Chicago Bulls

NBA Teams That Still Have 2017/18 Cap Room

During the 2016 NBA offseason, when the salary camp jumped from $70MM to $94MM, 27 teams had cap room available, with only three clubs operating over the cap all year. A more modest cap increase this year to $99MM meant that fewer teams had cap space to use. So far, 14 teams – less than half the league – have used cap room to sign players.

Of those 14 teams, several have since used up all their cap room, including the Celtics, Knicks, Jazz, Lakers, and Timberwolves. However, there are still several teams around the NBA that have room available, or could create it without waiving and stretching any players on guaranteed salaries.

With the help of data from HeatHoops and Basketball Insiders, here’s a quick breakdown of teams that still have cap room available, along with their estimated space:

  • Atlanta Hawks: $4.6MM. The Hawks could gain slightly more space by waiving Luke Babbitt, whose salary is only partially guaranteed, but Atlanta just signed Babbitt, so that’s not a likely move.
  • Brooklyn Nets: $6.6MM. The Nets could gain slightly more space by waiving Spencer Dinwiddie, whose minimum salary contract is mostly non-guaranteed. However, I expect Brooklyn to keep Dinwiddie on its roster.
  • Denver Nuggets: $2.8MM. With Mason Plumlee‘s cap hold still on their books, the Nuggets’ cap room is fairly negligible. Denver could get up to about $8.6MM by renouncing Plumlee, but there’s no indication that’s in the plans.
  • Indiana Pacers: $7.6MM.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: $15.1MM. The Sixers could create even more space by waiving a player on a non-guaranteed contract, but the team isn’t about to part with Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, or T.J. McConnell.
  • Phoenix Suns: $6.3MM. Alex Len‘s cap hold is taking up $12MM right now, and Phoenix is carrying a pair of non-guaranteed contracts (Elijah Millsap and Derrick Jones), so in theory the Suns could get all the way up to $21.2MM in space by renouncing Len and cutting those non-guaranteed players.
  • Sacramento Kings: $4.3MM.

The following two teams are essentially capped-out, but could create a very small amount of room if necessary:

  • Miami Heat: The Heat could create close to $1MM in space by waiving Rodney McGruder and Okaro White, whose salaries aren’t fully guaranteed. That almost certainly won’t happen.
  • Orlando Magic: The Magic are currently under the cap by about $550K, and could create up to about $1.34MM in space by waiving Khem Birch, whose salary is mostly non-guaranteed. Again, that’s not likely.

The following two teams are technically operating over the cap at the moment, with various trade and mid-level exceptions pushing them over the threshold, but they could create room if they choose to go under the cap:

  • Chicago Bulls: The Bulls could immediately create about $13.5MM in room by renouncing the rest of their MLE and the $15MM trade exception generated in the Jimmy Butler deal. If the team chose to waive David Nwaba, who is on a non-guaranteed deal, and renounced its free agent cap holds, including Nikola Mirotic‘s, that figure would increase to about $25.8MM.
  • Dallas Mavericks: Even without renouncing Nerlens Noel‘s cap hold, the Mavericks could get to $11.6MM in cap room by waiving their non-guaranteed players and dipping below the cap. Removing Noel’s cap hold on top of that could get the Mavs up over $22MM in room, but there’s been no indication that Dallas plans to go that route.

Udonis Haslem Discusses Potential Reunion With Dwyane Wade

Veteran forward Udonis Haslem is the latest Heat player to express interest in bringing back Dwyane Wade if he agrees to a buyout in Chicago, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Interest in the possibility was reignited with a report Wednesday that Wade and the Bulls could part ways at some point this season.

Wade has a $23.8MM salary and doesn’t seem to fit on a team that started rebuilding by trading Jimmy Butler and not re-signing Rajon Rondo. A buyout is always a possibility, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, but the Bulls haven’t changed their position that it would have to be “advantageous” to them, meaning Wade would have to give up a substantial amount of money.

He would have several options if that happens, with one obvious choice being a return to Miami, where he spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career.

“I talk to D-Wade every day,” Haslem said today on radio station WQAM. “My advice to D-Wade and his advice has always been to me is, ‘Take it one day at a time. Just take it one day at a time, step by step.’ We kind of understand the direction that Chicago is going in. We kind of understand the direction that Dwyane wants to go in the last couple of years of his career. The business side of things sometimes doesn’t always allow both sides to co-exist.”

On Tuesday, Heat center Hassan Whiteside sent out a GIF on social media indicating he would like to see Wade return, and Dion Waiters endorsed the idea on Twitter in July.

