As the resident Economics Minor on the Supersonicsoul staff, I thought it best if I offered some thoughts on where the Sonics are headed salary cap-wise entering the coming season. After all, if I asked Paul to do it, he’d probably start to shake, mumbling something along the lines of, “Hey, how ‘bout we sign the X-man!”
Anyway, here’s where we stand as of July 20:
Rashard Lewis, $8,571,000
Danny Forston, $6,415,584
Nick Collison, $1,815,000
Luke Ridnour, $1,638,000
Robert Swift, $1,764,480
Ray Allen, $16,000,000 (estimated)
Johan Petro, $1,700,000 (estimated)
Adding those fellows up brings us to a total of $37,904,064 for seven players. Bear in mind that Petro’s salary will not fluctuate far from the figure listed while Allen’s salary could swing by millions, as his contract is dependent upon how the Sonics need to fill their roster. Being that the Sonics are not pursuing any huge free agents this off-season, I don’t think he’ll be donating any dollars to Howard Schultz this season.
That leaves five players and $12,895,936 (assuming Dan Rosenbaum’s salary cap estimation holds true). There are three roles the Sonics need to fill from those two spots:
1. Backup PG
2. Sixth Man
3. Backup/Starting C
Ideally, the Sonics would fill those roles with either Marko Jaric/Earl Watson/Brevin Knight, Vlade Radmanovic, and someone like Dale Davis. Let’s assume that Vlade’s comments to the Seattle Times (along the lines of “start me or ship me”) are hyperbole, and that he doesn’t mind returning to Seattle. In that case ...
Vladimir Radmanovic, $7,000,000
That leaves us three players and $5,895,936. Jaric has been a somewhat hot commodity this summer, as plenty of teams have had him in for a tryout. Watson also has been pursued, though he hasn’t seemed to receive as much ink as Jaric. Jaric is a fine player, but I don’t see him pursuing a backup role when he could conceivably start elsewhere, leaving the Sonics looking squarely at Earl Watson.
At 6’1”, Watson does not offer the Sonics much in the way of size, and putting him in the same lineup with Allen and Ridnour – as the Sonics did with AD – is inconceivable. Meaning he could only be on the court when Ridnour rides the bench, a not unacceptable situation. In a perfect world, the Sonics would get Jaric to come off the bench and replicate AD’s success, but since Halle Berry doesn’t live next door to me, I guess this isn’t a perfect world. Other options would include Rick Brunson (no, thanks), Brevin Knight (fine by me), Keyon Dooling (poor shooter, but good size), or Gary Payton (!). Like Earl himself, Watson’s salary demands will not be too tall, meaning
Earl Watson (or equivalent), $1,500,000
That leaves two players and $4,395,936. One spot could go to
Damien Wilkins, $750,000
That leaves two players and $3,645,936. Bear in mind that Reggie Evans and Vitaly Potapenko are still free agents and count against the Sonics’ cap until they are signed (unless they were renounced, if I understand the CBA correctly), but let’s assume that the rumors of the Potato signing in Miami are true and Reggie finds new life elsewhere. So let’s just say
Dale Davis, $3,200,000
And, of course,
Mateen Cleaves, $300,000
That leaves us $145,000 for Howard Schultz to put towards a way to incorporate caffeine into baby food and $936 to buy Bob Weiss some real fancy playing cards.
Here’s the roster:
PG – Ridnour, Watson, Cleaves
SG – Allen, Wilkins
SF – Lewis, Radman, Wilkins
PF – Collison, Fortson, Radman
C – Davis, Forston, Swift, Petro
On the whole, not too much different than last season, with the notable exceptions of the addition of Davis and the loss of Daniels. It’s also worth noting that three of the five starters from the final game of the year (JJ, AD and Reggie Evans) would be gone. However, I’d venture the negative of Watson v Daniels would be offset by the consistent play of Davis, the improvement of Ridnour, and the improvement of Collison.
That’s enough of spending someone else’s money for me. Now I’ll go home and see how my wife spent ours.