By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on June 3, 2014
With big-name players like Carmelo Anthony and possibly the Miami Heat’s Big Three on the free agency market this NBA offseason, cap-space is going to be vital for teams. The top-tier teams have to find ways to improve without breaking their bank while lower-tier teams must spend to improve. What is the financial situation of all 30 NBA teams heading into this offseason? (All cap-figures taken from spotrac.com.)
After making the playoffs and giving the Pacers a strong run without their best player in Al Horford, the Hawks are sitting pretty financially this offseason. In terms of guaranteed money, they should have about $14 million in cap-space. If they keep guys like Pero Antic and Mike Muscala, that number decreases a bit. However, they’ll have a good bit of room to make some key moves.
The Celtics are in a strange situation still considering that they’re in a rebuilding process based largely on draft picks. Coming into this offseason, they have just around $6.8 million in room, which could go up to around million if they don’t give Avery Bradley a qualifying offer. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cs work with what they do have.
Being over the salary cap maximum is bad. Being over the luxury tax threshold is worse. Being $13.7 million over the luxury tax line is even worse, but it’s where the Nets are. They’re basically handcuffed into making signings for the minimum, which isn’t promising for an aging team that was bounced easily in the second round.
The Hornets are in one of the best positions of the NBA in regards to their finances this offseason. After showing great improvement and making the postseason this past year, Charlotte has around $18.3 million to work with this summer. That could open them up to land some valuable assets and continue what’s looking like a successful rebuild for the re-branded organization.
The Bulls are technically over the cap right now, but that’s likely to change with the expected amnesty of Carlos Boozer. With Boozer off of the books for next season, they’ll have roughly $13 million in cap-room to work with this summer, in addition to some movable assets for a sign-and-trade.
Not only do the Cavs have the number one pick in the draft again, but they also have a good deal of cap-room to work with this summer. The Cavs will come into this offseason with a hair over $16 million in space to work with. With it being unlikely that they re-sign Luol Deng, this could be a time for Cleveland to make some big moves for their future and to finally get out of the lottery.
The Mavs have the most cap-room of any team in the league this summer, but that’s a bit of smoke and mirrors. They are around $32 million under the cap, but they are almost surely going to re-sign Dirk Nowitzki and could look to retain a number of other free-agent veterans. They should still have a good bit of room, but $32 million isn’t the number they truly have to work with.
The Nuggets are in a strange situation as they are seemingly unhappy with their roster, but are also $6 million over the salary cap. While they likely won’t be making a great deal of signings this summer, look for the Nuggets to wheel-and-deal a bit this offseason and, if they do hone in on a signing, to work a sign-and-trade to get it done.
The figure for the Pistons sits tentatively around $21 million, but the big question that they face regards restricted free-agent Greg Monroe. Monroe is more than likely going to see some big offers from around the league and Detroit choosing to match that offer would severely diminish their room to work financially.
You have to wonder what the Warriors have up their sleeves this offseason and if they believe the switch to Steve Kerr at head coach will get them over the hump. Financially, they don’t have much room to work as they’re $1.3 million over the cap. Considering their talent, it’ll be interesting to see how they try and work this offseason in free agency.
Houston could be active on the trade market this summer, but not so much in free agency without pulling off a sign-and-trade. The Rockets are going to be about $2.9 million over the cap for next season. They also have a lot of decisions to make regarding non-guaranteed contracts. Considering the belief that they are a piece or two away from contending, I’m curious to see how they handle this summer.
With Lance Stephenson becoming a free-agent and with the Pacers already $1.7 million over the cap, it’s highly unlikely that Indiana will be major players in free agency this offseason. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this team possibly make some waves on the trade market to try and shake up their roster a bit.
The Clippers have a loaded roster at this point that puts them less than a $1 million under the luxury tax ($13 million over the cap). They’re more than likely not going to be able to make many moves in free agency, but it’ll be interesting to see how they address their need for a big man given their cap-situation.
In a situation that hasn’t been the norm in recent years for the Lakers, L.A. has a ton of cap-room this offseason. Only Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Robert Sacre are officially on the books for next season, giving the Lakers around $27 million in cap-room (just under $26 million depending on Nick Young’s option). They definitely have room to put a solid supporting cast in place, unlike what they did last summer.
The Grizzlies are $6 million over the cap as a baseline, but a lot depends on Zach Randolph and what he does with his $16 million player option. They also have $3 million of non-guaranteed money tied into Kosta Koufos. Either way, Memphis is going to have to work a little magic to make any big moves this offseason.
