The Initial State of the Knicks Salary Cap In Anticipation of the 2016 Free Agent Season

Last year, I did a “State of the Knicks’ Salary Cap” piece right before the the NBA free agency period began, but people have been asking for it earlier and earlier, so what the hell, now that we know that Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are both opting out of their contracts, we pretty much know where the Knicks’ cap room will stand heading into free agency, so let’s detail it. The reason now is a little bit too early, and why I am calling this an “initial” state is that we don’t know if the Knicks will get a first round pick or not, in which case their cap numbers would change. But I’ll do a “Final” version of this piece on June 30th. Okay, enjoy!

Teams are technically not allowed to sign deals until July 7th, but can negotiate and basically agree to deals starting July 1st (teams are allowed to agree in principle with their own free agents before then). The reason for this moratorium is because the league isn’t actually sure about the salary cap figures until July 7th, as they perform an audit during the week (why they can’t do the audit right now is beyond me). Teams can sign their own draft picks in the moratorium period, plus players can be signed to minimum contracts (plus players can accept qualifying offers). These deals rarely take place during the moratorium, but they are possible. In any event, this is a long way of telling you all that we don’t actually know for absolute certainty what the cap will be. We will know for sure on July 7th. That said, the league gives the teams an idea of what they think the cap will be, and it tends to be pretty darn accurate, so let’s go with the figure that the league told teams recently – $94 million.

The maximum initial salary that a free agent can sign for is based on how many years of service they have in the league, 1-6 years, 7-9 years and 10 years plus. They are 25% of the cap, 30% of the cap and 35% of the cap, respectively. Oddly enough, though, the league uses different math to figure out these percentages, so they tend to be less than actual percentages of the cap.

Players with 1-6 years experience can sign an initial contract of $22.2 million
Players with 7-9 years experience can sign an initial contract of $26.6 million
Players with 10 years plus experience can sign an initial contract of $31 million.

Okay, with that out of the way, where do the Knicks currently stand?

The Knicks currently have six players under guaranteed contracts for next season:

Carmelo Anthony – $24,559,380
Robin Lopez – $13,219,250
Jose Calderon – 7,708,427
Kristaps Porzingis – $4,317,720
Kyle O’Quinn – $3,918,750
Jerian Grant – $1,643,040

They also have Tony Wroten on a non-guaranteed contract worth $1,050,961. There’s not an absolute certainty that the Knicks will keep Wroten on the roster, but it seems to be, at the very least, highly likely.

The Knicks havea bunch of free agents on their team, but most of them will be renounced, so they do not matter. Two of them, however, are unlikely to be renounced. Therefore, we have to deal with their cap holds.

Langston Galloway is a restricted free agent. His cap hold is his qualifying offer, which is $2,725,003. It is higher than a typical qualifying offer for a player like Galloway because the Knicks allowed him to play enough minutes to qualify for an increased qualifying offer given to players who are major parts of a team rotation.

Lance Thomas is an unrestricted free agent. His cap hold is based on his current salary. It is 130% of what he made last year. So his cap hold is $2,127,895.

The Knicks might still re-sign some of their other free agents like Sasha Vujacic, but since Vujacic makes the league minimum (and thus, the Knicks can exceed the cap to re-sign him), they will still likely renounce him.

So the six guaranteed contracts, the one non-guaranteed contract plus the two cap holds gives us nine players and a total of: $61,270,426.

However, you also need to take into account the fact that the Knicks have to have cap holds for their remaining three roster spots (each team has to have a minimum of twelve roster spots. The Knicks can, and will, add three players later on to get to fifteen spots, but that’s not going to matter for this exercise, so ignore that). Each cap hold is the minimum, so $543,471 per slot. Three spots, so it would be $1,630,413. However, for every free agent you sign, you fill in one of those slots. So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume Phil Jackson signs two free agents, so we have to factor in an extra $543,471. So it would be $61,813,897.

Okay, so working under the presumption that the Knicks will sign two free agents, the Knicks would have: $32,186,103 in cap room to spend on two free agents.

If they wanted to sign three free agents, they would have $32, 729,574 to spend.

As noted, free agents with 7-9 years of experience, like Mike Conley, have starting salaries beginning at $26.6 million. So if the Knicks were to sign Conley, they would have $5,586,103 to spend on another free agent. As you might have noticed, that is not a lot of money.

The Knicks could free up another $3,918,750 by trading Kyle O’Quinn for nothing. Then you would have to deduct $543,471 from that freed up salary (so basically $3.3 million), though, as that would be another open roster spot that you’d need to get a cap hold for.

The Knicks could free up an additional $5.2 million by waiving Jose Calderon and stretching his salary over three years (paying him $2.57 million this year and the same next year). Same thing, though, here, as you’d have to deduct $543,471 (so basically $4.6 million) from that freed up salary to make up for the other roster spot now being open.

If you got rid of O’Quinn for no return and stretched Calderon, you’d have another $7.9 million to add to the $5.6 million, giving you $13.5 million to spend on the second free agent (but no back-up power forward and no starting guard).

On top of all that other salary, the Knicks would also have their “room” exception, which becomes available to teams that are under the salary cap but then spend enough to get to the cap. The league allows them to go over the cap via a “room” exception of $2.898 million, that they can spend on anyone they want (they can split up if they’d like). The Knicks spent it on Kevin Seraphim last year. They used it on J.R. Smith years ago, as well.

