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NBA

Projecting 2017 Cap Space, Pre-Lottery

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On April 6, the NBA sent out a memo to the 30 franchises noting a revised salary cap estimate for the 2017-18 season of $101 million, with a tax threshold of $121 million.

The NBA estimates a salary shortfall of $195 million for the 2016-17 season, which will be paid out to paid out via a lump sum to the NBA Players Association, plus all escrow witholdings made throughout the year. Players are due at least 50 percent of basketball related income, and while teams spent significant dollars dating back to July, it wasn’t quite enough to cover the players’ share.

That said, the shortfall is $15 million lower than expected as teams’ heavy spending helped to lower next year’s cap, which was originally projected to be in the $102-$107 million range. The actual cap will be set in early July when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement takes full force.

Based on the $101 million estimate, players with up to six years of experience can earn up to a maximum of $25.3 million. Those in the league between seven and nine seasons will max out at $30.3 million, while veterans of 10 or more can sign for $35.4 million in the first year.

Those who qualify for the designated rookie-scale or veteran extensions and jump one max tier, like Stephen Curry with the Golden State Warriors, can earn a starting salary at $35.3 million instead of the $30.3 based on his number of years in the league.

The Mid-Level Exception will climb to $8.4 million for non-taxpayers, $5.2 million for those over the tax and $4.3 million for those under the cap (the Room Exception). The Bi-Annual Exception will be $3.3 million.

Empty roster charges for every open spot under 13 will be the rookie minimum salary of $815,615. Cap holds are based on an estimated 2016-17 average salary of $8.3 million.

The following is a projection of the maximum cap space teams would have if they let each of their free agents go, with a draft order based on where teams stand before the NBA Draft Lottery on May 16 (with minor creative license).

Legend: PO = player option, TO = team option, ETO = Early termination option, NG = non-guaranteed, PG = partially-guaranteed, RFA = potential restricted free agent, $0.0/$0.0 = first number partial-guarantee, second total salary

