2015/16 Salary Cap: Utah Jazz

The NBA’s salary cap for 2015/16 has been set at $70MM, which is an 11% increase from this past season, and the luxury tax line will be $84.74MM. The last cap projection from the league had been $67.1MM, and the projection for the tax line had been $81.6MM.

With the October 26th cutoff date to set regular season rosters now past, we at Hoops Rumors are in the process of running down the current salary cap commitments for each NBA franchise for the 2015/16 campaign. Here’s the cap breakdown for the Utah Jazz, whose regular season roster can be viewed here:

  • 2015/16 Salary Cap= $70,000,000
  • 2015/16 Luxury Tax Line= $84,740,000
  • Fully Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $59,745,410
  • Partially Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $417,322*
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $2,573,683
  • Total Salary Cap Commitments= $62,736,415
  • Remaining Cap Room= $7,263,585
  • Amount Below Luxury Tax Line= $21,901,368

*Note: This amount includes the $75,000 owed to J.J. O’Brien, the $947,276 owed Grant Jerrett, the $75,000 due Treveon Graham, the $50,000 owed to E.J. Singler, as well as the $11,144 paid to Phil Pressey and the $6,178 paid out to Eric Atkins, all of who were waived by the team.

Cap Exceptions Available:

  • Room Exception= $2,814,000

Cash Available to Send Out In Trades= $3,400,000

Cash Available to Receive Via Trade= $3,400,000

Last update: 11/24/15 @ 9:00pm

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Summers, Grant

While it may appear that Knicks coach Derek Fisher has begun to replace rookie Jerian Grant in the team’s rotation with Sasha Vujacic, the coach insists it is more about keeping the veteran ready rather than the coaching staff losing faith in the struggling Grant, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “I’m trying to give us a spark, see if he can make a shot or two, bring some energy and tenacity to the game,’’ Fisher said. “We’re going to need Sasha through the course of the season. It’s important not to have guys have a down vibe by sitting and watching too much. You got to get some action.’’

Fisher did acknowledge that teams have figured out how to defend Grant, who will need to figure out a way to counter the adjustments teams have made against him, Berman adds. “People watch us play, the same way we watch them play,” Fisher continued. “Some guys have made adjustments to how they’re defending him. He’ll learn how to still do what he does best in terms of getting penetration.’’

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors assigned rookie Delon Wright to the Raptors 905, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This is Wright’s first D-League trip of the season.
  • Nets center Brook Lopez was mentioned in numerous trade rumors connecting him to the Thunder last season. When asked what it would be like playing in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Lopez said, “It would have been interesting. You can ask them about it tomorrow and report back to me,” Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com relays (ESPN Now link). The big man did note that he was happy in Brooklyn, Mazzeo adds.
  • Knicks camp cut DaJuan Summers, who plays for the team’ D-League affiliate has suffered an injury to his left Achilles tendon and will miss the remainder of the season, the Westchester Knicks announced (Twitter link). The 27-year-old appeared in three D-League contests this season and was averaging 25.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Offseason In Review: Portland Trail Blazers

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.




Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

Craig Mitchelldyer/USA Today Sports Images

Craig Mitchelldyer/USA Today Sports Images

The Trail Blazers as a franchise have been snakebitten by injuries and bad luck over the years, and 2014/15 was no different. The team had begun 41-19 and was playing some of its best basketball when swingman Wesley Matthews went down with a devastating Achilles injury with just six weeks remaining in the regular season. Portland limped into the playoffs after going 10-12 the rest of the way. A first-round ouster at the hands of the Grizzlies sent the franchise into the offseason with far more questions than answers. Gone are all but one starter from a season ago, and the franchise has transformed from a possible contender to a lottery-bound team in the span of but a few months.

Unfortunately for Blazers fans, the offseason was defined more by whom they lost than by any positive strides they might have made. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge departed as an unrestricted free agent for the Spurs, who offered him an opportunity to play in his home state as well as to contend for a title immediately. It doesn’t appear that the Blazers had a legitimate chance to retain Aldridge, whose top two choices were San Antonio and Phoenix, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported. Players of Aldridge’s caliber are especially difficult to come by, so his departure truly stings. The franchise reportedly explored potential sign-and-trade deals for both Aldridge and Matthews, but found no takers, according to GM Neil Olshey.

Forty percent of the starting lineup Portland put on the floor for the final game of its series against Memphis headed east to New York. Shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who replaced the injured Matthews, signed with the Knicks for two years and $16MM. Robin Lopez is set to terrorize local mascots for the next four years to the tune of $54MM. Portland will certainly feel the departure of Afflalo and Lopez in the short term. But neither player figured to be a part of the team’s rebuild anyway, and maintaining cap flexibility as well as clearing slots for younger players to develop is far more important for the Blazers in the long run than trying to eke out a few more victories this season.