Back to Galloway and Thomas. Okay, let’s presume that the Knicks have now used up all of their $32,186,103 on two free agents. They now can go over the cap to re-sign Galloway and Thomas. In the case of Galloway, they can give him a contract equal to the average salary, which I have no idea what it will precisely be this year. Let’s say it’s $5.8 million. So the Knicks can sign him up until that amount without using their other cap space. However, since he is a special kind of restricted free agent (a free agent following his second year in the league), no other team can sign him to a contract for MORE than $5.8 million in the first year of the deal. However, teams can backload contracts to them, just like the Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin “poison pill” contracts, so teams can offer Galloway up to $22.2 million a year for up to four years (they won’t, but bear with me here) and the contract would work like this:

Year 1: $5.8 million
Year 2: $5.8 million
Year 3: $38.6 million
Year 4: $38.6 million

Obviously, reduce those later two years based on how much he’s offered (if he’s offered $7 million a year for four years, it’d be $5.8, $5.8, $8.2 and $8.2). But it shows how quickly the numbers can get nuts on the back end.

As for Lance Thomas, the Knicks are allowed to exceed the cap to give him a contract of roughly $5.8 million (the average salary – I don’t know precisely what that will be yet). If someone else offers more than that, well, the Knicks might be out of luck. Hopefully Thomas will repay the Knicks’ loyalty for giving him a guaranteed contract with a raise just because they liked him. And then if he signs a two-year deal for $12.6 million, he can have the second year be a player option and then he would have full Bird Rights next year, and the Knicks could re-sign him to a larger deal. Or maybe no one will offer him more than $5.8 million and we’re worrying for no reason.

Okay, to recap, the Knicks currently have roughly $32,186,103 million to spend on two free agents, plus an extra roughly $3 million to spend on a single free agent (or two, but at that money, it’s tough to see you getting two guys for that little cash). It’s not going to be easy to add big time talent to this team, but it CAN be done! Let’s hope that they pull it off (again, this is conceding that they’re going to spend no matter what, so you might as well root for them to get good players in free agency)!

EDITED TO ADD: ClashFan correctly notes that if the Knicks sign Willy Hernangomez to a 4-year/$4.5 million contract, that $1.1 million would come out of the cap space. But since he would take up a roster spot, then only half of that $1.1 million would be an issue, so it would be roughly $31.6 million for two free agents.

EDITED TO ADD: Someone e-mailed me to ask if I could write the actual number that would be the most that the Knicks could possibly open up for two free agents if they did waive Calderon and trade O’Quinn for a pick. That number would $40.1 million.

115 replies on “The Initial State of the Knicks Salary Cap In Anticipation of the 2016 Free Agent Season”

WOW. thank you. I understood almost all of that!!!!

Assuming we sign a guard near max from Conley, Batum and DeRozean, I guess there are 3 questions:
1. What can we get for $5.6M, keeping O’Quinn?
2. What can we get for $9M, giving O’Quinn away?
3. What can we get for $13.5M, giving O’Quinn away and stretching Calderon?

WOW. thank you. I understood almost all of that!!!!

Let me know what you didn’t understand and I’ll gladly try to parse it out better.

Assuming we sign a guard near max from Conley, Batum and DeRozean, I guess there are 3 questions:
1. What can we get for $5.6M, keeping O’Quinn?
2. What can we get for $9M, giving O’Quinn away?
3. What can we get for $13.45, giving O’Quinn away and stretching Calderon?

The impression I got from looking at the numbers is that there just isn’t a very good chance of them doing the max free agent route because of how little they’d have left over for the second guy. So I suspect we’ll see two guys for roughly $15 million each, one of them very likely being Evan Turner.

Evan Turner the basketball player may not be worth 15M but Evan Turner the meme generator is worth quadruple that

I would be in on $15m for Evan Turner as 3rd man in the booth with Clyde and Breen. On the court put me down for Nay.

Great job Brian!

Fwiw I believe the stretch waive is the entire outstanding amount of the contract stretched over 2x the remaining years +1. So it’d be 7.7MM stretched over 3 years and we’d gain about 4.5-5MM in space at the cost of losing about 2.5MM per year the next 2 years.

Howard Beck thinks the Knicks’ dream free agent period consists of Brandon Jennings and Kent Bazemore. Last year he said Afflalo and Lopez, and then he broke the Hornacek signing.

Bazemore would be the Lopez-esque signing and Jennings is more on the Afflalo level. Wouldn’t be a bad summer

Fwiw I believe the stretch waive is the entire outstanding amount of the contract stretched over 2x the remaining years +1. So it’d be 7.7MM stretched over 3 years and we’d gain about 4.5-5MM in space at the cost of losing about 2.5MM per year the next 2 years.

You’re right, Frank, thanks! I’ve adjusted the numbers accordingly. So yeah, that adds another $1.3 million if they stretched Calderon.

Howard Beck thinks the Knicks’ dream free agent period consists of Brandon Jennings and Kent Bazemore. Last year he said Afflalo and Lopez, and then he broke the Hornacek signing.

Where is that coming from?

@10 – I could live with that. Signing both Jennings and Bazemore would be a coup. There’s hope Jennings, after some additional time off, could regain some of his production. An Achilles tear is a rough injury to come back from.

Some here need to apologize to Phil for shitting on him over his signings of DWill and Afflalo to player option deals last year. There was lots of handwringing over the “well, if he sux, we’re stuck with his salary, and if he’s good, we can’t re-sign him at that price. As it turns out, both players performed just well enough to opt out w/o making any Knicks fan feel that we missed a golden opportunity. That is what I call perfect negotiating in anticipation of cap space implications. That’s what good GMs do. Only Calderon remains at an above market value contract for one year, everyone else left on the roster is either at market value or on the cheap (unless you count Melo’s NTC as seriously reducing the value of his contract, which is fair.)

i’m not sold on bazemore… he’s roughly what demarre carroll was for them.. a late bloomer who succeeded in limited minutes.. i’m pretty sure anyone not named atlanta will be disappointed if they give him a ton of money….

signing conley would take up a lot of our cap room but assuming we resign galloway and thomas we already have 8 rotation guys locked in…. 5mm for a sg or to fill out the end of the rotation wouldn’t be too hard i would think…

evan turner i like more than most.. it would signify that we missed out on conley, durant and batum but i think he’s a reasonable investment… he’s 27 and he has a solid all around game minus a jumpshot…. that may or may not come but worse players have developed it at this stage of their careers… if he does he could actually justify the money…. everyone else on the market is just not realistically attainable due to restricted FA, a bad contract waiting to happen or both….

