500,000 (est)
  • Wilson Chandler              2,130,482
  • Danilo Gallinari                3,304,560
  • 2009 1st rounder             1,845,400  (at current #11)
  • 5 roster fillers                  2,368,020 (absolute minimum – 5 rookie FAs, paid the minimum)

total:       $43,309,125

2011-2012 (summer of 2011)

  • David Lee                          9,500,000 (est)
  • Nate Robinson                  6,500,000 (est)
  • Wilson Chandler               6,500,000 (est)
  • Danilo Gallinari                4,190,182
  • 2009 1st rounder             1,974,200  (est #11)
  • 2011 1st rounder             1,100,000 (est # 20)
  • 6 roster-fillers                 2,841,624  (6 rookie FAs – absolute minimum)

total:                             $29,606,006
projected cap                  60,000,000

*all numbers from ShamSports


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34 thoughts to “Trade Deadline Math”

  1. I agree that you have accurately pegged what Robinson and Lee are likely worth on an open and free market. But that’s not what they will be exposed to.

    They are both restricted free agents this year so the Knicks can, and likely will, match any offers they get within reason. Knowing that, is a team really going to offer as much as $9MM to a restricted free agent who is not an all-star caliber player, such as Lee? What is the precedent for that? Off the top of my head, I can only think of Boozer getting an offer of that value with a record equivalent to Lee’s. So it’s possible, but not very likely in this economy. More likely is Lee will either get something outrageous that the Knicks won’t match (like $11MM per year), something more modest like $6MM, or a qualifying offer that allows him to be unrestricted the following year.

    As for Nate, again, he’s likely to make about $3.5MM or $4MM this summer. Where is the market for him?

  2. re: Nate, all 29 other teams can offer the mid-level and I think there’s a good chance someone will. It only takes one, to force the Knicks to match. His height hurts his value… but I don’t think it will go below $5m.

    Lee is harder to peg because there ARE just a handful of teams with cap space. But there are definitely GMs who understand that Lee is, if not an All-Star player, close to it. We Knickerbloggers have known his value for a while, but now he’s 3rd in the league in rebounding (per game) and 5th in FG%, so it’s not like he doesn’t have mainstream appeal. And he’s only 25, just hitting his prime. The economic situation is unprecented, which could squeeze his price a bit. But if the offers aren’t in the $8-10 million range, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him play on the qualifying offer a la Ben Gordon, and go on the market in 2010 when there will be lots of bidders.

  3. The realGM list is a little misleading… any half-decent rookie usually gets extended at least through their 4th season, so in 2011 it will be last year’s rookie class (like Durant, who you mentioned) that might potentially be on the market. In recent years, almost all the good ones signed extensions after their 3rd year, but I think that might be changing. For one thing, a lot of teams are cutting salary… at the same time, that means there will be more teams with cap room, willing to bid on good players… which will induce more of those players, to test free agency.

    Aside from rookies, the RealGM list leaves off a lot of players who will probably exercise their 2010-2011 options, and go on the market in 2011… Kobe, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler come to mind… LeBron and Wade also have player options for 2010-2011; they can be free agents in 2010 or 2011, it’s up to them.

    Basically, there will be plenty to pick from, the summer that Curry and Jeffries come off the cap.

  4. So Caleb– what’s your prediction? Do the Knicks deal, and if so, who do you think goes?

    I’d love to see Q and Harrington moved, but a) who would pay for Q? and b) would Walsh trade Harrington even if a decent offer arose?

    And I’d be shocked if Duhon was traded this week.

    ps– thanks for breaking this down again and adjusting it for the new developments. Great to have it, and I don’t think its available anywhere else on line!

  5. Could Nate’s trade value get any higher than it is now? I know there’s no rush to move him, but I would think he would be very attractive to a few teams. It would nuke our (very remote) playoff chances, since he’s the only one on the team that can really create, but he’s had a very good few weeks following that wicked slump.

    Or am I overvaluing an undisciplined, undersized (if electrifying) scoring guard?

  6. Hard to guess what they are thinking, but I’d be surprised to see Harrington, Q or Duhon traded next week. It’s more of a next year thing — maybe the summer.

