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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The amount of cap room teams will actually have

Lots of people and lots of places are claiming knowledge of the cap space of various NBA team in anticipation of this summer's free agency bonanza. Most, if not all, have done so misleadingly inaccurately.

Without wanting to sound too douchebaggy (sorry), let's try to get this right. 100% accuracy is not guaranteed, but 99.7% accuracy is. All salary information is taken from this website's own salary pages.

NOTE: All cap space amounts are calculated to an estimated salary cap of $56.1 million. This inexact figure is the most recent (and thus accurate) projection released yet, and will have to suffice for now. When the actual amount is calculated/announced, the sums below will be altered accordingly.


    Atlanta Hawks


Committed salary for 2010/11: $47,630,214 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


If Atlanta renounce (or lose) Joe Johnson, renounce Josh Childress, renounce their four remaining free agents (Joe Smith, Mario West, Jason Collins and Randolph Morris), and sell or renounce their first round draft pick (#24, cap hold of $963,600), they will have a cap number of $49,524,640 (the committed salary plus four minimum salary roster charges of $473,604 for having less than 12 things on the cap). Barring trades, that's as low as they can get. And yet it's not enough for cap room; if you add on the value of the Bi-Annual Exception ($2.08 million) and the Mid-Level Exception (not yet known exactly, but will be about $5.7 million), the Hawks are over the cap.


    Boston Celtics


Committed salary for 2010/11: $64,423,396 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


If Paul Pierce opts, and if he and Ray Allen are both not re-signed, it's possible for the Celtics to have cap room. But it is too farfetched and nonsensical.



    Charlotte & Bob Katz


Committed salary for 2010/11: $59,789,925 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Like Boston, Charlotte could have cap room if both Tyson Chandler and Nazr Mohammed opt out, and if they also renounce Raymond Felton and Tyrus Thomas. But three of these four things will not realistically happen. Strangely, though, the first one might.

If Chandler opted out, Charlotte's committed salary would drop to $47,189,925, almost $9 million below the salary cap. However, to utilise that cap room, Charlotte would have to renounce Thomas (whose cap hold will be the four year veteran's maximum salary) and Felton (cap hold of $11,002,392), as well as renouncing Tyson himself, Larry Hughes, Othella Harrington, Stephen Graham, Theo Ratliff, Alan Anderson, Derek Anderson and Lonny Baxter. Most of the other players are irrelevant, but do you give up those first three for what amounts to basically 150% of the MLE? No.



    Chicago Bulls


Committed salary for 2010/11: $33,559,754 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $20,578,404


The projected figure above assumes that:

a) all free agents get renounced (Devin Brown, Brad Miller, Acie Law, Joe Alexander, Ronald Murray, Jannero Pargo, Hakim Warrick and Martynas Andriuscabbages; a pretty safe assumption)

b) Chris Richard and Rob Kurz - both with unguaranteed salaries of $854,389 - are waived.

The Bulls own the #17 pick, which has a cap hold of $1,302,600. That, plus the Bulls committed salary listed above, minus the salaries of Kurz and Richard, plus five roster charges for only having seven things on the cap ($473,604 * 5), give a total cap number of $35,521,596, equating to $20,578,404 in cap room.

Note: "things on the cap" constitute players under contract, free agents not under contract who have cap holds, and the cap holds of unsigned first round picks. Unsigned second round picks do not have cap holds and thus do not count for anything.



    Cleveland Cavaliers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $67,118,036 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None, and too farfetched to get it. (It involves LeBron walking and all sorts. Won't happen.)



    Dallas Mavericks


Committed salary for 2010/11: $86,569,366 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None, not even if they keep Erick Dampier's non-guaranteed deal for themselves.



    Denver Nuggets


Committed salary for 2010/11: $75,639,269 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Detroit Pistons


Committed salary for 2010/11: $55,562,996 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Golden State Warriors


Committed salary for 2010/11: $52,823,627 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Even before the cap holds for desirable restricted free agents such as C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow are taken into account, the 6th overall pick (cap hold of $2,554,200) puts paid to any Warriors cap room dreams. If Vladimir Radmanovic foolishly opts out, however, we can revisit this.



