April 13, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) shoots over Utah Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward (20) during the second half of a game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Jazz 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Per Yahoo!'s Marc Spears, the Hornets will officially announce later today that they've opted to match the 4 year, $58 million maximum deal Eric Gordon signed with the Phoenix Suns on July 11th. More on what that means for Gordon, the Hornets, and the team dynamic moving forward (preview!: feelings got hurt, but Gordon's getting paid $58M to throw a ball into a bucket, and so he will play!), but for now a quick glance at how the rest of free agency should shape up.
Gordon was officially already on the Hornets books before they matched, via his $9.6M "cap hold." So the Hornets take a $3.3M hit with Gordon's return - the difference between that cap hold (basically a place holder implemented by the league to prevent teams from skipping their way through the CBA's otherwise bountiful loopholes) and his first year salary on the new contract ($12.9M).
The current salary situation can be broken down thusly (via)*
*some of the numbers, like Davis' 20% standard rookie raise are my own interpretations.
Moreover, the Hornets should still have access to the full midlevel exception ($5M) and bi-annual exception ($1.9M). Per Larry Coon, teams under the cap retain access to their exceptions as long as the difference between the cap and their salaries does not exceed the total value of their exceptions. The total value of the midlevel and the biannual is $6.9M; the difference between the Hornets' salaries ($51.6M) and the 2012-2013 cap figure is about $6.4M. So the Hornets have some money to spend. But on whom?
Brendan Haywood, Luis Scola and Darko Milicic were amnestied, and we'll learn who won bids on them today or tomorrow. Scola's minimum bid is 3 years, $10M, Darko's is around 2 years, >$2M, and Haywood's is around 3 years at $4.2M.
UPDATE via ESPN's Marc Stein: Brendan Haywood has been claimed by the Bobcats, and Darko Milicic has cleared waivers, making him an unrestricted free agent.