    They do have to make decisions on Lee & Nate. I have a feeling they will keep both, but maybe that’s my heart talking. Walsh and D’Antoni seem to appreciate Lee, and I don’t think they’ll move him for cap space. On the other hand, if they had the chance to move him and Marbury for Stoudemire, I think they’d do it in a heartbeat (whatever I think)

    For summer, the big decision is PG. Do they find one in the draft? Do they plan on keeping Nate AND Duhon? That’s a lot of money locked up in one position.

    A pretty realistic goal would be a 2010-2011 team that’s something like: starting 5 of Nate or Duhon, this year’s lottery pick (Stephen Curry?), Gallinari, Lee & a free agent. Bench guys would be young – Chandler and whatever draft picks we can get for Harrington, Q and Duhon or Nate. Plus Curry & Jeffries, assuming they can’t be moved. Depending on the FA, that’s anywhere from a .500 team to a 55-win team, IMO.

    Then for 2011-2012, with the extra cap space, you’d have a front six of Duhon or Nate, Stephen Curry (?), Gallinari, Lee and two big-time free agents (one signed in 2010, the other in 2011). A bench of Chandler, if we keep him, and upcoming draft picks…. plus at that point we could splurge on a mid-level signing. That could be a title team.

  7. I don’t think Nate’s value will get much higher, since he’s about to sign a more expensive contract, but I don’t think his value will fall a lot, either… he’s playing at pretty much the same level he’s had for the past few years. His defense has improved, and he’s in a system that fits him. He’s young. So I don’t think there’s need to rush a bad deal.

    Like I say in the post just above, for the long-term I think we’ll end up keeping him or Duhon, but not both.

  8. i see two teams that could use point guard help- the blazers and magic. i think duhon would be a good addition from the blazers perspective- would they trade RLEC and a pic for Duhon and Jefferies? That might push the blazers into “elete” catagory.

    I think the magic def need to make a move this point after lossing Nelson. the team is too good not to try to make something happen now.

    Also- with this economy, i think there are def going to be deals that are just salary dumps- if dolan isnt hurting too bad they need to trade malik for a contract a year longer and draft pics.

  9. “with this economy, i think there are def going to be deals that are just salary dumps- if dolan isnt hurting too bad they need to trade malik for a contract a year longer and draft pics.”

    Well, that’s the real question then, isn’t it? If Dolan can afford it, there’s a whole bunch of picks that can be had. The Kings deal (Marbury for Thomas and Miller) would cost him $40 million. He paid $30 million for the Balkman pick, which ended up a salary dump. In this economy would he pay even more for a lottery pick? As fans we can hope so. Cablevision shareholders probably hope not.

    Rose for Cardinal; Rose for Darko; Rose for Claxton…

    The list is long– turn Rose, a useless expiring contract into a useless non-expiring plus a pick. It would cost $14 million after taxes. I don’t read the business pages. Is Cablevision in the position to pay a lot of $$ for a better future for the Knicks?

  10. As usual the most intelligent site, so let me add my 2 cents.Curry’s contract is the key and in fact, holding DW hostage.If he can move Eddy, this year, little chance or next,who knows, all options are open.It’s most realistic to think Eddy sticks around contactually, at least until 2009.DW can sign both N8 and DLee and then trade either or both in ’09, if he can’t get rid of Eddy.There’s no real reasons to keep either Q or Al H past next year, particularly if he wants to develop Gallo and Chandler, which he should.

    So what should he do:pray, being a good Catholic, my mother, 90 and living in NYC,will accompany him to Mass everyday and Novenas,when available. What is he praying for, Isiah Thomas to get a GM job and pursue Eddy, absent that any GM get a mild case of amnesia, absent that make just about any deal that doesn’t take back salary in ’10 and beyond, even if it includes Steph…only joking!! Sign both Lee and N8 to the price the market establishes when they declare free agency.Be prepared to eject both, more notably N8 at the first opportunity next year. Let Harrington, Thomas and Q go, as quickly as possible.Play Lee, Gallo, Chandler and N8 as much together as you can to get your best read. An aside, the combo of Gallo and Lee defensively, is lethal.Scour the “D” league for a “defensive minded” inside presence,as Fkach noted, a Camby type, if possible, it doesn’t appear that Thabeet or any college guy will be there for the K’s,add a backup point guard, as noted, and young back-ups to the keepers noted above.Put this team together in the “D” league, all of whom would play except DL and N8,and roll with them all of next season.I don’t think LBJ is leaving Cleveland, but make the market as attractive as possible for the “star” necessary to make them consistent contenders.