I would not stretch Calderon unless it netted us a big-time asset that we could not have gotten otherwise. $2.5 mill in lost space could easily come back to haunt us. Value-wise, Calderon is a good bench player at $7.7 mill, certainly every bit as good as Afflalo. I’d either keep him or use him as trade bait…he must have some inflated value as an expiring as well, if not now, then at the trade deadline.

i’m not sold on bazemore… he’s roughly what demarre carroll was for them.. a late bloomer who succeeded in limited minutes

28 mpg is limited minutes? There are reasons to be down on Baze, not sure “small sample size overperformance” is one of them.

Some here need to apologize to Phil for shitting on him over his signings of DWill and Afflalo to player option deals last year. There was lots of handwringing over the “well, if he sux, we’re stuck with his salary, and if he’s good, we can’t re-sign him at that price. As it turns out, both players performed just well enough to opt out w/o making any Knicks fan feel that we missed a golden opportunity. That is what I call perfect negotiating in anticipation of cap space implications. That’s what good GMs do. Only Calderon remains at an above market value contract for one year, everyone else left on the roster is either at market value or on the cheap (unless you count Melo’s NTC as seriously reducing the value of his contract, which is fair.)

What in the what?

You hated the Derrick Williams signing!

I would have been against anything beyond the vet’s minimum so whatever.

and

I would rather that we gave the $5 million to charity, but it’s not a crippling move, just a dumb one.

So…huh?

Afflalo sux.

Jennings is mediocre, but might be a decent stopgap. Bazemore seems like a pretty good player as long as his FT shooting improvement is for real

First thing Phil needs to do is determine whether Durant is a possibility. If yes, throw the whole wad at him. Then get some filler at PG and roll the dice that you can snag a couple of solid guards either on the cheap or via a clever trade (yes, even involving a draft pick.) In the likely event that that isn’t happening, keep making small plus trades until the roster is filled with plus players. Don’t break the bank on Conley or overpay for Turner. Unless the league expands, there are going to be good value players in Europe, the D-League, and the waiver wire. Get some smart vets on the roster like we did during the 54-win season, but don’t overpay for them like we did then. Look at what GS did with Livingston, or CLE did with Jefferson.

I also like bazemore because you can bank on his great defense. He’s had great defense by metrics and by eye test for years. He’s done it both on great team defenses (ATL last year) and mediocre ones (ATL the year before). Do we know that Turner is a strong defender independent of the Celtics tremendous defense? I don’t think we do.

Brian, I didn’t like the player, but had no prob with the player option. But if your point is that I should apologize to Phil, here it is:

Sorry for doubting you, Phil, great move in retrospect! Stroke of genius. I will give you more of the benefit of the doubt next time.

Now you do the same.

But that’s absurd. My critiques back then were absolutely spot on. The player option was pointless. The signing of D-Will was useless. They got nothing out of it! Same with Afflalo, but Afflalo was more likely to leave, so it made more sense, but the critique at the time was that they were both pointless signings, since they weren’t going to help the Knicks enough to compete last season and then the best case scenario was that you lose them after a year. That was a dumb idea then and it’s still a dumb idea now. That you somehow are getting “It was a good idea because they left after one year” out of it is inane. They signed Afflalo and then had to torment the guy to make sure he left after one year because they were so afraid of him picking up the player option they gave him.

I should elaborate: The real risk is that the player underperforms and you get stuck with his salary on the cap, not that he over-performs and you lose him to free agency. It turned out to be a best-case scenario, and you have to credit Phil for that.

That wasn’t my criticism at all. My criticism was that the player option was a waste, since if he overperforms, you lose him and that if he underperforms, you’re stuck with him. So the team got no benefit out of it, becaue they were not going to be competitive last year, so there was no value to getting him to sign for that one year. If D-Will had been signed for two years or a team option, then sure, it would have been fair enough. I said that at the time. Instead, they signed him for a pointless single season, with the risk of him being awful and them being stuck with him for a second season when they didn’t want him. And again, they had to specifically torment Afflalo to make sure he didn’t come back!

You’re totally wrong, Brian. Anyone would agree that DWill played well enough to justify his contract, but not more. Most would agree that Afflalo was a good risk at $8 mill, and until his role got expanded due to injury he was a perfectly adequate player at that price. If you didn’t sign them, who else was available at those prices that was even likely to perform just well enough to take the risk out of the deal?

How did having Derrick Williams and Arron Afflalo on the Knicks for one year help anything at all? It didn’t help last year, since the team wasn’t going to be competitive either way and it didn’t help the future because the only way they’d want them for the future was if they were good, in which case they wouldn’t be here for the future. They were just wastes of cap space.

@25, but they neither underperformed or overperformed; they played exactly in the range that made both deals work out great. GMs take calculated risks, and this one worked out perfectly. He deserves credit for it.

It was a pointless risk! It did nothing to help the team! It is fair to say that it didn’t really hurt them much, either (and I said as much at the time), since odds were both guys were going to opt out (especially with the rising cap), but whatever risk that there was, it wasn’t worth it, since they were unlikely to help the team enough last year to make any real difference. Like I said when Afflalo signed, it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t awful. It was just “meh.” Same with most of Jackson’s moves. Now Robin Lopez – I liked that move a lot. I also liked the Kyle O’Quinn move a lot, as both moves made sense for the future of the team. I was mistaken in how good O’Quinn would be (there are just some guys that are just so bad at practice that I guess it doesn’t matter what they do in limited minutes), so I guess I’ll apologize for that one. Sorry for thinking O’Quinn was a good signing, Phil!

