Thunder Rumors

Spurs, Pacers, Pistons Still Have Cap Room Available

While many free agent agreements have been reported since last Thursday evening, few will become official until the NBA’s moratorium period ends this Wednesday. That means the terms that have been reported – and the cap space or cap exceptions teams will use to complete those signings – haven’t yet been locked in.

Still, we have a pretty good sense of what the cap room situation looks like for teams around the league. Here’s a snapshot, as of the morning of July 4, of which clubs still have the most spending power:


Teams with cap room:

By our count, the Spurs project to have about $38MM in remaining cap room, and could push that number even higher by stretching Danilo Gallinari‘s partial guarantee across three years when they officially waive him. However, it’s very unlikely they’d do so unless they have a specific need for that extra room. San Antonio could also create some extra space by waiving Keita Bates-Diop or Tre Jones, who have non-guaranteed salaries for 2022/23, though there has been no indication that will happen.

The Pacers, meanwhile, should have a little over $26MM in cap room once the Malcolm Brogdon trade is finalized, based on our projections. Like San Antonio, Indiana has a couple players without full guarantees (Duane Washington and Terry Taylor) and could create more cap space by waiving one or both.

The Pistons have already committed a chunk of their cap room to taking on Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, and Kemba Walker from New York, but haven’t used it all yet. If Walker gives back his minimum salary in a reported buyout agreement and Detroit uses its room exception to sign Kevin Knox to his two-year, $6MM deal, the team could have $14MM+ in space — or even more, if Walker’s dead money is stretched across three seasons.

It remains unclear what the Spurs, Pacers, and Pistons will do with their remaining cap room. All three teams have been linked to restricted free agent center Deandre Ayton at some point during the offseason and could theoretically still make a run at him, with Indiana and Detroit perhaps sending back players in a sign-and-trade deal to fit a max deal for the big man under the cap. Still, there’s a sense the Pistons have backed off Ayton after landing Jalen Duren on draft night, and it’s unclear whether the Spurs or Pacers have serious interest.

Accommodating salary-dump trades to acquire more assets could be an option for all three teams, either in the offseason or close to the trade deadline.

The Knicks are the other team expected to use cap room this summer, but after signing Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein, they won’t have much left over. Even if they waive Taj Gibson and sign Brunson and Hartenstein to the lowest starting salaries possible based on their reported contract terms, New York projects to have less than $5MM in remaining room.


Mid-level exception teams:

The Hornets, Grizzlies, Thunder, Magic, and Jazz all still have their full non-taxpayer mid-level exceptions available, giving them the ability to offer up to about $10.5MM to a free agent. It’s worth noting though that Utah’s cap situation remains in flux as we wait to see what other moves the team has up its sleeve after trading Royce O’Neale and then agreeing to a blockbuster deal involving Rudy Gobert.

The Hawks, Nets, Heat, Pelicans, and Suns haven’t committed any mid-level money to free agents yet, but unless they shed salary, they’ll probably be limited to the taxpayer MLE (worth about $6.5MM) due to their proximity to the tax line.

The Bulls have used a small portion of their mid-level exception and should still have $7MMish available to spend, but doing so would push them into luxury tax territory, which ownership may be against.

There are some teams that could theoretically open up part or all of their mid-level exception if they’re able to turn reported free agent agreements into sign-and-trades. For example, Ricky Rubio agreed to a three-year, $18.4MM deal with the Cavaliers that will presumably use the MLE, but if Cleveland and Indiana were able to work out a sign-and trade deal involving Rubio, it would free up the Cavs’ mid-level to use on another move.

Thunder Waive Isaiah Roby

The Thunder have waived big man Isaiah Roby, the team announced. Roby’s $1.9MM contract would’ve become fully guaranteed if he wasn’t waived today.

[RELATED: Early NBA Salary Guarantee Dates For 2022/23]

Roby has spent the better part of three seasons with Oklahoma City since being acquired from Dallas midway through his rookie year in 2020. He appeared in 45 games last season, averaging 10.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per contest. He also shot an efficient 51.4% from the floor.

Assuming he clears waivers on Tueday, Roby should receive interest as a free agent, as he’s only 24 years old.

He appeared in 109 total games with Oklahoma City, holding career averages of 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per contest. The Thunder are coming off a season in which they finished with the league’s fourth-worst record at 24-58.