  11. The chance of moving Eddy is so slim… but if we are out of the playoff picture, it would be good to get him a lot of p/t after the break just to see what he can do. Still being relatively young, I’m sure his body would still react well to dieting! A life coach would not be out of the question for him.
    He’s really only valuable in the last year of his contract, 2011, possibly the year before if he can play a full game of basketball and be semi-effective. For now, DW has to focus on what is possible before this deadline, and that means trading what we have of value: our expiring contracts, draft picks, or good players. I like the idea of buying a 2nd 1st rounder, but then we’d have to take on a longer contract. This is doable if we plan on not resigning Nate or Duhon. Right now, I would not give Nate over 5 mil, even though he’s a fan favorite. He’s probably one of our more tradable assets at this deadline. Duhon is valuable and has earned a slight raise, but is worth no more than 7 mil after his contract. It might be smart to throw Lee a one year contract right now for 8 mil to see if he’d bite.

  12. From the daily news:

    Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald were watching intently as Golden State’s Anthony Randolph went through his pregame drills early Tuesday in Oakland. Hours later, Walsh was huddling with Bill Duffy, Randolph’s soon-to-be agent. What happened in between watching Randolph and talking to Duffy was both alarming and eye-opening to the Knicks president and his top lieutenant; the Knicks surrendered an NBA season-high 144 points to the Warriors and lost their fifth straight game. Randolph, the highly sought-after rookie forward finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes. Walsh is committed to giving the franchise salary-cap flexibility for the free agent class of 2010. But he’s also committed to trying to reach the playoffs this season while building a team that would be attractive to future free agents LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. With the trading deadline set for next Thursday, Walsh has only a few more days to upgrade the roster. Stephon Marbury’s expiring contract could be an important trading chip. With David Lee and Nate Robinson both set to become restricted free agents in July, Walsh may look to trade one of his youngest players.

  13. An aside, the combo of Gallo and Lee defensively, is lethal.

    Agreed. Which is why I’m not as high on keeping Lee as some others. If you think that Gallo is potentially a starter in 2010, then signing Lee to a multi-year at $10MM seems like a short-sighted move to me. I don’t believe those two guys can ever be in the starting lineup together, so unless you’re willing to trade Gallo…

  14. An aside, the combo of Gallo and Lee defensively, is lethal.

    That might be overstating it. Lee would be closer to average if he was playing at PF, instead of C. And it’s a little early to judge Gallinari – he’s obviously got a lot of physical growing to do, and in the best case you’d expect a slow start from a 20-year-old rookie who missed summer, training camp and most of the season.

    Aside from that, put them or anyone next to a shot-blocking center and they will suddenly look better.

  15. Caleb – I totally agree with the above.

    I haven’t felt the need to post too much lately about the greatness of David Lee, since it’s become a little more evident this year. But of late, criticisms of his defense have really escalated to a point that seems strange.

    Watching the last two games has really brought this into focus for me. The Clippers and Warriors just used the Knicks up on the perimeter in the last two games. They went by them at will, and when they weren’t doing that they bombed away from long range with impunity.

    Little noticed, but Steve Novak went 8-10 and 6-8 from three last night. He was the guy who beat us. He scored 23 points on 10.44 shots. That’s absurd. That’s a ts% of 110%. Although you can’t search for it on B-R, that very likely is the most efficient 20+ scoring game in the NBA this year. The other game that comes to mind is Nene’s 12-12, 4-7 ft a few weeks back. Novak was much more efficient than that.

    I am not putting that on David Lee. Nor am I putting the fact that Golden State shot 12-22 from deep.

    At the end of the day, David Lee is sixth in the NBA in rebound rate, 9th in ts%, 11th in efg, and top 20 in Offensive Rating and Total Win Shares (and of course Top Ten in Wins Produced). Obsessing over his defensive limitations (which are there) is totally missing the point. Lee is one of the 25 best offensive players in the NBA right now. In 45 games as a starter, he is averaging 17-12.6 with a ts% of 61% with 2.15 turnovers per game. I don’t care how bad you are on defense, nobody who is that effective on offense in the NBA should be taking crap from anyone. This is the NBA after all.