Bazemore is exactly the type of player we should target: great defense, can space the floor, and at 26 years old a 4-year deal would last through his prime.

Jennings is less enticing be would at least give you some quickness at guard and seems like he’d be excited about New York. There’s at least some upside there as he becomes further removed from his achilles injury.

Sign those two guys and re-sign Lance and Gallo and you go into the season with a rotation of:
PG: Jennings, Calderon, Grant, Wroten
SG: Bazemore, Galloway, Calderon
SF: Melo, Lance
PF: Porzingis, O’Quinn, Melo
C: Lopez, Porzingis, O’Quinn

It’s a little thin up front so ideally you’d add another forward but that team can get you to .500 with some upside depending on how Porzingis improves. The following year you’d be able to add another piece and a draft pick and really start to build something.

“And again, they had to specifically torment Afflalo to make sure he didn’t come back!”

What do you mean by “tormenting?” He was not playing well in a starting role and was moved to a less prominent role to give other players a shot. Afflalo thinks he’s a starter and he’s not a legit starter by any legit measure. It’s on him for playing like he did on both ends, not on the Knicks tormenting him. If that made him opt out, that’s great work!

Oh, I agree that it was smart for them to do it. But that they were in a position where they felt that they had to do it to get rid of him after less than even one season was in the books was not a good commentary on the signing. “Oh shit, he might actually opt in!”

But Brian, they were playing .500 ball at the halfway point until Melo stepped on a ref’s foot with both DWill and Afflalo playing prominent roles in the rotation. It did help the team very much to that point, and it never hurt the team. If you didn’t sign them, who plays those roles, and what does the team’s record look like at the halfway point? Remember how we all thought they would get crushed during the first 25 or so games due to a brutal schedule?

The over/under for the Knicks to start the season, after signing both guys, was 32.5 wins. They won 32 games. The odds were not in favor of Derrick Williams and Arron Afflalo making the Knicks competitive. And then they were going to be gone after one season – if the Knicks were lucky! Those were not good signings. They weren’t terrible signings, either. That’s certainly fair. It wasn’t like I was sitting here crowing about how the signings went exactly how I said they would go.

@17 re: bazemore – he’s going to be 27 and last year was the first year he got significant minutes…. and really the first year he was at all impactful… that in itself is a major red flag…

generally late bloomers who sustain their productions are pg’s or underappreciated players who were already performing but just didn’t get minutes.. like ben wallace or rodman.. bazemore wasn’t even all that great but probably in the merely adequate category so there isn’t a lot of reward in gambling on a huge contract which he is most certainly getting….

i would say he’s 10x the risk of being a dead contract than conley…

Afflalo was a below average player last year. He was likely to be a below average player when we signed him. His upside was what? Slightly above average and we win a couple more games and we’re in exactly the same spot? So why take on any risk for no benefit? That’s not good management

There is nothing that a GM could have said to Bargnani or Amare to get them to opt out. The fact that he paid just the right amount for them was the key. Seriously, are you suggesting that they should have made it a team option? Then they don’t sign and you haven’t suggested an alternate signing for 2 rotation-level players that they should have pursued at the time. Or that they should have locked them in for 2 years? Then we’d be stuck with them. The risk-reward was perfectly calculated.

Then they don’t sign and you haven’t suggested an alternate signing for 2 rotation-level players that they should have pursued at the time.

At the time, I said that they shouldn’t use the cap space on mediocre veterans period. They should have tried to make moves like the Sixers did to use their cap space to pick up draft picks. Or sign young guys with upside to multi-year, team-friendly deals, like what Portland did. I didn’t like D-Will period (he was so young that I left it open that he might surprise us, but it is fair to say that I didn’t think the odds were great of him playing well), but I said at the time that I would have preferred a two-year deal for him, even though I wasn’t a fan of him period, because if you’re betting on a young guy’s upside, at least have it so that you get the reward for betting right.

A player option has intrinsic value to the player. It’s quite possible that by giving the player an option, you can get him for less money or for fewer years that you would otherwise.

For example, maybe Afflalo’s market value was 9-10 million over 3 years but we talked him into 8 million at 2 years with a player option. He might be willing to take less money in year one because he has confidence he will be worth more after he opts out and will net out to more money long term. On the flip side, the Knicks save 2 million up front to use elsewhere and don’t commit to a player they don’t see as a long term solution.

And at the midway point, what was your assessment of the team? What was your assessment of Afflalo and DWill then? There definitely was a benefit…two rotation players at $13 mill with very little long term risk, only the less than likely possibility that they would totally suck and opt in and you might have to eat their contracts in what is a lean FA year.

They wouldn’t opt out if they weren’t confident that a better contract awaited them, even with their “below average” play. It was a calculated risk, and it worked out perfectly.

“At the time, I said that they shouldn’t use the cap space on mediocre veterans period. They should have tried to make moves like the Sixers did to use their cap space to pick up draft picks. Or sign young guys with upside to longish, team-friendly deals, like what Portland did. ”

And there’s no risk to this strategy?? Really??

And there’s no risk to this strategy?? Really??

Those plans had the chance of actual long term reward. Signing Afflalo and D-Will to a shitty team for a year had almost zero chance of long term reward, with the possible risk of being stuck with shitty players on the second year. I liked the strategies that might work out for the future, not the ones that best case scenario you’re swept by the Cavs in the first round and then lose the guys who got you to that point.

There was obviously zero upside to the Afflalo and Williams contracts. They were stopgap players. It’s not hard to find stopgap players. They’re the guys that pretty much nobody else wants.

Any more to the earlier rumor that Hernangomez is going to be offered a 4 year/$4.5 million deal? If so, I’m guessing that $1.1m per comes right off the cap space?

