The stretch of Varejao didn't take place until the following season so being under the cap that year didn't matter. What did matter is losing that cap space that summer (Ughhhh 2016 damn it!). @wizenheimer points out that we probably just wouldn't have signed Ezeli but it would have likely ended with offering Turner slightly less money too so that would be one of the benefits. Everything after that point would be different. Not having Ezeli means no need to stretch him. Trading Crabbe for Nicholson might have lead to not needing to trade Vonleh last year to get under the line. It may be fun to speculate but impossible to know for sure.