    The notion that seems to becoming prevalent is that any team that has David Lee on it is going to be bad defensively, and that just isn’t true. Lee is as good defensively as a lot of offensive superstars in this league. He isn’t worse than Carlos Boozer, he isn’t much worse than Amare frankly, who doesn’t rebound very well and who allows ten easy buckets for every spectacular rejection he notches. He has just been put in an impossible position this year, playing out of position as the only interior defender on a team filled with a full complement of guys who are lousy defensively or gimpy, and which has often had only 8 players active.

    When I watch the Knicks, it seems obvious to me how things should go. D’Antoni needs to have a Riley moment. He needs to realize that Showtime is not his way forward, that he needs to go the Bad Boys route just like the Knicks did in the early 90’s. He says to himself, “dammit, I am a great coach, no matter what pace my teams play at, critical adulation or not, and I don’t have Steve Nash anymore to make me look good.” If you find a Sam Dalembert, Ben Wallace, Varejao Joel Pryzbilla, to play center, stick him next to David Lee, put Lebron at the smal forward, you would have a very good team offensively and defensively with a lot of cap space to fill in the blanks.

    The most obvious way this scenario could play out is if the Knicks find themselves in position to draft Thabeet this spring, who looks better and better every time I see him. Would be very interesting to see how that would go.

    Anyway, haven’t blown off any Lee steam lately, that felt good, take it all with a grain of salt of course….

  16. I’ll buy that Caleb except that I still can’t see both of them starting in the same lineup.

    While Gallo’s D skills will likely improve, I don’t think his foot speed will ever be up to guarding a 3. I think Gallo’s going to be a 4 by the time he matures, and he and Lee will be fighting for the same spot. So you need to make a commitment to one or the other IMO. It’s a tough call, but if you’re really thinking 2010-11 season as the goal, I am inclined to part with Lee and keep Gallo as my potential 4 of the future. That’s why I’m perplexed that he’s starting but still getting crap for minutes — he really needs more evaluation so we can make a call.

    Well, that and he needs for Nate to give him the damn ball when he’s open! ;-)

  17. Owen: That’s definitely a valid position as well (on Lee and D). But I don’t think we really disagree — if that’s your strategy, then you need to think about how to get Gallo showcase minutes so he’ll be worth something in a trade next year.

    The crux of the problem is that we have one offense-first, AS-caliber 4 who is about to get 3x$10MM, and we have a 19-year old who has shown flashes of becoming an offense-first, AS-caliber 4. Keeping both of them seems redundant to me?

  18. Gallinari actually reminds a great deal of Rashard Lewis, who is the prototypical tweener forward, too small to be a real pf, but excellent at the small forward.

    I do like the fact that he has already shown he can score efficiently and I am excited about him, but I don’t see him ever being a quality NBA power forward. He would have to fill out a lot and become much more athletic, which is possible but unlikely looking at him. Just too much of a beanpole and he is already 20.

  19. I completly agree with Owen about Gallinari. He has been alot better than I expected this year but I doubt he will ever be even average as a rebounder at the four and frankly you do not want your PF to play 25 feet from the basket which is where Gallinari seems most comfortable.

    I hope he can keep developing as a three, so he is not redundant with Lee because I would be shocked if he turns out as good as Lee. Also he is on a cheap rookie contract so we can keep him cheap and if in a couple of years he is too good to be a back up we can either move him or if he ends up better than Lee move Lee.

  20. G.S. looked great again last night… 10 boards in 14 minutes for Ant. Randolph against Oden and Co. He looks like the real deal. Damn! What a steal for them.

    I think the rotation will work itself out. I can see Lee starting next to a defense-first center with Chandler at the 3 and Gallo coming off the bench as a 6th man or vice versa. I don’t think Gallo’s any slower than Stojakovic who plays the 3 in N.O. But we need a shot-blocker and good perimeter D to cover up any mistakes.