Heat Notes: Durant, Highsmith, Jovic, Summer League

The Heat could try to improve their bargaining power in a potential Kevin Durant trade by negotiating with the Thunder to remove protections on the 2025 first-round pick owed to OKC, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

If Oklahoma City agrees to accept the pick with no lottery protection, Miami will be free to offer Brooklyn first-rounders in 2023, 2027 and 2029 without violating the Stepien rule. Teams aren’t permitted to trade draft picks that are more than seven years away, but the Heat could also include pick swaps in 2024, 2026 and 2028.

Chiang says the Heat are in a “holding pattern” as they wait for the next step in the Durant drama. They haven’t made any moves since reaching agreements to re-sign Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo shortly after free agency began Thursday afternoon.

The Nets can’t acquire Bam Adebayo as long as Ben Simmons is on the roster and the Heat would prefer to keep Jimmy Butler, so any trade offer would have to be built around Tyler Herro. Chiang notes that Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry are sufficient to match salary, while inexpensive players such as Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Omer Yurtseven could be added to sweeten the offer. It’s unlikely that would be enough to interest the Nets, who reportedly have received interest in Durant from more than half the league.

League rules prevent Miami from trading Dedmon or Oladipo until December 15, while first-round pick Nikola Jovic, who signed his rookie contract today, can’t be included in a trade for 30 days.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Haywood Highsmith received a $50K guarantee on his 2022/23 salary by remaining on the roster past Friday’s deadline, Chiang adds. The second-year small forward joined the Heat in late December on the first of three 10-day contracts, then was given a standard deal in March.
  • Highsmith has an opportunity for a larger role next season after P.J. Tucker‘s departure to Philadelphia, Chiang notes in a separate story. Highsmith, who scored 11 points in today’s Summer League opener, is working to model himself after Tucker as a three-and-D player.
  • Jovic is still adjusting to the speed of the NBA game and that was evident in today’s debut, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. He made just 1 of 6 shots and grabbed three rebounds in 21 minutes of action. “I know he wanted to play better,” said Summer League coach Malik Allen. “I just think it was moving really fast. I told him just to keep his head up. He was frustrated. That learning curve is going to continue to be there for him.”

Thunder Sign Eugene Omoruyi To Two-Way Contract

2:34pm: The Thunder have officially signed Omoruyi to a two-way deal, per a team press release.


2:11pm: The Thunder are signing free-agent swingman Eugene Omoruyi to a two-way contract, his agent Mike George of One Legacy Sports told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Oklahoma City now has both of its two-way spots filled, as the other is occupied by Lindy Waters III.

Omoruyi went undrafted in 2021 and spent time with the Mavericks on a two-way deal last year. He suffered a season-ending injury in December and was subsequently waived. The 25-year-old averaged 15.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in eight G League games, shooting 45% from the floor.

Omoruyi spent three seasons at Rutgers and one season at Oregon before declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft. At 6’6″ and 235 pounds, he has the ability to play and defend multiple positions for the Thunder and their G League affiliate.

Thunder Sign Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams To Rookie Deals

The Thunder have signed a couple of their first-round draft picks, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams, according to NBA.com’s official transactions log.

Holmgren was the second pick of the draft after spending one season with Gonzaga. In 32 games (26.9 MPG) for the Bulldogs, the 7’0″ Holmgren averaged 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 3.7 BPG on .607/.390/.717 shooting.

Williams was the 12th pick of the draft after three seasons with Santa Clara. In 33 games (34.8 MPG) as a junior for the Broncos, the 6’6″ wing averaged 18 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.2 APG and 1.2 SPG on .513/.396/.809 shooting.

Oklahoma City has been in rebuilding mode for a couple of seasons now, but the influx of young talent should help accelerate the team’s progression. Holmgren was considered the top prospect in the draft by many talent evaluators, while Williams was a draft riser after strong athletic testing numbers and standout scrimmage performances at the combine in Chicago last month.

Assuming Holmgren and Williams sign for 120% of the rookie scale, which virtually every first-rounder does, they’ll be in line for first-year salaries of $9.89MM and $4.34MM, respectively.

Northwest Rumors: Wolves, Gobert, Murray, Beasley, Brown, Micic

Thursday’s agreement with Kyle Anderson will give the Timberwolves 15 players under contract, but they’re not done with offseason moves, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota remains in the market for another big man and has talked to the Jazz about Rudy Gobert, sources tell Krawczynski.

