The Phoenix Suns got quite the bargain in their amnesty acquisition of Luis Scola, according to salary figures obtained by KTAR’s John Gambadoro.
Gambo reported that Scola will count $4.1 million on this year’s books, $4.5 mil next year and $4.9 mil in Year 3, with only $440K guaranteed in that final season. SI.com’s Sam Amick corroborated Gambo by reporting the deal was for $13.5 million over three years (the same total dollar figure although he did not specify the distribution).
If those figures are accurate, the Suns just acquired an above-average power forward for less than the mid-level exception.
However, as I wrote yesterday via HoopsWorld, the minimum bid on Scola was $10,041,037 because an amnesty bid must encompass the entirety of a player’s non-guaranteed salary and that is the amount of non-guaranteed money Scola was owed in the final year of his contract.
CBA expert Larry Coon explained why in an email to me today:
It’s so the waiving team won’t be required to pay any more than they would have had to pay had they waived the player without amnesty.
Without amnesty, the waiving team only pays guaranteed salary, and is off the hook for non-guaranteed salary. So with amnesty, the bidding team has to pay for all non-guaranteed salary, and the minimum bid amount reflects that.
So basically Houston will only be off the hook for the amount the Suns bid beyond the non-guaranteed dollars in the final season.
However, Gambo’s figures (with only $440K owed in Year 3) would allow the Suns to pay less than the non-guaranteed portion of Scola’s final contract year, so I would not be surprised if we later find out the entirety of that season is guaranteed or at least a bit more of it is.
Furthermore, according to Coon’s FAQ, teams are supposed to pay “the amount of their bid, spread pro rata across all remaining guaranteed years of the player’s contract,” which would seem to mean Scola will earn $4.5 million from the Suns in each of the three seasons based on what Amick and Gambo have learned. However, perhaps the non-guaranteed money in the third season will allow the Suns to spread the cap hits out disproportionately like Gambo reports.
Signing Scola will cause other issues since the Suns now have a glut of natural power forwards of varying ages and points in their development, so head coach Alvin Gentry will have quite the time mixing and matching playing time.
But anytime you can acquire a player like Scola for less than the mid-level exception, you have to do it.
Marshall signs rookie deal
Kendall Marshall is officially a Phoenix Sun.
The Suns announced this morning that Marshall signed his rookie contract with the team, which will make him eligible to begin playing in Summer League for tomorrow’s 5:30 p.m. MST game against Cleveland.
“I was wonderin why my mentions was boomin lol. happy to officially be a Phoenix Sun!” Marshall tweeted this morning.
First-round draft picks typically receive a two-year contract with two additional team options. After their fourth season, teams must extend a qualifying offer to make their player a restricted free agent like Robin Lopez is today.
The Suns were eligible to start Marshall’s contract at 120 percent of the scale amount of $1.6 million for the 13th pick in the draft, so expect Marshall to be making about $1.9 million this season as teams often give their rookies the full 120 percent.
Mayo’s price tag
Gambo tweeted the following on O.J. Mayo’s asking price:
OJ Mayo came to town but Suns made no contract offer. He wants 8 mill + a year and for Phx to be interested that price has to come down.
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 15, 2012
As I’ve been saying, I’d gladly pay Mayo that much for one year, maybe even two with the Suns slowly eating into next year’s cap space, but no way would I come close to that price on anything longer. The Suns would be wise to stand their ground with the market drying up, although clearly they must add at least one more wing with Jared Dudley their only natural wing left after the Childress amnesty.
Since they have four other natural power forwards now (Scola, Frye, Morris and Warrick), I assume Michael Beasley will be the full-time three and that the Suns will give some two guard minutes to Goran Dragic to make more time for Marshall.
But even if that’s the case, the Suns badly need at least one more quality wing and perhaps two. They just can’t afford to overpay Mayo on a long-term deal because they have a scarcity at that position.
Kings sign Aaron Brooks
As if the Sacramento Kings did not have enough short point guards already, they signed former Sun Aaron Brooks to a deal today.
The Suns owned Brooks’ restricted rights but later rescinded their qualifying offer to him to create more salary cap space.
The Kings already have Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette on their depth chart at the point guard spot as well as Tyreke Evans, who won Rookie of the Year honors as a point guard before being move to the wing last season.
Sacto does not seem to value size in its floor general as the 6-foot (if that) Brooks will join the 5-foot-9 Thomas and 6-foot-2 Fredette.
You know the market must not have been hot for Brooks for him to end up in a strange situation like Sacramento. I would have thought some contender would value him as a backup point guard who could score in bushels off the bench but that does not seem to have been the case.
Scola ‘very excited’ to become a Sun
Now I’m a Sun, let’s see what I can do for them I’m very excited.
— Luis Scola (@LScola4) July 16, 2012