Biggest NBA free-agency, trade and draft decisions for every team

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The offseason has started in full for 26 teams, and following the NBA draft lottery, we have a much clearer picture of the big questions facing each franchise.

Which decisions on key players, draft picks, trades and new contracts will be priorities? Let’s run through all 30 teams.

Note: Depth charts include expected roles for players under contract in 2018-19. We’ve included an explainer for Bird rights at the end of this piece.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Atlanta is one of a handful of rebuilding teams that project to have cap space this summer. The Hawks will enter with $20 million in room if the current roster returns, including all three first-round picks.

  • If Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala opt out, Atlanta could have up to $32 million in room.

  • The Hawks will have the $4.4 million room midlevel available if needed.

Team needs

  • Starting: Center

  • Backup: PG, SF, PF

Free-agent status

  • Malcolm Delaney | Restricted early Bird rights

  • Damion Lee | Restricted non-Bird rights

  • Dewayne Dedmon | Non-Bird rights (player option)

  • Mike Muscala | Bird rights (player option)

Get the full Hawks offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Over the cap with $106 million guaranteed and 12 players under contract.

  • Boston will focus on Smart’s restricted free agency, bringing back Aron Baynes, the health of Irving and Hayward and filling out the roster.

  • The Celtics will have both the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exceptions, but potentially creeping into the luxury tax could restrict how much they use them.

  • Keep an eye on the finances for 2019. Boston will have Irving and Rozier up for new contracts next summer (if they don’t sign extensions in 2018), with Brown becoming extension eligible, as well.

  • Is a superstar trade worth losing Tatum or Brown? Why trade a player on a rookie contract who has the upside of a franchise player but costs $25 million less?

Team needs

  • Starting: None

  • Backup: SG, SF, C

Free-agent status

  • Marcus Smart | Restricted Bird

  • Aron Baynes | Non-Bird

  • Shane Larkin | Non-Bird

  • Greg Monroe | Non-Bird

  • Jonathan Gibson | Restricted Non-Bird

Still to come: Full Celtics offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Creating cap space would see the Nets renounce $20 million in free-agent holds (including Joe Harris).

  • Along with the $4.4 million room midlevel exception (available after cap space is used), Brooklyn will have $13.1 million available.

  • If the Nets elect to retain Harris hold, cap space would then be $11.6 million, and Brooklyn could still exceed the cap to sign Harris once cap space is gone.

  • If Brooklyn elects to stay over the cap, it will have the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exception available.

Team needs

  • Starting: None

  • Backup: SG, SF, PF, C

Free-agent status

Get the full Nets offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The future of Kemba Walker: Free agent in 2019

  • The balancing act of the luxury tax: Is it worth the penalty for this roster?

  • The summer of Malik Monk: Focus on development

  • The new basketball operations structure: general manager Mitch Kupchak and head coach James Borrego

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Charlotte will be in a similar position as it was in the summer of 2017, with limited flexibility in free agency.

  • Besides their own lottery pick, the Hornets will have to rely on the $5.2 million taxpayer midlevel in free agency.

  • Charlotte, a projected luxury-tax team based on $121 million in guaranteed salary, will incur a $7.5 million tax penalty if it uses the full exception.

Team needs

  • Starting: PF

  • Backup: PG, SF

Free-agent status

Get the full Hornets offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Evaluate what went right in December and January: 15-8 record over a six-week stretch

  • Find middle ground with Zach LaVine in restricted free agency

  • Turn free-agency period into draft assets by using cap space in trades

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Including free-agent cap holds, Chicago will enter the summer with $11.6 million in cap space.

  • Remove the Noah Vonleh $10.5 million cap hold and room will increase to $22.1 million.

  • Expect the Bulls to continue to operate over the cap with their combined $8.9 and $1.9 million trade, $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million biannual exceptions.

Team needs

  • Starting: SG, SF

  • Backup: SF, C

Free-agent status

  • Zach LaVine | Restricted Bird

  • Noah Vonleh | Restricted Bird

  • David Nwab | Restricted early Bird

Still to come: Full Bulls offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • The impact of the lottery: What to do with the No. 8 pick?

