Whew! Well, once again, draft day provided drama and surprises – and a number of trades that will affect the amount of cap space that teams will have next week when the free agent period begins.
I’m not going to cover each team’s cap room situation, but I will hit each of the nine teams that I have identified previously as potentially having significant (ie, greater than MLE-level) cap space.
And I’m continuing to use $56.1 million as the projected cap figure. The actual figure should be released on July 7th. I’ve tried again to make the best assumptions possible about team options, player options, guaranteed contracts and ETOs, so please let me know if I’ve made a mistake in predicting which contracts are likely and which are unlikely to actually count in next season’s figures.
One last point. This projection is static. By that I mean that it is a snapshot view of where each of these teams will be once the July Moratorium is lifted. However, because most of these teams will have cap holds that will be removed as the summer progresses, the actual amount of free agent money spent (or the amount of actual cap space lost in a lopsided trade) could be higher than the snapshot picture of cap space that a team will have available on July 8th. Let me give you an example to illustrate:
Say that Team X has $20,000,000 in cap space on July 8th and that their team salary figure includes two cap holds of $473,604 each for having less than 12 players on the roster. Team X signs Player Y for a contract that pays him $10,000,000 in 2010-11. You’d expect the team to now have $10,000,000 in cap space, right? But in actuality, since the signing of Player Y also eliminated one of those minimum salary cap holds, the actual amount of cap space that Team X now has is $10,473,604. Similarly, if they then signed Player Z to another $10,000,000 contract, the amount of cap space would now be $947,208, which could be used to sign a 3rd player. So even though the static snapshot of cap space on July 8th was $20 million, due to the presence of cap holds that eventually dropped off, the team would be able to actually sign players that combined for a total of $20,947,208. I hope that makes sense….
The other issue with this being a static projection is that there is the chance that, due to free agents leaving or other trades being made, teams other than these nine might be significantly under the cap at some point this summer. I’ll cross that bridge if/when it happens. For now, here is the snapshot view of where these nine teams will be once the Moratorium is lifted on July 8th:
CHICAGO is rumored to be in line to trade Kirk Hinrich and the rights to Kevin Seraphin to Washington for a future 2nd round pick. Assuming this trade occurs immediately after the June Moratorium is lifted, the Bulls will have 5 players under guaranteed contracts for 2010-11 in Deng, Rose, Noah, Johnson and Gibson. I’m also assuming that both Chris Richard and Rob Kurz, with their non-guaranteed contracts, are released for maximum cap savings. If the Bulls renounce their rights to all free agents, they could have $29.93 million in cap room, after accounting for 7 cap holds of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster.
LA CLIPPERS currently have Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin under contract for 2010-11. Cap holds for 1st round picks Aminu and Bledsoe are in play totaling $3.37 million. I’m assuming that DeAndre Jordan will be retained and that his full contract will count against the cap but that all their free agents will be renounced (including Mardy Collins, who does not get a qualifying offer in this scenario). After accounting for 5 cap holds of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster, the Clippers look to have $16.33 million in cap room.
MIAMI currently has only Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers fully guaranteed for 2010-11. I’m assuming that Joel Anthony does not pick up his player option. Finally, I’m assuming that they will renounce all their free agents and that the team does not retain James Jones, so that only the guaranteed amount of his contract ($1.86 million) counts against the cap. Now, for the tough part – how to count Dwyane Wade who is 99.99% likely to not pick up his player option. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that the team does not retain Bird rights on Wade, which allows us to see the maximum amount of cap space that the Heat can have regardless of whether Wade stays or leaves. In the end, after accounting for 10 cap holds of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster, Miami looks to have $43.69 million in cap space.
MINNESOTA currently has Jefferson, Webster, Sessions, Love, Flynn, Brewer, Hollins and Ellington guaranteed for 2010-11. The cap holds for 1st round picks Johnson and Hayward total $3.96 million. Rubio’s cap hold will also be in play at $2.81 million. Finally, I’m assuming that they do not retain Steimsma’s non-guaranteed contract and that they renounce all rights to their free agents, which means that a single cap hold of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster would be applied. All this would leave the Timberwolves with $13.15 million in cap room.
NEW JERSEY currently has Harris, Jianlian, Lopez, Lee and Williams guaranteed for 2010-11. I am assuming that Humphries picks up his player option. The cap holds for 1st round picks Favors and James total $4.41 million. I’m also assuming that they will release Dooling so that only the $500,000 guaranteed portion of his salary is applied against the cap. Finally, I’m assuming that Josh Boone does not get a qualifying offer and that they renounce all rights to their free agents, which means that there will be 4 cap holds of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster. This would leave the Nets with $27.09 million in cap room.
NEW YORK currently has only Curry, Gallinari, Chandler and Douglas guaranteed for 2010-11. I am assuming that the team does not waive Bill Walker and his non-guaranteed contract, that they do not tender a qualifying offer to Sergio Rodriguez and that they renounce all rights to their other free agents. After accounting for 7 cap holds of $473,604 for having fewer than 12 players on the roster, the Knicks would be left with $34.15 million in cap room.
OKLAHOMA CITY currently has Collison, Peterson, Krstic, Durant, Harden, Westbrook, Green, Sefolosha, Cook, Maynor, Mullens, White and Ibaka under contract for 2010-11. The cap hold for 1st round pick Aldrich will be $1.77 million. Finally, I’m assuming that the team waives Weaver and his non-guaranteed contract and that they renounce all rights to their free agents. This would leave the Thunder with $6.43 million in cap room. Although the team looked to have significantly more cap space just a week ago, the trades that brought them Cook and Peterson cut heavily into the amount of cap space available.
SACRAMENTO currently has Dalembert, Udrih, Garcia, Evans, Landry, Thompson, Greene and Casspi under contract for 2010-11. The cap hold for 1st round pick Cousins will be $2.81 million. Finally, I’m assuming that all rights to their free agents are renounced. After accounting for 3 cap holds of $473,604 each for having fewer than 12 players on the roster, this would leave the Kings with $15.37 million in cap space.
WASHINGTON – After making the assumed trade with Chicago, the Wizards will have Arenas, Hinrich, Blatche, Thornton, Young and McGee with guaranteed contracts for 2010-11. I’m also assuming that Ross picks up his player option, that the Wizards do not pick up the team option for Howard and that Foye does not get a qualifying offer. The cap holds for 1st round picks Wall, Seraphin and Booker will total $6.59 million. After accounting for 2 cap holds for having fewer than 12 players on their roster, Washington could have $10.38 million in cap space.
Because of recent trades and transactions this past week:
The Bulls increased the amount of cap space they will have dramatically, going from just under $20 million to nearly $30 million.
The Heat also increased their amount of projected cap space, going from just over $41 million to just under $44 million.
The Nets and the Knicks did not see their amount of projected cap space change much, if at all.
The Clippers, Timberwolves and Kings each look to have $2-4 million less in cap space than they did in my last projection.
The Wizards cut their amount of projected cap space almost in half, going from nearly $20 million to just over $10 million.
And, finally, the Thunder went from having over $14 million in projected cap space to now looking to have just over $6 million. They might still be a player in free agency, but with little more to offer than teams with the MLE, they no longer look to be a major player.