At the time, I said that they shouldn’t use the cap space on mediocre veterans period.

Oh, you mean they should have used it on guys like Bismack Biyombo, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeremy Lin, Thomas Robinson, Ed Davis, or some other young 2015 free agent that we’d be thrilled to have right now? That’s ridiculous. (I mean, come on, that’s the kind of the the Portland TrailBlazers do. We’re the New York Knicks, damnit!)

Afflalo and D-Will were little more than packfill when it comes right down to it. The negative, such as it is, is that these are now two roster spots for which we have nothing to show for it but empty space. In theory those spots could have been taken by players that would be a part of the team going forward, even if they were just rotation players like Thomas or Galloway.

I would have no problem bringing D-Will back at a slightly highly salary for more years. He’s young and still improving. IMO, he’s a decent bench player.

Oh, you mean they should have used it on guys like Bismack Biyombo, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeremy Lin, Thomas Robinson, Ed Davis, or some other young 2015 free agent that we’d be thrilled to have right now? That’s ridiculous. (I mean, come on, that’s the kind of the the Portland TrailBlazers do. We’re the New York Knicks, damnit!)

Well, not Biyombo, Robinson and Lin, since that’d be the same situation. They’d be free agents this year. But yes, Davis and Aminu are precisely the guys I’m thinking about. Those were signings like O’Quinn and RoLo. But the Blazers pounced on those guys quickly while knowing that other teams were trying to sign the “big” names.

Any more to the earlier rumor that Hernangomez is going to be offered a 4 year/$4.5 million deal? If so, I’m guessing that $1.1m per comes right off the cap space?

Correct. That’s a good point. I’ll edit that in there. But not the full $1.1 million, since I was factoring a $543,000 cap hold in there, so it’s $1.1 million less the cap hold. So, like, $550,000 extra. So the amount available for two free agents under that scenario would be $31.6 million.

But yes, Davis and Aminu are precisely the guys I’m thinking about.

Don’t make DRed say it.

Listen, you’d have to be some kind of handsome genius to sign guys like that instead of wasting roster spots on guys like Afflalo

I’m kinda disappointed that Williams elected to test free agency, though I can’t blame him for taking a chance to cash in. He was really starting to flourish as a Knick, and he’s still young. Maybe he decides to return. Something Phil shouldn’t do, but we should all fully expect him to, given the market: Overpay to retain Thomas and Galloway. Can’t wait to see how this offseason pans out

So we effectively just rolled over $12.5m in cap space. Where’s the fire?

On the 1+1 deals. Those are the kinds of things that might be necessary in real world negotiations with player agents, despite what some keyboard GM guys think should be done. I guess (and with Phil, one can only guess) that he really did not want guys like Afflalo and D-Will on 3 or 4 year deals (he likely wanted just 1 year “show me” deals to keep cap flexibility), but he compromised (to get them to sign) by agreeing to the +1. A bit of a calculated risk, but he does seem to be a pretty fair judge of talent and may have “gambled” that he’d get a solid year from each (a hold the fort guy) and then they’d move on. I thought both were “meh” deals, but nothing to get all worked up over… None of us here knows what offers were flying around to these guys from various teams.

Phil may have looked at the FA landscape last year, and beyond committing big $$ ONLY to Lopez (which is clearly a very good signing), and seeing what a boon there is this year and next, he may have sort of “punted” to this year. I’ll keep a bit of reubian optimism here.

Bottom line is, over $30m in cap space. We might just be players for Durant. If not, there are a lot of interesting (and fairly young) players out there. We might very well see a couple more 1+1 deals to be scoffed at.

I think Phil had an excellent offseason last year (Lopez, KP, Grant, LT, maybe Hernangomez), but is still trying to recover from whiffing on his first coaching hire.

Something Phil shouldn’t do, but we should all fully expect him to, given the market: Overpay to retain Thomas and Galloway. Can’t wait to see how this offseason pans out

That remains, to me, after, of course, “Who will the Knicks sign this offseason with their cap space?”, the biggest question – how much will they spend over the cap to bring those two guys back? Calderon comes off of the books after this year, but if you give, say, $11.6 million to Thomas and Galloway for 2017-18, will the $14 million increase in the 2017-18 cap even matter (as Melo and Porzingis will also be getting raises)? You might be looking at $9 million extra to spend.

@54 Apparently, we should have signed Biyambo and Lin instead of DW and Afflalo.
🙂

I thought both were “meh” deals, but nothing to get all worked up over

Absolutely agreed.

@56. Here’s a thought. Calderon has, what a $7.7m deal for one more year? Maybe Phil tries to sign Galloway and LT to that amount combined in multi-year deals for about that amount since it would be sort of “Even Stephen” on next year’s cap flexibility?

Of course, they might get better offers!
🙂

Galloway is the real question mark for me, because the restricted nature of his free agency really depresses his value on the open market. I could honestly almost see a scenario where he takes a small one-year deal and then becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. However, he wasn’t all that good this year (although he has upside still), so would he take the risk that he doesn’t have a good year next year? So basically, what kind of deal should Galloway be looking for this offseason?

Davis is a PF-C, knicks did exactly what you said with O’Quinn to fill that position, so you can’t really compare Davis to Williams.

Aminu? Last I checked he had a career .512 TS% (.533 last year) and a career .069 WS48 (.082 last year). Portland signed him for a guaranteed 4 years @7.5 million per. You’d prefer that over a year of Afflalo?

Portland invested $50 million in guaranteed cap space for these two players, who also came with considerable risk. I, for one, would not be thrilled with either contract, especially Aminu’s.

@60 How about 2 years/$8 million? Player option for year two.

Just a thought.

@60 How about 2 years/$8 million? Player option for year two.

Just a thought.

