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Berry Tramel  


NBA Midwest Division: Not a rosy outlook

by Berry Tramel Published: June 16, 2014

The NBA’s Midwest Division includes teams that thrived in another decade. Milwaukee in the ‘70s. Chicago in the ‘90s. Indiana in the ‘70s, as part of the old ABA. Cleveland in the ‘00s, when it had LeBron. Detroit in the ‘00s (and the ‘80s and ‘90s). And nothing in the current payroll analysis of each team suggests the ‘10s will start being kind to the Midwest.

We continue our series on how each team, division by division, is impacted by contract status. A few items to remember: the luxury tax threshold for 2014-15 is expected to be $77 million, so teams will try to stay under that amount. Also, the terms for contracts can be confusing. Player option means a player can end the contract. Team option means the franchise can end the contract. Qualifying offer means a team must make that offer to a player by June 30, in which case he can accept the offer for a one-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent the next year or reject the offer and become a restricted free agent. Teams can retain their restricted free agents by matching the offer of any other team.

The salaries listed below are from


Under contract: Derrick Rose $18.9M, Carlos Boozer $16.8M, Joakim Noah $12.2M, Taj Gibson $8M, Mike Dunleavy $3M, Jimmy Butler $2.1M, Tony Snell $1.5M, Greg Smith $0.95M.

Free agent: Kirk Hinrich *$4.05M, Nazr Mohammed *$1.4M, D.J. Augustin *$0.6M, Mike James *$0.5M, Jimmer Fredette *$0.2M, Louis Amundson *$0.1M, Ronnie Brewer *$0.1M. *2013-14 salary.

2014-15 Salary commitments: $63.4M.

Outlook: The Bulls have a ton of holes and not a lot of salary space. Carlos Boozer could be amnestied, which would help a lot.



Under contract: Kyrie Irving $7.5M, Jarrett Jack $6.3M, Anthony Bennett $5.6M, Tristan Thompson $5.4M, Dion Waiters $4.1M, Tyler Zeller $1.7M, Sergey Karasev $1.5M.

Team option: Anderson Varejao $9.8, Alonzo Gee $3.25M, Scotty Hopson $2.45M.

Free agent: Luol Deng *$14.3M, Spencer Hawes *$6.5M, C.J. Miles *$2.25M, Matthew Dellavedova *0.5M, Carrick Felix *$0.5M. *2013-14 salary.

2014-15 Salary commitments: $32M.

Outlook: Interesting. The Cavs have another No. 1 overall draft pick, lots of rebuilding optionsand some young talent. If they screw this up, that’s on them. Not the system, not LeBron, not Mike Brown. Them.



Under contract: Josh Smith $14M, Brandon Jennings $8M, Will Bynum $2.9M, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $2.8M, Andre Drummond $2.6M, Gigi Datome $1.75M, Kyle Singler $1.1M, Tony Mitchell $0.8M, Peyton Silva $0.8M.

Team option: Chauncey Billups $2.5M, Josh Harrellson $0.95M.

Player option: Jonas Jerebko $4.5M.

Qualifying offer: Greg Monroe $5.5M.

Free agents: Charlie Villanueva *$8.5M, Rodney Stuckey *$8.5M. *2013-14 salary.

2014-15 Salary commitments: $39.2M including player option; $34.7M not including player option.

Outlook: Not bad. The Pistons have a new mastermind in Stan Van Gundy, and he’s got some young talent to go with some cap space.



Under contract: Paul George $15.8M, Roy Hibbert $14.9M, David West $12M, George Hill $8M, Luis Scola $4.5M, Ian Mahinmi $4M, Chris Copeland $13.1M, C.J. Watson $2.1M, Solomon Hill $1.3M.

Team option: Donald Sloan $0.95M.

Qualifying offer: Evan Turner $8.7M.

Free agent: Lavoy Allen *$3.1M, Rasual Butler *$1.4M, Andrew Bynum $1M, Lance Stephenson $1M. *2013-14 salary.

2014-15 Salary commitments: $65.7M.

Outlook: Stephenson’s free agency has Indiana in flux. If Stephenson doesn’t re-sign, he’ll need to be replaced. The Pacers don’t have a lot of salary space, but they don’t have a lot of holes, either.



Under contract: Larry Sanders $11M, O.J. Mayo $8M, Ersan Ilyasova $7.9M, Zaza Pachulia $5.2M, Brandon Knight $3.75M, Carlos Delfino $3.25M,  John Henson $2M, Giannis Antetokounmpo $1.8M.

Team option: Khris Middleton $0.9M.

Qualifying offer: Ekpe Udoh $6M.

Free agent: Ramon Sessions *$5M, Jeff Adrien *$0.9M, Miroslav Raduljica *$0.5M, Nate Wolters *$0.5M, Chris Wright *$0.1M. *2013-14 salary.

2014-15 Salary commitment: $43M.

Outlook: Lots of money to spend, but who will take it? The Bucks have some decent players but no sign of a star. Maybe the draft will help.


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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