  • The resources to improve: Taz midlevel and valuable first-round pick

  • Waiting on LeBron’s FA decision: Have a Plan B, and what is the next domino to fall (Kevin Love)?

  • The restricted free agency of Rodney Hood

  • The finances of keeping the team together (will get expensive)

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • There is no in-between with Cleveland and finances.

  • If LeBron James returns, expect the Cavaliers’ payroll to be at $147 million with a luxury-tax bill of $82 million. The cost does not take into account restricted free agents.

  • Without James, Cleveland will still be over the salary cap, with $110 million in salary and the $8.6 million non-taxpayer midlevel and $3.4 million biannual exceptions available.

Team needs

Starting: PG, SG, SF

Backup: None

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Cavaliers offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • The bridge year: Focus on making a leap in 2019

  • Explore an extension with Harrison Barnes

  • The future of Dirk Nowitzki: Is this his last season or not?

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • With Wesley Matthews opting in, Dallas is right at the salary cap with $100 million in salary, including free-agent cap holds and non-guaranteed contracts.

  • How the Mavericks elect to create cap space will come down to their own free agents, most notably restricted free agent Doug McDermott and his $10 million free-agent hold.

  • Releasing the McDermott and Nerlens Noel $7.9 million holds would create $18 million in room.

  • Also releasing the Seth Curry hold ($3.9 million) and declining the Dirk Nowitzki $5 million team option would see the Mavericks enter free agency with $26.5 million in room.

  • Expect the Mavericks to have the $4.4 million room midlevel exception, available once cap space is used.

Team needs

  • Starting: PF, C

  • Backup: PG, SG. SF

Free-agent status

  • Nerlens Noel | Bird

  • Dirk Nowitzki | Bird (team option)

  • Seth Curry | Early Bird

  • Yogi Ferrell | Restricted early Bird

  • Doug McDermott | Restricted Bird

  • Salah Mejri | Restricted Bird

  • Aaron Harrison | Non-Bird

Still to come: Full Mavericks offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • The Nikola Jokic contract: Turn down his small team option and give him the max

  • Creating flexibility for Will Barton: Significant tax penalty if he is re-signed

  • Solving the overload at power forward

  • Don’t panic about finances: $35 million in salary comes off the books in 2019

  • Playoffs or bust next season? Two straight finishes at No. 9 in the West

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown.

  • Not including a new contract for Jokic, the Nuggets have $108 million committed in salaries — a figure that will increase to $135 million ($12 million over the tax) once Jokic likely signs a max contract.

  • How Denver stays below the threshold will be determined if Wilson Chandler or Darrell Arthur opt into their contract or if seldom-used Kenneth Faried is traded. All three players are entering the last year of their deals.

  • The Nuggets will likely have the $5.3 million taxpayer midlevel to use.

Team needs

  • Starting: SF

  • Backup: PG, SG. SF

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Nuggets offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Even before the Griffin trade, Detroit was heading into the summer of 2018 with no cap flexibility and would be faced with a decision on retaining shooting guard Avery Bradley.

  • With Griffin under contract for the next four years, Detroit will be faced with staying under the $123 million luxury tax.

  • Including the Griffin $32 million cap hit, Detroit has $112 million in guaranteed contracts, not counting $5.9 million in non-guaranteed salary.

  • Barring a trade, Detroit will have the $5.4 million taxpayer midlevel and minimum exceptions to fill out the holes on their roster.

Team needs

  • Starting: SG

  • Backup: PG, PF, C

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Pistons offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • The structure of a new Kevin Durant contract: Short or long term?

  • Building the bench: Six free agents (not including KD)

  • The impact of the draft: Turn late first-rounder into a rotation player

  • The budget approved by ownership: Cost of the luxury tax

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • For the third consecutive year, Golden State will be a tax team.

  • Signing Durant to a max contract and filling out the bench with minimum contracts would have the payroll at $147 million and a luxury tax of $60 million.

  • Using the $5.4 million tax midlevel would add another $17 million to their tax bill.

Team needs

  • Starting: C

  • Backup: SG, PF

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Warriors offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • Don’t underestimate the front office: Creative math in free agency or trades

  • The potential $205 million Chris Paul contract

  • The cost of retaining restricted free agent Clint Capela

  • Remaking the roster: What to do with the bench?

