5 Western Conference Teams with the Most Cap Space
Guaranteed Cap Space: $55.7 Million Maximum Cap Space: $58.6 Million
The Kings have some nice young pieces in Skal Labissiere, Buddy Heild, and Willie Cauley-Stien. Hoiwever, although each of those players have a promising future, Sacramento lack players who have the talent to win now. As an organization, the Kings need to get their act together and figure out a plan and vision for the franchise.
Look for the Kings to target one of Jason Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, or Dennis Smith in the upcoming draft. Each of these could become leaders on a team if developed properly and each will be thrust into contention for Rookie of the Year if they land on a team willing to hand over a heavy usage right away.
When it comes to free agency, Tyreke Evans and Darren Collison are players that can help playoff calibre teams right now and, since neither have experienced much in terms of the post season, it is probable that both jump ship and leave Sacramento. Expect Sacramento’s off-season to be more of the same, one illogical move after another because this franchise seems incapable of functioning properly.
Golden State Warriors
Guaranteed Cap Space: $38.4 Million Maximum Cap Space: $57.0 Million
The Warriors are in for an expensive summer. Their priority will be securing Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to long-term deals, while finding room to re-sign Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.
If Durant either opts in or take anything short of a max contract they can re-sign Curry, Livingston, and Iguodala over the cap as they control the latter three’s bird rights. If Durant requires the max salary that he is eligible for, then the bleeding will start.
In that situation the Warriors obviously resign Curry to the max, but with Green and Thompson’s contracts still on the books that doesn’t leave much, if any room to fill the roster with role players. They would then have to renounce the rights to one or both of Livingston and Iguodala.
Los Angeles Clippers
Guaranteed Cap Space: – $3.0 Million Maximum Cap Space: $55.0 Million
The LA Clippers are going nowhere.
I predict that one of either Chris Paul or Blake Griffin will look at the competition in the West and decide they are not coming back to LA and, once that happens, the dominoes start to fall.
If one of Paul or Griffin decides to leave, there is a chance that the other is gone as well because there is no reason to return to a downgraded version of this year’s Clippers team. Essentially the Clippers have two choices, start rebuilding or convince Chris Paul and Blake Griffin that their best chance of winning a title is with a franchise that has not made it too a conference finals ever in its history.
Guaranteed Cap Space: $29.7 Million Maximum Cap Space: $45.9 Million
Denver is going to make a splash in the off-season, but that doesn’t mean a change of direction. Continuing to compliment Nikola Jokic with young, developing talent on the same timeline is their priority. Both Jamal Murray and Gary Harris are keepers, while Emmanuel Mudiay and Will Barton are rotation players that are expendable.
In terms of the draft, Miles Bridges would have been a superb fit for the Nuggets, as his cutting and shooting would be perfect compliments to Jokic, but with Bridges out of the draft they should still target a forward. I look to OG Anunoby, Terrence Ferguson, or Justin Jackson as guys they could draft to add more positional versatility (all between 6’7-6’9 and mobile). Signing a veteran free agent that won’t hinder the development of their young core would be wise,so look for Denver to be in play for Patty Mills, Darren Collison, or Langston Galloway, as a backup ball-handler.
If I were the GM of the Nuggets, I would commit to Jokic as the team’s centerpiece and start a trial by fire with the young roster. Shed veterans holding up valuable minutes like Wilson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, and Kenneth Faried and figure out what you have outside of Harris, Murray, and Jokic.
Guaranteed Cap Space: $41.03 Million Maximum Cap Space:$41.03 Million
When Dallas traded for Nerlens Noel at pennies on the dollar, they did so with every intention of resigning him this off-season. Therefore you can fully expect the Mavericks to match any offer received by the young center.
Yogi Ferrell and Seth Curry were both nice surprises for Dallas this season, and coupled with their expensive front court of Harrison Barnes and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks have something to build on. Nowitzki will be back, and the Mavs will want to sign capable veterans that can help them get back to the playoffs before he retires. Look for them to be in the market for CJ Miles, Mychal Green, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Secondly, they need to hit on what will be only their second lottery pick in the last 17 years. In will be interesting to see what they do here – they could look to gamble on a young player with high upside, or add a player who can come in and contribute right away, helping to send Dirk back to the playoffs before he chooses to call it a career.