Free Agency Notes: Cap Room, Kawhi, DeRozan, Paul

In an early look at the NBA’s 2021 free agent period, Sam Amick and John Hollinger of The Athletic write that three NBA teams – the Knicks, Thunder, and Spurs – project to have more than enough cap room for a maximum-salary contract this offseason, even if they were to win the draft lottery.

Besides those clubs, the Mavericks and Hornets should be among the clubs with the most space, according to Amick and Hollinger. The Athletic’s duo projects Dallas to be about $35MM below the cap if Josh Richardson opts out, while Charlotte will have about $26MM of room.

Other teams could create cap room, but that will hinge on one or two major roster decisions. For instance, the Raptors could get up to about $25MM in space, but not if they intend to re-sign Kyle Lowry. The Suns (Chris Paul) are in a similar position, with the Heat, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Hawks, Cavaliers, Bulls, and Pistons among the other teams whose cap space – or lack thereof – will depend on what happens with certain free agents.

Here’s more from Amick and Hollinger on 2021 free agency:

  • Although Kawhi Leonard projects to be the top free agent on the market this summer, team sources and rival executives widely expect him to re-sign with the Clippers, per The Athletic. It’s possible that could change if Los Angeles exits the postseason early, but there’s no indication at this point that Leonard’s free agency will be as dramatic as it was in 2019.
  • A source with knowledge of DeMar DeRozan‘s outlook tells The Athletic he’ll take a “wide open” approach to free agency. That doesn’t necessarily rule out a new deal with the Spurs, though a March report suggested DeRozan has interest in playing elsewhere next season and perhaps returning to the Eastern Conference.
  • Amick and Hollinger believe both DeRozan and Paul will keep Jrue Holiday‘s new four-year deal ($135MM guaranteed, $25MM in incentives) very much in mind when they negotiate their next contracts. However, it’s not a perfect comparable for either player, since Paul is five years older than Holiday and DeRozan isn’t the defender that Holiday is.
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18 thoughts on “Free Agency Notes: Cap Room, Kawhi, DeRozan, Paul

  1. Sillivan

    Mavs will sign Kawhi or John Collins?

    Lakers still have 3 million cap room in summer if they get rid of all bird rights
    Lakers can use cap room to sign a star if he wants to win championships, but not money?
    Yes, but unlikely

    • jimmyduz0523

      Mavs… Nope to both players. since u said it, it will definitely not happen, too bad.

    • easyw

      Rumor has it Derozan will sign with the Lakers for the vet minimum in Bananaland Fantasyville.

  2. Can the bulls sign Chris Paul? They have 32 million in current contracts coming off the books this offseason however I doubt they let Thad Young walk, I don’t really see any of their other free agents being necessary to sign although I believe sato contract is only partially guaranteed next year and I’m almost positive they fully guarantee that as well, a short deal for Paul is more possible than them signing Lonzo or Schröder to market deals with Zach’s max deal coming after next season

    • stevep-4

      Bulls will act thusly:
      Let Markannen walk. Make a good offer to Lonzo to start the clock ticking in NO. Then meanwhile make a smaller offer to any of (in no particular order). TJMcConnell, Patty Mills, DRose.

      At least end up with a serviceable vet PG and let Sato be a combo, maybe score Lonzo. That would plug their remaining hole, and it is a black hole pulling a lot of 4th quarters in.

      They can sign some vet defensive wings and have a very good team. Would be nice to keep Theis, but there are others who can fill that role available.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Neither is worth Holiday money. And Paul has a 44 mill contract so why even bring him up. He got the Suns knocking on heavens door. He will play out his contract. Raptors would be wise to bring back DeRozan and let Lowry walk. He fills a need at SG and is younger. Knicks will test trade candidates before signing anyone imo. They want to upgrade next yr. So will be on the look out for a major talent. Me personally I would be thrilled with Dinwiddie and Fournier. We can sign both no problem. And keep all our picks. 3 in top 33 next yr. I know Knicks would like to get their hands on Beal. Washington could decide to go all out for draft.

    • buttholesurfer69

      Paul would opt out of 1/44 if he could get 4/135

      we’ll see tho

      • KezarMike

        I was gonna say what team would be so stupid as to give him that contract … But then I realized … There would be one.

      • WallyWood

        CP3 won’t be getting anything close to $40M/year if he opts out and signs a multi-year deal. I’ll be shocked if he gets anything more than a 3-year/$90M deal with a team option for year number three.

        Even that’s way too much for a guy who’s turning 36 next month.

  4. buttholesurfer69

    If Phoenix does well in the postseason maybe they make a godfather offer to CP

    Hard to see where Derozan would get that Holiday money tho. Spurs aren’t paying him that, judging by NY’s recent moves i dont think they take the bait. Maybe if Dallas is feeling really desperate they would bid.

    • WallyWood

      A godfather offer, as in an offer he can’t refuse?

      Even if it involves finding a bloody horse’s head in his bed.

      He would be foolish to refuse any halfway decent deal the Suns offer him.

      • buttholesurfer69

        Yup – and they’re going to offer it to him on the day of his daughter’s wedding.

        I don’t disagree with you tho. I wouldn’t want to lock up Paul long-term at 36. Then again I didn’t think he would be good this year.

        But if Phoenix wins a round or two maybe they overreact and throw him a long-term deal at some ill-advised rate

  5. PiratesFan1981

    You think the Rockets would be near the top of the list for maximum cap space going into the offseason with a potential to get the top draft pick. I would think the Rockets would make one veteran addition this offseason but unload Gordon in the process. I think they keep majority of the team 28 and younger. Only a few 29 and older. Trading Gordon and adding a Veteran with at least 29 years of age and can play PF or SG, would be ideal. Rockets have quite a few PGs and there is not immediate need for that position. Maybe a backup Center just in case Wall goes down with a injury again. SF could use other options, but not necessarily something I’d break the bank with. They can draft a SG and really leaves a solid PF as a most need. SG and PF is the Rockets biggest need with Center for depth. Wall is known to be injury prone and should have a plan B and C for when that time comes

    • WallyWood

      The only veteran the Rockets need to be concerned with won’t be an addition, but re-signing Kelly Olynyk who’s the ideal backup for Wood.

      Maybe they could send Gordon plus draft compensation elsewhere in a sign-and-trade for a free agent. They could also exercise Bradley’s team option if they need him for salary matching purposes. Everything hinges on keeping their top-4 draft pick when the lottery takes place on June 22nd.

  6. Sillivan

    Fantasy trade idea

    Rockets get Chris Paul
    Suns get John Wall and 4 Firsts
    Rockets 2022 First
    And 3 Nets Firsts

    Fantasy

  7. Regardless of their economic deal, which almost has to be limited to no more than 3 seasons (including next season), the Suns (and CP3) would be better off just extending CP3’s existing contract for the additional 2 seasons. Ayton / Bridges extensions will kick in after next year. If he’s happy with the Suns after the year, I don’t think any other deal will be a hard guide for him in the negotiations.

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