first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It means renouncing the rights to all of their free agents, losing “Bird rights” for Jeff Green, Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers. It means renouncing the rights to first-round pick Brice Johnson and the $1.1 million salary cap hold that comes with his guaranteed roster spot. By doing that, the Clippers would only be paying Jordan, Paul and Griffin a combined $64 million. But, then you have to add Delfino, Jordan Farmar and Miroslav Raduljica’s cap numbers – the penalty the Clippers have to pay for waiving those players over the past two years.When the Clippers released those players, they “stretched” their salaries over multiple years, and this year, they owe the trio more than $1.4 million.If that was all, the Clippers could still tend a maximum offer to Durant.But, it’s not. In the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, there’s a provision that prohibits teams from going below 12 players on their roster, including cap holds, in the offseason. It’s called an “incomplete roster charge,” and if the Clippers dealt and renounced everyone but the Big Three, they’d be assessed nine cap holds equal to a rookie’s minimum salary – which would add up to $4.9 million.Assuming the salary cap comes in at or near the projected $94 million, the Clippers, after all that addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, could offer Durant around $23.5 million – about $3 million less than his max salary – likely in a one-year deal with a player option to maximize Durant’s earnings.If the cap goes up even more before it becomes official, the Clippers could offer more – but so would the max number others could offer Durant. If Durant were to agree, the Clippers would have the best “Big Four” in the NBA and they would have an absent “Next Eight.” Their roster would need to be filled with minimum-salary players with a sole exclusion – a $2.9 million “room exception” the team could use.And, then there’s the problem of the 2017-18 salary cap (projected at $108 million for now), when the team would have to fit Paul, Griffin, Jordan and Durant under the new cap, which would again require some numerical gymnastics.It’s why the team continued to prioritize its own free agents. Prior to them hitting the market Thursday night, the Clippers already had contact with Green, Rivers, Luc Mbah a Moute, Cole Aldrich, Crawford and Wes Johnson, according to a source. Doc Rivers has publicly said he hopes to re-sign as many of them as possible.Crawford is set to meet with the Orlando Magic in the early hours of free agency, and the reigning Sixth Man of the Year won’t have a shortage of suitors.If the Clippers get Durant, they’ll have to figure the rest out. But if Durant picks another team, with most predicting a return to Oklahoma City, the Clippers’ sights will stay, largely, in house.And who knows, maybe Carlos Delfino will get a call. Without adequate salary cap space to just walk into the meeting with a suitcase full of owner Steve Ballmer’s cash, the Clippers need to be mathematically creative to land the biggest prize in free agency. One course of action the Clippers appear interested in trying to sell is the idea of a “Big Four” with Durant joining point guard Chris Paul, forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan, and fitting Durant’s salary under the salary cap.According to a league source, the Clippers are prepared to send Ballmer, Coach Doc Rivers, new executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and General Manager Dave Wohl to Friday’s meeting. Paul, Griffin and Jordan could also end up attending, putting the “Big Four” pitch in three dimensions.To pull this off, they’ll need to wipe every available dollar off of their ledgers. That means trading shooting guard J.J. Redick and his $7.4 million contract, small forward Paul Pierce and his $3.5 million deal and third-year guard C.J. Wilcox and his $1.2 million salary.center_img ORLANDO >> Remember Carlos Delfino’s time with the Clippers?He never played a game, never put on a uniform. It was a three-day tenure at the end of August in 2014, part of a salary-cap transaction, and because of those 72 hours, there are $650,000 less reasons for Kevin Durant to sign with the Clippers. It’s why the Clippers might need to bring a 10-key calculator and a green visor to their meeting with Durant on Friday in The Hamptons in New York. The Clippers will meet with Durant after he speaks with the Golden State Warriors.last_img

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