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The Future
06-30-2011, 02:53 PM
This is the first part in our two-part series on NBA teams' cap situations heading into the 2011 offseason. Today, we are looking at the teams with the most room to maneuver. Editor's note: The numbers here were compiled and organized completely by ESPN Insider.

The cap is complicated. Just consider all the factors that actually determine a "team salary" for each year. It's no wonder teams have to hire resident capologists to keep it all square. You can't simply add it all up. And dissecting a cap situation can feel like being handed a complex dish and asked to peg the ingredients, and amounts used. Consider some variables:

The total includes salaries to veteran players on the current roster and money owed to players who have been waived.
There are cap holds used to replace veteran free agents until they are signed or renounced; there are unsigned past and current first-round picks.
A rookie minimum cap hold is also included when a roster falls below a combination of 12 players that are under contract and those that have cap holds. For example: A team with just nine players counting against the cap will get three rookie minimum salary cap holds. Those will be eliminated each time a player is signed and the roster gets back to 12.
Then there's an offer sheet. A team's salary total also will include an offer sheet that has been signed by a restricted free agent.

Easy, right?

The new CBA is bound to have new rules moving forward and will partly determine who will have the most salary cap room. But for now, we'll use the old rules, meaning the same salary cap number ($58,044,000) for 2011-12 that was used for 2010-11. The new collective bargaining agreement will have new criteria for determining salary cap room. However, these teams should have the most to spend regardless of the rules. Listed are the likeliest scenarios for each team. Note that free agents that could be renounced by each team are not listed.


Sacramento Kings
Nine players under contract: Omri Casspi, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene, Pooh Jeter, John Salmons, Jason Thompson and Hassan Whiteside
Total Payroll: $29.68 million
1 Free-Agent Cap Hold: Marcus Thornton
Total: $1,059,293
1 First-Round Cap Hold: Jimmer Fredette (No. 10)
Total: $1,923,600
1 Minimum Roster Charge
Total: $490,180
Estimated Cap Room: $24.89 million

Notes: The Kings will have the most cap room of any team, regardless of the new collective bargaining agreement, after they renounce the rest of their free agents, including Samuel Dalembert, who under the 2010-11 maximum salary slot would have a cap hold of $16,324,500. The Kings have said they'd like to retain Dalembert, however the free-agent center is expected to sign with a playoff contender. Will the team make big moves? Given the ownership situation, it all appears to be up in the air for the Kings.

Indiana Pacers
11 Players under contract: Darren Collison, Paul George, Danny Granger, Tyler Hansbrough, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, Dahntay Jones, James Posey, A.J. Price, Brandon Rush and Lance Stephenson
Total Payroll: $37.09 million
1 Free-Agent Cap Hold: Josh McRoberts
Total: $884,293
Estimated Cap Room: $20.06 million

Notes: The Pacers finally have cycled out of all their bad high-end contracts and will enter the 2011-12 year with the second-most cap room. Jeff Foster could be re-signed, but his cap hold of $9,982,500 will need to be renounced for the Pacers to open free agency with just over $20 million in cap room. This is a team that can be active, but it also has some nice young pieces, and might be content with the addition of Hill.

New Jersey Nets
Seven players under contract: Jordan Farmar, Damion James, Brook Lopez, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro and Deron Williams
Total Payroll: $39.81 million
1 Waived Player: Stephen Graham
Total: $100,000
1 First-Round Cap Hold: Marshon Brooks (No. 25)
Total: $954,000
4 Minimum Roster Charges
Total: $1,960,720
Estimated Cap Room: $16.09 million

Notes: Stephen Graham only has a partial guarantee for 2011-12 and is expected to be waived, so his minimum contract doesn't become fully guaranteed. Sundiata Gaines is currently under contract for next season, however his minimum salary is not guaranteed and he, under this scenario, will be waived to give the Nets a little more cap room. For now he will be listed as a renounced free agent. The Nets are expected to re-sign Kris Humphries, but the Nets will need to renounce his $6.4 million cap hold to have the $16.09 million cap room. Their cap room will be reduced if and when Humphries signs his new contract. Long term, it's obviously all about whether they can keep Williams around.

Washington Wizards
Seven players under contract: Andray Blatche, Trevor Booker, Jordan Crawford, Rashard Lewis, JaVale McGee, Kevin Seraphin and John Wall
Total Payroll: $39.66 million
1 Waived Player: Mike Bibby
Total: $1,125,874
2 First-Round Cap Holds: Jan Vesely (No. 6) and Chris Singleton (No. 18)
Total: $3,910,000
3 Minimum Roster Charges
Total: $1,470,540
Estimated Cap Room: $11.87 million

Notes: The Wizards have tendered qualifying offers to Othyus Jeffers, Hamady Ndiaye, Larry Owens and Nick Young. All four players will need to be renounced to give the Wizards the $11.87 million cap room. It will decrease by $7,891,509 while Young remains on the salary cap. Given the youthful pieces on this roster, we don't expect the Wiz to be too aggressive.

