The future of Kyle Singler with the Thunder.
It wouldn’t be fair to call Kyle Singler’s contract an albatross.
But considering his sparse production and how little he played last season, Singler’s contract isn’t ripening with age.
What the Thunder could do with Singler’s contract is utilize the stretch provision.
Singler remaining salary will still be on the Thunder’s team salary when he’s waived, but the Thunder would be able to “stretch” the contract over twice the number of remaining years on Singler’s deal, plus an additional year.
The Thunder has until Aug. 31 to stretch Singler’s contract.
Singler has two guaranteed years remaining on his contract, and a third year which is a team option.
That means the remaining $9.66 million guaranteed over two years (2017-18, 2018-19) could be stretched over seven seasons in even amounts.
Singler’s cap hit this season would be lowered from $4.66 million to
$1.38 million, saving the Thunder $3.28 million this season.
What if Singler is waived and signs with another team?
Who’s responsible for his salary?
The Thunder would still be responsible for a portion of his salary, but would be allowed to reduce the amount it owes the player.
Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the amount of salary a team can “set-off” is limited to “one-half the difference between the player’s new salary and the minimum salary for a one-year veteran during the season in which the player is waived.”
A hypothetical: What if Singler was waived by the Thunder, then signed before the season at the veteran’s minimum for a player of his years of service (five years in the NBA = $1,709,538)?
That figure minus $1,312,611 (the 2017-18 minimum for a one-year veteran), divided by two would make the Thunder responsible for $198,464. The new team would pay the remainder of his salary (and do the Thunder a massive favor).
The benefits of waiving Singler: Freeing up an additional roster spot and getting closer to the luxury tax line of $119.3 million.
The Thunder is currently at around $125.6 million in salaries, not counting Nick Collison’s 1-year contract and unsigned rookie Terrance Ferguson. But the Thunder has until the end of the season to get under the luxury tax and avoid paying a repeater tax in 2018-19.
A reason to keep Singler: His contract could be used to match salaries in a trade.
Operating in the luxury tax is less of a concern with the acquisition of Paul George.
There’s a price to pay to contend, as evident by last year’s finalists.
Cleveland and Golden State will pay more than $46 million combined in luxury tax this season.
The Thunder has paid the luxury tax twice before when it had teams chasing titles, and appears willing to do so now with George on board for at least a season.
It means the Thunder may be more willing to keep Singler on the books for now and 1.) Pay off his salary over the next two seasons (a la the decision OKC made with Ronnie Price rather than stretch out his contract) or 2.) Try its best to package him in a future trade.
Kyle Singler’s lack of production in Oklahoma City could make the Thunder think about waiving the 6-year pro.