The same thinking applies to allowing Matthews to depart to Dallas for a maximum salary deal. Matthews’ production will be missed, but his Achilles injury puts his future reliability in doubt, and at 29 years of age, he doesn’t fit with Portland’s rebuilding motif. The subtraction of Matthews opens the door for third-year shooting guard C.J. McCollum, whose fourth year option was picked up by Portland, to slide into a starting role. McCollum has been fantastic thus far in 2015/16, averaging 20.1 points per game as of this writing. It certainly appears as though the Blazers have found a second star to pair alongside franchise player Damian Lillard.

Speaking of Lillard, there were reports that Aldridge was jealous of the attention he received, and while both players have publicly denied any rift, the Blazers gave the impression that Lillard was the face of the franchise, a move that couldn’t have sat well with Aldridge. Lillard is a fantastic player who has ice water running through his veins at crunch time, and he’s talented enough to anchor the franchise for years to come. That’s an assessment the team almost certainly agrees with judging by the five-year maximum salary extension the team signed him to this offseason.

Portland was quite active on the trade front this summer, swinging three deals of significance. The first shipped swingman Nicolas Batum to the Hornets in exchange for 2014 lottery pick Noah Vonleh and shooting guard Gerald Henderson. Batum’s versatility will be missed, but I love the team nabbing Vonleh, whom Charlotte surprisingly gave up on after he missed all but 25 games of his rookie campaign due to injury. The 20-year-old is still extremely raw, but Vonleh is certainly talented and could evolve into a solid replacement for Aldridge down the line.

While Vonleh represents the future for the team, acquiring Mason Plumlee from the Nets in exchange for the rights to No. 23 overall pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a move for the present. Plumlee seemingly never earned the trust of Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins and had regressed slightly during the 2014/15 season. Plumlee has the potential to be a breakout player for Portland, though his ceiling isn’t close to what Vonleh’s could be. While I like the addition of Plumlee, as well uber-athletic swingman Pat Connaughton, acquired in the same deal, Hollis-Jefferson would have been the perfect replacement for Matthews’ athleticism and defense. Portland picked up Vonleh’s third-year option and Plumlee’s fourth-year option, ensuring both will remain in the fold for at least one more season.

The franchise also swung a deal with Orlando that brought over 22-year-old small forward Maurice Harkless in exchange for a heavily protected 2020 second-rounder. Harkless has been a disappointment thus far in the league since being nabbed with the No. 15 overall pick back in 2012. A change of scenery could be just what the (shot) doctor ordered for Harkless, and if he doesn’t produce in Portland, the team could simply allow him to depart as a restricted free agent next summer without having given up much for taking a chance on him.

The Trail Blazers dipped their toes into the free agent pool and came away with Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis for their efforts. Both players should help the team and contribute immediately, though four years for Aminu seems a bit risky given his career 6.6 PPG scoring average. Still, Aminu’s contract is front-loaded, and with the 6’9″ forward set to earn just $6.957MM in the final year, it’s hardly crippling or untradeable if things don’t work out.

Portland’s offseason was a mixture of disappointment and potential, though the franchise has clearly taken a step or two back talent-wise. The departures of Aldridge, Matthews and Batum certainly hurt, and while GM Neil Olshey made a number of savvy moves to try to plug the holes, the Blazers are no longer a Western Conference playoff contender. But there is hope for the future, and with Lillard and McCollum on the roster, the cupboard certainly isn’t bare. The organization is likely to have in excess of $40MM in cap space to play with next offseason, so a relatively quick turnaround to prominence is certainly within the realm of possibility.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Southwest Notes: Bickerstaff, D-League, Gee

Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes that the team has become more orderly in its approach since Kevin McHale was fired as head coach last week, Mark Berman of FOX 26 relays in a series of tweets. “Our attitude has changed over the last week and a half. We’ve taken a more serious approach to what we’re doing,” Bickerstaff said. “Guys are more disciplined in what we’re doing and they were hungry for that. That was the first thing they were calling for, some more discipline, some more structure, some more rules.

Here’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks intend to use their D-League affiliate to help get their younger players minutes this season, Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News writes. Discussing Justin Anderson and Salah Mejri, who had been assigned to the Texas Legends recently, coach Rick Carlisle said, “It’s a positive to be able to send guys there to get game action. We’re going to do more of it. It’s a positive tool for our franchise and for those guys. It’s a win-win. In this instance they were able to play in the game last night and we got them here [Saturday night].
  • Despite Alonzo Gee only averaging 3.5 points in 21.1 minutes per contest this season, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry considers the small forward a vital part of the team due to his defensive prowess, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. ”I know my role on the team and I try to focus on my role,” Gee said. ”You can’t really coach effort. I try to be the hardest-playing player on the floor. I’ve glad to be in that situation. That’s why I wanted to come here, I felt like it was an opportunity to play.
  • Jazz camp cut Bryce Cotton, who currently plays for the Spurs‘ D-League affiliate in Austin, hopes to return to the NBA this season, and he believes that hustle and effort are his tickets back to the big league, writes Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. “Being called up last year and being blessed to finish the season [in Utah], I still didn’t feel like I could kind of sit back and coast,” Cotton said. “I still felt like I needed [to prove a lot]. I wanted to work as hard as I could, but unfortunately it just ended up with me being waived. The biggest thing that I’ve learned is just continuous emphasis on remaining professional on and off the court, always having a great attitude and being a great teammate.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 11/24/15