Los Angeles Clippers
10 Players under contract: Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, Brian Cook, Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Willie Warren and Mo Williams
Total Payroll: $44.91 million
1 Free-Agent Cap Hold: DeAndre Jordan
Total: $1,091,100
1 Minimum Roster Charge
Total: $490,180
Estimated Cap Room: $11.54 million

Notes: The Clippers could gain a little more room if they waive Warren and his nonguaranteed contract, however, it won't increase their cap room that much if they do. They will have more cap room than Washington and will move up to fourth if Nick Young and the other three free agents are not renounced by the Wizards. They could also move up to third if the Nets do not renounce Sundiata Gaines and Kris Humphries. The hole on this team is clear, and we don't expect the trade talk surrounding a fix at the 3 to subside.

Oklahoma City Thunder
13 Players under contract: Cole Aldrich, Nick Collison, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Royal Ivey, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson, Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook and Robert Vaden
Total Payroll: $49.85 million
1 First-Round Cap Hold: Reggie Jackson (No. 24)
Total: $993,700
Estimated Cap Room: $7.19 million

Notes: The Thunder can increase their cap room to $9.18 million if they waive Ivey by Sept. 16, when his contract becomes fully guaranteed, and Vaden, who does not have any salary protection. They won't have that much room and won't make this list if they don't renounce Daequan Cook. While trade talk seems constant around this team, this was still the NBA's youngest team in 2010-11.

Toronto Raptors
10 Players under contract: Solomon Alabi, Leandro Barbosa, Andrea Bargnani, Jerryd Bayless, Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, James Johnson and Linas Kleiza
Total Payroll: $47.18 million
1 First-Round Cap Hold: Jonas Valanciunas (No. 5)
Total: $2,900,100
1 Minimum Roster Charge
Total: $490,180
Estimated Cap Room: $7.47 million

Notes: The Raptors will end up in the top five if the Wizards don't renounce Nick Young and the Thunder don't renounce Daequan Cook and waive Royal Ivey and Robert Vaden.

Chris Sprow is a senior editor for ESPN The Magazine and Insider. He reports and edits across many sports, with an emphasis on the NFL, MLB, NBA and college football and basketball; he also works year-round with Mel Kiper on NFL draft coverage. He also oversees all sports in ESPN's Rumor Central and has been a regular guest on ESPN networks in that role. You can find his ESPN archives here, and reach him on Twitter here.

http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=6715519&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnba %2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d6715519

A.B.Hollywood
06-30-2011, 02:59 PM
I am so envious of how young, good and well managed the OKC Thunder are right now. To have all this AND Cap Room just frustrates me. They will win an NBA Championship in the next 5 years. I really believe this.

Bah Humbug.

Unclebuck
06-30-2011, 03:05 PM
But how much cap space will the Thunder have after Harden and Westbrook are done with their rookie contracts?

Trader Joe
06-30-2011, 03:08 PM
But how much cap space will the Thunder have after Harden and Westbrook are done with their rookie contracts?

And Ibaka...

graphic-er
06-30-2011, 03:12 PM
I swear, maybe i'm just stoopid but I do not understand the concept of a Cap hold. 9.9 million cap hold on Jeff Foster, what in the world does that mean when he is a UnFA as of tomorrow.

A.B.Hollywood
06-30-2011, 03:21 PM
But how much cap space will the Thunder have after Harden and Westbrook are done with their rookie contracts?

They won't be that bad. This is one of the reasons why they traded Jeff Green. They should be able to keep just about everyone if they play their cards right and given how everything has gone so far this is all very likely.

The point isn't the cap space in the future. Its that they have the space now to keep these players later. They were in the WCF's and were the youngest team in the NBA AND they will keep those young players.

Thats just unfair. (yes, yes I'm just pouting. I know)

<stomps feet>

Strummer
06-30-2011, 03:28 PM
I swear, maybe i'm just stoopid but I do not understand the concept of a Cap hold. 9.9 million cap hold on Jeff Foster, what in the world does that mean when he is a UnFA as of tomorrow.

It may have to do with our ability to re-sign him under the Larry Bird rule. Of course we wouldn't need to because we're so far under the cap.

For example, I think cap holds prevents a team $5 million under the cap from signing a $5 million free agent and then trying to re-sign their own player for $9.9 million using the Larry Bird rule. If they want the first guy bad enough then they have to renounce the bird rights to their guy first.

I think.

xIndyFan
06-30-2011, 06:33 PM
I swear, maybe i'm just stoopid but I do not understand the concept of a Cap hold. 9.9 million cap hold on Jeff Foster, what in the world does that mean when he is a UnFA as of tomorrow.


It may have to do with our ability to re-sign him under the Larry Bird rule. Of course we wouldn't need to because we're so far under the cap.

For example, I think cap holds prevents a team $5 million under the cap from signing a $5 million free agent and then trying to re-sign their own player for $9.9 million using the Larry Bird rule. If they want the first guy bad enough then they have to renounce the bird rights to their guy first.

