Offseason Salary Cap Digest

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Denver Nuggets

After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2018, the Nuggets expressed confidence in their core by bringing back virtually the same group, and that bet paid off to the tune of 54 regular-season victories, the No. 2 seed in the West, and the club’s first playoff series win since 2009. The Nuggets will count on continued improvement from some of their young players going forward, but the team may also have a little flexibility to add more reinforcements.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Nuggets financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Cap room projection w/Millsap: $0
  • There are few wild cards on the Nuggets’ books this offseason, but Millsap is a big one. Even if his $30MM option for 2019/20 is declined – which is a safe bet – re-signing him to a more modest deal would likely eat up any available cap room and make Denver an over-the-cap team. In that scenario, the Nuggets would have the mid-level ($9.25MM) and bi-annual ($3.62MM) exceptions available, along with a series of trade exceptions, detailed below.
  • Cap room projection w/o Millsap: $17MM
  • On the other hand, if Millsap is renounced, the team could create up to about $17MM in space without shedding any other salaries. That’s not enough to contend for maximum-salary free agents, but the players a notch or two below that tier could be within reach.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $12,800,562 (expires 7/8/19)
  • Trade exception: $13,764,045 (expires 7/15/19)
  • Trade exception: $5,919,961 (7/15/19)
  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 4
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,619,000 4

Footnotes

  1. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  2. Because Lydon’s fourth-year rookie scale option was declined, the Nuggets are ineligible to offer him a starting salary greater than his cap hold.
  3. The cap hold for Jefferson remains on the Nuggets’ books because he hasn’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. He can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  4. These are projected values. In the event the Nuggets use cap room, they’d lose these exceptions, plus their trade exceptions, and would instead would gain access to the $4,760,000 room exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, ESPN.com, and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Philadelphia 76ers

With a pair of homegrown franchise players in place for the 2018/19 season, new Sixers general manager Elton Brand decided the time was right to push his chips into the middle of the table. The team went out and acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to team up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, creating perhaps the most dominant starting lineup in the NBA. After a second-round exit, the club will now need to decide how aggressive it will be in trying to keep that group together to give it more time to jell.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Sixers financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Jonathon Simmons ($4,700,000) 1
  • Total: $4,700,000

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • This projection assumes that the Sixers retain both Butler and Harris, whose cap holds total nearly $53MM combined. In that scenario, Philadelphia would almost certainly remain an over-the-cap team.
  • Maximum cap room projection: $59.2MM
  • This is the Sixers’ cap room projection in the event that Butler, Harris, and Redick are all renounced. That seems extremely unlikely.
  • There are several variations that fall somewhere in between having no cap room and having $59MM+. For instance, if the 76ers only re-sign Butler, renouncing Harris and Redick, they could have $29.4MM in space. If they only bring back Harris and not those other two free agents, that figure could be $37.9MM. Re-signing Harris and Redick without Butler could result in $22.8MM in space, or even more if Redick signs for less a salary worth less than his cap hold.
  • Of course, other players, such as Ennis, Scott, and Pasecniks, could be wild cards here — the above projections assume that they’re not on next season’s roster.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $957,480 (expires 11/12/19)
  • Trade exception: $2,339,880 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 4
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,619,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Simmons’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 1.
  2. Pasecniks was the 25th overall pick in the 2017 draft. His cap hold (the equivalent to the 25th overall pick in the 2019 draft) will remain on the Sixers’ books unless the team receives permission to remove it, which would ensure Pasecniks won’t be signed in 2019/20.
  3. Because Korkmaz’ fourth-year rookie scale option was declined, the Sixers are ineligible to offer him a starting salary greater than his cap hold.
  4. These are projected values. If the Sixers are at risk of going into tax territory, they may forfeit the bi-annual exception and have to use the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,711,000) rather than the full mid-level exception. In the event they use cap room, they’d lose these exceptions, plus their trade exceptions, and would instead would gain access to the $4,760,000 room exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Houston Rockets

After an early-season slump that was widely attributed to the loss of key role players during the 2018 offseason, the Rockets bounced back in a big way, adding new contributors to the rotation and roaring into the postseason with a ton of momentum. For a second straight year, however, Houston saw its momentum halted in the playoffs by the Warriors, sending Daryl Morey and the front office back to the drawing board.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Rockets financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • Nene ($3,825,360)
  • Total: $3,825,360

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • The Rockets won’t be in position to create cap room this summer. They’re more likely to end up over the tax line rather than below the cap, unless they fill out the back half of their roster on the cheap.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $1,544,951 (expires 8/2/19)
  • Trade exception: $2,584,136 (expires 9/2/19)
  • Trade exception: $955,172 (expires 1/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,512,601 (expires 1/22/20)
  • Trade exception: $3,620,016 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $3,206,160 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,621,415 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,544,951 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Trade exception: $1,512,601 (expires 2/7/20)
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,711,000 5

Footnotes

  1. This is a projected value.
  2. Hartenstein’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 15.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. The cap holds for Black, Johnson, and Brown remain on the Rockets’ books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  5. This is a projected value. If the Rockets stay below the tax apron, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Boston Celtics

