Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee’s contract for the 2022-23 season was partially-guaranteed for $4.6M of his $9.1M salary if he were waived on or before June 21, per CelticsBlog and Spotrac’s Keith Smith.
Mason Plumlee's contract with the Charlotte Hornets will become fully guaranteed at $9.1M if he's not waived today. Plumlee's deal is already guaranteed for $4.6M.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 21, 2022
If Plumlee had been waived yesterday so the Hornets could shed about $4.5M off their books heading into the offseason, it’s safe to assume the news would’ve broken by now. Plumlee’s contract for this season will now be fully-guaranteed.
No matter how badly we’d like to see a different center in the starting lineup, Plumlee has trade value for a couple of reasons; the first being that he’s not complete negative on the court and would be serviceable in a smaller role. Secondly, his $9.1M contract slot has trade value and could easily be cobbled together with other assets to acquire a big.
The $9.1M contract of Mason Plumlee became guaranteed on Tuesday night.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 22, 2022
Heading into the draft, the Hornets have $117M in contracts including the partially-guaranteed salary of Kelly Oubre and both 1's.
$29.2M below the luxury tax
RFA of Miles Bridges on the horizon
Even if Plumlee’s contract stays on the books and Miles Bridges commands a near-max deal as a restricted free agent, the Hornets are still likely to come in just below the luxury tax line. One thing a small-market team cannot do is salary dump effective players/useful contracts during the early stages of contention to avoid the tax; the team is going to be competitive at some point, and competitive teams cost money.
Per The Athletic’s John Hollinger, Myles Turner is “in play” to be dealt and it “seems more serious than the other 36 times” he was in the rumor mill, and Clint Capela was mentioned in a recent Shams Charania piece as a moveable piece. There are options out there, and the Hornets should have the assets to get a deal done if they choose to.
Keeping Plumlee through his guarantee date and either moving him to another team or the bench by next season was always the most likely scenario. The Hornets don’t save enough money by waiving him to make a difference and that his contract could help with salary-matching in a trade.