NBA Roundtable

2010 Cap Space: New York

In Free Agency, General NBA, Trade Talk on March 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm

This is an updated version of a previous post following the trade of Jared Jeffries + Jordan Hill.

New York Knicks Salaries

Contracts above $5 million

  • Eddy Curry – $11.28 million

Eddy Curry holds a player option for the 2010/11 season and is a lock to pick up that option. That will the final year of his contract.

Rest Of Team’s Salaries

  • Danilo Gallinari – $3.3 million
  • Wilson Chandler – $2.13 million
  • Toney Douglas – $1.07 million

All three players are currently on their rookie contracts. Wilson Chandler will be entering the final year of his deal, Gallo the third year of his contract and Douglas only the second season of his deal.

Those contracts amount to $6.5 million and bring the Knicks total up to $17.78 million.

Other Costs

  • Draft Picks — The Knicks do not own their 2010 first round draft pick. That’s heading to Utah as part of the Stephon Marbury trade (via Phoenix). Second round picks do not count as guaranteed salary until contracts are signed so no charge there.
  • Open Roster Spots — The Knicks have only four players on the books at this point. That means they’ll be charged for eight open roster spots which will cost around $3.8 million more.

That gives us a new total of $21.58 million.

The Cap

The league sent out a memo at the beginning of free agency this year citing these numbers as possible cap figures for 2010

The NBA’s ballyhooed free-agent summer of 2010 might have quietly taken another hit late Tuesday night.

In a memo announcing next season’s salary cap and luxury-tax threshold, sent out shortly before the league’s annual July moratorium on signings and trades was lifted at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, NBA teams also received tentative projections from the league warning that the cap is estimated to drop to somewhere between $50.4 million and $53.6 million for the 2010-11 season.

2010 Cap Space

That Knicks have $21.58 million in salaries which means they’ll have in between $28.82-t0-$32.02 million in cap space in 2010.

Knicks Free Agency Options

Two max contract free agents will cost a combined total of $33.14 million. So the Knicks are $1.12 million short of that total.

  • They can probably get two players to agree to take $556k less as a starting salary if they are able to convince two players to join the team in the first place. So, likely not an issue.
  • The Knicks could reduce the gap further by trading Toney Douglas in a salary dump. His $1.07 million contract would be replaced by a cap hold for another empty roster spot saving the Knicks another $600k. So the players would then only be giving up a little under $300k.
  • New York could reach a buyout agreement with Eddy Curry. The Knicks would likely have to pay Curry 95% of his current deal ($10.69 million) or his current deal minus a minimum contract ($10.46 million). Both are fairly similar numbers. Those savings minus the added cap charge would only add a further $120k-to-$350k in flexibility. The Knicks would have to get Curry to give up at least another $300k to gain enough flexibility (in combination with the Douglas salary dump) to sign two max contracts outright. Or to give up another $800k-to-$1 million (on top of the initial $560k-to-$825k) to keep Douglas and gain said flexibility.
  • However, like I said at the start, this is only a minor issue and likely an irrelevant one at that. The Knicks will very likely be able to convince any max contract player to give up a small amount of money ($300-to-$600k per year) if they’re able to convince them to sign in the first place.
  • New York could also sign one player to a maximum contract and then utilize a sign and trade to land the second player by sending David Lee and change in return for the player.

Anyway, the trades of Jared Jeffries + Jordan Hill were excellent. It has put New York in a realistic position to sign two maximum contract free agents … something that I felt was imperative to New York convincing an elite free agent like LeBron or Wade to join them. They needed to be able to show that they were able to become a contender and the possibility of lining up two elite players alongside one another in addition to Gallo + Chandler certainly does that.

From there on the Knicks would need to fill out their roster with minimum contract pieces. The goal would be to build a passable supporting cast + bench. It would likely be another year before building a quality bench.

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