Pacers salary cap leaves just enough room for Lance Stephenson in a sane world

Joe Robbins

A quality look at the Pacers salary cap reveals just enough room to make a reasonable offer to Lance Stephenson. It also opens the door for another team to make a crazy offer to entice Stephenson to leave Indiana.

Projecting the Pacers salary cap situation and a relevant estimate of what the Pacers can actually offer Lance Stephenson while still avoiding the luxury tax is a squish project at best. The numbers depend on projections of numbers that have yet to be set by the NBA.

Several quality attempts at estimates have the Pacers in the $8 million range available for Lance. But I'm sticking with my numbers man, Tim Donahue at 8 points, 9 seconds thanks to his intimate knowledge of the numbers pertaining to the Pacers. Tim takes a tour through the Pacers salary cap situation and breaks it down as best he can while also explaining where the squishy parts remain.

On the vital topic of Lance and salary options for the Pacers, here is the latest projection.

Even if not, here is the takeaway: The Pacers technically have $6.95 million of "available for Lance" money if they keep Scola, but they could increase that sum to $8.96 million by cutting the Argentine. Though those numbers are likely too high.

Why? Because we should assume that the Pacers want to have a bit of leeway under the tax. That is to say, if the luxury tax threshold is $77 million (as it is projected and assumed in this financials), then the Pacers will probably target to be at least $500k below it - if not more.

Those are wheelhouse numbers for Lance as far as I'm concerned. Much more than that for multiple years carries far too much risk. It also seems low considering it takes just one team to toss $10 million or more on the table to entice Stephenson to leave.

If that happens, the offseason will get real interesting in a hurry. Otherwise, if the Pacers lock up Lance, there won't be much left for any other entertaining moves, save a trade.

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