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The Rockets’ offseason will focus on their own key free agents, Chris Paul and Clint Capela.

  • Despite having only $77.5 million in guaranteed contracts, Houston projects to be a luxury-tax team once both players are signed. Expect payroll to range between $140 million and $150 million with Paul signed at the max and Capela at a starting salary of $20 million.

  • Creating room in free agency would see Houston gut its roster, move players such as Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Ryan Anderson to teams with cap space and not take back salary.

  • Besides the salary-cap logistics, Paul and Capela would have to take a significant discount.

Team needs

  • Starting: PG, PF, C

  • Backup: PG, SF

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Rockets offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Cap space this summer in Indiana is fluid based on the player option of Thaddeus Young and the decision to retain or waive the players on partial or non-guaranteed contracts.

  • If Indiana takes a conservative approach and Young opts-in on his contract, the Pacers will likely be right at the salary cap with the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exceptions to use.

  • With shooting off the bench a priority, Indiana could target a player such as free agent Wayne Ellington with the full midlevel.

  • If Jefferson and Joe Young are waived, room would stand at $13.8 million, comparable to both above exceptions. In this case, Indiana would have the $4.4 million room exception in addition to cap space.

  • One area to watch: the available roster spots. With their two draft picks, the Pacers will have 15 players under contract — the league limit even before free agency has even started.

Team needs

  • Starter: None

  • Bench: PG, SG, SF

Free-agent status

Get the full Pacers offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Turning value out of the lottery: Picks 12 and 13

  • The future of DeAndre Jordan (player option)

  • Use 2018-19 as a bridge year to 2019

  • Getting healthy at point guard

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Even if Jordan opted out of his contract, there is no clear path for the Clippers to be active in free agency this summer unless they are willing to tear down their roster, including Milos Teodosic and Patrick Beverley.

  • In addition to releasing both point guards, LA would also need Austin Rivers to opt out of his contract.

  • All three transactions would leave the Clippers with $25 million in room.

  • LA will likely have the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exception.

Team needs

Starter: SG, C

Bench: SF, PF

Free-agent status

  • Montrezl Harrell | Restricted Bird

  • Avery Bradley | Bird

  • Milos Teodosic | Restricted non-Bird

  • Austin Rivers | Bird (player option)

  • DeAndre Jordan | Bird (player option)

Still to come: Full Clippers offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • Sell the basketball product first to free agents, not the city

  • The future of restricted free agent Julius Randle

  • Have a Plan B if you strike out: One-year contracts and roll over cap space to 2019

  • The cost of trading Luol Deng: Give up first-round pick(s)?

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

No team has more options when it comes to building its roster than the Lakers.

Los Angeles can choose four different paths;

  1. Create two maximum-salary slots but at the expense of Randle, while also stretching the $37 million owed to Deng

  2. Create two maximum-salary slots, retain Randle but deplete draft assets by trading Deng

  3. Sign one max player, retain Randle and roll over cap space until 2019

  4. Sign free agents or acquire players on one-year contracts, retain flexibility and wait until 2019

Team needs

  • Starter: SG, C

  • Bench: PG, SF, PF, C

Free-agent status

Get the full Lakers offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Full year with coach JB Bickerstaff: Priority in player development

  • The impact of the draft: Missed opportunities in the past

  • Be honest with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol about the process of a rebuild

  • The realization with Chandler Parsons: Best suited coming off the bench

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The Grizzlies will enter free agency over the salary cap with $110 million in guaranteed contracts.

  • Being over the cap will come with restrictions like those of last summer, as the Grizzlies will have only the $8.6 million midlevel exception.

  • The Grizzlies do not have the $3.4 million bi-annual exception based on the Tyreke Evans signing last July.

Team needs

Free-agent status

Get the full Grizzlies offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The cost of being a playoff team: Now pressed against the luxury tax

  • The future of Hassan Whiteside: Is he a long-term piece?

  • Creating flexibility to bring back Wayne Ellington

  • The Justise Winslow rookie extension

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • After spending the past two offseasons chasing stars, Miami will not be an active participant when it comes to the likes of LeBron James or Paul George.

