Viacheslav Kravtsov will get paid $500,000 next season by an NBA team no matter what, according to ShamSports.com. The Pistons have three options:
- Pay him an extra $1 million to keep him on the roster (counting $1.5 million against the salary cap).
- Waive him and pay him nothing more.
- Trade him.
The Pistons must decide by midnight.
A trade could have some appeal to a team with a marginal player making $2.35 million or less in 2012-13 who is also under contract for 2013-14. That team could trade that player for Kravtsov, waive Kravtsov and clear cap room.
The Pistons could waive Kravtsov, which would allow every team with cap room or an exception large enough to swallow his $1.5 million salary a chance to claim him. If he clears waivers, he would become a free agent.
At that point, the Pistons would have the option of either paying him all $500,000 next season or spreading that amount over the next three years – the cap hit following the same pattern.
If the Pistons use that stretch provision, lowering Kravtsov’s cap hit to $166,667 next season, and he clears waivers, they could re-sign him to a minimum contract. At that point, he would count $955,549 against the cap. In other words, the Pistons would maneuver $544,661 in extra cap room.
Of course, the risk is another NBA team claims Kravtsov on waivers or signs him as a free agent. He’s under no obligation to return to Detroit. I actually think the greater risk would be him taking his $500,000 and going back to Europe.
Based solely on what Kravtsov did during games last season, I’d probably waive him, but it’s close. If he showed even a small amount of promise behind the seasons, keeping him would be OK.
But if the Pistons are trying maximize cap space and open a roster slot and Kravtov has shown a little potential, maybe waiving him, using the stretch provision and trying to re-sign him is a good middle ground. If they re-sign him, great. If he goes elsewhere, the downside of that risk, it’s not necessarily a terrible outcome.
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