The Heat are well over the salary cap after re-signing Waiters and James Johnson this summer and adding Kelly Olynyk in free agency. However, they have retained their mid-level exception, which gives them up to $4.3MM to offer Wade.

Winderman notes that a crowded backcourt could hinder the move, with Waiters and Goran Dragic cemented as starters and Tyler Johnson, Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington in reserve. There’s also the possibility that Wade could find a reunion with LeBron James in Cleveland more desirable than a return to Miami.

Buyout Remains Possible For Dwyane Wade, Bulls

AUGUST 17, 10:59am: The original article at ESPN.com on Wade and the Bulls has been updated (hat tip to Blog A Bull) — without a source to confirm his initial claim, Friedell no longer suggests a buyout is “expected.” While Friedell has backed off that assertion, he still says that “nobody would be surprised” if Wade decides he wants out of Chicago and reaches a buyout agreement with the team in the next few months.

AUGUST 16, 3:18pm: Few NBA teams are expected to drop in the standings this season like the Bulls, who lost two of their top players this summer when they traded Jimmy Butler and waived Rajon Rondo. The third member of last season’s “three alphas” – Dwyane Wade – also isn’t long for Chicago, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN, who writes that Wade and the Bulls are expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the coming months.

Wade, who inked a two-year deal with the Bulls in 2016, had a player option for the 2017/18 season, giving him the opportunity to head elsewhere in free agency if he so chose. Wade opted in before the Bulls traded Butler and cut Rondo, though it’s not clear if those moves would have impacted his decision anyway — exercising his player option puts Wade in line to earn $23.8MM this season, and he wouldn’t have matched that annual salary if he’d opted out and signed a new contract.

Still, shortly after Wade opted in and the Bulls opted to rebuild, rumors begin to swirl about a possible buyout. For their part, the Bulls have attempted to put those rumors to rest. Executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson suggested in June that any buyout agreement would have to be “advantageous” to the franchise, and head coach Fred Hoiberg said last month that he didn’t expect Wade to be bought out.

At the time Hoiberg made his comments in July, Friedell indicated there was a “widespread belief” among Bulls officials that Wade wouldn’t be willing to give up enough of his $23.8MM salary to make a buyout worthwhile for the club. Considering Friedell is now writing that an agreement is expected to happen at some point in the next few months, he may have heard something in recent weeks that influenced his view on the subject, though it’s worth noting that he doesn’t cite any sources.

There’s no real deadline for the Bulls and Wade to reach a buyout agreement, though veterans are generally bought out before March 1 so that they retain their playoff eligibility. As Friedell details, Chicago has shifted to full-fledged rebuilding mode and shouldn’t mind finishing among the NBA’s cellar-dwellers in 2017/18. Parting ways with Wade would help out the Bulls in their race to the bottom, so it’s possible the team won’t wait until February to explore a buyout.

Community Shootaround: Dwyane Wade

The Bulls inked Dwyane Wade to a two-year contract last offseason, but the franchise has undergone some renovations with an eye on rebuilding for the future. Wade, at age 35, doesn’t appear to fit in those plans and earlier today, it was reported that he and the team are expected to work out a buyout agreement in the coming months.

Should the future Hall of Famer reach a buyout agreement with Chicago, where is the best place for him to continue his career?

Cleveland might be a logical fit given his friendship with LeBron James. Houston would give Wade an opportunity to play alongside James Harden and Chris Paul to form one of the best backcourt rotations in recent memory. The Heat seem like they’re one player away from breaking into the Eastern Conference’s top-4 and Wade could be that contributor that helps get Pat Riley home court in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Spurs could use Wade as a primary ball handler until Tony Parker returns from injury then watch the shooting guard’s minutes to ensure he stays healthy for a playoff run. A lineup of Parker, Wade, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol with Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobili and a potentially healthy Rudy Gay coming off the bench would be a tough out in the playoffs.

Do you feel Wade should sign with any of the aforementioned teams or is there another club that would be a better fit? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!

What’s Next For Unsigned Restricted Free Agents?

An unusually high number of notable restricted free agents remain unsigned as August nears its halfway point, and the rumor mill has been quiet on those players as of late. After the league-wide free agent spending spree in the summer of 2016, many of these RFAs likely entered free agency this year anticipating huge paydays, and were disappointed to see many potential suitors use up their cap room quickly.

