As reported earlier this morning, it looks as though a tentative deal has been reached to end the lockout. Under the handshake agreement, free agency would begin on December 9th. In anticipation of a fast and furious period of free agent signings before the season starts on Christmas Day, I’ve put together a summary of where each team stands in regards to team salary. This is not a complete picture of the exact cap position of each team, so the number next to each team name is not their true cap number (as it does not include cap holds for free agents). Instead, I am looking at the how much money is currently committed to player contracts in order to try to make some educated guesses as to what options are available for each franchise as we (finally) move into a period of signing rookies and free agents.
When negotiations for a new CBA broke down nearly two weeks ago, it was rumored that the new salary cap figure for 2011-12 would be $58.044 million and the tax threshold would be $70.307 million, identical to the figures of 2010-11. I think it safe to assume that the new agreement will adopt these numbers (or very similar numbers) for the coming season, so keep that in mind as you look at each team’s salary commitments.
Also note that an amnesty program that could provide true cap space is rumored to be part of the new agreement. The numbers below paint a picture for each team before any use of this amnesty provision, so as players are waived under amnesty, these figures will, of course, change – perhaps dramatically. For now, though, I want to simply provide a salary snapshot for each team and leave any amnesty discussion for either the comments section or for another thread. In other words, this post is designed to be a beginning point for discussion, not a comprehensive summation of each team’s options – that will follow, I am sure, in the weeks to come as more details about the new agreement are made public. However, with the assumption that the new agreement will not reduce or ‘rollback’ any current contract amounts, you can see where I show each team stands after the jump:
ATLANTA HAWKS – $66,396,237 for 9 players
They are committed to $64,818,493 for 7 guaranteed players (Johnson, Smith, Horford, Williams, Hinrich, Pachulia and Teague) and have an additional $1,577,744 on the books for 2 non-guaranteed players (Rolle and Sy).
To fill out their roster, they probably need to either re-sign Jamal Crawford or a player able to replace his production off the bench. However, from a practical standpoint, they will probably not be able to spend $10 million towards this purpose, like they did last year with Crawford. That doesn’t make things any easier for them. Atlanta’s 2nd round pick, Keith Benson, might provide some help inside if he is signed. After that, you’re probably looking at minimum salary contracts to complete the roster.
BOSTON CELTICS – $64,867,622 for 6 players
They are committed to $64,376,513 for 6 guaranteed players (Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Allen, O’Neal and Bradley), plus have $491,109 on the books for Rasheed Wallace’s buyout.
Boston has the core of their starting lineup under contract….and little else beyond that. With no cap space, the Celtics must use exceptions to complete their roster, which limits their choices. First of all are decisions regarding how to proceed with restricted free agent Jeff Green and unrestricted free agent Glen Davis. After that, the Celtics might use their MLE to sign a couple of bench players and wrap things up with a handful of minimum salary players.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS – $47,631,491 for 9 players
They are committed to $47,631,491 for 9 guaranteed players (Maggette, Diaw, Thomas, Diop, Carroll, Augustin, Najera, Henderson and White).
Once they sign their 2 first round picks of Biyombo (assuming his overseas contract situation can be resolved) and Walker, the Bobcats need to make a decision on whether they want to keep restricted free agent Dante Cunningham. After that, they will have only a few roster spots open, but almost certainly need to sign someone to help them at the center position. I would expect them to use their MLE for that purpose.
CHICAGO BULLS – $64,923,771 for 12 players
They are committed to $63,975,864 for 11 guaranteed players (Boozer, Deng, Noah, Rose, Korver, Brewer, Watson, Asik, Bogans, Pargo and Gibson) and have an additional $947,907 on the books for one non-guaranteed player (Lucas).
The Bulls’ roster is basically set. After they sign Butler to a 1st round rookie scale contract, they will have only two roster spots available. Mirotic is not expected to be available for NBA play this year, so I would expect them to either re-sign Kurt Thomas or go after a free agent to replace his role. But I wouldn’t expect much, if anything, beyond that.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS – $55,408,057 for 14 players
They are committed to $53,830,313 for 12 guaranteed players (Jamison, Davis, Varejao, Gibson, Sessions, Hollins, Casspi, Graham, Eyenga, Gee, Erden and Harandgody) and have an additional $1,577,744 on the books for 2 non-guaranteed players (Harris and Samuels).
