The NBA’s offseason will move at a quick pace prior to a projected start date that falls around Christmas Day. But that pace might not include a frenzied free agency period that NBA fans have grown accustomed to. According to recent analysis from ESPN NBA contributor Bobby Marks, only four teams will enter the offseason with available cap space.
As a result of that landscape, that is combined with the uncertainty of coronavirus-related impacts on revenue, Marks explained that offseason spending could be cut in half.
Unlike the 2019 offseason, during which $1.1 billion was spent for the 2019-20 season, we are projecting only $450 million in free-agent salary that would count toward 2020-21.
In terms of the overall cap, Marks followed up the report with a tweet that revealed that teams are actively lobbying for more flexibility for the looming free agency period.
One thing that is unanimous is that teams are lobbying for the tax level to come in at $139M and apron at $145M.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 26, 2020
If the tax stays flat at $132.7M, FA and the trade market essentially will become frozen.
A flat tax would only benefit the teams with cap space.
Outside of those league-wide projections, Marks also delivered a detailed look at the players headed towards the open market. In regards to the Trail Blazers, the ESPN+ report looked at both Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside.
For Melo, Marks listed the 36-year-old forward as a key reserve, a billing that is projected to earn between four and six million dollars per season. Whiteside was listed as a starter in the report, a slot that could command a yearly salary between six and eight million dollars. It is important to note that Marks prefaced player projections with a disclaimer that explained contract length could alter those figures.
These projections are for starting salaries if a player signs a long-term deal. Players certainly could sign one-year deals for significantly more money than projected.
You can read Marks’ full set of projections at ESPN+ (subscription required).