Here’s the current list of restricted free agents still on the board:Nikola Mirotic vertical

The updates on those players have been few and far between over the last month or so. Early in free agency, Green’s agent seemed pessimistic about his client remaining in Memphis, suggesting that the Grizzlies seemed to be going in a “different direction.” However, with no offer sheet yet in hand, Green still looks like a decent bet to stay with his current team.

Plumlee, meanwhile, may not have as clear as role as the Nuggets initially envisioned when they acquired him, since the team nabbed Paul Millsap in free agency. Denver gave up a lot in the trade for Plumlee and presumably still wants to bring him back as Nikola Jokic‘s backup at center. But with Millsap making approximately $30MM annually and Jokic due for a mega-deal of his own as soon as next summer, the Nuggets may be reluctant to invest heavily in Plumlee as well.

As for Len, Mirotic, and Noel, there has been little indication that they’re going anywhere — all three of their respective teams still have a ton of cap flexibility, and could comfortably match virtually any offer sheet they’re dealt. Those offer sheets just don’t seem to be out there right now, since almost every team with the ability to make a big offer has its own RFA to worry about.

Besides Phoenix, Chicago, and Dallas, there are a small number of teams that could make an aggressive offer for a restricted free agent. The Sixers are really the only other club with a significant amount of leftover cap room, and based on their one-year agreements with J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson, it appears Bryan Colangelo and company want to avoid multiyear commitments that would compromise their 2018 cap space.

So what’s next for these restricted free agents? October 1 is the next key date to watch. That’s the day that each RFA’s qualifying offer will expire. Up until that point, any of those five players could accept the qualifying offer and play on a one-year deal, opting to try his luck at the open market again in 2018 as an unrestricted free agent. Green, Len, Mirotic, Noel, and Plumlee all figure to still be looking for longer-term deals, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see one or two of them signs that QO.

If an RFA situation remains unresolved beyond October 1, the player is still restricted, but no longer has the option of accepting his qualifying offer. With the regular season fast approaching at that point, players don’t have much leverage, and a situation can go south in a hurry.

A year ago, it was December before Donatas Motiejunas finally found an offer sheet, but that lucrative four-year deal with the Nets fell through after Houston matched it — the Rockets and Motiejunas couldn’t agree on incentive details, the forward skipped his physical, and the two sides eventually parted ways. Motiejunas, who later signed for the minimum and is now out of the NBA, could act as a cautionary tale this fall for RFAs who don’t yet have a deal when training camps begin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Sellers, Superteams, Ayres

After a quiet offseason, the Magic could be one of the league’s biggest sellers, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes. Other teams that could look to aggressively shop their assets include the Suns and Hawks.

Orlando’s front office was smart to lay low and gauge their own in-house talent, Kyler says, now they’ll look to start shaping their future with a number of notable trade chips ranging from Nikola Vucevic on a $12.3MM contract to D.J. Augustin ($7.3MM).

Phoenix, having stockpiled youth for years, could be in a similar boat, eager to unload contributing pieces to the highest bidder. While linked to Kyrie Irving for much of the past few weeks, the Suns won’t be afraid to shop players like Tyson Chandler or Eric Bledsoe around elsewhere if it means they can improve their standing as a franchise.

Kyler notes that the Hawks, fresh off of a summer that saw them part ways with Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard, could be in the market to deal. The club, he says, is in full-rebuild mode now after a year of half measures.

The Nuggets, Bulls and Lakers, Kyler says, could also be sellers over the course of the 2017/18 campaign.

There’s more from around the league.

  • Former NBA big man Jeff Ayres has signed a contract to play with Eskisehir Basket in Turkey, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports.
  • An ESPN Insider report penned by Kevin Pelton zeroes in on the league’s most recent transactions, suggesting that the Knicks‘ move to land Michael Beasley could reflect that the organization is bracing for a future without Carmelo Anthony.
  • The Superteam Era has hurt the chances small market teams have to compete and there’s no sign that it will end any time soon, Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes. So long as players are willing to forego max money in order to sign with other stars, there’s little the league can do to curb it.

Poll: Which Central Team Had Best Offseason?

When we asked last week which Atlantic and Northwest teams have enjoyed the best offseasons of 2017, there were a handful of teams deserving of consideration. Several of the 10 teams from those divisions landed star players or deftly maneuvered the salary cap to upgrade their rosters in other ways.

In the Central division, the candidates are a little less impressive.