The Sixers are off to an 0-15 start, and while the sun may always shine in Philadelphia, this is a franchise clearly in the shade the last few seasons. In an Insider-only piece, ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton looked at the frontcourt pairing of Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel and concluded that the two play better when not sharing the court. This is certainly a problem for the team and coach Brett Brown, seeing as the two big men are easily the team’s best players, and it is looking more and more like GM Sam Hinkie will need to make a trade in order to change the team’s dynamic and balance out its roster.

This leads me to the topic for today: Should the Sixers trade Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel? If so, then which player should GM Sam Hinkie look to part with?

Okafor is clearly the better offensive player of the two, and he appears to have the higher overall upside as well. Plus, he’s in just the first year of his rookie scale deal, which means a team acquiring him would control his rights longer than Noel’s, who is eligible for restricted free agency in 2017/18. Dealing away Okafor so soon after using the No. 3 overall pick on him would almost certainly upset the team’s fanbase further, as well as cast more doubt on the viability of Hinkie’s build-through-losing strategy. The only tangible benefit to making such a move is that Okafor would likely bring back a higher return if shipped out of town.

What are your thoughts? Should the team trade either Okafor or Noel, or is the sample size too small to judge adequately if the two young big men can coexist alongside one another for the long term? If you believe a move needs to be made, which big man should Hinkie focus on trading and why? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.

Where Camp Invitees Are Now: Western Conference

The NBA’s growing connection to the D-League is evident in the whereabouts of this year’s camp invitees. A month ago, teams across the NBA were waiving dozens of players as they cut their rosters from the preseason limit of 20 to the regular season maximum of 15. More have chosen to play in the D-League instead of overseas, in spite of the financial sacrifice that entails, as they hope to remain close at hand for NBA teams in case they’re called upon for regular season action.

Each player cut during the preseason from a Western Conference team is below, along with his current whereabouts:














Trail Blazers


Note: Phil Pressey is listed twice, since the Blazers and Jazz both had him on their preseason rosters this year.

Warriors Notes: Walton, Kerr, Iguodala, Myers

Steve Kerr still isn’t coaching the Warriors, but he’s a consistent presence around the team, and GM Bob Myers tells USA Today’s Sam Amick he’s grateful that Kerr and interim coach Luke Walton work together as well as they do.

“We’re talking normally a couple times a day now,” Walton said to Amick about Kerr. “And if it’s a home game, we talk at halftime, we talk pregame, we talk at shootarounds. It’s getting more and more.”

The NBA record-tying 15-0 start officially goes on Kerr’s ledger, not Walton’s, but no one on the team is making that an issue, and Walton remains essentially “the same guy” he was when he wasn’t in charge, Stephen Curry said to Amick. See more on the Warriors before they go for an unprecedented 16th straight win to start the season tonight when they play the Lakers:

  • The Warriors have a collaborative front office, and that sensibility extends to the coaching staff as well, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com details. Assistant coach Jarron Collins credits Kerr. “If you have an idea and you’re in our organization, he wants to hear about it and he’s willing to listen,” Collins said to Berger. “Steve values input from everybody. When you’re in an environment like that, it makes for a very, very special environment and atmosphere to learn.”
  • Warriors players, cognizant that Harrison Barnes is headed to restricted free agency this summer, are intent on helping him as much as possible on the court, Andre Iguodala said in a recent postgame interview with Rosalyn Gold-Onwude of CSNBayArea (video link), as Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk transcribes.
  • Before he became Executive of the Year, Myers was an agent at Wasserman Media Group, where he made an impression on chairman and CEO Casey Wasserman, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes in a profile of Myers. “He had impeccable relationships with the clients. More importantly, he became a friend and valuable part of the company,” Wasserman said. “His success he’s having now is no surprise to me or to anyone else who [has] worked with him.”

Eastern Notes: Monroe, Irving, Stoudemire

Greg Monroe believes his departure from the Pistons played a role in Andre Drummond‘s ascension as the NBA’s leading per-game rebounder, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press details. The Pistons replaced Monroe, who averaged 10.2 rebounds alongside Drummond, with trade acquisition Ersan Ilyasova, who’s averaging only 3.6.