Although the Wolves used a first-round pick on Auburn’s Walker Kessler, they want to add a veteran center so there’s not too much pressure on Kessler to produce right away. They were interested in free agents JaVale McGee and Isaiah Hartenstein, but they both reached deals with other teams Thursday night.

Minnesota’s talks with Utah about Gobert began before the draft, but the Jazz are asking a lot in return for their perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate. If the Wolves can’t work out a trade for Gobert, Krawczynski cites the PacersMyles Turner and the HawksClint Capela as other options, although he adds that Minnesota’s talks with Atlanta haven’t gotten very far.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves talked to the Spurs about Dejounte Murray but weren’t willing to meet the asking price, Krawczynski confirms. There was also skepticism that Murray would re-sign with Minnesota once his contract expires in two years.
  • Teams have been making calls to gather background info on Timberwolves wing Malik Beasley, but no deal is imminent, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Beasley, who will make $15.45MM next season, carries a team option for his $16.52MM salary in 2023/24.
  • Bruce Brown possibly could have made more than the $13+ million he’ll receive from the Nuggets over the next two years, but he believes he’s entering a good situation in Denver, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). A source tells Reynolds that “fit” was more important to Brown than money.
  • Vasilije Micic‘s representatives are pressing the Thunder to trade him, but Oklahoma City isn’t willing to give the European star up cheaply, according to Aris Barkas of EuroHoops. The Nuggets, Bucks, Bulls and Spurs have all expressed interest in Micic, Barkas hears.

Mike Muscala To Return To Thunder

Veteran center Mike Muscala will return to the Thunder on a one-year veteran’s minimum contract, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (via Twitter).

The club declined its $3.5MM team option on Muscala prior to the start of free agency. The veteran’s minimum for a player with nine years of NBA service is projected to be $2,641,682.

Initially drafted by the Hawks with the No. 44 pick in 2013 out of Bucknell, Muscala eventually evolved into a modern floor-spacing power forward/center. He split the 2018/19 season between the Sixers and Lakers. Muscala first signed with the Thunder in 2019.

The longtime vet, who turns 31 tomorrow, has spent his last three seasons with Oklahoma City. In 43 games last year for a rebuilding Thunder club, Muscala averaged 8.0 PPG and 3.0 RPG during 13.8 MPG. On offense, the 6’10” big man has carved out a niche as a bench shooting threat, boasting a career three-point conversion rate of 37.7% on 2.5 tries a game. Last season, he connected on 42.9% of his 3.8 looks a night.

Muscala joins fellow re-signed OKC veteran Luguentz Dort in returning to a rebuilding Thunder club loaded with present and future young assets.

Oklahoma City enjoyed one of the most active drafts among any NBA team this year, selecting Gonzaga power forward/center Chet Holmgren, NZ Breakers wing Ousmane Dieng, and Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams in the lottery. Ever the completist, team president Sam Presti also grabbed Arkansas power forward Jaylin Williams with the No. 34 pick in the second round. They join a team loaded with other exciting young players in Dort, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, and Darius Bazley.

Salary Cap, Tax Line Set For 2022/23 NBA Season

Amid a flurry of early contract agreements during the first couple hours of 2022’s free agent period, the NBA has officially set the salary cap for its 2022/23 season. As reported earlier this week, the cap increased by a full 10% on last season’s $112,414,000 figure.

Here are the details, courtesy of a league press release and a Twitter thread from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:

  • Salary cap: $123,655,000
  • Luxury tax line: $150,267,000
  • Salary floor: $111,290,000
  • Non-taxpayer mid-level exception: $10,490,000
  • Taxpayer mid-level exception: $6,479,000
  • Room exception: $5,401,000
  • Maximum salaries:
    • 6 years or fewer: $30,913,750
    • 7-9 years: $37,096,500
    • 10+ years: $43,279,250
  • Early Bird exception: $10,843,350
  • Estimated average salary: $10,792,000
  • Tax apron: $156,983,000
  • Trade cash limit: $6,363,000

The tax apron for the 2022/23 league year will be the hard cap for any team that acquires a player via sign-and-trade, signs a player using more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, or signs a player using a bi-annual exception.