That’s the weird thing. That could be a very fair offer. Or it could be way below his market. I honestly don’t know. I think he (and us) will just need to see what the market looks like. Similarly, I have no idea, for instance, if Thomas is even going to get MLE-level offers, let alone more than MLE offers. The interesting thing about the exploding cap is that there are still more players out there than there are open spots (with all the rookies joining the league every year), so even with all the cap room out there, there will be guys whose market will never develop. Who those guys are is a mystery at the moment.

@61

I think the Davis contract is a good one. I’d rather have him at this point than KOQ.

@64, fair point, but the larger point was that Phil did the same thing with O’Quinn as Portland did with Davis, so it’s not fair to say it was either Davis or Williams. We needed wings, and the only wing mentioned in @45 was Aminu, who is a below average player by every measure and should not be eating up $7 mill per year of cap space for the next 3 years.

The deals Phil made were “meh” in terms of risk/reward, but good ones in terms of not tying up cap space while getting stopgap rotation players at a position of need.

@63 IIRC, that was Lin last year. Not much on him….then Charlotte got him for table scraps. But, he got a player option so will be back on the market…

Our table scraps guy was Seraphin. Oh well. LT wasn’t even table scraps…

The deals Phil made were “meh” in terms of risk/reward, but good ones in terms of not tying up cap space while getting stopgap rotation players at a position of need.

I agree with that.

A league average starter is going to be worth something like 15 million next season. So yeah I’d like to have Aminu at 7.5.

@63 IIRC, that was Lin last year. Not much on him….then Charlotte got him for table scraps. But, he got a player option so will be back on the market…

Yeah, precisely. There will be someone out there that will be this year’s Lin or this year’s Biyombo, someone whose market never developed even as the cap was rising. I couldn’t possibly tell you who that will be right now, though.

http://espn.go.com/nba/draft2016/story/_/id/16407161/boston-celtics-rebuffed-bid-swap-no-3-draft-pick-established-veteran

1. hilarious, and not surprising in the least, that no one wants to take boston’s asset package. Their best bet, a crowder + pick + avery or marcus package for Love, when out the window when Cleveland won.

2. hilarious, and entirely surprising, that boston wouldn’t part ways with some of their assets for Noel. You gotta figure they’r only turning down deals from philly because they don’t want to (rightfully so) give up on getting a stud vet scorer with their assets just yet.

I agree with that.

the popular-in-baseball concept of the positive value of replacement level players is relevant here.

I don’t blame Boston for trying, of course, but yeah, the idea that they think that they’re going to get a young star for the “#3 pick plus” package is pretty surprising. An older guy is more realistic. Someone around 30. Young stars are what rebuilding teams want, so they’re not going to trade you one for the “#3 pick plus” package.

^^^ for ANY combo of their assets! It’s like that annoying person in fantasy sports leagues who offers you like 3 mediocre players for a stud. Roster space is limited, no one is interested in your 5 picks + undersized defensive stalwarts for a star. lol

The problem with Crowder is that his greatest value is to good teams. And those teams aren’t going to deal you a star because, well, you know, they’re currently good and good teams tend to keep their star players.

Not to mention that I don’t think Crowder is even involved in the #3 pick trade packages, because the Celtics already are good and thus he is very valuable to them! I think if they were willing to include him, Cleveland might actually be interested (if they’re willing to trade Love, of course). You easily could have imagined Crowder getting huge minutes in Game 7 for Cleveland. He’s precisely the type of player you want on your team versus Golden State.

Melo for the “#3 pick plus” package would be a match made in the heaven of the basketball gods. Alas and alack.

if conley bolts in FA… and this got mentioned on hahn and humpty.. that gasol could possibly come over to the knicks for lopez…

i don’t buy that at all… but i do know that if conley leaves that the grizz could just burn everything down… the celtics would be in decent position to grab gasol and that’s probably their best play at the moment…

Good call. Gasol fits the mold perfectly. Star player in his 30s, signed for a few years. That’s who you traditionally get for high lottery picks.

Thomas
Bradley
Crowder
Sullinger
Gasol

That’s an interesting team. Three stellar defenders, two great offensive players (and Sullinger is no slouch on defense or offense, either).

You can’t gauge Aminu’s value based on his TS%. He’s a fine defensive player who doesn’t get credit for his stout defense because he’s surrounded by a bunch of shitty defensive players. He’s worth every penny of his contract.

definite good call, i didn’t think of Marc. I don’t think picks plus Smart gets that done tho. They’d have to give up avery too, in all likelihood, and i don’t even know if that get’s it done. Again, their best nonplayer asset is the 3rd pick in a 2 man draft which is perceived as weak, and the rest of their picks are worse still.

Also, If you’re memphis and you’re really rebuilding, in a weird way you don’t have to rush to trade Marc. Could even wait till 2017 if you think better offers will be available.

Smart is trash. The problem with the Celtics assets is outside of the Brooklyn picks and Crowder they’re not that enticing. Unless they consider including multiple BKN picks in 1 offer they’re not going to land a star.

Assuming 31 million to spend, we could sign a Turner and a Bazemore or a Noah. Two out of three. We might even have some money left over for a third signing like a Teletovic to replace DWilliams. We would just roll with Grant, Calderon and Wroten at PG plus a possible draft pick like Felder or Whitehead. Phil doesn’t seem the type to spend a lot on a PG anyway.

Adding Turner, Noah and Teletovic along with a Kay Felder would be a score.

Also, If you’re memphis and you’re really rebuilding, in a weird way you don’t have to rush to trade Marc. Could even wait till 2017 if you think better offers will be available.

If Conley leaves, I think I would try to move Gasol as quickly as possible. He’ll be 32 next year coming off an injury and his worst season in years (almost certainly due to said injury, but still). I wouldn’t risk him getting hurt again. He could get them so many assets that the turnaround period could be pretty brief. Their new coach also seems like a guy who would do well with a young squad.

