The 2013-14 regular season is starting to wind down with some teams fighting for playoff position — others for the best possible position in May’s NBA Draft lottery.
The league’s early projections for next year’s salary cap is $62.9 million, up from this year’s $58.7 million. The luxury tax threshold is also expected to climb to approximately $75.7 million from $71.7 million.
In the third part of a series, where do the five teams in the Atlantic Division stand this offseason?
Boston Celtics (23-46)
Projected 1st Round Pick: 6th, 17th (from Brooklyn Nets)
Projected Cap Space: None to $9.2 million
The Celtics are certain to either waive or trade Keith Bogans’ non-guaranteed $5.3 million contract for next season. It seems very unlikely that Joel Anthony opts out of the final year on his deal at $3.8 million.
Boston has to decide if they want to re-sign guard Avery Bradley, whose cap hold is $6.3 million while the qualifying offer to make him restricted is $3.6 million.
The Celtics may be a spender in 2015 but this summer, they’d need to lose Bradley to near $9 million in cap room.
More likely than not, Boston won’t drop under the cap this season.
Brooklyn Nets (35-31)
Projected 1st Round Picks: None
Projected Cap Space: None
The Nets are heavily invested in their roster, with at least $85 million in salary locked in for next season.
Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche and Alan Anderson can all opt out of their deals to become unrestricted free agents. Even if all three do, it’s not going to make a dent in the Nets’ massive payroll.
After a terrible start to the season, the Nets have climbed above .500. Brooklyn needs this roster to work, given the multi-year investment.
Brooklyn’s first-round pick in 2014 will go the Celtics.
New York Knicks (28-40)
Projected 1st Round Picks: None
Projected Cap Space: None to $29.4 million
What impact with Phil Jackson have as the new president of the Knicks?
Given the contracts on New York’s books, not much in free agency this summer. If Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani all opt out of their contracts, the Knicks could have as much as $29.4 million in cap space.
Of course, Stoudemire isn’t going to leave $23.4 million on the table and Bargnani isn’t going to opt out of his final year at $11.5 million.
Anthony is expected to hit free agency. Whether he leaves or re-signs, the Knicks are not going to fall under the cap.
The Knicks’ first-rounder will go to the Denver Nuggets.
Philadelphia 76ers (15-53)
Projected 1st Round Pick: 2nd, 10th (from New Orleans Pelicans)
Projected Cap Space: $24.3-$28.7 million
The Sixers will have two lottery picks, unless the Pelicans land a top-three pick.
Jason Richardson isn’t likely to opt out of his final year at $6.6 million, but Philadelphia should have significant cap room this summer.
The rebuilding movement in Philadelphia will take some time, but they’ll be in a position of flexibility with few contracts on their books.
The team had the opportunity to spend this past offseason, but took a more measured approach.
If the 76ers go shopping in free agency, it probably won’t be for big-name, big-dollar players.
Toronto Raptors (38-29)
Projected 1st Round Picks: 19th
Projected Cap Space: None to $19.8 million.
The Raptors can look to get well under the cap, should they choose to do so.
The contracts of John Salmons, Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, Julyan Stone and Dwight Buycks aren’t fully guaranteed. The Raptors can offer Patrick Patterson $4.3 million and Greivis Vasquez $3.2 million, to make both restricted free agents. Kyle Lowry is also a free agent.
If Toronto says goodbye to all, the team will have sizable cap room.
If the Raptors want to hold onto Johnson, Hansbrough and/or Salmons, while re-signing Lowry, the team will stay above the cap.