I wanted to examine the real possibility of Dwight Howard and Deron Williams joining Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in 2012. To me, it made no sense at all, so I'll examine the numbers and obstacles. Some of this is in response to this article, which is a long read, is filled with flaws, but still interesting.
2012 Salary cap = $58,044,000
Rookie Minimum Salary Cap Hold = 490,180 (one hold for every player under 12)
Deron Williams 2012 max salary: 17,177,795
Dwight Howard 2012 max salary: 18,996,358
To my knowledge, this was part of the new CBA negotiations, to freeze the cap for 2 years at that number. Nowhere but in this article have I read a different figure. The entire premise of the article hinges on a cap figure of $62,000,000. I think the article is wrong, but I'm open to the idea that I might be wrong. It matters very little anyway, since the cap will be the same for both teams.
Deron Williams and Dwight Howard will opt out of their contracts, whether traded or not. If they're both on the Nets, then it's safe to say that they will both re-sign and get the extra, 5th year together, something no other team could offer. But for the sake of this argument, let's assume Dwight is not traded to LA, or Dallas, or NJ. That automatically takes the Lakers out since they cannot sign him.
NJ 2012 salary of core players: (via shamsports)
Deron Williams cap hold: 17,779,458
Brook Lopez cap hold: 7,692,458
MarShon Brooks: 1,160,040
Now assuming all other cap holds renounced (except Deron and Brook), all player options are tendered, and team options are declined, that leaves:
Jordan Farmar: 4,000,000
Anthony Morrow: 4,000,000
Johan Petro: 3,500,000
Shawne Wiliams: 3,135,000
Jordan Williams: 762,195
*note that I did not include the Nets' 2012 pick, that could easily be moved taking back no salary, or packaged with one of the smaller contracts in a salary dump.
Minumum cap hold x4: 1,960,720
Total + core = 43,989,871
Total Cap room = 14,054,129
The Max salary for Dwight Howard is in the 19,000,000 range. Now that's assuming that both Farmar and Williams both opt in, and it's very plausible that they might not. All of the above players are on small 1 year deals, and can easily come off the bench for any team. Dumping any 1,2, or even 3 of those contracts is not out of the question, especially if the Nets hold onto their assets, they can package a contract or 2 that they want to dump with a draft pick or $3,000,000 cash.
Let's make a very safe assumption, that the Nets can trade their highly valuable 2012 pick (less salary) with Morrow (exp contract, very good 6th man on any team) and $3,000,000 cash for cap room, their cap space jumps up to 18,054,129. And how hard would it be to make that trade?
Dallas core 2012:
Haywood: Amnesty (3 yrs @ 9mil per, probably untradeable)
Now, assuming that all non-guaranteed players are waived without a cap hit (the cap hit for most of them isn't confirmed) that leaves:
Dominique Jones: 1,276,560
Rodrigue Beaubois: 2,227,333
Odom buy-out: aprx 2,500,000
Minimum salary cap holds x8: 3,921,440
Total + core: 39,228,825
Room under salary cap = 18,815,175
Room under salary cap if Odom, Beaubois, and Jones are traded= 22,736,615
Now, that's assuming that anyone will take Odom's contract, and right now he's not playing like he's worth + $8,000,000 a year, AND that they could also dump Beaubois and Jones too.
And now for the big "what if":
(Salary cap) - (Dirk's salary) - (minimum roster cap hold x11) = 31,744,892 / 2 = 15,872,446
That's assuming a lot too. To me, it would be easier to trade Farmar, Petro, Shw Williams, or Morrow than it would be to trade Marion, who has 2yrs @ 9mil per year. That's right, some team will have to use 9mil in cap room for Marion's 8ppg, 40%FG, 15%3pt.
So, Deron and Dwight will opt out, and they'll be looking at 2 teams. This is what they will be looking at:
If they join the Nets:
Deron gets 5 yrs, 7% increases, starting at 17,177,795
Dwight gets 4 yrs, 5% increases, starting at 18,054,129 (at least)
Teammates: Lopez, Brooks, Farmar, Petro, Shw Williams, J Williams (and that's making only the very small assumption that the Nets trade Morrow, cash, and their pick for extra cap room, and that both Farmar and Shw Williams opt in)
vs joining the Mavs:
Deron gets 4 yrs, 5% increases, starting at 15,872,446
Dwight gets 4 yrs, 5% increases, starting at 15,872,446
Teammates: 34yr old Dirk and the D-League All-Stars (and that's only after making very large assumptions that everyone, including VC, Odom, Marion can ALL be traded for cap room, and Haywood is Amnestied)
That's the comparison. Everything would have to go against the Nets in terms of salary, and everything would have to go in favor of the Mavericks in terms of salary, and STILL the Nets are in EVERY WAY more appealing than the Mavs. The Nets' chances are even better if they can hold onto their pick, or Farmar or Williams opts out. If I'm wrong about any of this, please, fill me in and I'll crunch the numbers all over again.
So the next time someone mentions Deron and Dwight going to the Mavs through free agency, show them this and tell them to shut up and get real.