The Jennings/Turner rumors sound a lot more likely than Turner/Bazemore, as I fear Bazemore’s market might be way too high. Then again, I think for everyone outside of the “They will get the max” guys like Conley, Durant, DeRozan and Batum camp, I really don’t know what their market will be.

Will Horford and Howard actually get max deals? Seems hard to believe. And I like Horford a lot and even still like Howard to a certain extent, but $31 million for Year One?!?!

Does Conley get the full max or somewhere around $22m. I mean before FA everyone was saying that Millsap would get a max contract and he didn’t. I feel Conley will be in a similar boat.

Also, if Conley could be had for $22m that would be a nice pull.

However, part of me says bump the PG market trade O’Quinn for a pick, stretch Jose or if by chance trade him to OKC, and then put all the money on offer sheets to Crabbe and Fournier.

Marcus Smart isn’t trash. He’s a young guard who can’t shoot. Maybe never never develops a shot, but if he does he’ll be a productive player.. He’ll be 22 this season. If the Knicks had assets he’s the type of player I’d try to get.

I’d give Dwight Howard 31 million next year…it’s all the other years that are problematic

Does Conley get the full max or somewhere around $22m. I mean before FA everyone was saying that Millsap would get a max contract and he didn’t. I feel Conley will be in a similar boat.

Also, if Conley could be had for $22m that would be a nice pull.

Conley is the most in demand point guard out there. Millsap wasn’t the most in demand forward. Plus, Millsap actually turned down a max offer from Orlando to stay in Atlanta. Plus, the equivalent discount to the one Millsap gave Atlanta for Conley would still be $25 million a year.

Given that it’s only a day or two before the draft, there’s actually a remarkable absence of trade rumors. I think maybe this year’s draft class just isn’t impressive enough, so that teams with lots of picks are not getting good interest in trades for their picks. That said, some deals will undoubtedly be announced while the draft is on, because if you’re someone like Phil, you probably don’t want just any pick, you want a pick when someone you like is still undrafted (like Jerian Grant). That said the Knicks have only six signed players on the roster (per above) and are unlikely to trade any of them. They would have to trade the rights to someone like Louis Labeyrie and probably cash to get a draft pick from someone. I think some other team is only going to take that after they have exhausted other possibilities for trading their picks. So it’s unlikely. So Phil is likely to have to sign more players like Derrick Williams last year to fill out his roster and he can’t do that until July.

I really like that Brandon Jennings actually live-tweeted Game 7, like he was just a fan. Pretty cool.

Trying to get myself at peace with the Brandon Jennings era early. 😉

Would anyone trade Lopez for Danny Green and the #29 pick? His shot has to come back some and his defense is downright nasty. Behind Dwayne wade he might be the best shot blocking SG I can think of that has played in a while.

Marcus Smart is a slight net plus if only for his defense. If he ever learns how to shoot he’s gonna be pretty good.

I don’t think you trade O’Quinn for a second–he’s a young league average player on a heavily cost controlled contract. Trading that for the lotto ticket that will in all likelihood yield you a replacement level player or worse is making a bad bet.

Has anyone thought to look at Allesandro Gentile? Houston owns his draft rights but don’t seem terribly interested in retaining him. He’s a scorer from the 2/3 position who can also play secondary ball handler and has been tearing up the Euroleague, but I haven’t seen him play at all. He seems like the kind of unheralded prospect that would make him a really savvy acquisition in this inflated market.

He’s intent on coming to the NBA this season so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we could make a play. Any thoughts or information about him?

The Celtics have been working to put together a package for either Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.

Boston, so far, has been unable to make any progress with the Bulls, Jazz or Bucks, respectively.

Lololol

Id move Jabari if I were the Bucks

Since Danny Green is at least as good as Lopez and we have a packed front court and we get a pick out of it, yeah, definitely.

Question is why in the world would Sam Antonio make that trade?

Has anyone thought to look at Allesandro Gentile? Houston owns his draft rights but don’t seem terribly interested in retaining him.

I thought that they were a bit more interested in him now than they were before. But I could be mistaken. Maybe I was just reading about how much he wanted to come to the States.

Id move Jabari if I were the Bucks

I would too, actually. Parker is the worse of Wiggins/Parker and I am no Wiggins fan. But I think I’d probably try to move Monroe first. He just doesn’t fit that roster.

i would probably take parker since he actually has more than one nba skill….

Oh man, you know what, I tried to think of what Wiggins is actually good at so far in his first two years and yeah, I am kind of coming up blank. He just looks like he’ll put it together and I don’t get that impression from Parker, who just looks lost out there, but I’ll freely admit that that is not a good reason to pick one guy over the other, so sure, you’ve convinced me – Parker over Wiggins (but I’m not impressed with either).

Parker is still a long way away. He can’t rebound or play defense like a big, but he doesn’t have the range/handle of a real wing player either.

But then again he’s only been drinking legally since March.

Smart is shit to headline a package for a star. He’s a PG that can’t pass, shoots under 30% from 3 over his first 2 seasons in the league and finishes poorly at the rim. Nobody is giving up Hayward or Butler for the #3 pick and a PG who is a huge negative offensively.

I tried to think of what Wiggins is actually good at so far in his first two years

54.3 TS% on 27.2 USG% is really fucking good for a 20 year old. He still sucks at rebounding and passing, but he showed massive growth as a perimeter scoring option that can get to the free throw line a ton and abuse smaller wings in the post. If he develops the other areas of his game he’ll be a quality NBA player.