“When you have someone you’re playing with that averages 10 rebounds, too, you’re going to get a few less rebounds,” Monroe said. “There’s a lot more rebounds available, so he’s gonna get more. It’s not surprising to me at all. He’s always had that motor. He’s always had that hunger to rebound.”

Drummond’s average on the boards has jumped from 13.5 last season to 17.6 this year. See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Kyrie Irving is expected to return for the Cavaliers before January, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Concerns that his absence would linger into the new year existed over the summer.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire calls it a “long shot,” but he won’t rule out playing next season with Hapoel Jerusalem, the Israeli team in which he has an ownership stake, notes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Stoudemire is on a one-year deal with the Heat“I had a pretty strong 14-year career so far,’’ Stoudemire said. “Right now I’m taking it one day at a time, one season at a time. I don’t know how much time left I have as a player. I’m just cherishing the moment and try to develop the young guys.’’
  • Offseason trade addition Jared Dudley is a smaller version of Nene in many ways, observes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Dudley insists that Nene, a free agent at season’s end, remains an integral part of the Wizards in spite of his reduced role, as Michael relays. “Offensively, it starts with Nene,” Dudley said. “He’s the one guy [on the second unit] that can get his own shot and then we move the ball. Me being the four, when I get the ball even when I’m open sometimes it’s getting the ball side to side and getting other guys involved.”

What Former No. 1 Overall Picks Are Making

The contractual path for a No. 1 overall pick in the NBA is fairly well-scripted. First comes a bargain rookie scale contract, then a five-year max extension that forestalls restricted free agency, and finally a chance to hit the unrestricted free agent market. It’s that last step that’s proved difficult. Seven of the last eight No. 1 overall picks are still on either their rookie deals or maximum-salary rookie extensions, but only two former No. 1 picks are playing on max deals that they negotiated as unrestricted free agents. Just as many former No. 1 picks are making the minimum salary this season.

That’s partly because not every No. 1 pick turns out to be worth the max, or even worth the full value of a rookie scale contract, as the case of Anthony Bennett proves. The five No. 1 picks taken between Tim Duncan in 1997 and LeBron James in 2003 are no longer playing in the NBA. That says as much about No. 1 picks as it does about the endurance of Duncan, one of five active former No. 1 picks to sign a contract or an extension this past offseason. He probably could have commanded more than what he received from the Spurs this past summer if he were willing to entertain the thought of leaving the only NBA team he’s ever played for.

The list below shows what each active former No. 1 pick is making this season, rounded to the nearest $1K, along with information on the contract that produced that salary. The team listed is the player’s current team, not necessarily the team that drafted him.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

And-Ones: Simmons, Warriors, Pacers, Kings

LSU combo forward Ben Simmons made a “major statement” Monday, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress said to Josh Newman of SNY.tv after Simmons had 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in LSU’s loss to Marquette. Simmons is reminiscent of Lamar Odom, as Odom’s name came up in Newman’s story as well as the ones that Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote after the game.
“I think he showed a lot of the same things that we know,” Givony said to Newman. “He’s an elite passer, he’s a tremendous ball-handler, he’s phenomenal in transition, he’s incredibly versatile for his size. He’s a great rebounder.”
Givony has Simmons ranked No. 2 behind Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, pointing to Simmons’ defense and his failure to attempt a single 3-pointer yet this season, as Newman relays. While we wait to see how Simmons develops over the season, here’s news from around the NBA:
  • The Warriors are leading the small-ball revolution these days, thanks in large measure to the unique capabilities of $82MM signee Draymond Green, who has the skills of a perimeter player and the wingspan of a center, as Zach Lowe of ESPN.com examines. The team’s brass admits it didn’t know what it had in Green until Steve Kerr put him in the starting lineup last season in David Lee‘s stead, Lowe notes. GM Bob Myers admits trepidation as late as Game 4 of the NBA Finals last season when Kerr replaced Andrew Bogut with Andre Iguodala and the Cavs sprinted to an early lead before the Warriors caught up and Iguodala won the Finals MVP award.
  • Golden State is prompting front offices to re-evaluate the relative value of big men and wing players, but while Pacers coach Frank Vogel told Lowe he isn’t about to line up Paul George at center, he said the change in philosophy that’s prompted him to give George time at the four predates Golden State’s rise. “It wasn’t even about the Warriors,” Vogel said to Lowe. “It was about not being able to overcome LeBron [James] and Miami three straight years. We couldn’t even throw the ball inside. We had a lot of turnovers just trying to do that.”
  • The Kings recalled Duje Dukan from the D-League on Monday, according to the RealGM transactions log, though neither Sacramento nor its affiliate made a public announcement. The undrafted combo forward from Wisconsin scored 14 points in 34 minutes in his one appearance with the Reno Bighorns.

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