Ah, Charlotte Hornets free agency. What a wonderful, optimistic time for Hornets fans.
A few days ago, it was reported that the Hornets were interested in Spurs sharpshooter Marco Belinelli, whom they would have presumably signed with their mid-level exception. Yesterday, however, we learned that Belinelli agreed to the terms of a three-year, $19 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.
That $19 million is considerably more than the Hornets could have offered Belinelli. By my math, Belinelli's deal starts at around $6.04 million, with increases to $6.33 million in 2016 and $6.62 million in 2017. For comparison, the Hornets' mid-level exception is only worth $5.46 million.
With the NBA's salary cap expected to shoot up to $108 million in 2017, teams are inking players to massive deals. As a result, the market is inflated, and players that would have been terrific candidates for the mid-level exception last season are earning more than the exception is worth. Kyle Singler — yes, that Kyle Singler — just got a five-year, $25 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Singler would have received a substantially smaller deal last year, but now is making mid-level exception money.
Hopefully the Hornets are able to sign and trade Mo Williams, because without that they might be stuck with another year of Jannero Pargo and Jason Maxiell. And no one wants that.