NBA AM: Who’ll Have Salary Cap Space In 2013?
Who’ll Have Room in 2013?: Projecting out the salary cap position for NBA teams is never an easy task. Things like team options, player options and options for early free agency are huge unknowns. Equally, in July of 2013 the NBA will set the salary cap figures based on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement formula, which gives a larger portion of total revenues to the owners. Based on how the league does financially, the salary cap could go down or remain flat because of the shift in percentages that kick in, in July.
The 2012-2013 salary cap amounts were locked in as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement settlement reached last December, both sides agreed to try and “grow” their way out of the economic problems they had and rather than hammer the players with roll backs, the cap number was basically frozen for two years to let revenues catch up to the new formula. Most pundits believe that based on revenue from last season that if the NBA keeps pace, the salary cap in July of 2013 could grow to as much as $60 million per team. The current cap figure is $58.044 million per team.
Looking at the guaranteed salary figures for each team, there could be as many as 23 NBA teams with some level of salary cap space in 2013. Although is it not possible to get a salary cap number of zero because of how the NBA handles salary cap holds on team options and pending free agents there are easily 18 teams that could get space, with six teams being poised to be real players next July.
Utah Jazz – $1.66 million in salary commitments
The Jazz have arguably the best cap position of any team in the league. Almost all of their current roster players are either pending free agents or players with team options. The Jazz are likely picking up their team options on Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. They have also been hinting at a contract extension for Paul Millsap, so the odds that the Jazz hit free agency in July with a salary cap full of cap holds is super slim, however they will be the team with the most room possible, which puts Utah at the head of the free agent class in 2013.
Washington Wizards – $17.319 million in salary commitments
The Wizards could be in a good position cap wise in July. They have options on John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely and Jordan Crawford that will bite into their space, but they should have enough room to add a significant player or two. The Wizards won’t likely be massive cap players by choice, but they have the means to be aggressive if they want to try and make a splash. It’s more likely that the Wizards are prudent with their future space as they are going to have to give John Wall a monster payday soon and the message out of DC is to build a sustainable team.
Cleveland Cavaliers – $17.814 million in salary commitments
The Cavs have the most cap space of any team now, and they look poised to bring most of that into July of 2013. The Cavs do have team options on Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson that will be picked up. They also have an option on Omri Casspi, which is not nearly as cut and dry. There were rumors this summer of buyout talks which both Casspi and the Cavs denied. Casspi is a serviceable NBA player and with the massive cap space the Cavs have now, keeping him won’t be about economics as much as roster spots. The Cavs have not shown much interest in big dollar free agent deals this summer, so expecting them to make a splash move next summer does not line up with their philosophy of building a young team from the ground up. The Cavs could be players if they wanted to, they just have not shown much desire to be big spenders.
Atlanta Hawks – $18.483 million in salary commitments
The Hawks are set up to be massive cap players in July. They will have to work out the contract situations with Jeff Teague and Josh Smith, but beyond those two almost everyone else is expendable, giving the Hawks what could be as much as $30 million to spend depending on how they manage their rookie scale contracts and pending free agents. New Hawks GM Danny Ferry has been preaching that his moves this summer were about positioning for July of 2013, so it is safe to say the Hawks plan to be aggressive and they should have ample money to pull it off.
Charlotte Bobcats – $21.342 million in salary commitments
The Bobcats should have cap room in July. Based on how they approached this summer’s free agency, Michael Jordan and company have shown a willingness to spend. The Bobcats will have to deal with Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens, both are entering their qualifying offer year. They also have team options on Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, which they will be picking up. In a realistic way, the Bobcats should have some room to maneuver, but unless they are willing to let Henderson and Mullens walk, they won’t have the kind of money to add a high-dollar free agent. Given how the Bobcats say they want to build, trying to land a big fish in 2013 doesn’t line up with what they are trying to do. The future franchise player in Charlotte isn’t coming from free agency, it’s either coming in trade or from the draft.
Detroit Pistons – $21.532 million in salary commitments
The Pistons are finally in a position where they can re-tool. There are two notable contracts worth watching – the non-guaranteed deal with Rodney Stuckey and the pending qualifying offer on Austin Daye. The smart money says Stuckey stays and Daye goes, but given the $8.5 million cap hit Stuckey represents, the Pistons might choose to use that money somewhere else. In an aggressive way the Pistons could get themselves almost $30 million under the cap. That number is likely going to be closer to $15 million when it’s all said and done with their own free agents and team options. Regardless of how the Pistons choose to play it, they could have serious cap money to play with and given that ownership is putting the pressure on team president Joe Dumars and company to get back to the playoffs, the Pistons could have a fairly flexible cap to make that happen.