    I’m more worried about our guard play. Duhon is a great surprise at the point, but his D is lacking, and I still can’t figure out what we should do with Nate. He can be so good but also so terrible. And he’s D, while improved, is still lacking especially for a SG. I would love to get Randolph as I think he can learn to play good interior D and can run the break. He’s only 6’10” but he could still grow and become a legit center, or at least an Al Horford type. Thabeet would be interesting, but he just won’t be there for us. Our best bet is getting a good guard in the draft as there are many and possibly Monroe will slide to us. And just keep our kids unless we get a great deal from someone…

  21. “Gallinari actually reminds a great deal of Rashard Lewis, who is the prototypical tweener forward, too small to be a real pf, but excellent at the small forward.”

    He reminds me more, unfortunately, of Bargnani. Lewis has an incredibly quick release on his 3’s, Gallinari does not. Also, while Lewis is not known for his defensive skills, I’m sure he can guard most 3’s adequately, whereas Gallinari cannot. I guess we can hope he develops into a poor man’s Dirk, who is also slow of foot but has a deadly shot and the great fall away J.

  22. Lots of comparisons going around..

    Anthony Randolph caught my eye last year, during an LSU game… I was smitten. Based on that one look, I was thinking the guy could be a top-5 pick. You often hear about 6’10 guys playing small forward, but in reality, once they go against NBA talent, almost invariably their quickness was overrated and they turn into PFs or even centers. Randolph looks like an exception, a la Kevin Durant – a 6’10 shotblocker with the legit ballhandling and playmaking skills to play on the perimeter. (Obviously, without the shooting or scoring skills of Durant). His combination of agility, length and shot-blocking seemed to give him the potential to be special, especially on defense – like a 6’10 Scottie Pippen.

    However, when you looked at the numbers, Randolph was not a good pro prospect. His COLLEGE TS% was barely 50%, and he was a poor rebounder to boot – even for a SF. So, while you could see why he was exciting, by the numbers, he was a reach to be picked in the first-round.

    Usually, the stats are right, but with Randolph you can see why there’s a conflict – just look at him. He is physically freakish. Before the draft he was measured at 6’10, 195. Do you know how freaking skinny that is? Not surprising that was unable to hold his own physically, which hurt his production. If you are an optimist – you hope that he fills out to 225, 230, in which case he has a chance to be really good. If he’s just naturally a stringbean – forget it. So far, the optimists, and Randolph, look good. But if he pans out, it’s not gonna be as a center. He is still too skinny. IMO it will be as a tall small forward, with shot-blocking skills – like a young Kirilenko.

    Gallinari as Bargnani – no way. Bargnani is possibly the worst player in the league getting starter’s minutes. Gallinari shares some of the weaknesses – like rebounding – but despite sitting out the first 6 months of his career, injured, he’s already a very efficient scorer. 63.7 TS%, 45% on 3s. Small sample size, but until he starts missing I don’t see why anyone should complain. Gallinari can also put the ball on the floor, unlike Bargnani. And I’m not as worried about Gallinari’s defense as some people are. He obviously has a long way to go, but he moves better than I expected – especially for someone who’s probably out of shape, and hesitant like any rookie. He seems active and also has a high rate of steals, although the sample size, again, is small.

    Last spring I saw two people with formulas who project from Italian League stats – both predicted Gallinari would be a solid NBA player – good scorer and passer, weak rebounder. This was not true of Bargnani.

    Gallinari’s style does remind me of Dirk, especially young Dirk — a sweet shooter, who’s also a scorer. But Gallinari is 3 inches shorter, and Dirk is a terrific rebounder and overall superstar – so that’s a tough comparison to make. I see Gallinari’s floor as someone like Tim Thomas or Keith Van Horn. Or Charlie Villaneuva. But IMO it’s easy to see him ending up as good as Rashard Lewis, or better. (For what it’s worth, his rookie #s, so far, are much better than Lewis at the same stage — and better than Dirk, for that matter).

    Gallinari still has a long way to go, physically, so it’s interesting to see how his game changes. In any case his potential looks much better than Chandler’s, but both are good value while they’re on rookie contracts, so there’s no reason to push a trade unless it’s part of a blockbuster.

  23. If Gallo is shooting from the three he doesnt need a quick release because most likely someone will just be running out to put a hand in his face. I like what ive seen so far from him. Shoots well , tries to defend and tries to block shots. He does tend to linger on the perimeter a lot but thats what hes sued to. If hes going to be an unorthodox player for us that will cuase matchup problems them hes going to have to start doing what comes naturally for him and thats start creating a shot and taking guys bigger than him or slower that him off the dribble. Keep in mind hes only 20 and he will get better.