    Houston Rockets


Committed salary for 2010/11: $61,743,313 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Houston's committed salary could drop down as low as $33,099,779 without making any trades. If Yao Ming and Jared Jeffries opt out, if the team option on Chuck Hayes is declined, and if Mike Harris and Alexander Johnson (both unguaranteed) are waived. However, Jeffries is a certainty not to opt out, and Hayes's team option is for so little that it's not going to be declined. So even if Yao opts out - and if he does so, he's probably doing so only to re-sign - the Rockets will not have a significant amount of cap room. The only way in which they do is if Yao opts out and is renounced/signs elsewhere, and if they also renounce/lose Luis Scola. But these won't both happen. In fact, it's unlikely either happens.



    Indiana Pacers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $65,717,857 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    L.A. Clippers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $33,528,349 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $17,593,927


Two years after last having cap space - and buggering it up - the Clippers are back in the mix. Their upcoming free agents are to be Steve Blake, Rasual Butler, Travis Outlaw, Mardy Collins, Drew Gooden, Craig Smith, Steve Novak, Bobby Brown and Brian Skinner - some nice role players in there, but no one worth jeopardising possible cap room for. If and when all those are renounced, the Clippers salary situation then looks like this:

Baron Davis - $13,000,000
Chris Kaman - $11,300,000
Blake Griffin - $5,357,280
Eric Gordon - $3,016,680
DeAndre Jordan - $854,389
8th pick - $2,136,100
Six roster charges = $473,604 * 6 = $2,841,624

= $38,506,073
= $17,593,927 in cap room.


Additionally, Jordan's salary is unguaranteed; waiving him opens up another $380,785 in cap room after being charged another cap hold. That would boost their amount of cap room to $17,974,712. That's probably overkill, but it's something to consider.



    L.A. Lakers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $83,735,883 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Memphis Grizzlies


Committed salary for 2010/11: $47,292,579 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


It is always assumed by fans that Memphis has cap room. However, this year, they don't. The cap holds from their three first round draft picks add $3,472,400 to that figure on their own; therefore, even if Memphis let Rudy Gay and Ronnie Brewer leave via free agency, they will still not have cap room. And they're not going to let them leave like that anyway.



    Miami Heat


Committed salary for 2010/11: $30,547,924 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: Um, depends.


In theory, Miami could have 14 of their 16 players become free agents this summer. Jermaine O'Neal, Quentin Richardson, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright, Yakhouba Diawara, Jamaal Magloire, Carlos Arroyo, Rafer Alston and Shavlik Randolph are all headed towards unrestricted free agency; Dwyane Wade and Joel Anthony hold player options; the team holds team options on Mario Chalmers and Kenny Hasbrouck; James Jones's contract is only partially guaranteed. Only Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook have guaranteed contracts for next season, for $4,962,240 and $2,169,857 respectively.

Jones's incredibly bizarre contract calls for salaries of $4,650,000, $4,970,000 and $5,290,000 (ETO) over the next three seasons. However, if Jones is waived on or before June 30th, the team will be liable for only $1,856,000, $1,984,000 and $2,112,000 over the next three seasons. Miami will try to trade Jones so as to avoid having that $1,856,000 cutting into ther 2010 cap room, but that might be hard to do, for Jones has a trade kicker.

With so many variables involved, there are too many possible connotations for a Miami offseason to be listed here. But for argument's sake, let's assume the following;

1) Wade and Anthony opt out
2) The team option on Chalmers is exercised
3) The team option on Hasbrouck is declined
4) Jones is not traded, and is waived by the Heat
5) None of Beasley, Cook or their first round draft pick are traded away
6) Everyone else is renounced, even Anthony and the beloved Haslem. (They would also be renouncing Alonzo Mourning, Shandon Anderson, Christian Laettner, Gary Payton, Bimbo Coles, Wang Zhi Zhi, John Wallace and Steve Smith, all of whom are long since done with the NBA but whom retain cap holds anyway.)