My “problem” with Wiggins’ TS% is that I think a lot of his efficient scoring came from playing in the post when he was playing against shooting guards (Wiggins’ scoring numbers as a shooting guard are much better than his scoring numbers as a small forward) and I think a 54.3 TS% on a 27.2 USG% looks less impressive when you’re mostly playing in the post, especially when you’re being guarded by 2s. Jahlil Okafor put up a 53.6 TS% on 27.3 USG% as a 20-year-old, after all. And Parker had a 53.5 TS%, and I don’t think anyone was thrilled with that, right? Because they’re post players.

Wiggins’ three-point shooting and his 10-16 foot game either stayed the same or got worse as a second-year player. But yes, it is fair to say that he did noticeably improve his 16-22 foot game, which is significant, I’ll certainly agree there. That is definitely a good sign for his game in the future.

they’re both in the ‘useful nba players’ right now camp… and for 20 yo’s that’s very good…

they’re both roughly equal in my mind but i have higher hopes of parker developing that 3pt shot than wiggins doing anything else besides scoring… wiggins has reminded me of jason richardson… kind of a super freak athlete who didn’t have matching handling ability that all the real stars had… wiggins is developing a postgame which is good which probably explains the sky high ftr…

parker seems more like paul pierce.. without the 3pt shot.. but i’m sure that’ll come…

just to add… the 2014 draft class looks absolutely horrid in hindsight… rodney hood leading in ws…

Awesome post, Brian. Thank you for this.

I’d love to make a max offer day one on Fournier. I know ORL is likely to re-sign him but I’d at least have them re-sign him on OUR terms per the offer sheet we make than getting a very favorable team deal like MIL got with Middleton last yr where his average salary per year actually decreases as the cap rises.

I assume the contract you laid out for Galloway is comparable since Fournier is an RFA in the same experience bracket, is that right?

Year 1: $5.8 million
Year 2: $5.8 million
Year 3: $38.6 million
Year 4: $38.6 million

Bazemore and Turner would be another version of kicking the can down the road similar to signing Afflalo and Williams, which, let’s be honest, with a year of perspective those guys really did nothing to move the needle. They were here for a year and gone. The goal should be to find guys to add to the core to grow with Porzingis.

Turner is 6’7 220, turns 28 in OCT, averaged 10 ppg/5 rpg/4 apg/46% FG/24% 3pt.
Bazemore is 6’5 200, turns 27 in a week, averaged 11 ppg/5 rpg/2 apg/44% FG/36% 3pt.
Fournier is 6’7 205, turns 24 in OCT, averaged 15 ppg/3 rpg/3 apg/46% FG/40% 3, including an impressive post-All Star stretch (once he was out of Skiles doghouse) where he averaged 18 ppg/3 rpg/3 apg/49% FG/40% 3pt. If the goal is to find younger guys who can grow with KP while still allowing us to be competitive this year, I think Fournier’s the ticket. And signing him to a poison pill would allow us to stay competitive in next year’s free agent market.

I assume the contract you laid out for Galloway is comparable since Fournier is an RFA in the same experience bracket, is that right?

No, Fournier is coming off his fourth NBA season, so he’s just a normal restricted free agent. The Galloway thing (the so-called “Arenas Rule”) is only for players who become free agents after their second year in the NBA, so too soon for their own team to have Bird Rights. The Knicks can try to give Fournier a ridiculous contract with multiple opt-outs and trade kickers, but that’s their only real way to mess with Orlando. They can’t give him a poison pill contract. And even there, as we saw with Dallas and Chandler Parsons, giving out those crazy opt-outs to get a guy to sign with you doesn’t exactly help when he then opts out on you after just two seasons.

just to add… the 2014 draft class looks absolutely horrid in hindsight…

I don’t even think it was hindsight, really. I think we all knew by the time the NCAA season ended that things were just not what we had expected. Wiggins, Parker and Randle all seriously struggled as Freshmen and the one standout, Embiid, was badly injured.

No, Fournier is coming off his fourth NBA season, so he’s just a normal restricted free agent.

Damn. I really wanted to make Evan Fournier the highest paid basketball player ever in 2019. It would have been so fun to read Brian’s State of the Knicks Salary Cap post that summer. Oh well. Guess we’ll have to find some other otherworldly talent to pay $38,000,000 to that year. E’twan Moore? Luke Babbit? Donald Sloan? One of those guys must be Arenas eligible, no? Anyone??

I know you’re kidding, but that reminded me that this was actually a helpful piece of information.

The four major Gilbert Arenas Provision guys this year are:

Jordan Clarkson
Tyler Johnson
Dwight Powell
Langston Galloway

Cronin are you sure you have the right numbers on year 3 and year 4 for >2 yr RFAs? I thought the 3rd yr could only be as high as that player’s maximum would be with out the 2 year restriction($22.1m) and then a 4.5% raise on that in year 4.

Anyway, Johnson and Powell are interesting players to me

I don’t believe so, but I could be wrong. Larry Coon doesn’t mention any such restriction in his Cap FAQ, which is my go-to guide on this stuff. I mean, I think it is sort of an implied restriction, in the sense that no one is actually going to give a guy like, say, Jordan Clarkson, $38 million in Year 3 of his contract, ya know? But as far as I know, there’s no specific restriction regarding it. But then again, perhaps Coon just didn’t mention it in his Cap FAQ for some reason. Honestly, such a restriction makes a lot of sense, but I don’t know that it exists.

If Galloway had been drafted he’d rank 4th I n the class of 2014 in career WS to date. Which is crazy.

Great column, Brian. I know how much work goes into preparing one of these.

The reason for this moratorium is because the league isn’t actually sure about the salary cap figures until July 7th, as they perform an audit during the week (why they can’t do the audit right now is beyond me).

The NBA’s financial year ends on June 30. They will be including the big sales of Cleveland swag sold in the wake of the championship. They cannot conclude the audit until the financial year ends. I am confident that they have already started.

The Moritorium has been shortened from the original 10 days because the audit can be completed in only a couple of days after the close of the fiscal year.

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