Free agents? Sorry, no room at the inn. Unless they decide to use the amnesty provision, all the Cavs need to do is to figure out which of their unguaranteed players to waive in order to create roster space to be able to sign both of their 1st round picks – Irving and Thompson.
DALLAS MAVERICKS – $63,839,655 for 10 players
They are committed to $63,839,655 for 10 guaranteed players (Nowitzki, Terry, Kidd, Marion, Haywood, Brewer, Fernandez, Beaubois, Jones and Mahinmi).
The defending champs have some decisions to make on unrestricted free agents Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and Jose Barea. They have no cap room, so they must use exceptions to re-sign any of these players, as well as to sign any other free agents to fill out the roster.
DENVER NUGGETS – $29,704,038 for 7 players
They are committed to $29,704,038 for 7 guaranteed players (Miller, Harrington, Andersen, Gallinari, Mozgov, Koufos, Lawson).
At first glance, Denver looks to be in a great spot. After signing their two 1st round picks (Faried and Hamilton) to their rookie scale contracts, the Nuggets would appear to have lots of cap room to go after a big name free agent. However, if they want to re-sign unrestricted free agent Nene and restricted free agents Afflalo and Forbes (and every indication is that they want all three back), nearly all the cap room is gone. There might still be a little left over to get Nene some help in the frontcourt from a free agent, but that might be about it. Additionally, Chandler and Smith signed contracts with Chinese teams without any opt-out clauses, so it would appear that they are both unavailable this year.
DETROIT PISTONS – $47,862,792 for 9 players
They are committed to $47,862,769 for 9 guaranteed players (Hamilton, Gordon, Villaneuva, Maxiell, Bynum, Monroe, Wallace, Daye and White).
After accounting for the rookie scale contract of Brandon Knight and the probable re-signing of restricted free agents Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko, the Pistons will have a couple of roster spots open to fill but no cap room to do so. I would expect them to make two or three minor free agent signings using exceptions (MLE or minimum contracts).
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – $49,186,872 for 9 players
They are committed to $48,348,000 for 8 guaranteed players (Lee, Ellis, Biedrins, Bell, Wright, Udoh, Curry and Amundson) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one non-guaranteed player (Lin). Also, Jeff Adrien continues to count as $50,000 against their cap, even though he is no longer on the roster.
The Warriors could have a little cap room to play with in free agency after signing Klay Thompson to his rookie scale contract, but part of that could be used up in re-signing restricted free agent Reggie Williams. The assumption seems to be that they could be looking at signing at least one other big man free agent.
HOUSTON ROCKETS – $48,383,963 for 13 players
They are committed to $46,806,219 for 11 guaranteed players (Martin, Scola, Lowry, Thabeet, Flynn, Hill, Williams, Lee, Dragic, Patterson and Budinger) and have an additional $1,577,744 on the books for 2 non-guaranteed players (Cousin and Blakely).
The Rockets could simply sign 1st round pick Marcus Morris to a rookie scale contract and call it a day with a 14 player roster. (Donatas Motiejunas is not expected to play in the NBA this season) They could try to re-sign unrestricted free agent Chuck Hayes. Or they could choose to also sign a free agent using an exception to fill their last roster spot. Waiving one or both of the non-guaranteed players to open up yet another roster spot is an option, but whatever road they choose to take, the Rockets would have to waive the rights to all of their own free agent players to have more than MLE-level money to spend.
INDIANA PACERS – $36,942,191 for 11 players
They are committed to $36,057,898 for 10 guaranteed players (Granger, Posey, Rush, Jones, Hibbert, George, Hansbrough, Collison, Hill and Stephenson) and have an additional $884,293 on the books for one partially guaranteed player (Price is guaranteed to make at least $200,000).
