Sacramento Kings

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.

Franchise Better Off Without Cousins

The decision to remove DeMarcus Cousins from the equation has brought a sense of happiness and hope around the moribund Kings franchise, Nick Zappulla of RealGM opines. The pieces are now in place for a quick turnaround via the acquisition of Buddy Hield in the trade with the Pelicans along with four promising rookies taken in the draft, particularly floor leader De’Aaron Fox and forward Harry Giles, Zappulla continues. Big men Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein showed progress once Cousins was removed from the picture and the club also brought in three veteran free agents to facilitate the development of the young players, Zappulla adds.

Williams Discusses New Assistant GM Post

  • Brandon Williams, who joined the Kings‘ front office in late July as assistant GM, talked with Kyle Ramos of NBA.com about what he brings to the job. Williams, who holds a law degree from Rutgers, had brief NBA stops as a player for the Warriors, Spurs and Hawks. He is excited about the youth movement in Sacramento, which had three first-round picks in this year’s draft. “I’d encourage everyone to be patient because the great strength of our team is going to be in our belief that these players will improve, that chemistry will develop and that they will develop into professionals,” Williams said. “Our veterans are going to help mentor them and pave the way. It will happen over time – and you can believe that everyone in the front office and the coaching staff is working together, giving it everything we’ve got to do our part.”

Kings Notes: Randolph, Fox, Arena

Zach Randolph, who was arrested on felony charges of marijuana possession with intent to sell, maintains his innocence with his attorney telling Christopher Weber of The Associated Press that the “charges are false and misleading.” Raymond Brothers, who is both Randolph’s attorney and agent, added that Randolph’s camp is “looking at all options to resolve this matter.”

The power forward signed a two-year, $24MM deal with the Kings this summer after spending the past eight years with Memphis. Weber adds that Sacramento issued a statement earlier declaring that the team was aware of the situation, but would not comment further.

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • The Kings needed Randolph to be a mentor to the team’s youth, but the news of his arrest puts the organization in an uncomfortable position, James Ham of Comcast Sportsnet writes. Sacramento had a similar predicament with Matt Barnes last season. The team inked Barnes to be a mentor only for the small forward to get tangled up with legal woes.
  • David Aldridge of NBA.com believes the Kings found their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox. The scribe believes free agent signee George Hill can mentor Fox and the former Kentucky Wildcat can lead the team for years to come.
  • Aldridge (same piece) also discusses how John Rinehart, who serves as the Kings‘ President of Business Operations, helped rebuild the team’s ticket sales operations, something that was the “driving force” behind the construction of Sacramento’s Golden 1 Arena. Last season was the Kings’ first campaign in the new arena.

Poll: Which Pacific Team Had Best Offseason?

It almost seems unfair that a team with a 67-15 record in the regular season and a 16-1 postseason mark could subsequently have one of the NBA’s offseasons too, but Golden State may have achieved that feat.

Heading into the summer, the Warriors knew Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant would be back, but none of the team’s other free agents were a lock to return. When the dust settled, the Dubs had re-signed virtually all their notable FAs, including Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West, and JaVale McGee. The team even fortified its bench by adding Nick Young and Omri Casspi in free agency, and Jordan Bell in the draft.

While Golden State’s summer moves were impressive, some of their division rivals had very strong summers too. The Lakers, led by a new-look front office, drafted a potential franchise point guard in Lonzo Ball, dumped Timofey Mozgov‘s mega-contract, and improbably landed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency.

Meanwhile, the Kings – like the Lakers – certainly won’t challenge Golden State for Pacific supremacy right away, but Sacramento’s offseason’s moves featured an impressive mix of roster additions. Not only did the Kings sign a few veterans – George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter – but the team also added several youngsters with big upside, including De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason.

The Clippers suffered the biggest single-player loss of any Pacific team as Chris Paul headed to Houston, but L.A. recovered nicely to retool its roster. Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and multiple young big men arrived in the CP3 trade, and the Clips managed to add potential starters like Danilo Gallinari and Euroleague star Milos Teodosic in free agency. The team also re-signed Blake Griffin when many NBA observers expected him to explore other options.