Team Maximum
(in millions)
Potential Free Agents (notable cap holds listed, in parenthesis and in millions)
Sacramento Kings $60.1 Rudy Gay ($20.0 or $14.3 PO), Tyreke Evans ($16.0), Arron Afflalo ($1.5/$12.5), Ben McLemore (RFA, $10.3), Anthony Tolliver ($2.0/$8.0), Darren Collison ($9.9), Langston Galloway ($6.2 or $5.4 PO), Ty Lawson
Golden State Warriors $56.0 Kevin Durant ($31.8 or $27.7 PO), Stephen Curry ($18.2), Andre Iguodala ($16.7), Shaun Livingston ($11.0), Zaza Pachulia, David West, Ian Clark, JaVale McGee, Matt Barnes, James McAdoo (RFA)
Philadelphia 76ers $55.4 Tiago Splitter ($12.8), Sergio Rodriquez ($9.6), Gerald Henderson ($9.0 NG), Robert Covington (TO), Richaun Holmes (NG), T.J. McConnell (NG), Shawn Long (NG), Alex Poythress (RFA) — projection does not include the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-rounder
Chicago Bulls $52.8 Dwyane Wade ($27.8 or $23.8 PO), Rajon Rondo ($3.0/$13.4), Nikola Mirotic (RFA, $11.0), Michael Carter-Williams (RFA, $8.0), Anthony Morrow ($6.6), Joffrey Lauvergne (RFA, $3.2), Isaiah Canaan (NG), Cristiano Felicio (RFA)
Denver Nuggets $43.2 Danilo Gallinari ($22.6 or $16.1 PO), Roy Hibbert ($6.0), Mason Plumlee (RFA, $5.8), Mike Miller ($3.5)
Miami HEAT $42.8 Josh McRoberts ($11.0 or $6.0 PO), Udonis Haslem ($7.6), Wayne Ellington ($6.3 NG), James Johnson ($4.8), Dion Waiters ($3.5 or $3.0 PO), Luke Babbitt, Willie Reed, Josh Richardson (NG), Rodney McGruder (NG), Okaro White (NG) — projection assumes Chris Bosh is a medical retirement
Los Angeles Clippers $37.1 Chris Paul ($34.3 or $24.3 ETO), Blake Griffin ($30.2 or $21.4 ETO), J.J. Redick ($14.0), Paul Pierce ($1.1/$3.7), Luc Mbah a Moute, Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, Alan Anderson
Brooklyn Nets $33.2 K.J. McDaniels ($6.3 or team option of $3.4), Randy Foye, Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Quincy Acy, Archie Goodwin
Dallas Mavericks $34.7 Dirk Nowitzki ($36.1 or $25.0 TO), Nerlens Noel (RFA, $11.0), Devin Harris ($1.3/$4.4), DeAndre Liggins (TO), Yogi Ferrell (TO), Salah Mejri (NG), Dorian Finney-Smith (NG), Nicolas Brussino (NG), Jarrod Uthoff (NG)
Indiana Pacers $32.6 Jeff Teague ($13.2), C.J. Miles ($8.7 or $4.8 PO), Lavoy Allen ($4.8 or $4.0 TO), Rakeem Christmas (PG), Georges Niang (PG), Glenn Robinson III (NG), Kevin Seraphin (NG), Joseph Young (NG), Aaron Brooks
Atlanta Hawks $32.0 Paul Millsap ($30.1 or $21.5 PO), Ersan Ilyasova ($12.6), Thabo Sefolosha ($7.3), Kris Humphries ($5.2), Tim Hardaway Jr. (RFA, $5.7), Mike Dunleavy ($1.7/$5.2), Ryan Kelly (NG), Mike Muscala, Jose Calderon
Minnesota Timberwolves $31.7 Shabazz Muhammad (RFA, $7.6), Jordan Hill ($4.2 NG), Brandon Rush ($4.2), Adreian Payne, Omri Casspi — projection assumes Nikola Pekovic is a medical retirement
Utah Jazz $30.7 Gordon Hayward ($24.1 or $16.7 PO), George Hill ($15.2), Boris Diaw ($7.5 NG), Shelvin Mack ($4.6), Joe Ingles (RFA, $4.1), Raul Neto (NG), Jeff Withey
Boston Celtics $29.4 Amir Johnson ($15.6), Jonas Jerebko ($9.5), Tyler Zeller (NG, $8.0), Kelly Olynyk (RFA, $7.7), James Young, Demetrius Jackson (PG), Jordan Mickey (NG), Gerald Green — maximum scenario assumes Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic stay overseas
Los Angeles Lakers $28.3 Nick Young ($10.3 or $5.7 PO), Tarik Black ($6.7 NG), David Nwaba (TO), Tyler Ennis, Metta World Peace, Thomas Robinson–projection assumes the Lakers do not have a first-round pick
Phoenix Suns $27.5 Alex Len (RFA, $12.1), Leandro Barbosa ($500,000/$4.0), Elijah Millsap (NG), Derrick Jones (NG), Alan Williams (RFA), Ronnie Price
San Antonio Spurs $22.9 Manu Ginobili ($21.0), Pau Gasol ($18.6 or $16.2 PO), Patty Mills ($6.8), Dewayne Dedmon (PO), David Lee (PO), Jonathon Simmons (RFA), Bryn Forbes (NG), Joel Anthony
Toronto Raptors $20.3 Serge Ibaka ($18.4), Kyle Lowry ($18 or $12.0 PO), Patrick Patterson ($11.5), P.J. Tucker ($10.1), Norman Powell (NG), Fred VanVleet (NG)
New York Knicks $19.3 Derrick Rose ($30.3), Maurice N’dour (NG), Mason Plumlee (NG), Ron Baker (RFA), Chasson Randle (NG), Justin Holiday, Sasha Vujacic
Orlando Magic $16.0 Jeff Green ($18.0), Jodie Meeks ($12.4), C.J. Watson ($1.0/$5.0), Stephen Zimmerman (NG), Patricio Garino (NG), Marcus Georges-Hunt (NG), Damjan Rudez (RFA)
Milwaukee Bucks $14.6 Greg Monroe ($22.3 or $17.9 PO), Spencer Hawes ($12.1 or $6.0 PO), Tony Snell (RFA, $5.9), Gary Payton II (NG), Michael Beasley, Jason Terry
New Orleans Pelicans $13.8 Jrue Holiday ($16.9), Dante Cunningham ($5.6 or $4.1 PO), Jordan Crawford (NG), Axel Toupane (NG), Quinn Cook (NG), Donatas Motiejunas
Houston Rockets $11.7 Nene, Kyle Wiltjer (NG), Isaiah Taylor (NG), Bobby Brown (RFA), Troy Williams (RFA)
Charlotte Hornets $0 Ramon Sessions ($7.2 or $6.3 TO), Christian Wood (TO), Treveon Graham (NG), Johnny O’Bryant (NG), Briante Weber (NG), Brian Roberts
Cleveland Cavaliers $0 Kyle Korver ($10.0), Kay Felder (PG), Edy Tavares (NG), James Jones, Deron Williams, Derrick Williams, Dahntay Jones
Detroit Pistons $0 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (RFA, $9.2), Aron Baynes ($8.5 or $6.5 PO), Reggie Bullock (RFA, $5.6), Michael Gbinije (PG), Darrun Hilliard (NG), Beno Udrih
Memphis Grizzlies $0 Zach Randolph ($15.5), Tony Allen ($10.5), Vince Carter ($8.1), Wayne Selden (TO), JaMychal Green (RFA)
Oklahoma City Thunder $0 Taj Gibson ($13.4), Nick Collison ($7.1), Andre Roberson (RFA, $5.5), Jerami Grant (TO), Semaj Christon (NG), Norris Cole
Portland Trail Blazers $0 Festus Ezeli ($1.0/$7.7), Pat Connaughton (NG), Tim Quarterman (NG)
Washington Wizards $0 Otto Porter (RFA, $14.7), Trey Burke (RFA, $8.5), Bojan Bogdanovic (RFA, $6.8), Daniel Ochefu (NG), Danuel House (NG), Sheldon McClellan (NG), Brandon Jennings

Teams can make trades or buy out players to open additional cap space. To get a maximum projection, the assumption was made that almost all players lacking a full guarantee will be waived or renounced.

The NBA’s has a salary cap estimate of $102 million for the 2018-19 season with a tax level of $124 million

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About Eric Pincus

Eric Pincus

Eric Pincus is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders, with a focus on the business side of the game.