The Pacers not only have true cap space, they are not expected to re-sign any of their own free agents to a significant contract (if at all). They only have a couple of roster spots open, but I would expect to see them go after at least one big money free agent. I would not be surprised at all if they offered a large contract to a big man who could give Hibbert some help up front – someone like David West or Nene. The reported reduction of the matching period for restricted free agents from 7 days to 3 days might even give them the option of offering money to someone like Greg Oden or Marc Gasol.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – $44,919,032 for 10 players
They are committed to $44,130,160 for 9 guaranteed players (Kaman, Williams, Griffin, Foye, Gomes, Gordon, Aminu, Bledsoe and Cook) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one non-guaranteed player (Warren).
The Clippers are fortunate that the cap hold for DeAndre Jordan is so small (just over $1 million). They could theoretically offer a nice big contract to a free agent and then use Bird rights to re-sign Jordan. Might they go after a SF in free agency? Conventional wisdom would say yes, but this is Donald Sterling’s team we’re talking about…..
LOS ANGELES LAKERS – $91,113,227 for 11 players
They are committed to $89,535,483 for 9 guaranteed players (Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, World Peace, Walton, Blake, Fisher and Barnes) and have an additional $1,577,744 on the books for 2 non-guaranteed players (Caracter and Ebanks).
Well, with all of their cap space, the Lakers should…..OK, who am I trying to kid? The Lakers could waive both World Peace and Walton for cap relief under amnesty and still be nowhere near having cap space. Expect a couple of small free agent signings.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – $52,675,383 for 10 players
They are committed to $51,886,511 for 9 guaranteed players (Gay, Randolph, Conley, Mayo, Allen, Henry, Arthur, Vasquez and Young) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one non-guaranteed player (Smith).
The major question for Memphis is not “Who should they pursue in free agency?”, but rather “Can they afford to bring back their own free agents?” The Grizzlies have major decisions to make regarding unrestricted free agent Shane Battier and restricted free agents Marc Gasol and Hamed Haddadi.
MIAMI HEAT – $65,143,918 for 8 players
They are committed to $61,915,507 for 7 guaranteed players (Bosh, James, Wade, Miller, Haslem, Anthony and House) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one partially guaranteed player (Pittman’s deal guarantees him at least $631,098). Also, James Jones and Patrick Beverly continue to count as $2,439,539 against the cap even though they are no longer on the roster.
Last year, after signing James, Wade and Bosh, the primary way that Miami filled out their roster was by signing players to minimum contract amounts. This year, after signing their 1st round pick, Norris Cole, and perhaps re-signing Mario Chalmers, look for Miami to once again employ the same strategy – although many expect them to also use their full MLE on a single free agent (especially if someone like Miller is waived under amnesty).
MILWAUKEE BUCKS – $51,551,140 for 11 players
They are committed to $51,551,140 for 11 guaranteed players (Bogut, Jackson, Udrih, Gooden, Delfino, Livingston, Ilyasova, Jennings, Dooling, Sanders and Brockman).
Milwaukee doesn’t have tons of cap space, but they don’t have many open roster spots, either. Once they sign their 1st round pick, Tobias Harris, and perhaps bring back restricted free agent Mbah a Moute, they’ll have 13 on the roster. Perhaps a minor free agent signing or two might be in the cards at that point, but Bucks fans probably shouldn’t expect much more than that.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – $48,630,539 for 13 players
They are committed to $48,630,539 for 13 guaranteed players (Beasley, Webster, Milicic, Miller, Love, Pekovic, Johnson, Ridnour, Rubio, Randolph, Tolliver, Ellington and Hayward).
Once they sign 1st round pick Derrick Williams to a rookie scale contract, the Timberwolves will have 14 players on their roster. Theoretically they could sign one more player and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did so. However, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they stood pat either. Minnesota’s focus would seem to be on the future – giving extensions to players like Love and Randolph (and perhaps even Beasley and Tolliver). As such, I wouldn’t expect them to spend lots of money before the season starts on a free agent.
NEW JERSEY NETS – $40,921,102 for 9 players
They are committed to $38,929,868 for 7 guaranteed players (Williams, Outlaw, Morrow, Farmar, Petro, Lopez and James) and have an additional $1,991,234 on the books for one partially guaranteed player (Graham’s deal guarantees him at least $100,000) and one non-guaranteed player (Gaines).