After making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward in their lineup, the Celtics were widely viewed as the favorites to come out of the East in 2019. Instead, Boston struggled all season to live up to those preseason expectations, with fit and role concerns plaguing the team’s veterans and young players alike. Bringing back the same group seems unpalatable, so it could be a summer of change in New England.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Celtics financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • With less than $65MM in guaranteed money on their books, the Celtics have a path to cap room, but unless they clean house, it’s hard to imagine them getting there. If Horford exercises his player option, that would make Boston an over-the-cap team. The team also must consider Baynes’ player option, Rozier’s cap hold, cap holds for three draft picks, and a new salary for Irving. Perhaps Rozier and/or Irving depart, but it seems likely that at least one of them is retained.
  • If we account for the Celtics’ six players on guaranteed contracts and their three first-round picks, the team could create up to $33.1MM in cap room. But that figure wouldn’t include any of Horford, Irving, Baynes, Rozier, Morris, or Ojeleye, making it a real long shot.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $450,000 (expires 7/23/19) 3
  • Trade exception: $1,349,383 (expires 2/7/20) 3
  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 4
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,619,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Ojeleye’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 1.
  2. Larkin’s cap hold remains on the Celtics’ books because he hasn’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. He can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  3. The Celtics will lose these exceptions if they go under the cap to use room.
  4. These are projected values. If the Celtics are at risk of going into tax territory, they may forfeit the bi-annual exception and have to use the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,711,000) rather than the full mid-level exception. In the event they use cap room, they’d lose these exceptions and would instead would gain access to the $4,760,000 room exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Utah Jazz

For a second straight year, the Jazz finished the regular season with a strong home stretch after an up-and-down first half. And for a second straight year, they ran into the Rockets in the playoffs, unable to mount a serious threat against James Harden‘s squad. With the current squad having perhaps reached its ceiling, the Jazz will likely look to make some changes to their roster this summer.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Jazz financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Maximum cap room projection: $39.1MM
  • This projection takes into account Utah’s seven players on fully guaranteed salaries, O’Neale’s non-guaranteed salary, and the cap hold for their first-round pick. It also assumes that Korver is waived and stretched.
  • The Jazz could end up with significantly less cap room. If Favors is retained, for example, his cap hit would reduce Utah’s cap space by nearly $17MM. Retaining other non-guaranteed players like Neto and Niang would further cut into that space. If the Jazz were to waive-and-stretch Korver but retained Favors, Neto, and O’Neale, they’d have $21.1MM in cap room.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 6

Footnotes

  1. Favors’ salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 6.
  2. Korver’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 7.
  3. Neto’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 6.
  4. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  5. McCree can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  6. This is a projected value. In the event the Jazz remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000), the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000), and their lone trade exception ($3,976,515; expires 11/29/19).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers proved in the early going this season that their 2017/18 success was no fluke, then proved they were capable of winning games without their star player after Victor Oladipo went down with a season-ending quad injury. Ultimately, the Oladipo-less Pacers couldn’t make any noise in the playoffs, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism as they enter an important offseason.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Pacers financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • Alize Johnson ($655,316) 1
  • Total: $655,316

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Maximum cap room projection: $44MM
  • This cap projection assumes the Pacers keep their seven players with salary guarantees (including Johnson, since waiving him would mean eating his guarantee and replacing him with an empty roster charge) and their first-round pick.
  • In reality, if the Pacers plan on re-signing two or three of their free agents, it’s possible they’ll have much less cap room. They could even operate as an over-the-cap team if they bring back a few players. For what it’s worth, retaining Bogdanovic’s cap hold along with their other seven players and their pick would result in about $31.3MM in cap space.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 3

Footnotes

  1. Johnson’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 15.
  2. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  3. This is a projected value. In the event the Pacers remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder‘s 2017 trade for Paul George paid off in a big way during the 2018 offseason when they convinced the All-Star forward to sign a long-term deal with the franchise. However, despite a terrific season from George, Oklahoma City was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round for a third consecutive year, raising questions about the long-term ceiling of the current core.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Thunder financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • After paying the highest luxury tax bill in the NBA in 2018/19, the Thunder appear poised to blow past the tax threshold again in 2019/20. It’s possible they’ll find a way to sneak below that line, but there’s no chance they’ll have cap room and little chance they’ll gain access to the full mid-level exception and bi-annual exception.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Trade exception: $10,883,189 (expires 7/25/19)
  • Trade exception: $1,544,951 (expires 2/3/20)
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $5,711,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Nader’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 5.
  2. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  3. Cole’s and Collison’s cap holds remain on the Thunder’s books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in previous offseasons. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  4. This is a projected value. If the Thunder were to reduce salary and stay out of tax territory, they could instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Brooklyn Nets

A long, challenging rebuild began to pay dividends for the Nets in 2018/19, as the team finished sixth in the Eastern Conference, returning to the postseason for the first time since 2015.