One of those teams that may have been eyeing Griffin was the Suns, but Phoenix ultimately opted to lay low and be patient with its rebuild rather than pursuing a top free agent. That made for a quiet summer, but it’s probably the right long-term move, and it’s not as if the Suns were totally inactive. The club landed one of the top players on its draft board in Josh Jackson and re-signed free agent big man Alan Williams to a team-friendly three-year deal.

What do you think? Which Pacific team has had the best offseason so far? Weigh in below with your vote and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Previously:

Zach Randolph Arrested On Felony Marijuana Charge

New Kings big man Zach Randolph was arrested on Wednesday night in Los Angeles on a felony charge of marijuana possession with intent to sell, according to an ESPN.com report. TMZ was the first outlet to report Randolph’s arrest.

Los Angeles Police Department officials told ABC-7 that officers patrolling the Nickerson Gardens area in L.A. encountered a group of individuals “blocking the street, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and playing loud music.” When those officers tried to break up the crowd, the disturbance “escalated,” resulting in damage to five LAPD vehicles and a sheriff’s vehicle.

The police report from the LAPD indicates that Randolph was arrested at 11:00pm pacific time and booked several hours later, early on Thursday morning. Bail for Randolph was set at $20K, while his “intent to sell” charge stemmed from the large amount of marijuana found, per TMZ.

It remains to be seen whether Randolph will be prosecuted on the marijuana charge or whether he’ll face a suspension from the NBA, but it’s an ominous beginning to his time in Sacramento. The longtime Grizzlies power forward inked a two-year, $24MM contract with the Kings last month as an unrestricted free agent.

Randolph, 36, moved from the starting lineup to the bench in Memphis last season, but was still very productive, averaging 14.1 PPG and 8.2 RPG in just 24.5 minutes per game.

NBA Teams Carrying At Least 15 Guaranteed Contracts

As we detailed earlier today in our breakdown of each NBA team’s current roster count, clubs can carry up to 20 players in the offseason, but are limited to 15 players on their regular season rosters. As such, teams will often only carry 13 or 14 players on guaranteed contracts into training camp, giving a non-guaranteed player or two the opportunity to impress coaches and earn a spot on the 15-man squad.

However, even with training camps still a month and a half away, several NBA teams are already carrying 15 or more players with fully guaranteed salaries, limiting their roster flexibility and their ability to take fliers on camp invitees.

Here’s a breakdown of those teams, with their fully guaranteed salaries noted in parentheses:

  • Boston Celtics (16)
  • Golden State Warriors (15)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15)
  • Sacramento Kings (15)
  • Utah Jazz (15)

Of those five teams, the Celtics are the only club that will absolutely have to trade or waive a player on a guaranteed contract before the regular season gets underway. Shane Larkin and Daniel Theis may be the most at-risk players, since they don’t have any guaranteed money on their deals beyond the 2017/18 season. Abdel Nader and Semi Ojeleye also don’t have fully guaranteed salaries beyond this season, though they have partial guarantees for 2018/19.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies will be in the same boat as Boston if they ultimately bring back restricted free agent JaMychal Green. A new deal for Green would give Memphis 16 guaranteed salaries. The Grizzlies also haven’t signed second-round pick Ivan Rabb, so if they intend to do so, they could create an even more significant roster crunch.

The other teams on the list above should, for the most part, have their 15-man regular season rosters locked in at this point, but if changes need to be made, the Kings should be willing to eat a guaranteed contract — they’re still well below the cap. The Jazz could afford to eat some money too, if necessary. The Warriors may be the team that needs to best make use of all 15 roster spots as they look to defend their title, but replacing a player on a guaranteed contract would be pricey, since Golden State is already deep into tax territory.

