Blog Entry

Cap figures for free-agent chase (UPDATE)

Posted on: June 28, 2010 5:38 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 1:54 pm
While agents and GMs continue to point out that teams without cap space can participate in free agency, too, it's worth taking a look at exactly where the cap-flush teams stand with two days left before the negotiating period begins.

The Bulls and Heat weren't the only teams whose cap space changed with draft-related trades. As things stand now, five teams have enough room to sign at least one max free agent at the going rate of about $16.6 million in the first year of the deal. Only the Knicks have more than enough room for two max players, while the Bulls and Heat are within easy striking distance through various housecleaning moves.

UPDATE: By trading Yi Jianlian and cash to Washington for Quinton Ross Monday, the Nets cleared another $2.9 million in cap space, closing in on room for two max free agents.

In all, there are nine teams with cap space heading into July 1. That doesn't mean free agency is a nine-team race, as teams that are over the cap (Dallas and Houston, for example) already are internally discussing sign-and-trade deals that could yield marquee free agents in return. Here's a breakdown of how much room each team with cap space has, using league salary figures and consultations with team executives:

1) Knicks, $34.4 million: That doesn't include a $10.5 million cap hold for unrestricted free agent David Lee, whose rights must be renounced to have room for two max signings.

2) Nets, $30.5 million: New Jersey failed in its draft-day attempt to deal Devin Harris and his $8.9 million contract, a move that would’ve put them on par with the Knicks for the most cap space. The Nets will continue to dangle Harris and others if they feel it gives them a real shot at two max players.

3) Bulls, $29.2 million: Chicago cleared $9.8 million by trading Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Wizards, who ironically absorbed the hit with the space provided by Cleveland in the Antawn Jamison trade. So it's possible that the Bulls could wind up recycling that space and turning it into LeBron James. But I digress. The Bulls' figure could rise to $30.9 million after Rob Kurz and Chris Richard (both non-guaranteed deals) are waived, and they’d get the room for two max free agents by dumping James Johnson ($1.8 million) on a team with cap space.

4) Heat, $29.1 million: Like Chicago, Miami is on the cusp of clearing room for two max free agents. There are two fairly straight-forward routes by which they can finish the job: Acquire one of the players in a sign-and-trade (if someone will take Michael Beasley and his $4.9 million contract) or give James Jones ($1.8 million) away to a team that’s under the cap, such as Sacramento. If a team like the Kings were offered Jones plus $3 million cash and a future draft pick, how could they say no?

5) Clippers, $16.8 million: As things stand now, the Clips have room for only one max player, and it’s likely to stay that way. They’ll go all-in for LeBron, but anticipating a no, will quickly switch gears to a second-tier free agent, with Joe Johnson the likely target.

6) Kings, $14.9 million: Sacto doesn’t intend to be a major player in pursuing free agents, but GM Geoff Petrie and assistant GM Jason Levien will still be quite busy. The Kings will field numerous calls from teams trying to unload salaries into Sacramento’s space, an avenue that would provide cash and future draft picks to continue the rebuilding process.

7) Timberwolves, $13 million: If GM David Kahn is able to dump Al Jefferson ($13 million), the T-Wolves’ space could increase significantly. Short of that, Minny will be in the same boat as the Kings as facilitators for other free-agent movers and shakers.

8) Wizards, $10.4 million: All that space, and then some, disappears if Washington picks up Josh Howard’s $11.8 million team option for 2010-11. That’s unlikely. It’s also a long shot that the Wizards will be players in the free-agent derby, preferring instead to wait until the financial framework of a new CBA is set.

9) Thunder, $5.5 million: GM Sam Presti finally delved into his cap space to acquire Daequan Cook and the expiring contract of Morris Peterson, deals that yielded 11th pick Cole Aldrich and future draft picks.


Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2010 12:24 pm

Updated cap figures for free-agent chase

that amount is his buyout. It is accurate

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2010 11:31 am

Updated cap figures for free-agent chase

" In any event, the Miami Heat can currently offer 2 players the $16 million max and 1 player $14 million"

Only if Wade leaves Miami or  you're counting him as one of the 3 players you listed above -- if Wade stays then, barring a sign and trade, they have only the $29.1 million for signing free agents as stated in the article -- One max free agent and one slightly less than max.  Obviously Miami's plan is to resign Wade first and hope that Lebron will sign along with convincing someone else to take less than max money to sign.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: June 29, 2010 8:35 am

Updated cap figures for free-agent chase

Just a question though.  If you can't believe ESPN for anything then what source is it that you do believe because unless its coming from Pat Riley himself there's probably an error or two in it.

Since you are so knowledgeable in the area of the Miami Heat salary situation how is it that this article states that Jones is owed $1.8 mil this year but you say he is owed $15.5 over the next 3 years.  I find it hard to believe that his salary jumps from less than 2 to almost 5.  It probably has something to do with the fact that only part of it is guaranteed.

My point is that in reality none of us have a clue what is going on, including you.

Since: Jun 28, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 10:37 pm

Updated cap figures for free-agent chase

There you go again valleydawg, not having a clue what is going on. James Jones fits in because he is under contract. Jones has $15.5 remaining on his contract through 2012-13.  If you trust ESPN for anything, you are nuts! As for David Lee until he is off the Knicks books he will have a cap hold.  That is the reason the Bulls traded Tyrus Thomas at the trade deadline.  He would have had a 13 or 14 million dollar cap hold until he was off the Bulls books. Which might have been to late to sign a max player.

Since: Dec 15, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 10:17 pm

Updated cap figures for free-agent chase

1) In the case of Miami, I think you're including Dwyane Wade's PLAYER OPTION worth $17.1 million. He has not yet acted on his option, thus giving the Heat $46.2 million in cap space as was reported by ESPN on draft night. Additionally, ESPN also reported Miami having only 2 players currently under contract - those being Mario Chalmers and the aforementioned Michael Beasley. Not sure where James Jones fits into the mix. In any event, the Miami Heat can currently offer 2 players the $16 million max and 1 player $14 million.

2) A question with regard to the Knicks, how is it that they have a $10.5 million "cap hold" on unrestricted free agent David Lee? Doesn't the cap hold apply to restricted free agents? How can the Knicks renounce their rights to him, when they currently have no rights to him? He's unrestricted, he can sign anywhere and the Knicks are unable to match another team's offer.

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