If the Pistons intend to bring back Jose Calderon – as they’ve said they do – then he would have a “cap hold” of 150 percent of his current salary, which would be approximately $16.5 million. It would then behoove the Pistons to get something done fast with Calderon so the cap charge would then revert to his first-year salary
If the Pistons are ready to make other moves predicated on having having cap room before re-signing Calderon, they can simply renounce him. Then, his cap hold, or free agent amount, will no longer count against the salary cap.
Why does Calderon count against the cap as a free agent? Larry Coon:
It closes a loophole. Teams otherwise would be able to sign other teams’ free agents using their cap room, and then turn their attention to their own free agents using the Bird exception. This rule restricts their ability to do that. It uses the player’s current status (type of free agent, whether coming off a rookie contract, and previous salary) as a rough guideline to predict the amount the player is likely to receive in his next contract, and sets that amount aside in the form of a cap hold. But while it functions as a rough guideline, it’s obviously not perfect — for example, in 2005 Michael Redd’s free agent amount was just $6 million, even though the Bucks intended to re-sign him for the maximum salary. By waiting to sign Redd last, the Bucks were able to take advantage of the difference by signing Bobby Simmons. Had they signed Redd first, they would not have had enough cap room to sign Simmons.
Renouncing Calderon won’t prevent the Pistons from signing him or sign-and-trading him, so it’s not a big deal. With minor exception, the Pistons won’t exceed the salary cap this offseason, so whether they re-sign Calderon or renounce him and then re-sign him will have practically no impact.
The only way renouncing Calderon could matter is contract length and annual raises. If the Pistons renounce him, they can offer only 4.5 percent raises rather than 7.5 percent (probably shouldn’t matter because teams offering a mid-level exception can offer just 4.5 percent, and Calderon probably doesn’t warrant more than that, anyway) and only five years rather than four (definitely shouldn’t matter for 31-year-old Calderon).
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