While a team may not be thrilled to see one of its top players approaching free agency, expiring contracts are a valuable asset in the NBA. If a team has one or more large contracts set to expire, it stands to gain a good chunk of cap flexibility going forward. Players on expiring contracts can be used as trade chips, but the higher the salary, the trickier it is to find a suitable trade partner. As such, many of the impending free agents listed below will simply finish the season with their current clubs.
Here are the largest 2011/12 salaries set to come off the books this summer (minimum $5MM):
Kevin Garnett, Celtics: $21.25MM
Tim Duncan, Spurs: $21.16MM
Antawn Jamison, Cavaliers: $15.08MM
Chris Kaman, Hornets: $14.03MM
Steve Nash, Suns: $11.69MM
Jason Terry, Mavericks: $11.16MM
Marcus Camby, Trail Blazers: $11.07MM
Mehmet Okur, Nets: $10.89MM
Ray Allen, Celtics: $10MM
Jason Kidd, Mavericks: $9.62MM
Boris Diaw, Bobcats: $9MM
Carl Landry, Hornets: $8.5MM
Kirk Hinrich, Hawks: $8.1MM
Kris Humphries, Nets: $8MM
Andre Miller, Nuggets: $7.81MM
Leandro Barbosa, Raptors: $7.6MM
Raymond Felton, Trail Blazers: $7.56MM
Kwame Brown, Warriors: $6.75MM
Grant Hill, Suns: $6.5MM
* Michael Beasley, Timberwolves: $6.26MM
Jermaine O'Neal, Celtics: $6.23MM
* O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies: $5.63MM
Hasheem Thabeet, Rockets: $5.13MM
- Players marked with an asterisk will be eligible for restricted free agency if their respective teams extend them qualifying offers.
- The Lakers and 76ers hold team options for Andrew Bynum and Andres Nocioni, respectively. Bynum's option will likely be exercised, but Nocioni's won't, clearing his $6.65MM 2011/12 cap figure.
- A number of $5MM+ players have non-guaranteed contracts for next season: Kyle Korver, Lamar Odom, Samuel Dalembert, Martell Webster, Rashard Lewis, and J.J. Redick could all be bought out, taking a portion of their salaries off the cap.
Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this list.