  • The free agent spending of last summer and the increase in the Tyler Johnson contract have the Heat with nine players comprising $118 million in guaranteed contracts, $5 million below the luxury tax.

  • Besides early Bird rights on Ellington, Miami will likely have only the $8.6 million non-taxpayer midlevel and $3.4 million biannual exception to use. However, the Heat will be hard capped if they use more than $5.2 million of the non-tax exception.

Team needs

Free-agent status

Get the full Heat offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Unless the Bucks shake up their roster in the offseason, expect the team to enter July 1 over the cap with a projected $103 million and 13 players under contract.

  • Even if Parker is not brought back, Milwaukee will have only the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exceptions to use to sign players.

  • The $10.5 million owed to Mirza Teletovic that was eventually stretched with a $3.5 million cap over the next three seasons will be removed starting on Nov. 7.

Team needs

  • Starter: PF, C

  • Bench: SF, PF

Free-agent status

Get the full Bucks offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Change the bench narrative: Selling a real role in free agency with limited resources

  • The structure of a Karl-Anthony Towns extension

  • The future finances: Three max contracts in 2019?

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Time has run out when it comes to the Timberwolves’ financial flexibility.

  • Because Minnesota has five players earning more than $14 million next season, the front office will need to keep a close eye on the luxury tax.

  • With Jamal Crawford opting out, Minnesota has $117 million in salary with five roster spots open. The Timberwolves do have the option of waiving Cole Aldrich, which would save $4.9 million.

  • Minnesota does have the $8.6 million non-taxpayer midlevel or $3.4 million biannual exceptions, but using the full exception (or over $5.3 million) would hard cap the Wolves and likely put them in the tax once the remainder of the roster is filled out.

Team needs

Starter: None

Bench: SG, SF, PF

Free-agent status

Get the full Timberwolves offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Bringing Cousins back on a max contract would leave New Orleans with a projected $132 million in salary, $9 million over the tax threshold and a tax penalty of $14.5 million. That number will increase to $23.7 million if Rondo signs for the tax midlevel

  • Letting Cousins go would keep the Pelicans under the tax but with only the $8.6 million midlevel and $3.4 million bi-annual exceptions to use.

Team needs

Starter: PG, SF

Bench: PG, PF, C

Free-agent status

  • DeMarcus Cousins | Bird

  • Ian Clark | Non-Bird

  • Rajon Rondo | Non-Bird

Get the full Pelicans offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Cap space in New York will be based on two factors: the $18.6 million player option of Enes Kanter and the $36 million owed to Noah.

  • If Kanter returns and there is no resolution with Noah, New York will be right at the salary cap. This in theory could be a good problem to have for a team that is rebuilding and looking to have cap flexibility in 2019, not this summer with an at-best average free-agent class.

  • The decision on both will occur before July 1, giving the Knicks a clear direction on how to proceed in free agency.

Team needs

Free-agent status

Get the full Knicks offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The options for Paul George: Five-year max, short-term deal, opt-in and trade, sign-and-trade

  • Cost of George returning: $115 million luxury tax (at the minimum)

  • The future of Carmelo Anthony: $28 million early-termination option. Buyout or bring back?

  • Improving the bench but at the expense of Jerami Grant?

  • Have a contingency plan if George does not return

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • With or without George, the Thunder are heading towards the luxury tax for the fourth time in five seasons.

  • If George returns, OKC will have a payroll of $153 million and a tax bill of $115 million.

  • The Thunder will likely lose Grant to free agency. Bringing back the forward would cost around $53 million in salary and taxes for one year.

  • If George leaves, the Thunder roster would resemble a lottery team with $117 million committed in payroll.

  • Bringing back Grant helps but the signing along with filling out the roster would push OKC into the luxury tax with a projected $130 million in salary and a tax bill of $18 million.

  • Is $148 million sustainable for a borderline playoff team? Unlikely.

