Phoenix Suns

NBA Teams Below Salary Floor For 2016/17

On Tuesday, we examined the teams in – or near – luxury tax territory. Due to the size of those teams’ payrolls, they could face penalties at year’s end, paying a few extra tax dollars in addition to the salaries they’ll pay their players.

On the other end of the spectrum are six clubs whose team salaries continue to sit below the minimum salary floor, which is set at 90% of the cap. For the 2016/17 league year, that salary floor works out to $84.729MM. Every franchise will have to spend at least that much on players for the year, so if any team payrolls remain below that figure at season’s end, those teams have to make up the difference by paying a little extra to their own players.

Often, clubs sitting below the salary floor at this point in the year will get over that threshold at some point during the season. Taking on salary in a trade is one possibility — in the past, when cap room has been a rarer and more valuable commodity, teams like the Sixers have agreed to take on other clubs’ bad salaries as long as they can get something out of the deal themselves, such as second-round picks. That could still happen this year, but that sort of trade may be rarer now that the cap is at an all-time high and teams have more flexibility to maneuver.

Renegotiating a player’s contract and signing him to an extension is another way teams can use up their remaining salary cap space at this point in the season. As we saw with Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, and James Harden and the Rockets, clubs with room under the cap can rework a player’s contract to increase their current-year salary up to the max, while tacking on additional years — but only certain players are eligible.

Of course, signing free agents is another way a team can quickly add salary and reach the floor, but at this point in the offseason, most of the players still available are minimum-salary guys, and most teams’ rosters are fairly set anyway.

Here are the six teams currently below the salary floor:

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Total team salary: $82,752,308
  • Guaranteed team salary: $80,791,446
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: Nikola Pekovic

Utah Jazz

  • Total team salary: $81,817,624
  • Guaranteed team salary: $79,332,496
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: Derrick Favors (eligible as of October 19), George Hill

Phoenix Suns

  • Total team salary: $80,900,983
  • Guaranteed team salary: $79,850,022
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: None

Brooklyn Nets

  • Total team salary: $76,948,637
  • Guaranteed team salary: $75,563,224
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: None

Denver Nuggets

  • Total team salary: $76,719,065
  • Guaranteed team salary: $74,039,362
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: None

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Total team salary: $70,341,137
  • Guaranteed team salary: $65,159,265
  • Eligible for renegotiation/extension: Hollis Thompson (eligible as of September 24)

Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

McDonough Talks Draft Strategy, Chriss, Bender

The Suns primary target with the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft was Dragan Bender, due to his combination of size and skill, Ian Thomsen of writes. But the franchise was also enamored with Marquese Chriss‘ potential, which prompted the team to work out a trade with the Kings to allow them to select the forward out of Washington, the scribe adds. “It’s an idea we came up with on the morning of the draft, once we had more information about who was likely to go where,” Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough said. “We felt like if the Celtics took Jaylen Brown at No. 3, which they did, and we took either Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss, the next three picks would be guards. That’s exactly the way it happened: Kris Dunn to Minnesota, Buddy Hield to New Orleans and Jamal Murray to Denver.

Suns Guarantee Contract Of Alan Williams

The Suns kept power forward/center Alan Williams on their roster Thursday, guaranteeing his salary for the upcoming season, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Williams will receive a salary of $874,636.

GM Ryan McDonough called it an “easy decision” to retain the 6’8” Williams, who is the 14th player with a guaranteed contract on Phoenix’s roster.

“He’s played well at two summer leagues,” McDonough told Coro. “He’s really improved from the end of last season. He’s transformed his body. He’s developing his touch outside the paint and added a push shot.”

Williams appeared in 10 games with the Suns last season, averaging 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 6.8 minutes. He had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Suns’ season finale. The former Cal-Santa Barbara star played in China before joining Phoenix in March.

Williams continued to impress the Suns brass by averaging 11.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in six Summer League games. Williams’ likely role will be the No. 3 center behind Tyson Chandler and Alex Len, though Len could also start at power forward. Lottery picks Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, as well as veteran acquisition Jared Dudley, are the other big men on the roster.

You can find the upcoming deadlines for other players with non-guaranteed salaries here.

Chriss Third In Athletic Rookie Poll

  • Celtics power forward Jaylen Brown was voted the most athletic rookie by his fellow Class of 2016 members, relays CSNNE. Brown, the third player taken in the June draft, topped an poll with 38.7% of the votes, followed by the Clippers’ Brice Johnson with 16.1% and the Suns’ Marquese Chriss with 9.7%.

McDonough Promises To Pursue Top Free Agents

Suns GM Ryan McDonough says the club plans to make a big splash in free agency next summer, he said during a podcast with The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and summarized by Petersen on the Suns’ website. Phoenix has approximately $59.6MM in salary guarantees next season, which gives it plenty of flexibility to pursue top free agents. “Potentially it’s a very strong free agent class next year,” McDonough told Wojnarowski. “One of the things we’ve done with our contracts is we’ve lined them up to have max cap space next year without really touching the core of our roster. I think and I hope at this time next year, we’re major players in free agency.”

  • Elevating Earl Watson from interim coach to full-time head coach and adding two lottery picks are among the ways the Suns improved their state of their franchise this offseason, Matt Petersen of writes. The addition of two highly-respected veterans, combo forward Jared Dudley and guard Leandro Barbosa, will impact the team not only on the court but in the locker room, Petersen adds.