The Nets have choices in free agency. After signing 1st round pick Marshon Brooks to his rookie scale contract, they still look to have significant cap space and several roster spots to fill. They could try to use that money to get one big money player and then fill the roster with minimum salary players. They could re-sign unrestricted free agent Kris Humphries and/or get one or two other medium contract players. Or they could ‘save’ their cap space for next summer in an attempt to go after Dwight Howard in free agency and only offer one year contracts to a few free agents. It will be interesting to see which direction they go.
NEW ORLEANS HORNETS – $45,516,223 for 7 players
They are committed to $44,631,930 for 6 guaranteed players (Paul, Okafor, Ariza, Jack, Pondexter and Andersen) and have an additional $884,293 on the books for one non-guaranteed player (Ewing).
The Hornets are another team with major questions to address. Yes, they could theoretically have a significant amount of cap room. But what about bringing back unrestricted free agent David West? What will they do regarding restricted free agent Marco Belinelli and unrestricted free agents Willie Green and Carl Landry? Each of those decisions will significantly impact what other free agents they try to pursue – which they will have to do, as their roster is currently only half filled.
NEW YORK KNICKS – $60,610,764 for 9 players
They are committed to $60,610,764 for 9 guaranteed players (Anthony, Stoudemire, Billups, Turiaf, Balkman, Douglas, Walker, Rautins and Fields).
The Knicks are over the cap with their current obligations, so after signing 1st round pick Iman Shumpert to a rookie scale contract and deciding what they want to do regarding restricted free agent Derrick Brown, look for the Knicks to complete their roster by using exceptions such as the MLE and with minimum contracts.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER – $54,105,501 for 14 players
They are committed to $53,316,629 for 13 guaranteed players (Durant, Perkins, Westbrook, Harden, Robinson, Mohammed, Sefolosha, Collison, Aldrich, Maynor, Mullens, Ibaka and Ivey) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one un-guaranteed player (Vaden).
Oklahoma City is another team that will probably not make many (if any) major moves during this free agent period simply because their roster is basically set. After they sign 1st round pick Reggie Jackson (does this mean that the Reggie candy bar will be making a comeback?), the Thunder will be at 15 players. They could waive Robert Vaden and his non-guaranteed contract to either sign restricted free agent Daequan Cook or another free agent, but I don’t expect any blockbuster signings by the Thunder.
ORLANDO MAGIC – $77,023,289 for 10 players
They are committed to $77,023,289 for 10 guaranteed contracts (Arenas, Howard, Turkoglu, Nelson, Redick, Bass, Duhon, Q. Richardson, Anderson and Orton).
The Magic are way over the cap. Even if they could get Arenas’ $19 million off of the books through an amnesty program, they’d be right at the assumed cap level with their committed salaries. And that’s before accounting for the possibility of them bringing back unrestricted free agent Jason Richardson. As such, Orlando will have to use exceptions (MLE, minimum contracts, etc.) to fill out the remainder of their roster.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – $54,117,266 for 9 players
They are committed to $54,117,266 for 9 guaranteed contracts (Brand, Iguodala, Nocioni, Williams, Turner, Speights, Holiday, Brackins and Meeks).
Without a significant amount of cap space, the Sixers will probably sign their 1st round pick, Nikola Vucevic, to his rookie scale contract, then make decisions on restricted free agents Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. Beyond that, they will need to use exceptions like the MLE and minimum salary contracts to complete their roster.
PHOENIX SUNS – $67,158,920 for 12 players
They are committed to $46,492,304 for 8 guaranteed players (Nash, Gortat, Childress, Frye, Pietrus, Dudley, Warrick and Lopez) and have an additional $20,666,616 on the books for two partially guaranteed players (Carter is guaranteed at least $4,000,000 and Siler is guaranteed at least $75,000) and for two non-guaranteed players (Lawal and Dowdell).
