NBA Free Agency 2014: Clippers near luxury tax with latest signings


Until the end of moratorium when the salary cap numbers for 2014-15 are released, no deals can become official, but teams and players can agree on a deal in NBA Free Agency 2014. With cap’ologist Larry Coon releasing his estimation of the ’14-15 cap numbers earlier this year (Salary Cap = $63.2 million, Luxury-Tax Threshold = $77 million, Hard Cap/Apron = $81 million), we have an idea of how much teams will be allotted for spending.

Since the beginning of free agency, the Los Angeles Clippers have been a bit busy. Here is a brief timeline of all Clippers-related events:

  • June 26th – Clippers draft C.J. Wilcox 28th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.
  • July 3rd – Darren Collison agrees to 3-year, $16 million deal with Sacramento Kings
  • July 4th – Spencer Hawes, Clippers agree to 4-year, $22.6 million deal
  • July 5th – Jordan Farmar, Clippers agree to 2-year, $4.2 million
  • July 7th – Danny Granger agrees to 3-year, $4.2 million deal with Miami Heat

Here is a look at how the Clippers salary situation looks when you factor in the above moves:

Under Contract

Total Guaranteed Salary: ~$70,272,769

Expected Signings

Total: ~$77,654,769

Cap Holds

Total w/o cap holds: ~$78,527,984
Total w/ cap holds: ~$81,325,298

Available Tools


As the title suggests, the Clippers are reaching luxury tax and hard cap territory. This means the Clippers ability to add marquee could come to a hold. Unless a sign-and-trade happens, the chase for Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza, and any other veteran wing who’ll command more than the veteran’s minimum is off the table.

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With moratorium possibly working in the Clippers favor, there are two ways the front office can create space to continue filling holes in the roster.

The first is working a sign-and-trade for Spencer Hawes with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, a pipe dream could keep the two franchises from working out a deal. In a S&T, the two teams would be forced to match salaries to make a deal work meaning Cleveland would have to take back whichever combination of Jamal Crawford ($5.25 million), Jared Dudley ($4.25 million), Matt Barnes ($3.396 million), and Reggie Bullock($1.2 million) they prefer most. But in Cleveland’s chase for LeBron James, the organization has plans of doing the complete opposite of what a S&T asks them to do: taking in salary. If LeBron refuses to make a decision by the time July Moratorium end, this could deplete any opportunity of Cleveland revisiting a sign-and-trade with Los Angeles. Any decision by James made prior to the 10th could allow the two teams to work a deal out that allows Los Angeles to retain their mid-level exception.

The second would be fitting Jordan Farmar into the Eric Bledsoe trade exception, preserving the bi-annual exception in the process. Andrew Han of TrueHoop’s Clipper Blog theorizes a few ways the Clippers-Lakers could make this work.

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  • Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers want no part of taking in salary as they look to chase both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. This is part of the reason why Farmar and the Clippers were able to come to a deal so soon. What the Clippers could do is send back a future 2nd round pick, giving the Lakers a chance to receive an asset while allowing to keep as much cap space cleared off the books this current summer.

    Preserving the bi-annual exception ($2.077 million in 2014-15) could allow a player like Paul Pierce to find his way to Los Angeles. Is it known that he’s willing to take as big a pay cut as that? Based on reports, no, but if he’s as willing to come play the next two season under Doc Rivers as many suggest he is, that sacrifice would and could be made.

    As the Clippers continue to survey the free agent landscape, the remainder of moratorium will likely be spent attempting to gain more wiggle room as they edge closer to the tax line. It’ll take cooperation from others to make something shake, but if Rivers’ attempts fall through, the Clippers will be in an excellent position to further improve the team as the 2014-15 season approaches.

    *All salary cap figures via Sham Sports