    I think Nate should be traded. I think he has maximum value and could be a big piece for a playoff team like the Hornets or Magic and maybe we can steal some draft picks from them in return. I know were waiting for 2010 but Donnie has to secure more young talent for the coming years. Real guys that have a fire and great growth potential.

  24. can someone help me understand the trade rules? i saw on another blog site for the knicks that Miami might turn around and try to trade oniel for amare-

    my question is- isnt there a waiting period of 2 months before a player can be traded after he was aquired in a trade with other players (moon)

    the nba cap faq seems to back up my thoughts

    anyone know for sure?

  25. can someone help me understand the trade rules? i saw on another blog site for the knicks that Miami might turn around and try to trade oniel for amare-
    my question is- isnt there a waiting period of 2 months before a player can be traded after he was aquired in a trade with other players (moon)
    the nba cap faq seems to back up my thoughts
    anyone know for sure?

    the link should have been:

  26. It can only be a straight swap, not involving other players. From your Larry Coon link:

    “For two months after receiving the player in trade or claiming him off waivers, if the player is being traded in combination with other players. However, the team is free to trade the player by himself (not packaged with other players) immediately.”

  27. Probably moot, tho – if Phoenix trades Stoudemire, it would be to shed salary and get younger talent. O’Neal is older, worse, more injury-prone and makes more money. :)

    I suppose they might try and work out a combo deal over the summer.

  28. Probably moot, tho – if Phoenix trades Stoudemire, it would be to shed salary and get younger talent. O’Neal is older, worse, more injury-prone and makes more money. :)
    I suppose they might try and work out a combo deal over the summer.

    yeah, that trade wouldnt make any sense for the suns, but then again trading amare at all doesnt make much sense. he is the young outstanding player they should be building around. if they still feel like blowing up the team getting younger and saving money, why not get rid of shaq and nash?

    i feel bad for the suns fans. kerr might have a plan and it is too soon to tell, but this looks like what the knicks did years ago that got us into the current mess, only this is worse because the suns went to the conference finals. looking around the league, we are definitely not the worst run organization anymore

  29. I think $10 mil/yr would be overpaying Lee. The question in my mind is not what other teams will pay him, but whether he is good enough to win a championship with just 50 million worth of players around him. At 10 mil/yr for Lee, you could have 2 higher paid players and then you would have a bunch of nothing. The problem is, I have hard time seeing him as the #3 player on a championship team. Is he as good as Tony Parker/Manu? Ray Allen? That being said, he could be the #3 on a team with Shaq/Kobe, or with Lebron and Bosh, but the as you can see from the examples, two people ahead of him would have to be super stars.

    I would not be opposed to paying him north of 10/mil in 2009/10. A few years ago the Nuggets got Kenyon Martin away from the Nets because they threw a ton of money at him (way too much) and also front loaded the deal. Theoretically, he was paid more in the first years and less in the next. Kirk Heinrich is also on a deal where he is paid less each year. Why couldn’t we do that with Lee? Let’s say the average for the deal is 8 mil. We pay him the max in the first year and then bring it way down to make him a 6 mil guy when we can actually win. That would actually make it a slightly better deal for Lee than on paper. As his financial adviser will surely tell him, 10 mil today is worth more than 10 mil tomorrow. He can invest it (even conservatively, no risk, for 1.5%) which is a good deal of money compounded on max deal money. If we do this, every has their cake a eates it too. Lee gets paid and gets to contribute to a winning team. We get Lee and then get to have a winning team.

    I imagine there could exist some CBO clause that could mess up our plan, but let’s hope not.

  30. David West has a contract that declines each year, but I can’t think of another example for any prominent player. not exactly sure why that’s not more popular…

    I would guess there are limits to how much the contract can drop each year.. e.g. can’t offer $25 million the 1st year, $5 million the 2nd… but I don’t know. oGood question.

    Anyway, if you look at the numbers above you can see there’s room to sign Lee in the $60 million range, still max out 2 FAs (by 2011 or 2012), still have Gallinari, Nate and the 2009 pick, and add a mid-level, championship-chasing vet.

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