By my count, I’ve looked at 13 players who will be on the roster (or at least carry a roster charge/cap hold with them) next season.
John Salmons: 8,500,000
Francisco Garcia: 5,800,000
Tyreke Evans: 4,151,640
DeMarcus Cousins: 3,627,720
Jason Thompson: 3,001,284
JJ Hickson: 2,354,537
Jimmer Fredette’s cap hold (for now which is assuming rookie salaries stay at the same level): 2,308,320
Donte Greene: 1,679,914
Marcus Thornton’s cap hold (it’s the same as his Qualifying OFfer FYI): 1,059,293
Hassan Whiteside: 788,872
Tyler Honeycutt (or minimum salary charge for every roster spot not filled up to 12): 450,000
Isaiah Thomas (same thing as Honeycutt): 450,000
With the exception of Honeycutt and Thomas, who are not guaranteed salaries, everyone else’s cap hold or relative salary will count towards the roster. Marcus Thornton, because of his relatively low cap hold in relation to his likely salary for next season, is probably going to be last to get his “payday”.
The reason there are minimum charges up to 12 is to keep teams from doing what Miami essentially did by getting multiple stars with cap room. (Although Bosh, James and Wade did take less than the total maximum all 3 could have commanded. Not a whole lot less, and certainly nothing to claim sacrifice over, but less nonetheless.)
Having said that, the Kings look to have roughly 34,171,500 in committed salary and/or cap holds/roster charges. This is ignoring Sam Dalembert’s massive cap hold because there is no way the Kings would ever sign someone, like say Nene or Marc Gasol, without renouncing Dalembert first.
Since we don’t know how the salaries will exactly shape out, it’s as much a guessing game as anything as to what happens from here on out. But it’s safe to say that those 12, minus perhaps Jason Thompson or Donte Greene, or both, will likely not be part of the Kings roster after the 2 trades that brought in John Salmons and JJ Hickson.
Either way, right now, there are bigger issue’s on the NBA’s plate than to figure out how much cap room the Kings will have next summer. What’s not without doubt is this: Anyone having an idea of how the new cap will look like is essentially posturing, and, without a doubt, the roster will look like the original 12 on it when a new CBA comes out and is agreed upon on (assuming that happens this year).
Since no-one knows where the salary cap will end up, or what kind of moves you can make in Free-Agency (not a guaranteed elixir by any means), a lot of this is up in the air. I could tell you things like I doubt any team will trade the Kings a meaningful player like Josh Smith (sorry Smith fans) because the Hawks will be over the cap. I’d be rather surprised if any team is “forced” to trade players because they are over the cap. If anything, teams like the Hawks will likely see those very players seeing rollback on their salaries and thus as their cap number goes down, the need to come up with a creative solution goes along with it.
Let’s just say that if drastic things like a firm hard cap comes around, I’d be shocked if Joe Johnson or Josh Smith (or any player of that caliber) even gets traded because of a new hard cap. There are owners that want hard caps to make more money; they aren’t looking to break up teams. Not only have I always doubted the Kings will be able to take advantage (simply due to teams not ever having given in before and most of us–humans–don’t change our stripes dramatically mid-stream), I doubt it will matter much in the final analysis.
If there is anything to look out for, it will be to note how much a team without Bird rights (that’s the team trying to re-sign their own player) can sign another player for how many years and the percentage amount of raises a team can give off the first year salary.
The current rule for teams with Bird rights is to be able to sign their own players to a 6 year deal with 10.5% raises. Non-Bird teams can sign another teams player, with cap room of course, to a 5 year deal with 8% raises.
If the allowed years & percentage raises drops even further from what Bird rights can offer a player, teams with cap room are going to have a significantly less advantage. That’s the problem with the assumption of cap room. Cap room is great if you have players that can help you on the Free Agent market and you have the type of money they would want to sign.
Since Nene is often brought up by Kings fans everywhere, let’s discuss Nene for a moment. What if Nene is willing to leave Denver, but only for a certain amount? And, what if Denver holds all the cards to re-sign him, and there isn’t a possibility to negotiate a sign and trade? What if the same problem exists, other than Gasol is likely to remain a restricted Free Agent in the new CBA (that’s not likely to change), with Marc Gasol? What if the only player the Kings can sign is Sam Dalembert because that’s the only player the Kings can realistically offer money to?
I have a feeling that this off-season, whenever it happens, may not be the Eureka! moment that many Kings fans are hoping for. In fact, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a monkey wrench thrown in the plans to sign a Nene like player.
Why? No particular reason or anything. Just a gut feeling that teams will want the ability to drastically reduce the financial incentive of a player to leave and reduce a players power to neuter a teams ability to offer more money. (This is precisely what LeBron James, and Chris Bosh to a lesser extent, did. However, Cleveland and Toronto salvaged a little bit of something with Sign & Trades. Toronto more so than Cleveland, but, well, Cleveland was never willingly going to sign & trade LeBron James anyway.) Teams want their players to stay, and teams want their players for a reason. Usually those players are valuable, and, thus, the ability to remain successful, or financially viable (I refuse to believe franchises aren’t financially viable now), is always within grasp.
Right now I’m skeptical that any new CBA, especially any CBA agreed to by September, or even January, will give the Kings a great possibility to use that cap room to large effect. If history is any indication, the cap room the Kings have will either be used to re-sign Dalembert or have little to no effect at all. I hope I’m wrong.