- Better ball movement will be an emphasis for the Bulls this year, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The team ranked near the bottom of the league last season in assist ratio, effective field goal percentage and several other key offensive categories. Chicago is counting on several offseason additions, such as the signing of Thaddeus Young, to help improve in those areas.
Randle, 26, became an unrestricted free agent in June when the Wizards opted not to tender a qualifying offer. He appeared in 49 games in his lone season in Washington, posting a 5.5/1.1/2.0 line in about 15 minutes per night and shooting 40% from 3-point range. Randle played a combined 26 games for the Sixers and Knicks during the 2016/17 season before spending 2017/18 in the EuroLeague with Real Madrid.
Unless someone offers him a fully guaranteed deal, Randle will likely face a process similar to how he earned a roster spot with the Wizards. He signed a training camp contract in September, but was waived before the season began. He had a strong showing during camp with Washington’s G League affiliate in Capital City and was signed for the rest of the season in late October.
- Tomas Satoransky‘s price tag became too much to bear for the Wizards in restricted free agency, as Fred Katz of The Athletic details. The Bulls offered him a three-year, $30MM contract and Washington felt that was too much for a player who’d be a backup once John Wall returned from his Achilles injury. A sign-and-trade was worked out that brought back a 2020 second-round pick and other considerations to Washington. Satoransky wasn’t disappointed. “I always felt like, for me, it was always harder than for others,” he said of his experience in Washington. “I had to always keep proving (myself) to people. And I always felt like, ‘Man, I’ve done enough to have that.’ So, I felt this needs a new start.”
The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $109,140,000 threshold once their room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury-tax limit of $132,627,000 as well — the Trail Blazers have this season’s highest payroll at the moment, more than $11MM above the tax line.
The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows a club like Portland to build a significant payroll without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped.
When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion ($5,718,000) of the mid-level exception, that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.
When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the “tax apron” at any point during the rest of the league year. The tax apron was set $6MM above the luxury tax line in 2017/18 (the first year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement) and creeps up a little higher each season. For the 2019/20 league year, the tax apron – and hard cap for certain clubs – is set at $138,928,000.
More teams than ever this offseason have been willing to hard-cap themselves, and in at least a couple cases, it will significantly impact a team’s ability to add further reinforcements later in the league year. The Warriors and Heat are nearly right up against the hard cap, and won’t be players in free agency during the season unless they can shed salary.
So far this year, half the teams in the NBA have imposed a hard cap on themselves by using the bi-annual exception, using the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, or acquiring a player via sign-and-trade. Listed below are those 15 teams, along with how they created a hard cap.
- Acquired Kemba Walker from the Hornets via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Kevin Durant from the Warriors via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Terry Rozier from the Celtics via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Tomas Satoransky from the Wizards via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Delon Wright from the Grizzlies via sign-and-trade.
- Used approximately $7.46MM of their mid-level exception to sign Seth Curry.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Boban Marjanovic.
- Used approximately $7.32MM of their mid-level exception to sign Derrick Rose.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Markieff Morris.
Golden State Warriors
- Acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Nets via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Malcolm Brogdon from the Bucks via sign-and-trade.
- Used their full mid-level exception ($9,258,000) to sign Tyus Jones.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Marko Guduric.
- Acquired Jimmy Butler from the Sixers via sign-and-trade.
- Acquired Jake Layman from the Trail Blazers via sign-and-trade.
- Used their full mid-level exception ($9,258,000) to sign Al-Farouq Aminu.
San Antonio Spurs
- Acquired DeMarre Carroll from the Nets via sign-and-trade.
- Used approximately $8.3MM of their mid-level exception to sign Patrick McCaw, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, and Dewan Hernandez.
- Used their bi-annual exception to sign Stanley Johnson.
- Used approximately $7.9MM of their mid-level exception to sign Ish Smith, Admiral Schofield, and Justin Robinson.
Outside of the Warriors and Heat, no clubs on the list above are really being restricted by the hard cap at this time. A few teams – such as the Pistons and Magic – are near the luxury tax threshold, but that still gives them several million dollars in breathing room below the hard cap.
While it’s possible that trades could push some teams closer to the apron, Golden State and Miami appear to be the only clubs that will be noticeably affected by the hard cap in 2019/20.