If each member of the Big Three were to exercise their early termination option, the Heat would have be a ridiculous $55 million under the cap. That’s almost surely not going to happen, though, so the Heat will more than likely be over the cap with all three stars staying. We’ll see how they choose to move this offseason and what decisions LeBron, Wade and Bosh make.
The Bucks will be approximately $15 million under the cap this offseason with little flexibility on that figure in terms of options and so on. More than likely, the draft will bring in the Bucks’ biggest addition this offseason, but Milwaukee could undoubtedly stand to use some of their cap-space and sign some kind of help and relief to a struggling team.
Pretty much without question, the Wolves are going to be about $2.8 million over the cap this season. Especially considering the fact that the organization believes that Kevin Love will start the season in Minnesota, that seems to be even more of a formality. Considering that this team fell short of the playoffs again this year, you have to wonder what they can muster this summer given their lack of cap room in regards to improvement.
At around $4.8 million, the Pelicans are the team under the cap with the least amount of room under the cap. However, the real question that the Pelicans are facing is about how good their current roster can be when it’s fully healthy. This past season, injuries and other circumstances essentially stifled the team’s chance to gel and get in a rhythm. With little cap-room, they have to hope the team they have can indeed get it done.
Even if Carmelo Anthony leaves New York, the Knicks will still be about $7 million over the cap. If Melo signs a new deal with this team, they’ll be well over the cap and the luxury tax as the team with the highest salary on the books for next season. Seeing how they missed the postseason this year, that’s less than promising and shows the work Phil Jackson has ahead of him.
The Thunder almost definitely won’t be big players in free agency this summer. Not only is the team just under $6.5 million over the cap, but they also have proven they’re one of the league’s best when they’re healthy. Expect them to roll out their powerhouse lineup once again.
Considering the young talent that they already have and the lottery picks they’ll add, the Magic are a team on the rise. Overlooked, though, is the fact that this team is just over $17 million under the cap and has a load of non-guaranteed money that they could get off of the books. Orlando could make some major moves in their rebuilding project this summer.
The 76ers could be a team that starts making rapid improvements this year. Not only will they get Nerlens Noel on the floor and two high draft picks, but they’ll also have a baseline $30.6 million in cap-space to work with, which could creep higher with some non-guaranteed money that could come off of the books. Philly could be sneaky players on the free agency market.
The Suns not only almost made the playoffs this past season, but now they have a lottery pick and cap-room to work with this summer. Their cap figure is about $30.7 million under right now, but that’s dependent on restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe and guys like P.J. Tucker also. Even with that number likely decreasing, though, Phoenix will have room to make a good young team even better.
The Trail Blazers' roster will more than likely look identical to how it did this past season. Portland is around $1.6 million over the cap heading into the offseason with only a Mo Williams player option and Will Barton’s small non-guaranteed contract as flexibility. We’ll see how they decide to handle that this summer, but it more than likely means this team stands pat.
Sacramento is pretty clearly in the midst of a rebuild and could be active on the trade wire. In terms of the cap, though, the Kings are about $4 million over the cap heading into the summer and will likely be looking to re-sign restricted free-agent Isaiah Thomas. It’s definitely a question mark regarding how this organization will tackle this offseason.
The Spurs are back in the Finals and also have cap-room for next season, sitting at $9 million or so under the cap. That could increase to closer to $20 million if Tim Duncan were to retire, which makes you wonder what this dynastic organization will have in store this summer in terms of staying among the league’s elite.
The Raptors as they look to build on making the postseason will enter the summer with about $12 million in cap-room. However, they have a large decision looming regarding unrestricted free agent point guard Kyle Lowry, who should bring a big payday. The question then becomes, if they re-sign Lowry, what else can they add on the open market to really take this team to the next level.
Returning their two big men, having a lottery pick from last year, a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, and $31 million in cap-space leaves the Jazz in a solid situation this offseason. They have to make a decision regarding Gordon Hayward, but they might look to start building elsewhere in free agency depending on the type of money Hayward is thrown in restricted free agency.
The Wizards have a great young core to build around, but their free agency options could be limited. With $14 million in cap-space this summer, the Wizards have to consider re-signing Marcin Gortat. After that, there won’t be a great deal of room to work with. We’ll have to see how this organization operates to continue the success they enjoyed this past season.
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