Free Agency Blueprint: ATL

How to land LeBron:

Assuming Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala exercise their Player Options, Atlanta has $29,165,650 of available cap space and $51,165,650 with the Luxury Tax buffer. This would allow them to offer another large salary starting around $12 million, which could be used to bring in Chris Paul or Paul George to upgrade their guard depth. One of these players would take less than max so that the Hawks would operate below the Luxury Tax line to offer LeBron James a max deal starting at $35.35 million. Atlanta also has the $4,633,727 in trade exceptions to then add wing options such as Will Barton, Trevor Ariza or Marco Belinelli. Adding James, Paul and Barton improves this team by 30.4 wins, pushing them to an expected 50 win total, matching the Cavaliers 2017-18 record. Playing with LeBron should convince players to take a large pay cut, and Paul would have to take significantly less should the Hawks keep their 3rd ($4,799,540; 7.1 WS) and 19th ($1,646,708; 5.4 WS) picks in the draft. This can lift the Hawks from the NBA doormat to the upper echelon in the East and give James a shot at keeping his NBA Finals streak alive. Their best case scenario sees this Hawks team winning 62 games and a force in the East, where James’s team would be the favorite to reach his ninth straight NBA Finals.

Projected Starting Five: Chris Paul, Will Barton, LeBron James, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon

Projected Record:  62-20

 

Pos.  Name                                     2018-19 Salary     WSP48   WS

SF  LeBron James                           $35,350,000            .221     14.0

PG Chris Paul                                    $12,113,917            .265     10.2

SG  Will Barton                                 $4,633,727 TE      .111       6.2

PF  John Collins                                 $2,299,080           .145       5.4

C  Dewayne Dedmon                PO  $6,300,000           .114       3.7

PF  Mike Muscala                      PO  $5,000,000           .110       2.6

SG  Kent Bazemore                         $18,089,887         .059        2.2

PG  Dennis Schroder                      $15,500,000          .059       2.6

C     Miles Plumlee                          $12,500,000           .046      0.9

SF  Taurean Waller-Prince             $2,526,840           .038     2.0

PG  Isaiah Taylor                               $1,544,951           .027      0.6

SG  Tyler Dorsey                                $1,378,242          .020      0.4

SG  DeAndre’ Bembry                      $1,634,640          -.040    -0.4

#3 Pick                                               $4,799,540             .139     7.1

#19 Pick                                             $1,646,708             .145     5.4

Jamal Crawford                             $2,304,226

Tyler Cavanaugh                          $1,378,242

Expected Totals:                       $129,000,000                      62.9 Win Shares

 

Notes:

NBA Salary Cap Max:   $101,000,000

NBA Luxury Tax Threshold:   $123,000,000

Apron: $129,000,000

Hawks Taxable Salaries:  $71,834,350

Trade Exceptions:  $4,346,942  (Dwight Howard exp. 06/20/2018);

$286,785  (Ryan Kelly exp. 06/28/2018)

 

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