That then leaves the Heat in this position:

Dwyane Wade - $16,568,908 (cap hold; this is also the maximum he can re-sign for)
Michael Beasley - $4,962,240
Daequan Cook - $2,169,857
James Jones - $1,856,000 (waived)
#18 pick - $1,237,500
Mario Chalmers - $854,389
Seven roster charges = $3,315,228

Total = $30,964,122 = $25,135,878 in cap room.

If they can dump Cook, that number is increased. Same if they dump Jones. Same if they dump Beasley. And same if they sell the pick. For each spot they open up, another $473,604 roster charge is added, but that amount is somewhat negligible in the grand scheme of things. You almost never see teams completely gut their roster at once and have essentially $0 in committed salary, yet the Heat are coming extremely close.



    Milwaukee Bucks


Committed salary for 2010/11: $56,068,163 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Michael Redd and John Salmons have ETO's this summer, and Salmons might use his. Additionally, the Bucks also have three unguaranteed salaries; Cucumber A Moute ($854,389, fully unguaranteed), Darnell Jackson ($854,389, fully unguaranteed) and Carlos Delfino ($3,500,000, $500,000 guaranteed). But Mbah A Moute is too important to the team to be waived for such a minimal saving, and Salmons's opt-out alone is not enough to create cap space. And even if it was, they'd rather like to use it on re-signing him. They'll have cap room only if Redd opts out, but he's not going to do that, for reasons which are hopefully obvious. Might as well wait until 2011, the year when Redd and Dan Gadzuric's contracts finally expire.



    Minnesota Timberwolves


Committed salary for 2010/11: $35,932,400 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $15,423,491


Included in that $35,932,400 figure are the unguaranteed salaries of Greg Stiemsma ($762,195, fully unguaranteed) and Ryan Gomes. Gomes's contract is structured in the same way as James Jones's above; only the amount differs. He is slated to earn $4,260,000, $4,627,500 and $4,995,000 over the next three seasons, but of that, only $1 million, $1 million and $750,000 respectively is guaranteed. Therefore, Minnesota can maximize their cap room by waiving the two, which gives them the following:

Al Jefferson - $13,000,000
Ramon Sessions - $3,964,320
Corey Brewer - $3,703,472
Kevin Love - $3,638,280
Jonny Flynn - $3,192,000
Ryan Hollins - $2,333,333
Wayne Ellington - $1,078,800
Ryan Gomes - $1,000,000 (waived)

4th pick - $3,105,500
16th pick - $1,371,200
23rd pick - $1,003,800
Ricky Rubio - $2,812,200
One roster charge - $473,604

(Note: unsigned first round draft picks have cap holds. Unsigned second rounders don't.)

Total = $40,676,509 = $15,423,491 in cap room.

Stiemsma, Gomes, Darko Milicic, Brian Cardinal, Damien Wilkins, Nate Jawai, Sasha Pavlovic and Oleksiy Pecherov would all have to be waived or renounced for that to happen. Additionally, cap holds on Latrell Sprewell, Kirk Snyder, Michael Doleac, Sam Jacobsen, Oliver Miller, Sam Mitchell, Andrae Patterson and Bracey Wright would also have to be renounced. Nonetheless, Minnesota has enough cap room to factor this summer.



    New Jersey Nets


Committed salary for 2010/11: $26,894,328 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $26,799,860


New Jersey's free agents this offseason are Tony Battie, Bobby Simmons, Trenton Hassell, Chris Quinn, Josh Boone and Jarvis Hayes. They will not be missed. Kris Humphries have a player option for $3.2 million that he's probably going to be exercising, and the Nets have a team option for the minimum salary on Chris Douglas-Roberts that they're said to be conflicted over, but which they will probably exercise. The 3rd overall pick has a cap hold of $3,444,400, the 27th pick has one of $868,600, and only $500,000 of Keyon Dooling's $3,828,000 is guaranteed. Therefore, the Nets' cap room figures to play out like this:

Devin Harris - $8,981,000
Yi Jianlian - $4,050,499
Kris Humphries - $3,200,000
Brook Lopez - $2,413,320
Terrence Williams - $2,214,480
Courtney Lee - $1,352,640
Chris Douglas-Roberts - $854,389
Keyon Dooling - $500,000 (waived)

3rd pick - $3,444,400
27th pick - $868,600
Three roster charges - $1,420,812

Total = $29,300,140 = $26,799,860 in cap room.



