Chandler has two years remaining on his contract after this season worth $24.6 million but can opt out of the final year of his deal before the start of the 2010-11 season.
Despite adding Chandler’s contract, which pays him $11.8 million next season, the Thunder is still in a good position financially moving forward. Oklahoma City could have $10 million in cap space next summer and Chandler’s contract comes off the books one year before an extension would kick in for Durant and Green.
New Orleans future cap situation isn’t as promising, which opened the door for Tuesday’s trade. The Hornets, with just the contracts of Chandler, Chris Paul, David West, Peja Stojakovic and James Posey, would have had more than $55 million in salary tied up for next season.
The salary cap this season is $58.68 million and the luxury tax is set at $71.15 million. Any team above the luxury tax threshold must pay $1 for every $1 in salary they exceed that figure.
In Wilcox and Smith, the Hornets get two contracts that expire at the end of this season and lower their payroll to $64 million in 2009-10.
Wilcox fell out of the Thunder’s rotation this season and did not play in nine of the team’s past 17 games. He is averaging 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds this season. Smith is averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds but had missed 10 straight games from mid-January to early February because of a knee injury.
Chandler, Smith and Wilcox are all expected to be inactive tonight when the Thunder hosts the Hornets.