Carter doesn’t want to just ride the bench if he plays a 22nd season, which would be an NBA record. However, lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish and free agent signee Jabari Parker will all see significant action, which would cut into Carter’s minutes. Carter is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“Just waiting for the right opportunity, and nothing has changed as far as that goal, and that dream of mine is to still play,” Carter said. “It’s just a patient thing. I get it. I’m older. Teams are going younger. Hopefully, within the coming days, we’ll have something figured out.”
We have more on the Hawks:
- The Hawks plan to keep one roster spot open entering next season in order to facilitate trades, Kirschner reports in the same piece. They plan to use their approximate $5MM in remaining cap space to help make a trade before February’s deadline to collect future draft picks.
- Parker used his abbreviated stay with the Bulls as a learning experience, as he told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Parker signed with the Bulls last offseason on a two-year, $40MM deal that included a team option. He lost his rotation spot and was traded to the Wizards, who declined the option this summer. He then signed a two-year, $13MM contract with the Hawks. “It was really good because now I can relate to every kind of player,” Parker said of playing for Chicago. “When I talk to kids, I can talk to them about everything – from being the best player on a team to being the player who isn’t even playing. I’m just grateful for that experience. It allowed me to see things differently.”
- Forward Ray Spalding said the Hawks sought him out after the Suns declined to sign him after summer league play, as he told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Phoenix set up different contracts with different players. My agent thought maybe it would be time to look elsewhere,” Spalding said. “So we did that and the Hawks reached out. He really liked what the Hawks said about me and offered me so I felt like this would be a safe place to start.” Spalding signed an Exhibit 10 contract.
Sashi Brown, who previously led the NFL’s Cleveland Browns but will now work within the Wizards‘ new-look front office, admits that it will take some time to transition to the NBA, though he sees opportunity to add value, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports passes along.
“I think that if you’re relying on winning to develop your culture you probably don’t have a very good culture,” Brown said. “It really has to be the driver for winning. That’s what we’re going to do. We’ve got guys that are experienced and passionate that will hold the entire organization accountable.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Goran Dragic was nearly traded this offseason and that might suggest that his days on the Heat are numbered but Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel sees it differently. The scribe envisions Dragic playing better in 2019/20 and suggests that the best move for both parties would be to sign a one-year deal at the end of the season, as the Heat are financially gearing up for the summer of 2021 in order to chase star free agents.
- The Hornets may have to choose between Malik Monk and Nicolas Batum as they decide who will be in their starting lineup, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes. The decision could come down to whether the team is planning on competing this season or investing in their young prospects.
- Anthony Davis, who is from Chicago, called the city the “Mecca of basketball,” as The Chicago Tribune passes along. Davis added that he’d consider joining the Bulls at some point in the future if it made sense to do so.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been added to USA Basketball’s training camp roster for the FIBA World Cup this summer, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Veteran forward Thaddeus Young, who signed with the Bulls in free agency this summer, has also been invited to participate, Charania adds in another tweet.
The move was necessitated by the flurry of defections from the original 20-man roster. Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have already withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas in August. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days.
The roster will be trimmed to 12 players for the World Cup in China. Smart, who averaged 8.9 PPG, 4.0 APG and 1.8 SPG last season, would give coach Gregg Popovich a versatile defensive option if he makes the final cut.
Smart joins new teammate and backcourt partner Kemba Walker, who is on the original 20-man roster. That list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here. Smart signed a four-year deal with Boston last summer.
Young averaged 12.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 81 games with the Pacers last season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
8:11am: Free agent guard Shaquille Harrison will re-sign with the team that waived him earlier this month, having agreed to a one-year deal with the Bulls, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Harrison, 25, appeared in 73 games for Chicago last season, averaging 6.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 1.9 APG with strong defense in 19.6 minutes per contest. Despite having a regular rotation role, he became a cap casualty when the club needed to clear enough space to finalize its deals with Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky.
The Bulls drafted Coby White, acquired Satoransky via sign-and-trade, and re-signed Ryan Arcidiacono this offseason, so Harrison will join a crowded backcourt that also features Kris Dunn and Antonio Blakeney. K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweets that the club has discussed waiving Blakeney and is open to trading Dunn, so it’s possible there will be a 15-man roster spot available for Harrison, but for now it looks like an uphill battle.
One factor working in Harrison’s favor is the Bulls’ head coach. According to Johnson (via Twitter), the former Tulsa standout is a Jim Boylen favorite.
Financial terms of Harrison’s new contract aren’t yet known. Although a minimum-salary deal seems likely, Chicago does have some of its room exception available.