Matthew Dellavedova is officially a Milwaukee Buck -- and three days sooner than expected.
After agreeing to a reported four-year, $38.4 million deal with Dellavedova on the first day of free agency, the Bucks were expected to sign the 25-year-old restricted free agent to an offer sheet on Thursday, which the Cavaliers would then have had three days to match (though we all knew they wouldn't). Instead, the two teams agreed to a sign-and-trade that created a trade exception for the capped-out Cavs and saw the Bucks land $250,000 in cash for their troubles -- but don't let that little bit of cap nuance distract from the fact that from a Bucks roster perspective this is basically the same as simply signing Dellavedova outright.
Technically, the Cavs signed Dellavedova to the aforementioned deal and then shipped him along with the cash to Milwaukee. In exchange, the Bucks had to send Cleveland something, so they dug up the rights to 34-year-old Spanish forward Albert Mirales, who was picked way back in 2004 by Toronto and whose rights have been shuttled to the Heat, Celtics, and Bucks (as part of the Keyon Dooling trade!) since then.
Because the Bucks completed the deal as a sign-and-trade they're now technically subject to (but not actually anywhere close to) the "hard cap" for the remainder of the season, but don't let that phrase scare you (as it did many people on Twitter this afternoon). In this case that simply means they can't have a payroll greater than $4 million over the luxury tax threshold of $113 million, though that's essentially impossible for them to do anyway. For Cleveland, the additional trade exception created by completing the sign-and-trade will be used to acquire Mike Dunleavy from Chicago, though the Cavs also could have used a larger trade exception they already had. Long story short: the Bucks got the guy they wanted, and both teams got a little something extra for using a sign-and-trade to make it happen.
Depending on how the Bucks structure the Dellavedova and Mirza Teletovic deals, Milwaukee's current cap number including both guys is likely somewhere between $83 and $84 million, giving them as much as $11 million in potential cap space depending on what happens with Miles Plumlee (whose $5.3 million cap hold remains on their books until he either signs somewhere or has his qualifying offer rescinded). With three roster spots currently open, they also still have their $2.9 million room exception at their disposal, which could be useful in lining up another shooter and/or signing second round pick Malcolm Brogdon.
I haven't touched on that Brogdon point yet, so let me just lay it out briefly. While two-year minimum deals don't require cap room to be signed, the Bucks have historically given their second-rounders three-year deals that use slightly above-minimum first years to incentivize the acceptance of a cheap, non-guaranteed third year. Keeping deals at three years or less also guarantees that players are restricted free agents when their deals are up, which is of course more favorable to teams. However, three-year deals or any deal for more than the minimum require cap space or part of the MLE to execute, so expect the same to hold true for Brogdon.
As for Teletovic, he landed in Milwaukee on Thursday and made his way straight to the Bucks' practice facility, so expect him to ink his three-year, $30 million deal shortly as well.
And if you're wondering what kind of player he might be, check out this season-ending retrospective piece from our friends at Bright Side of the Sun.
He's a specialist who fills his role. Teletovic will never be a banger inside, great defender or rebounder. You have him on your team to spot up behind the arc, then nail 3s, and he did that very effectively this season.
To the credit of both team and player, he was deployed correctly, played to his strengths, and delivered consistently in a disastrous, injury-riddled season for the franchise. In the second half of the season, the Suns were playing for nothing but pride, yet Teletovic continued to play his game the same as if he were on a contender.
NBA lowers 17/18 cap projection -- and potential Giannis max deal along with it
The NBA delivered a bit of a curveball on Thursday when it informed teams that it was lowering its estimate of next year's cap level from $107 million to $102 million. For background: the reason for the big jump in next year's cap stemmed from the assumption that teams wouldn't be able to fully spend the money they owed players this year; every year any shortfall in the player's 51% share of basketball-related income is effectively carried over to the next year, and the league assumed a big chunk of money would need to be carried over. That's why you might have noticed the funky jump-jump-decline estimates the league set out a year ago, which initially suggested the cap would go from $89 million this summer to $108 million next year and then fall slightly in 2018. Anyway, with all the spending this summer the league determined there would be less of a shortfall, hence the cap this year is higher ($94 million) and next year's is lower than previously expected.
So what does all this actually mean for the Bucks? Well, keep in mind that any estimate for 2017 and beyond could be completely useless given that both the league and players union can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement next summer. A new CBA could mean any number of things -- a higher cap, a lower cap, or pretty much the same cap. We don't really know, though teams are having to make some strategic guesses this summer as they plan out their rosters for the next few years.
For now, the best guess is $102 million, and for the Bucks there are a couple of obvious takeaways. First, every team will have less projected cap space than before. That's especially important for a team like the Warriors, which may now have problems retaining both Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant if the latter opts out of his new deal next summer. For the Bucks, a $102 million cap number would mean up to around $15 million in cap space if they extend Giannis Antetokounmpo this summer or about $31 million if they let Giannis become a restricted free agent next summer, though those numbers go down if they sign more guys to multiple year deals (note: aside from previous contracts, I'm including Dellavedova, Teletovic, Brogdon, Thon Maker and a $1.5 million hold for a first round pick in that estimate).
The other obvious impact would be on the level of Giannis Antetokounmpo's presumable max extension. The $5 million cap drop would reduce Antetokounmpo's estimated max starting salary from just over $25 million to just under $24 million, while reducing his estimated five-year max from $145 million to $138 million. I'm pretty sure Giannis will get by just fine either way, but remember that as long as he signs a max deal his starting salary will be proportional to whatever the cap ends up being next summer. As for the here and now: Giannis and his Greek teammates take on Croatia today in a must-win Olympic qualifying semifinal at 9:30 am CT. If they win, they'll then need to beat the winner of Italy-Mexico tomorrow in order to clinch a spot in the Rio games in August.
Thon Maker and Bucks open summer league Friday
We'll have a game thread up later today, but in the meantime get excited: NBA basketball is (kinda-sorta) back! Thon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon and Rashad Vaughn lead the Bucks against the Summer Cavs starting at 5 pm CT tonight in Vegas. You can check out the full roster here and you should be able to catch it live on NBATV or WatchESPN.