In addition to the notables listed above the Milwaukee Bucks ($21.8 million in commitments), Houston Rockets ($21.532 million in commitments), Philadelphia 76ers ($26.465 million in commitments), Dallas Mavericks ($27.898 million in commitments), New Orleans Hornets ($31.307 million in commitments), Toronto Raptors ($31.493 million in commitments), Golden State Warriors ($32.844 million in commitments), Minnesota Timberwolves ($33.064 million in commitments), Sacramento Kings ($33.625 million in commitments), Orlando Magic ($36.567 million in commitments), Phoenix Suns ($38.391 million in commitments), Denver Nuggets ($38.413 million in commitments), Los Angeles Clippers ($39.925 million in commitments), Portland Trail Blazers ($44.506 million in commitments), Indiana Pacers ($45.716 million in commitments), San Antonio Spurs ($48.032 million in commitments) and Boston Celtics ($57.930 million in commitments) could all get below a projected $60 million salary cap line, although some of them would have to allow core players to walk away as free agents to do it.
Of that bunch Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers could realistically have $10 million or more to spend in July of 2013 depending on how they manage their team options and free agent cap holds.
If you want to know more about each team’s salary position check out the 2012-2013 At-A-Glance NBA salaries page. Click on your team to see the exact details for not only this season, but for upcoming seasons too.
If You Build It…: Seattle native Chris Hansen has won… or at least it’s enough of a victory to call it a win. Seattle’s City Council voted yesterday to approve construction of a new $490 million sports arena. The City Council will pony up $200 million of the cost, which will be fully guaranteed by Hansen and his partners.
Hansen’s vision is to lure both a professional hockey team and an NBA team into his new building and return basketball to Seattle.
The Edmonton Oilers have been mentioned the most on the hockey front, with the Sacramento Kings being the most mentioned NBA team. The Kings are the only NBA franchise that does not have punitive exit language in their arena deal with the city and after several failed attempts at securing a new building in Sacramento it’s commonly believed the Kings will be the team that moves next.
Hansen and his partners have been gobbling up parcels of land in and around the proposed Seattle arena site, and yesterday’s ruling simply puts the finishing touches on a project that started as a pipe dream some 16 months ago.
With the approval process all but complete, the terms of the deal require the proposed site and construction to undergo an extensive environmental review which could take up to a year before construction is permitted.
It is unlikely that the NBA or the locked-out NHL look at Seattle in the short term, but with a new state of the art building now a few years away, Seattle jumps to the front of the line in terms of a desirable destination for a relocating team, especially in the NBA.
Calderon Downplays Unhappiness: Call it veteran poise or telling the media what they want to hear, but Raptors point guard Jose Calderon says he has no problem with Kyle Lowry being added to the team and that he doesn’t see a controversy at all.
“I’ll be happy, I’m always happy,” Calderon said to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “I don’t know if we have to use that word (controversy) before even training camp. I think we are just two more players for the Raptors team, we’re going to try to win games for the Raptors.
“I think it’s just wanting to make a big thing before anything has started. It doesn’t matter, we have to win games, we want to make the playoffs. If he scores 20 points a game, I’ll be happy; it’s helping us win.”
Calderon is entering the final year of his deal and was the subject of rumors throughout the offseason.
“This is my eighth season, I always have to compete with another guy, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “I look like always, you have to compete to be starting or if not, at the end of the day, the coach is the one who gives you more or less minutes.
“I don’t know what Kyle thinks about it … at the end of the day we have to co-exist if you want to win games.”
Calderon is a large $10.5 million ending contract so it is likely that his name will come up in trade talks especially as the February 21st trade deadline approaches, but until then the Raptors say there is no issue. Calderon says there is no issue, so either there really is no issue or Jose is saying what a smart savvy point guard should say when the situation is completely out of his control.
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NBA Chats: There are two NBA chats scheduled for today starting with HOOPSWORLD’s Anthony Macri at 10am. Coach Macri is the CEO of The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League in Southeast Asia and is based in Jakarta. Coach Macri is involved in all aspects of the league’s operation and has worked with dozens of NBA players developing their game. Senior NBA writer Eric Pincus will hold down his weekly NBA chat at 4pm EST. Eric covers the Western Conference from LA with the Lakers and the Clippers. You can always find the next upcoming chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.