The Nets like to make things hard on themselves. But they apparently have just cleared one more hurdle to making the very difficult trade to bring Dwight Howard to Brooklyn a little more possible.
They may have reached a deal to get Mirza Teletović to take a smaller offer than they verbally agreed to, which will keep the hard salary cap they nearly imposed on themselves away, according to ESPN’s Larry Coon and CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger. Removing that cap makes the finances of a Dwight Howard trade possible.
This gets complex, so stick with me.
Tuesday it was announced the Nets had agreed to terms with European stretch four Mirza Teletović for the $5 million mid-level exception for three years. Something they could offer.
However, because with salary and “cap holds” (slots reserved for their free agents to re-sign) the Nets were over the salary cap ($58 million) and below the luxury tax line ($70 million), so on July 11 when they signed Teletovic to that deal they would activate the “apron” or hard salary cap in the new CBA, which is at $74.3 million. This provision was put in the CBA at the insistence of smaller market owners who didn’t like to see the high-spending teams (Lakers, Celtics, Knicks etc..) keep adding players via the mid-level exception every season with impunity.
If the Nets had that hard cap there was really no way to pull off a Howard trade — Howard will make $19 million, Joe Johnson makes $19 million, Deron Williams $17 million, Gerald Wallace $10 million and throw in the rookies and you have a Nets roster at about $70 million and still needing to add at least seven players. Even at minimum deals you can’t really pulls that off in the NBA, not with any kind of quality.
However, the Nets are close to getting Teletović to take the mini mid-level of $3 million. If they do that, there is no hard cap triggered and the Nets can take on more salary back in a Dwight Howard trade. Or really make any other large move.
Now, that’s just the math of it. The Nets still need to convince the Magic that the package they have been rejecting for nearly a year — Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and some picks — is now good enough for them. And to make it work, they need at least a third team to take on Humphries and what likely is an oversized new deal.
So good luck with that. But at least the math could be there now.