Team needs

Starter: SF, PF

Bench: PG, C

Free-agent status

  • Paul George | Bird (player option)

  • Carmelo Anthony | Bird (ETO)

  • Jerami Grant | Bird

  • Josh Heustis | Fourth year restriction

  • Raymond Felton | Non-Bird

Get the full Thunder offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Finding stability at head coach: Ran through Jacque Vaughn, Scott Skiles and Frank Vogel since 2012-13

  • A final audit of the roster by the new front office

  • Use restricted free agent Aaron Gordon as an asset

  • The development of Jonathan Isaac

Draft assets

Cap space

  • The Magic will need to weigh the value of creating cap space against returning the same roster.

  • By virtue of the $16.5 million Gordon cap hold and the first-round hold, Orlando will enter the summer over the projected $101 million cap.

  • Letting Gordon walk (unlikely) and waiving Shelvin Mack ($1 million guaranteed) would leave Orlando with only $15.9 million in room.

  • The Magic do have the flexibility to create room if needed because of the expiring contracts of Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. Both players combine to earn $22.8 million in 2018.

Team needs

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Magic offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • Big-game hunting in free agency and trade market … or take a conservative approach?

  • Don’t be afraid to roll over cap space to 2019

  • Follow the blueprint from 2017-18: Add veteran shooters

  • Take advantage of the draft: Six total picks

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The 76ers will have two options. Create cap space up to $25 million and go free-agent shopping — or roll over the room to 2019 and sign players to a one-year contract, similar to the JJ Redick deal last year.

  • Philadelphia can create up to $32 million if it declines the options on Richaun Holmes and stretches the Jerryd Bayless contract.

Team needs

  • Starter: SG

  • Bench: SG, SF, PF

Free-agent status

Get the full 76ers offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The debate with the No. 1 pick: Deandre Ayton or Luca Doncic?

  • Resetting the culture: 170-plus losses in three seasons

  • Player development is key with a new coach

  • The evaluation of the roster: Expiring contracts and former picks that don’t fit become trade

  • Waiting on a Devin Booker extension

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Over the salary cap when free agency begins, the Suns would need to renounce their own free agents (Elfrid Payton and Alex Len) and waive Alan Williams to create optimal cap space ($20 million).

  • With a new coach and still in the early stages of putting a competitive team together, Phoenix should not be a buyer in July.

Team needs

  • Starter: PG, PF, C

  • Bench: PG

Free-agent status

Get the full Suns offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • Expectations after peaking to soon? Projected 10th in the West and finished 3rd

  • Don’t overreact about the roster after getting swept in the first round

  • The cost of restricted free agents: Jusuf Nurkic, Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Besides their own restricted free agents, expect a quiet summer in Portland when it comes to free agency.

  • Already with $112 million in guaranteed contracts, Portland is $11 million below the tax threshold and will only have the $5.4 million tax midlevel exception available in free agency.

  • If Portland is going to make roster changes it will have to be done with a trade.

Team needs

  • Starter: SF, C

  • Bench: PG, SG, PF

Free-agent status

Still to come: Full Trail Blazers offseason breakdown.


Offseason focus

  • Take the best available player in the draft

  • Communicate with free agents: Set the expectations of a rebuild

  • Don’t waste draft picks: Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis

  • Follow the Warriors model in 2019: Rebuild with draft picks and keep cap space for free agents

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The likely scenario is for Iman Shumpert ($11 million) and Garrett Temple ($8 million) to opt in to their contracts for 2018-19.

  • Once that happens, Sacramento will have $16 million in room at the start of free agency.

Team needs

  • Starter: SF, PF

  • Bench: PF, C

Free-agent status

  • Garrett Temple | Early Bird (player option)

  • Vince Carter | Non-Bird

  • Bruno Cabocio | Restricted Bird

  • Iman Shumpert | Bird (player option)

Get the full Kings offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The Spurs are not operating from a position of strength this summer when it comes to flexibility.

  • Though the front office has shown to be creative in the past, San Antonio will enter the offseason right at the threshold with $100 million in guaranteed contracts. This does not include the $8 million in free agent holds of their restricted free agents.

  • One thing to keep an eye on is the player options of Danny Green and Rudy Gay.

  • If both players opt out, San Antonio would have only the $8.6 million non-tax and $3.4 million biannual exceptions to replace them.