The Bulls and Pacers were on the other end of two of those trades that sent All-Star players to Northwest teams, with the clubs trading away Jimmy Butler and Paul George, respectively. In both cases, the return left something to be desired — Chicago received Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and Lauri Markkanen, while the Pacers landed Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Indiana has at least has made some savvy moves in the weeks since the George trade, picking up Cory Joseph, Darren Collison, and Bojan Bogdanovic on affordable contracts, while the Bulls have only re-signed Cristiano Felicio and added Justin Holiday.

The defending Central – and Eastern – champions may join those two teams soon in having traded away an All-Star player, but for now Kyrie Irving remains with the Cavaliers. Cleveland’s offseason grade is probably incomplete until we see what the team does with Irving, but so far the Cavs’ summer moves have been somewhat underwhelming. The additions of players like Derrick Rose, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon, and Cedi Osman were solid, but they were hardly the sort of transformative moves the clubs envisioned heading into the offseason.

The up-and-coming Bucks showed signs last season suggesting they could be an Eastern Conference force within the next year or two, but with Greg Monroe and Spencer Hawes opting into their respective contracts, Milwaukee’s flexibility to make additions has been limited. Outside of re-signing Tony Snell, the Bucks have essentially been quiet in free agency — the team’s most notable additions came in the draft, when D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown joined the roster.

Of the five Central teams, the Pistons have perhaps been the most active in adding roster reinforcements, though your view of their offseason may hinge on how you feel about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Detroit let its top restricted free agent walk, opting to replace him by signing Langston Galloway and trading Marcus Morris for Avery Bradley. Other minor moves for the Pistons included re-signing Reggie Bullock and adding Anthony Tolliver.

What do you think? Which of the Central division teams had the best offseason? Did any of these teams take positive steps forward with their summer moves? Vote below in our poll and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Previously:

Bulls Sign Ryan Arcidiacono To Two-Way Deal

AUGUST 1: The Bulls have officially signed Arcidiacono to a two-way contract, the team confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 24: The Bulls have agreed to a deal with Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniele Labanti of Corriere Di Bologna reports. Sean Highkin of The Athletic confirms the signing and adds that it will be a two-way deal.

The Bulls now have used both of their two-way contracts with the team adding Antonio Blakeney to a contract last week. You can keep up with every team’s two-way contract signings with our 2017/18 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker.

The Villanova product played for Chicago’s Summer League team in Las Vegas this offseason. He was set to play for JuveCaserta Basket in Italy before the team was excluded from the Italian League Series A because of financial difficulties.

Anthony Morrow Still Looking For Offers

  • Nearly a month into free agency, former Thunder shooting guard Anthony Morrow is still trying to find a team, notes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Morrow, who will turn 32 in September, was shipped to Chicago at the February trade deadline after spending two and a half years in Oklahoma City. He was expected to get more playing time with the Bulls, but appeared in just nine games and averaged 9.7 minutes after the deal. OKC already has 16 players on its roster, so a return to the Thunder seems unlikely.

Central Notes: Rose, Parker, Mirotic, Harris

Newest Cavaliers point guard Derrick Rose, who signed with the club on a one-year, $2.1MM veteran’s minimum contract, is viewed by the team as a backup, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor writes. New Cavs general manager Koby Altman was careful in describing his new point guard, stating that the former Most Valuable Player will be an asset off the bench.

Entering free agency, Rose reiterated on many occasions that his goal was to sign a max contract in free agency. After a decent – if unspectacular – year with the Knicks in 2016/17 that ended with knee surgery, Rose’s free agency destinations dwindled, as did his salary. However, Altman noted that Rose was mostly interested in a winning environment.

“He wanted to be in a place where he can play with excellent players and a place where he can play in meaningful games,” Altman said at his introductory press conference.. “It’s funny, he uses the term, ‘I just want to hoop.’ He just wants to be here. He’s excited to be here. He’s in a great space mentally and his body looks great and we’re really excited about him. He came here for the opportunity to win. He came here for the opportunity to play with other great players.”

Rose, still just 28 years old, will focus on helping the team, even if it means sacrificing playing time.

Below are additional links around the Central Division:

  • Bucks‘ forward Jabari Parker is recovering from a second tear of his ACL but is recovery is going well, he tells ESPN’s Nick Friedell. The 22-year-old has previously suffered a tear in the same ACL but despite not having a return date in mind, he expects to be back on the court this upcoming season.
  • Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy views Tobias Harris as a starter but it will be up to the rest of the team’s performance to see if he becomes a starter, NBA.com’s Keith Langois writes.
  • Nikola Mirotic, who is currently in talks with the Bulls, will not play in Eurobasket 2017, according to Sportnado. Mirotic’s focus is his NBA career, the brief report states.
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