I think.

yes, you are correct. miami did something like that with alonzo morning several years ago. the cap hold closed the loophole.

PaulGeorge
06-30-2011, 06:43 PM
But how much cap space will the Thunder have after Harden and Westbrook are done with their rookie contracts?

I have a feeling westbrook will be signing elsewhere. Most likely destination be the Lakers. He is from long beach and went to ucla.

Steagles
06-30-2011, 07:32 PM
I have a feeling westbrook will be signing elsewhere. Most likely destination be the Lakers. He is from long beach and went to ucla.

AND they need a new PG.

CableKC
06-30-2011, 07:47 PM
With the Kings picking up Hickson.....that likely knocks the Kings out of the race to get a Big Man ( assuming that they don't simply trade Jason Thompson or do some S&T that would send JT to the Nuggets or Mavs ).

I'd think that IF the Pacers really wanted to get a Big Man and wanted to spend the $$$ for it...they can get Nene, Chandler or David West ( assuming that Nene or Chandler are willing to leave their respective Teams ).

Again...that's IF they want to spend $$$.

Pacerized
06-30-2011, 09:18 PM
I don't think this is entirely correct. Since Nene opted out the Nuggets now have about 27 mil tied up in 8 players. Throw in 3 min. roster charges and they're still around 28.5 mil which would give them the most cap room. I don't know why they're not even mentioned in the article. I really hope we go after Nene but if he wants to stay in Denver they can pay him just as much as anyone.

yoadknux
06-30-2011, 09:20 PM
I have a feeling westbrook will be signing elsewhere. Most likely destination be the Lakers. He is from long beach and went to ucla.
He's going to be RFA, not UFA. OKC will match any offer

ballism
06-30-2011, 09:38 PM
I don't think this is entirely correct. Since Nene opted out the Nuggets now have about 27 mil tied up in 8 players. Throw in 3 min. roster charges and they're still around 28.5 mil which would give them the most cap room. I don't know why they're not even mentioned in the article. I really hope we go after Nene but if he wants to stay in Denver they can pay him just as much as anyone.

They have a ton of cap holds (Nene, K-Mart, JR Smith, Chandler, pick, a few others). They are closer to 90 mil with cap holds.

Pacerized
06-30-2011, 09:46 PM
They have a ton of cap holds (Nene, K-Mart, JR Smith, Chandler, pick, a few others). They are closer to 90 mil with cap holds.

Nene has opted out so I'm not sure if a cap hold applys there especially since they'd be using there cap space to try to resign him. I was counting Chandler into the figure. The article took assumptions that that we'd renounce our cap hold on Dun, Ford, and Foster. It's obvious that Denver will do the same with Martin and most likely will with Smith. Take out the cap holds that they'll renounce and Denver does have the lowest payroll.

ballism
06-30-2011, 10:14 PM
Nene has opted out so I'm not sure if a cap hold applys there especially since they'd be using there cap space to try to resign him. I was counting Chandler into the figure. The article took assumptions that that we'd renounce our cap hold on Dun, Ford, and Foster. It's obvious that Denver will do the same with Martin and most likely will with Smith. Take out the cap holds that they'll renounce and Denver does have the lowest payroll.

Cap holds apply untill you renounce Bird rights. So Nene is still a cap hold. Even if you renounce K-Mart and say JR Smith, they are still at the cap.
Btw, that math with 28.5 mil - there must be a mistake somewhere, I get to 30 mil even without any cap holds.

Anthem
06-30-2011, 11:26 PM
Interesting that besides having the 2nd-most cap room, we also have the most players of any of the top 5 teams.

More money and fewer holes to fill.

PaulGeorge
07-01-2011, 12:10 AM
He's going to be RFA, not UFA. OKC will match any offer

whose to say he will accept any offer from okc. i know if i had a chance of making more money and play in my home state with the lakers i would just play out my contract and move on. plus LA will always spend money, okc cant buy players like LA can.

CableKC
07-01-2011, 12:13 AM
whose to say he will accept any offer from okc. i know if i had a chance of making more money and play in my home state with the lakers i would just play out my contract and move on. plus LA will always spend money, okc cant buy players like LA can.
Westbrook is a RFA....that means that the Thunder have the choice of matching whatever Offer he gets and Westbrook would have no choice but to stay with the Thunder.

Westbrook can only choose where he wants to go when he becomes a Unrestricted FA...in about 5 to 6 years from now.

SycamoreKen
07-01-2011, 01:27 AM
whose to say he will accept any offer from okc. i know if i had a chance of making more money and play in my home state with the lakers i would just play out my contract and move on. plus LA will always spend money, okc cant buy players like LA can.

You relly think he would pull a Marberry (sp) and leave KD and that stacked team just to go to LA which is getting older by the second?

A.B.Hollywood
07-01-2011, 02:38 AM
You relly think he would pull a Marberry (sp) and leave KD and that stacked team just to go to LA which is getting older by the second?

Exactly. He won't. OKC are loaded and rightfully so. This isn't changing anytime soon.