Team needs

  • Starter: SG, C

  • Bench: SF, PF

Free-agent status

  • Danny Green | Bird (player option)

  • Rudy Gay | Non-Bird (player option)

  • Joffrey Lauvergne | Non-Bird (player option)

  • Tony Parker | Bird

  • Kyle Anderson | Restricted Bird

  • Davis Bertans | Restricted early Bird

  • Bryn Forbes | Restricted early Bird

Get the full Spurs offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The void at head coach: Pressure to win now

  • At a crossroads with the roster: Bring back the core players or shed salary?

  • The priority of restricted free agent Fred VanVleet

  • The cost of the roster: Luxury tax team in 2018-19

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The cost of free agency in 2017 and the $42 million Norman Powell extension will likely have the Raptors in the tax.

  • Before free agency begins, Toronto has $126 million in guaranteed salary, $3 million above the tax threshold with the free agency of VanVleet looming.

  • Bringing back VanVleet would cost Toronto around $8.6 million in salary and an additional $14 million in luxury taxes.

Team needs

  • Starter: None

  • Bench: PG, SG

Free-agent status

Get the full Raptors offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • How much of a priority is Derrick Favors?

  • Use the rookie scale as a comp for RFA Dante Exum‘s new deal

  • The non-guaranteed contracts: Jonas Jerebko, Epke Udoh, Thabo Sefolosha

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • The $32 million in free agent holds of Favors and Exum have the Jazz over the cap despite $75 million in guaranteed salary.

  • Letting both players go (unlikely) and releasing the three players on non-guaranteed contracts would have Utah with $26 million in cap space.

  • Expect the Jazz to operate over the salary cap and have their two exceptions ($8.6 million and $3.4 million) available.

Team needs

Free-agent status

  • Derrick Favors | Bird

  • Raul Neto | Restricted Bird

  • Dante Exum | Restricted Bird

Get the full Jazz offseason breakdown here.


Offseason focus

  • The costs associated with keeping this roster together

  • The expiring contracts: Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris

  • The limited flexibility in free agency

Draft assets

Cap-space breakdown

  • Faced with a second consecutive season of being in the luxury tax, this time at a higher cost, Washington will have to be creative with little flexibility to improve upon its roster.

  • Barring a draft night trade, Washington has $127 million in guaranteed salary, $4 million above the tax threshold.

  • The projected $6 million tax penalty projects to jump to $14.5 million if minimum salary free agents are signed to the remaining three roster spots. Using the full tax midlevel exception would cost the Wizards an additional $9 million in penalties.

  • Washington will get tax relief when Jodie Meeks serves the remainder of his suspension. The projected tax credit will save Washington $500K.

  • Keep in mind also that John Wall‘s super max extension signed last summer does not kick in until 2019-20.

  • The Wizards project to be over the salary cap in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Team needs

Free-agent status

Get the full Wizards offseason breakdown here.


Bird rights explainer

Bird rights

A team can exceed the cap to sign a free agent who has played three consecutive seasons with his current team (carries over in a trade).

Restricted: A free agent either coming off his first-round rookie contract or has signed a three-year contract and has three years of service or fewer. A player becomes restricted if he receives a qualifying offer before June 30. His current team has the right to match any offers.

Early Bird rights

Teams can exceed the cap to sign a player who has spent two consecutive seasons with a team (without being waived, carries over in a trade), but they are restricted to 175 percent of his previous salary or 105 percent of the average player salary. A team an exceed either limit with available cap space. Minimum years on a new deal is two (not including options) and maximum is four.

Restricted: A free agent who signed a two-year contract, has three years of service or fewer and receives a qualifying offer before June 30. The maximum allowable in an offer sheet cannot exceed the projected $8.6 million non-taxpayer midlevel in the first year.

Non-Bird rights

A free agent who has played one season with a team can sign for 120 percent of his previous contract or 120 percent of the minimum salary exception. Teams can exceed either limits but only with cap space or an exception.

Restricted: The maximum allowable in an offer sheet from an opposing team cannot exceed the projected $8.6 million non-tax midlevel in the first year.

Other: A player who had his third or fourth year in his rookie deal declined will not be a restricted free agent. The current team can only offer a contract up to the salary of the declined option.



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