    New Orleans Hornets


Committed salary for 2010/11: $71,756,545 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    New York Knicks


Committed salary for 2010/11: $18,637,294 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $34,147,467


Working on the incredibly safe assumption that Eddy Curry is not opting out, while also assuming that Bill Walker is not waived, the Knicks figure to have the most space of anyone. They kind of had to, really, after all that fighting to get there. If Tracy McGrady, Al Harrington, David Lee, Chris Duhon, Eddie House, Sergio Rodriguez, J.R. Giddens, Jonathan Bender, Earl Barron, Kelvin Cato, Andrew Lang, Larry Robinson, Felton Spencer, Bruno Sundov and Qyntel Woods are all renounced, New York then has the following salaries;

Eddy Curry - $11,276,863
Danilo Gallinari - $3,304,560
Wilson Chandler - $2,130,482
Toney Douglas - $1,071,000
Bill Walker - $854,389
Seven roster charges - $3,315,228

Total = $21,952,533
= $34,147,467 in cap room.

As was the case with DeAndre Jordan above, waiving Walker would open up a further $380,785 in cap room. However, that too seems like overkill. You've got $34 million in store, why waste a decent young shooter for less than $400k more?



    Oklahoma City Thunder


Committed salary for 2010/11: $39,995,371 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $14,121,129


The Thunder only have three free agents; Etan Thomas, Kevin Ollie and Mustafa Shakur. They have two first round draft picks (21st and 26th), and have the unguaranteed salary of Kyle Weaver ($935,484, fully unguaranteed). If Weaver is not waived, the team will have a cap number of $41,978,871 - the above committed salary plus the cap holds for the first rounders - providing cap room of $14,121,129. Additionally, because the team has 11 other players under contract with two first rounders, waiving Weaver doesn't mean adding another cap hold; therefore, the Thunder can open up an additional $935,484 in cap room for a total maximum of $15,056,613. However, the above figure assumes that Weaver is kept.



    Orlando Magic


Committed salary for 2010/11: $78,874,626 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Philadelphia 76ers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $66,088,541 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Phoenix Suns


Committed salary for 2010/11: $64,574,704 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Amare Stoudemire ($17,686,100) and Channing Frye ($2,149,200) have options to become free agents that total $19,835,300. If both opts out - and it's possible - Phoenix's committed salary drops to $44,739,404. If they lose or renounce both, while simultaneously renouncing Jarron Collins and Louis Amundson, and waiving the unguaranteed contracts of Dwayne Jones and Taylor Griffin, Phoenix could have a maximum cap room amount of $11,221,055. For maths fans, that's 56,100,000 - (64,574,704 - 17,686,100 - 2,149,200 - 762,195 - 992,680) + (473,604 * 4). However, the Suns are wanting to retain Stoudemire, Frye and Amundson, not lose them. If Amare walks in free agency, the possibility of Suns cap room becomes real; until that time, however, it is nothing but a fallback option.



    Portland Trail Blazers


Committed salary for 2010/11: $66,870,768 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Sacramento Kings


Committed salary for 2010/11: $33,047,020 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $18,829,981


The 5th overall pick has a cap hold of $2,812,200. Free agents Ime Udoka, Sean May and Dominic McGuire can easily be renounced, and while Jon Brockman is also a free agent, his cap hold of $937,195 barely changes things. If Sacramento retain Brockman while renouncing the other three, Sacramento will have cap room of $18,829,981, and that's before they've even dealt with Andres Nocioni. Depending on what they do with it, all three teams might have won the Kevin Martin/Tracy McGrady trade.