The Early Bird exception is the maximum amount a team can offer a player it intends to re-sign using his Early Bird rights. Bobby Portis (Bucks) and Nicolas Batum (Clippers) are among the players who have already agreed to Early Bird deals.

Players earning below the estimated average salary who are eligible for a veteran extension can receive a starting salary of up to 120% of the estimated average salary on a new deal. So the maximum starting salary for a player earning below the league average who signs an extension that begins in 2023/24 will be $12,950,400.

[RELATED: Maximum Salaries For 2022/23]

[RELATED: Minimum Salaries For 2022/23]

[RELATED: Values Of 2022/23 Mid-Level, Bi-Annual Exceptions]

The salary floor is the minimum amount a team must pay its players in 2022/23. A team that doesn’t spend up to that amount will distribute the shortfall to its players. For instance, the Thunder had a shortfall of $22.7MM in ’21/22, which will be divided among their players, tweets Pincus.

The trade cash limit is the maximum amount of money a team can send or receive during the 2022/23 league year. The sent and received categories are separate, so if a team sends out $6,363,000 in one trade and receives $6,363,000 in another, they aren’t back at square one — they’ve reached both limits.

The NBA has also updated its salary cap projections for the 2023/24 season and is now forecasting a $133MM cap and a $161MM tax line, according to Pincus (Twitter link).

Luguentz Dort To Re-Sign With Thunder On Five-Year Deal

The Thunder are re-signing restricted free agent Luguentz Dort to a five-year, $87.5MM contract, Dort’s agent Thad Foucher tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The barrel-chested Dort, who turned 23 in April, has showed continuous improvement after going undrafted out of Arizona State in 2019. He averaged 6.8 PPG and 2.3 RPG on .394/.297/.792 shooting in 36 games (22.8 MPG) as a rookie, with those averages increasing to 14 PPG and 3.6 RPG on .387/.343/.744 shooting in 2020/21 (52 games, 29.7 MPG).

Dort averaged 17.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG on .404/.332/.843 shooting in 51 games (32.6 MPG) last season. His shooting numbers seem fairly mediocre, but the majority of Dort’s shots come from three or at the rim, and he gets to the line a good amount, so his 54.1% true shooting percentage is actually decent.

Dort’s hallmark comes on the defensive end of the court, where his strength, toughness and versatility really shine. He’s an excellent athlete with a strong frame (6’3″, 215 pounds) and is capable of switching across multiple positions.

A report last week indicated that Oklahoma City would pick up Dort’s team option for ’22/23, which would have made him an unrestricted free agent in 2023, but clearly they had a change of heart after examining the amount of salary cap space rival teams will have next summer. Instead the Thunder chose to decline the option, making him a restricted free agent.

The modern NBA is dominated by wings capable of playing both sides of the ball, so his contract aligns with the value teams place on players of his mold. Considering his trajectory and the fact that he’s only entering his fourth season, there’s a good chance that it will be a very reasonable deal for both sides for years to come.

Thunder Decline Muscala’s Team Option, Pick Up Roby’s

The Thunder have declined their 2022/23 team option on Mike Muscala and exercised their option on Isaiah Roby, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype and Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter links).

Muscala’s option was worth $3.5MM and declining it makes him an unrestricted free agent. Roby’s $1,930,681 contract for next season is currently non-guaranteed, but will become fully guaranteed on July 3, per Smith.

Muscala, 30, had arguably the best season of his nine-year career in ’21/22, averaging 8 PPG and 3 RPG on .456/.429/.842 shooting in 43 games. While those figures are relatively modest, he averaged just 13.8 MPG, so he was quite productive on a per-minute basis.

Ankle surgery in March ended Muscala’s season prematurely, which is why he only appeared in 43 contests last season. Teams looking for a reserve big man capable of making three-pointers (37.7% career) could do worse than Muscala, who will likely be pretty affordable.

In his third season with Oklahoma City, the 6’8″ Roby averaged a career-best 10.1 PPG along with 4.8 RPG on .514/.444/.672 shooting in 45 games (21.1 MPG).

His season was a study in halves, as Roby rarely saw action before the All-Star break (22 games, 15.1 MPG) and spent time in the G League. In the second half of the season when most of the Thunder’s roster was decimated by injuries, Roby averaged 13.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1 SPG and 1 BPG in 23 games, including 20 starts (26.8 MPG).