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If you're a salary cap nerd like me, you'll find this interesting.

Last night Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweeted that the Celtics may be holding off on signing Evan Turner until they make a final move on stay at home dad veteran guard Keith Bogans, as the team could be facing a possible hard cap, and Turner's deal could put them over it.



Now I did some research trying to figure out if this was the case, and I do think that Pincus may be correct.

While Bogans' deal is not guaranteed, for hard cap purposes it counts until he is moved. Same with Chris Johnson and Chris Babb, who have much smaller non-guaranteed deals. Basically, until these guys are traded or waived, their salary sits on the books and counts towards the hard cap.

So what is the hard cap?

The hard cap is a salary number that a team cannot go over in any circumstances, and it's always $4 million more than the luxury tax (so $80,829,000 for 2014-15). You'll also hear this called the "tax apron". You may remember that the Celtics were hard capped last season because they completed a sign-and-trade for Bogans, which is one of the three reasons a team can be hard capped.

Here are all three:

1. If they receive a player in a sign-and-trade

2. They use their bi-annual exception on a player

3. They use a portion of their mid-level exception larger than the tax payers MLE (which is set at $3.3 million this year)

While the Celtics have not yet done any of these things yet, if Turner is getting more than $3.3M/year his signing would put a hard cap on the team.

And if you take a look at the Celtics current salary situation, they sit at $78,766,819 in commitments before Turner (including non-guaranteed deals). That leaves them just $2.1 million below the potential hard cap, so obviosuly if Turner is getting more than $3.3 million (which he would need to be to put the hard cap in place)..the Celtics wouldn't be able to sign him until Bogans is gone.

With that in mind I'd expect Turner to remain un-signed until just before training camp, or until Bogans is dealt. This gives Danny Ainge and company as much time as possible to deal Bogans, who's non-guaranteed deal could still come in handy for a team looking to shed salary (although as the summer marches on it becomes less and less likely a deal happens).

But this does seem to finally answer the question of why Turner hasn't been signed. Which in a summer of nothingness remains one of the last questions surrounding the Cs.


RELATED

Could the delay in signing Evan Turner mean the teams are working on a sign-and-trade?


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Michael Dyer 8/21/2014 12:49:00 PM Edit
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