Emeka Okafor, Rest-of-Season Contracts, and the New Orleans Pelicans
My Original Article on Hoops Concierge: Click Here
If the NBA Playoffs started today, the Western Conference would send the following teams:
1. Houston Rockets (Avg. Age: 29.4)
2. Golden State Warriors (Avg. Age: 28.8)
3. San Antonio Spurs (Avg. Age: 28.9)
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (Avg. Age: 27.3)
5. Portland Trail Blazers (Avg. Age: 25.6)
6. New Orleans Pelicans (Avg. Age: 27.2)
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (Avg. Age: 27.4)
8. Denver Nuggets (Avg. Age: 26.7)
The New Orleans Pelicans are the third youngest team of that group with an average age of 27.2 years old. They are in position to hold onto 6th in the West and make a playoff run. But, with the season-ending injuries to C DeMarcus Cousins and C Alexis Ajinca, the Pelicans have been in need of a capable center and preferably one with at least 7+ years of experience like Cousins and Ajinca.
Having signed C Emeka Okafor to back-to-back 10 day contracts, the Pelicans faced a decision because the CBA allows for a team to only sign the same player to a 10-Day contract twice during the same season. Thus, the Pelicans turned to signing Okafor to a rest-of-season contract, as they are beneath the luxury tax and had an open roster spot with the 2/10/18 waiving of Rashad Vaughn after the trade with Brooklyn. The contract for Okafor is as follows:
10+ YOS Min Annual Salary * (Days on NOLA/Total Days in Season) = Amount of NOLA Contract
$2,328,652 * (45/180) = $582,163
10+ Year Veteran’s Minimum Contract: $2,328,652
2 Year Veteran’s Minimum Contract: $1,471,382
Difference Between the Two: $857,270
Diff. b/w 10+ and 2 YOS Min * (Days on NOLA/Total Days in Season) = NBA Vet. Reimbursement
$857,270 * (45/180) = $214,317
The cap hit for the Pelicans is the value of the prorated contract less the value of the reimbursement. This is reflected as follows:
Amount of NOLA Contract — NBA Vet. Reimbursement = ’17-’18 Cap Hit for Pelicans on Okafor
$582,163 — $214,317 = $367,836
Thus, the signing of C Emeka Okafor fills the following requirements:
· Doesn’t put the Pelicans over the luxury tax
· Provides a veteran Center (10 years of service)
· Gives leadership experience to the 3rd youngest Western Conference playoff team
· Plugs the hole left by the injuries of C DeMarcus Cousins and C Alexic Ajinca
Because this is a rest-of-season contract, the Pelicans can ride Okafor through the end of the season and playoffs, and then be under no obligation to bring him back next year. Cousins is not under contract next year as an unrestricted free agent, and Ajinca is owed $5,285,394 in 2018–2019.
180 days used for a standard NBA season. Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) uses 177 days.
*02/26/28 @ 10:45 AM: Subject to later update, as this is the projected contract for Okafor. Because the details have yet to be announced, he could have an increased contract due to availability at the Mid-Level Exception.