We’ll have more coverage of this Wednesday morning by everyone’s friend, David Crockett, but it just occurred to me that we probably should have a quick thread on the event itself – the Knicks falling to the #4 slot in the NBA Draft, the only team in the entire draft to fall from their scheduled draft slot, with the Lakers rising from #4 to take the Knicks’ #2 slot.
Due to winning two late season games that the Knicks had no business winning, the Knicks ceded the top group of four-digit combinations to the Minnesota Timberwolves and it was one of those combinations that ended up winning the lottery for the Timberwolves. So, once again, if winning a game hurts your draft chances and you can prevent yourself from winning the game, just lose the darn game. I’m sure that is a lesson some other team will now learn from the Knicks. The New York Knicks – the object lesson for other teams since 2000.
Anyhow, luckily enough, this year’s draft class is quite good, and I’d honestly take any of the four best players in this year’s draft over the #1 pick in either of the last two drafts (and I’d take Winslow and WCS and probably a bunch of other guys over Andrew Bennett, as well, and maybe Winslow over Wiggins, but probably not). One of the two top point guard prospects, Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell, will be there at #4. Either one could turn out to be a star. Justise Winslow is also an excellent prospect, so he could be in play at #4. I wanted either Towns or Okafor with Russell as the back-up and it looks like none of those three will be there at #4, but, well, maybe the Knicks will get lucky (hey, stop laughing!) and either one of those three guys will fall to #4 or Mudiay turns out to be the best player in the draft. It is definitely possible.
Now that we know where the Knicks are drafting, we officially now also know how much ca room the Knicks will have (based on a $66,500,000 cap. It could be higher than that, but everyone is currently projecting $66.5).
According to the Ultimate Blog Post On best sneakers for basketball The Knicks’ #4 pick’s cap hold is $3,443,100. The rest of their salaries are 33,272,450.
That’s six players (the #4 pick plus Melo, Calderon, THJ, Anthony and Galloway) for a sum of $36,715,550.
However, you also need to take into account the fact that the Knicks have to have cap holds for their remaining six spots. Each cap hold is the minimum, so $525,093 per slot. For every free agent you sign, however, you fill in one of those slots. So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume Phil Jackson signs three free agents, so we’ll only have to account for three minimum slots. So it is $525,093 times three, or $1,575,279.
That brings us to $38,290,829. Subtract that from $66,500,000 and the Knicks have roughly:
$28,209,171 to spend on three free agents.
If the Knicks sign less than three free agents with their cap room or more than three free agents with their cap room, here is what they will have in cap room:
$27,684,078 to spend on two free agents.
$28,734,264 to spend on four free agents
$29,259,357 to spend on five free agents
$29,784,450 to spend on six free agents
It is important to note, however, that the Knicks will also have access to the room exception, which is $2,732,000. This is an exception given to teams who use up almost all or all of their cap room (but are not over the cap). It allows them to go over the cap, but only for $2,732,000 for one player (I believe that’s half the current mid-level). So the Knicks can spend the full $27,684,078 on two players and then use the room exception to sign a third player.
So if Jackson wants to hand out three mid-size contracts, he has $28,209,171 to work with. If he wants to hand out two big contracts and one room exception contract, he’ll have $27,684,078 to work with on the two big deals.
The Knicks have enough to make one max offer, but not two. They obviously can open up a lot more room if they somehow dump Calderon’s contract (it is kind of funny to note that had they kept Felton and just cut him, they’d have room for two max offers now).
EDITED TO ADD: Just for fun, if the Knicks waived Calderon and used the stretch provision on him, they’d open up roughly a little under $4 million in cap space ($4,380,683 minus the additional $525,093 cap slot they’d be opening up). So in that scenario, they’d have $31,539,668 in cap space for two free agents, almost literally the exact amount of cap room needed for two max offers (for young players with maxes of $15.7 million, of course, like Draymond Green and Greg Monroe, not older maxes of $20 million for players like Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge).
They’d have to pay Calderon roughly $3 million for the next five years, though, but with the cap rising, that’s probably not a huge deal.