If the Suns do as most expect them to do – waive Vince Carter and his partially guaranteed contract, sign 1st round draft pick Markieff Morris to his rookie scale contract and perhaps to after a free agent point guard to replace Aaron Brooks (whose contract with a Chinese team does not include an opt-out clause), that would essentially complete their roster. Any major deviation from that 3 step plan would be very surprising to me. I could also easily see them re-sign unrestricted free agent Grant Hill.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS – $70,034,204 for 12 players
They are committed to $68,138,391 for 10 guaranteed players (Roy, Aldridge, Camby, Wallace, Felton, Matthews, Batum, Babbitt, Williams and A. Johnson) and have an additional $1,895,813 on the books for two non-guaranteed players (Barron and C. Johnson).
Portland is another team with no cap room but whose roster is almost completely full. After signing their 1st round draft pick, Nolan Smith, their major focus during this free agent period will probably be on whether or not to bring back restricted free agent Greg Oden. The contract that Patty Mills signed with a Chinese team does not include an opt-out for this season, so it would appear that re-signing him is not an option.
SACRAMENTO KINGS – $29,903,967 for 8 players
They are committed to $29,903,967 for 8 guaranteed players (Salmons, Garcia, Evans, Cousins, Thompson, Hickson, Greene and Whiteside).
The Kings have the luxury of choosing from a variety of avenues in this free agent period. After accounting for their 1st round pick, Jimmer Fredette, they still will have a large amount of cap space. Will they use some of it to re-sign restricted free agent Marcus Thornton? Will they use some of it to re-sign unrestricted free agent Samuel Dalembert? Will they try to make a big splash by signing a big name free agent? Or perhaps bring in several moderately priced free agents? Only time will tell. But having cap space gives them options.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS – $72,985,233 for 12 players
They are committed to $64,317,196 for 7 guaranteed players (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, Jefferson, Splitter, Bonner and Anderson) and have an additional $8,668,037 on the books for 2 partially guaranteed players (McDyess who is guaranteed at least $2,640,000 and Blair who is guaranteed at least $500,000) and 3 non-guaranteed players (Green, Butler and Neal).
The Spurs have two 1st round picks to sign in Kawhi Leonard and Cory Joseph. After that, San Antonio could waive one or more of the partially guaranteed or non-guaranteed players and sign a replacement free agent. However, they won’t be under the cap, so they’d have to use the MLE or another exception to do so. As such, there isn’t a huge expectation of them signing a big name free agent before the season begins.
TORONTO RAPTORS – $47.179,431 for 10 players
They are committed to $47,179,431 for 10 guaranteed players (Calderon, Bargnani, Barbosa, A. Johnson, Kleiza, Bayless, DeRozan, Davis, J. Johnson and Alabi).
Toronto could have some cap space if they renounce all rights to their free agents. But they also have questions to answer that will impact that possible cap space. Will they really allow Reggie Evans and Julian Wright to walk as unrestricted free agents? Since it looks like 1st round pick Jonas Valanciunas won’t play for Toronto this season, who else can they get to give Bargnani help up front? It will be interesting to see what the Raptors do in the next few weeks.
UTAH JAZZ – $57,017,627 for 9 players
They are committed to $56,228,755 for 8 guaranteed players (Jefferson, Okur, Harris, Millsap, Favors, Miles, Bell and Hayward) and have an additional $788,872 on the books for one partially guaranteed player (Evans is guaranteed at least $100,000).
The Jazz don’t have cap space to assist them with their rebuilding project, but they do have the rights to their two 1st round picks, Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, who should have their rookie scale contracts signed soon. Beyond that, the Jazz need to decide whether to bring back any of their unrestricted free agents – Kirilenko, Price or Fesenko. If one or more are re-signed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Utah then simply round out their roster using minimum salary contracts.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS – $40,792,788 for 7 players
They are committed to $39,666,914 for 7 guaranteed players (Lewis, Blatche, Wall, McGee, Seraphin, Booker and Crawford). Additionally, Mike Bibby still counts against their cap as $1,125,874 even though he is no longer on the roster.
The Wizards are another team with some cap room available and with plenty of roster spots to fill. After accounting for 1st round draft picks Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, Washington needs to decide whether to bring back any of their 4 restricted free agents – Young, Jeffers, Ndiaye and Owens. Also there are the fates of unrestricted free agents Jianlian, Evans and Howard. What decisions are made regarding those players will not only affect the amount of cap space the team has to spend in free agency but also how many roster spots need to be filled.