    San Antonio Spurs


Committed salary for 2010/11: $69,313,328 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None, not even if Jefferson opts out.



    Toronto Raptors


Committed salary for 2010/11: $65,519,757 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None


Echoing the situations of teams further up the list, the Raptors might just be in the cap space running if Chris Bosh opts out. Bosh's player option is for $17,149,243, and declining it drops Toronto's total committed salary down to $48,370,514. It drops further if they waive the unguaranteed contracts of Joey Dorsey and Sonny Weems (who almost achieved the almost-impossible last year when his field goal percentage of .511% almost mirrored his eFG% of .513%. Almost.) However, it would still take another move. Renouncing/losing Bosh, Weems, Dorsey, Amir Johnson, Antoine Wright, Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O'Bryant, Uros Slokar and Pape Sow, and adding a cap hold of $1,599,300 for the 13th pick and three roster charges brings the Raptors up to $49,681,848, $6,418,152 in cap space. Ever so slightly more than the MLE. An irrelevantly small amount above the MLE.



    Utah Jazz


Committed salary for 2010/11: $58,212,433 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: None



    Washington Wizards


Committed salary for 2010/11: $41,018,100 (view full forecast)

Projected cap space: $19,884,784


The above committed salary includes the $11,835,000 team option on Josh Howard, which the Wizards will not be exercising. There's also a $1,146,337 player option on Quinton Ross, the future of which is less clear. With Ross's option exercised and Howard's not, the Wizards committed salary drops to $29,183,100. Washington also has the first and last picks in the first round of the upcoming draft, accounting for cap holds of $4,286,900 and $850,800 respectively. Of their free agents, only Randy Foye and Mike Miller are significant; the rest either won't be invited back, or can be retained for the minimum. They shouldn't let either of Foye or Miller (backup calibre players) jeopardise their free agency chances. The Wizards therefore should look like this:

Gilbert Arenas - $17,730,693
Andray Blatche - $3,260,331
Al Thornton - $2,814,196
Nick Young - $2,630,503
JaVale McGee - $1,601,040
Quinton Ross - $1,146,337
John Wall - $4,286,900
30th pick - $850,800
Four roster charges - $1,894,416

Total = $36,215,216 = $19,884,784 in cap space. Or $20,557,517 if Ross opts out.


Of course, all of these numbers are speculative. That is all they can be at this stage, for you never know what is going to happen. We don't know what figure the salary cap is going to be yet, nor what teams will do with certain players. For all we know, Jared Jeffries might opt out, and Washington might choose to keep Fabricio Oberto. Teams can make trades to open up further cap room, and many teams will try this. Some may even succeed. And many current valid contracts contain incentive clauses, which can affect their value in future years. (This happens a lot and is the hardest part of the NBA salary game. Nothing is ever stagnant.) There are a good many variables involved, and always will be.

However, these numbers are as accurate as is possible at the moment, and the interpretation of team's personnel decisions is hopefully somewhat based in fact. In-depth numbers for all this pap can be found at the respective salary pages, where salary numbers for all players under contract, and cap holds for both players and picks, are listed. With those numbers, and the knowledge that roster charges are applied to any spot under 12 on a team's salary number that isn't filled by a "thing," you can work through all the possible connotations yourself. You can calculate how Sacramento's cap space plan is affected by their (hypothetical) decision to give Sean May a full MLE deal, or how much cap space the Pacers would have if they (hypothetically) traded Danny Granger for Erick Dampier and speed up their rebuilding process in an entirely senseless way. (Could happen. Shouldn't, but could.) The interpretation of the numbers can only be, has always been, and will always be, kind of subjective.

These, though, are the numbers. For now.

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"The brain behind ShamSports could have been featured in a number of these Twitter lists, but because his website often spends our entire working day lodged in one of our browser tabs we decided to take the boring route and place Mark amongst the professors. Deeks might be the funniest man you've never met, he does exhaustive work with the NBA's salary minutiae and transaction follow-ups, and he's a stone-cold must-follow. Stone-cold fox, too, ladies. Or, some gentlemen."