Finally, one other team worth watching is the Thunder. Currently, Oklahoma City only has 14 players on guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, but that figure doesn’t include Jerami Grant or Semaj Christon, both of whom could have a place on the club’s roster this season. I don’t think Grant will be going anywhere, so the Thunder may have to decide whether to part ways with Christon or whether another move can be made to keep him on the 15-man roster.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Aldridge: Kings' Offseason Ranks In Top 10

  • The Warriors earned the No. 1 spot on David Aldridge’s list of offseason rankings, as he details in a piece for NBA.com. Aldridge’s list is based on each team’s summer roster moves, rather than its overall roster strength, so the Kings and Lakers rank in his top 10 as well.

And-Ones: Rookies, All-Stars, Breakouts

A number rookies appear poised to outperform their draft slot, Mike Schmitz of ESPN Insider writes, including one Dennis Smith Jr. whose impressive summer league performance and prime situation with the Mavs have already been discussed ad nauseam.

The scribe makes compelling cases for five other breakout candidates, however, ranging from Jazz lottery pick Donovan Mitchell to the LakersKyle Kuzma, selected 27th overall. Schmitz cites Mitchell’s length and defensive ability, arguing that the wing will work his way into Utah’s still-relevant rotation.

Schmitz also speculates that Justin Jackson will thrive with the Kings considering that he’s a poised perimeter option that doesn’t need the ball in his hands on offense.

Although the profiles are hidden behind Insider’s paywall, they discuss the upside and various situation’s that these first-year players find themselves. In addition to the abovementioned, John Collins of the Hawks and Nets big man Jarrett Allen are also featured.

There’s more from throughout the NBA:

  • In a comprehensive account of Darko Milicic‘s life after basketball, ESPN’s Sam Borden revealed that Milicic had made up his mind about never playing in the NBA again when he left the Celtics. It was said, at the time, that he was returning to be with his ailing mother.
  • It may be early to speculate about the 2018 NBA All-Star Game but that didn’t stop A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England from stringing together a potential squad. Familiar faces make up the starting lineup but new additions Jimmy Butler and Paul George make the case for qualifying as a reserve ever more difficult for the players in the conference.
  • With a new season comes new opportunity and David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders has pieced together a summary of Pacific Division players that he thinks may be able to take the next step in 2017/18.

Poll: Best Rookie Point Guard Season

The 2017 NBA Draft was loaded with talented point guards, including first overall pick Markelle Fultz, No. 2 selection Lonzo Ball, and fellow lottery picks De’Aaron Fox, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. 

Fultz showed flashes of brilliance in the NBA Summer League amid overall inconsistent play before he ultimately injured his ankle in his Las Vegas debut. The 76ers guard was promptly shut down for the remainder of Summer League. This season, the rookie figures to be a regular fixture in the Philadelphia backcourt.

After dominating his freshman season at UCLA, Ball won Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors, racking up assists (9.3 APG) and steals (2.5 SPG), as well as points and rebounds. Although it is not clear whether Ball will start for the Lakers right out of the gate, he will certainly be the beneficiary of a hearty amount of playing time.

Fox is also expected to see his fair share of action this season, but averaged just 21.3 minutes per game in four Las Vegas Summer League games. Like Fultz and Ball, Fox exhibited tantalizing athleticism. The Kentucky product averaged a solid 11.8 points per contest and 3.0 assists. Fox’s 2.3 SPG were extremely impressive.

The Knicks drafted Ntilikina eighth overall because of his speed and agility. Last season, the point guard averaged just 15.5 minutes per game for Strasbourg in France but displayed tremendous promise and improved noticeably as a shooter. With D. Rose out of town, it appears as if the keys to Madison Square Garden are about to be Frank’s.

In six games in Las Vegas, Smith averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 4.2 APG, shooting 45.7% from the floor and electrifying with the occasional powerful dunk. The Mavericks prospect also tallied 2.2 SPG.

This brings us to today’s poll: Which of these point guards will have the best rookie season in 2017/18?

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