With promising young players like Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Rodions Kurucs still on rookie deals and reliable contributors like Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris also locked up for next season, Brooklyn is set up well for the future. But the Nets will have to answer two crucial questions this summer: Will they invest big money in D’Angelo Russell, and will they be able to land a star in free agency?

Here’s where things currently stand for the Nets financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Standard cap room projection: $30.4MM
  • For all the talk of the Nets being a player for a maximum-salary free agent, they’d have to shed some money to create enough room for one. This projection takes into account their seven guaranteed salaries, Russell’s cap hold, and the cap holds for their two first-round picks.
  • More aggressive cap room projection: $50MM
  • If the Nets want to open up more space, waiving-and-stretching Crabbe would be one option, but it might make more sense to trade him, using one of their first-round picks as a sweetener to convince a team to take on his contract. This projection assumes the Nets trade Crabbe along with the No. 17 overall pick without taking back any salary.
  • Other scenarios:
    • The most aggressive scenario I can envision for the Nets would involve trading Crabbe and both of their two first-round picks while also renouncing Russell’s cap hold. That’s probably not a likely outcome, but it would get Brooklyn all the way up to $71.3MM in space, enough for two maximum contracts.
    • If the Nets were to retain their first-round picks and Russell’s cap hold and simply waived-and-stretched Crabbe, their cap room would increase from $30.4MM (our initial projection) to $41.8MM. This would be the simplest way to create a max slot if the team doesn’t want to sacrifice a first-round pick and doesn’t mind spreading out Crabbe’s salary across three years.
    • Attaching their No. 27 pick to Crabbe in a trade while retaining Russell’s cap hold and their No. 17 pick would leave the Nets with $49MM in cap room.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Room exception: $4,760,000 4

Footnotes

  1. Napier’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  2. Graham’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 10.
  3. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  4. This is a projected value. In the unlikely event the Nets remain over the cap, they’d instead have access to the full mid-level exception ($9,246,000) and the bi-annual exception ($3,619,000).

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: San Antonio Spurs

After a tumultuous offseason that included the departures of three longtime core players – Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker – the revamped Spurs did what they always do and earned a playoff spot for the 22nd consecutive year. The current roster may not have the same upside as the title-winning squads led by Tim Duncan, but with Derrick White on the rise and Dejounte Murray on the mend, there’s still room for San Antonio to improve.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Spurs financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • Barring a cost-cutting move or two, the Spurs project to have $103.8MM on their books for 11 guaranteed salaries plus two first-round picks. Working as an over-the-cap team and retaining their mid-level and bi-annual exceptions makes more sense than renouncing those exceptions for a mere $5.2MM in potential cap room. If they want to re-sign Gay, going under the cap becomes even less realistic.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 3

Footnotes

  1. Milutinov was the 26th overall pick in the 2015 draft. His cap hold (the equivalent to the 26th overall pick in the 2019 draft) will remain on the Spurs’ books unless the team receives permission to remove it, which would ensure Milutinov won’t be signed in 2019/20.
  2. Lauvergne’s, Costello’s, and Hilliard’s cap holds remain on the Spurs’ books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  3. This is a projected value. In the unlikely event the Spurs risk going into the tax, they may forfeit the bi-annual exception and have to use the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,711,000) rather than the full mid-level exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Orlando Magic

The 2018/19 season was widely expected to be a rebuilding season for the Magic, and the team even made the ultimate rebuilding at the move at the trade deadline, acquiring injured prospect Markelle Fultz. However, an All-Star performance from Nikola Vucevic and the eighth-best defense in the NBA helped buoy Orlando to a playoff spot.

Now, the team will have to decide whether to try to build on that success by re-signing key contributors like Vucevic and Terrence Ross, or whether to pivot to a full-fledged youth movement.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Magic financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

  • None

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Realistic cap room projection: $0
  • This projection assumes that the Magic keep either Vucevic’s or Ross’ cap hold on their books in an attempt to re-sign them. Retaining even one of those holds would make Orlando an over-the-cap team.
  • If the Magic let both of their top free agents walk, there’s a path to possible cap room. Waiving all their non-guaranteed contracts and renouncing their free agents could create as much as about $19.4MM in space. I’m not sure that’s a likely scenario though. I expect the Magic to try to re-sign at least one of Vucevic or Ross, and even if they don’t, bringing back less expensive players like Iwundu and Birch would also cut into that projected room.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 4
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,619,000 4

Footnotes

  1. The salaries for two-way players don’t count against a team’s cap, but their cap holds do during the offseason.
  2. Vazquez was the 11th overall pick in the 2005 draft. His cap hold (the equivalent to the 11th overall pick in the 2019 draft) will remain on the Magic’s books unless the team receives permission to remove it, ensuring Vazquez won’t be signed in 2019/20.
  3. Afflalo’s and Speights’ cap holds remain on the Magic’s books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2018/19. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  4. These are projected values. In the event the Magic use cap room, they’d lose these exceptions and would instead would gain access to the $4,760,000 room exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.