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The Financial Situation Entering Free Agency

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Here's a basic breakdown of the Los Angeles Clippers' salary situation. Afterwards, we will look at the different exceptions, what they mean, if the Clippers can use them, and how much they are worth.


That makes for $76.04 million total, not counting cap holds that will be renounced.

58.97 million in guaranteed salaries, plus 12.37 million in cap holds, for a total cap figure of 71.34 million dollars.

The salary cap is expected to hold at 58 million, with the luxury tax line at 70.3 million. This means that the Clippers, if they re-sign Young, Foye, and Billups up to their cap hold, will be over the tax. Fortunately, you can at least bet that Foye won't be getting 5.53 million, so Sterling doesn't have to worry about that... yet.

Here's a breakdown of some exceptions:

  • Mid-Level Exception: For teams over the cap (Clippers). Worth just under 5 million for one season, with a max of 4yrs/19.4 million
  • Mini-Mid-Level-Exception: For taxpayers (not the Clippers). Worth 3.09 million for one season, with a max of 3yrs/9.69 million
  • Bi-Annual Exception: Everyone except taxpayers (Clippers). Worth 1.957 million for one season, with a max of 2yrs/4 million
  • Room Exception: For teams that spend up to the cap (Clippers are already over, so they cannot get this). Worth 2.575 million for one season, with a max of 2yrs/5.3 million.

So, while you're fantasizing about this free agent and that free agent, know your facts:

  1. The Clippers can sign Foye for up to 5.53 million.
  2. The Clippers can sign Young for up to 4.44 million.
  3. The Clippers can sign Billups for up to 2.4 million the NBA maximum salary using his Bird rights.
  4. The Clippers can sign any player to the Mid-Level Exception for up to 4yrs/19.4 million.
  5. The Clippers can sign any player to the Bi-Annual Exception for up to 2yrs/4 million.

What makes the most sense to me would be to retain Billups and Young, allow Foye to walk, use the Mid-Level on a starting SG, and use the Bi-Annual on a big body as a backup center.

I think the Clippers are only keeping Foye's hold in case either Billups or Young gets a better offer elsewhere and leaves LA.

Steve will be around later with a Free Agency Preview.