Thunder Sign Ronnie Price

AUGUST 14: The deal is official, the team announced today.

AUGUST 11: The Thunder have finalized a guaranteed two-year, $5MM deal with Price, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). Although Oklahoma City could use its room exception to accommodate the move, the team still has cap room available as well.

JULY 31: Veteran point guard Ronnie Price is set to join the Thunder, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Price is expected to receive a two-year deal, but the exact terms are not certain.

The 33-year-old free agent had the highest scoring average of his career last season in Phoenix at 5.3 points per game to go with 2.4 assists. However, a report came out July 13th that the Suns weren’t going to re-sign Price and he had a deal in place with an unidentified team.

Oklahoma City still has more than $20MM in cap room remaining, so fitting Price in will be no problem. The Thunder are hoping to convince Russell Westbrook to take about $9MM of that cap space in a renegotiated and extended deal.

OKC will be the seventh NBA stop for Price, who has changed teams every season since 2011.

Dudley Signing Viewed As One Of Summer's Best Values

Suns Confirm Ty Ellis Hired As D-League Coach

  • Several weeks after a report indicated that the Suns were closing in on a deal to make Ty Ellis the coach of their D-League affiliate, the franchise has now confirmed that Ellis will coach the Northern Arizona Suns, as Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic details.

Booker Looking Forward To Long-Term Stay With Suns

At age 19, Suns guard Devin Booker could still have upwards of two decades of his NBA career ahead of him. For now though, he envisions playing his whole career in Phoenix, if given the opportunity to do so, as he recently told Jeramie McPeek of SLAM Magazine.

“I love it in Phoenix and I want to be one of those guys that gets drafted by one team and stays there the whole time,” said Booker, the Suns’ 13th overall pick in the 2015 draft. “You know, they turn around the franchise, and they get love for that in that city like they’re the mayor… People still wear Steve Nash jerseys here. That’s definitely something I want to be.”

Of course, a player’s career goals at age 19 could end up being much different than his goals at age 29 or 39, so it will be interesting to see if Booker does indeed stick with the Suns for most or all of his career. He’s under contract through the 2018/19 season, and will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension in ’18.

Free Agent Spending By Division: Pacific

Over the course of the last week, we’ve been breaking down 2016 NBA free agent spending by division, examining which teams – and divisions – were the most active this summer.

These divisional breakdowns won’t present a full picture of teams’ offseason spending. Some notable free agents, including LeBron James, remain unsigned, so there’s still money out there to be spent. Our lists also don’t include money spent on this year’s first- and second-round picks or draft-and-stash signings. There are a few free agent names missing in some instances as well, since those deals aren’t yet official or terms haven’t been reported.

Still, these closer looks at divisional spending should generally reveal how teams invested their money in free agency this summer, identifying which clubs went all-out and which ones played it safe.

With the help of our Free Agent Tracker and contract info from Basketball Insiders, we’ll focus today on the Pacific division. Let’s dive in…

1. Los Angeles Lakers

  • Total money committed: $186,000,000
  • Guaranteed money committed (including player options): $186,000,000
  • Largest expenditure: Luol Deng (four years, $72,000,000)
  • Other notable signings:
  • Notes:
    • The Lakers have yet to finalize long-ago reported deals for Tarik Black and Marcelo Huertas. Based on estimated values for those contracts, they’ll likely total about $16MM+ combined, but we haven’t included them in the team’s totals for now.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Total money committed: $105,428,788
  • Guaranteed money committed (including player options): $93,928,788
  • Largest expenditure: Jamal Crawford (three years, $42,000,000)
  • Other notable signings:
  • Notes:
    • Raymond Felton ($1,551,659), Brandon Bass ($1,551,659), and Alan Anderson ($1,315,448) will be paid $980,431 apiece by the Clippers, with the NBA on the hook for the rest of their minimum salaries.
    • Crawford’s $14.5MM third-year salary is only guaranteed for $3MM, creating the gap between the Clippers’ total money and guaranteed money committed.

3. Sacramento Kings

  • Total money committed: $77,525,625
  • Guaranteed money committed (including player options): $60,525,625
  • Largest expenditure: Arron Afflalo (two years, $25,000,000)
  • Other notable signings:
  • Notes:
    • Afflalo and Tolliver only have small partial guarantees in the second years of their respective contracts. $1.5MM of Afflalo’s $12.5MM second-year salary is guaranteed, while $2MM of Tolliver’s $8MM second-year salary is guaranteed.

4. Golden State Warriors

  • Total money committed: $61,094,229
  • Guaranteed money committed (including player options): $61,094,229
  • Largest expenditure: Kevin Durant (two years, $54,274,505)
  • Other notable signings:
  • Notes:
    • The reported deals for JaVale McGee and Elliot Williams aren’t yet official and exact details on those contracts aren’t known, so they haven’t been included here.
    • West ($1,551,659), Varejao ($1,551,659), and Ian Clark ($1,015,696) will be paid $980,431 apiece by the Warriors, with the NBA on the hook for the rest of their minimum salaries.

5. Phoenix Suns

  • Total money committed: $38,000,000
  • Guaranteed money committed (including player options): $34,500,000
  • Largest expenditure: Jared Dudley (three years, $30,000,000)
  • Other notable signings:
  • Notes:
    • The second year of Barbosa’s deal, worth $4MM, is only guaranteed for $500K, creating the gap between the Suns’ total money and guaranteed money committed.


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