The NBA's CBA (collective bargaining agreement) is extremely complicated. Unless you are a member of a front office -- and/or read it many times over -- you simply can't comprehend all of the details and minutiae.
You've probably heard by now that the Warriors face the dreaded "hard cap" this season, which means they cannot -- under any circumstance -- have their payroll go above $138,928,000.
As a result, they cannot fill their 15th roster spot until March 3.
On Thursday morning, John Hollinger of The Athletic -- who had worked in the Memphis Grizzlies front office for the last seven years -- explained in great detail how the Dubs can put themselves in position to sign not one, but two players in early March.
Hollinger assumed the Warriors would part ways with Alfonzo McKinnie to make room for Marquese Chriss, which reportedly came to fruition Friday morning.
So without further ado, here is Hollinger's complicated, complex explanation:
If the Warriors waived Chriss after the game against Boston on Nov. 15, he would accrue $247,205 in salary before he was waived (including the two days he spent on waivers).
Here’s the trick: They would have to sign a 14th player to fill Chriss’ spot based on league rules, but would NOT need to do so immediately. Teams have up to two weeks to fill the hole. Those two weeks of a zero salary on the books are huge for Golden State.
It wouldn’t need to sign another player until the end of November. The Warriors could then repeat the dance a couple more times – sign a player (perhaps bringing back Chriss) to a non-guaranteed deal for two weeks, waive him, wait two weeks, sign a player for two more weeks, waive him, wait two weeks. This is the exact trick Miami used in the second half of last season to skirt the luxury tax.
By signing players from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, and again from Dec. 26 to Jan. 8, the Warriors would add another $146,492 in salary each time. (Note that even a zero-years of service player would count as making the two-year veteran minimum for the purposes of the hard cap calculation, so they can’t cheat the system here by signing a rookie.)
The next time they’d need to sign somebody would be Jan. 22, when 10-day contracts are in play. They could sign a player to a 10-day from Jan. 22 to Jan. 31, costing them $91,557. Again, the date matters: Jan. 31 would be a strategically great time for that 10-day to end. Golden State can leave the 14th spot open through the trade deadline and, if it remains unfilled, through the All-Star break before signing another 10-day coming out of the break.
That 10-day span, lasting from Feb. 19 to Feb. 28, would again cost $91,557 and end just in time for the Warriors to take advantage of buyout season. The last date to waive a player and have him be playoff eligible is March 1.
As a result, the total cost of that 14th roster spot — listed on their cap sheet at $1,620,564 if they keep Chriss — could end up only being $723,303 on their books as of March 1.
That is a huge deal for the Warriors because it would leave them $1.13 million from the hard cap line … meaning they could sign not one but two buyout players for the veteran’s minimum ($421,164 as of March 1) and still stay under the hard cap.
Makes perfect sense, right? Your head isn't spinning?
Did you get all of that, Bob Myers?
So in a nutshell -- if Chriss signs a non-guaranteed contract (like Alfonzo McKinnie), the Warriors can treat the 14th roster spot like a revolving door until early March when they can finalize the final two spots for the stretch run.
If this, in fact, is what the Warriors plan on doing, the whole operation could be derailed by one injury.
For now, you should probably scroll up and re-read the details.
Perhaps do it multiple times until they sink in.