Today [Friday, July 1] marks the first day of NBA free agency, and The Source has got you covered with an all-you-need-to-know guide on what’s about to go down.
Today is the first day teams can negotiate with free agents, but no deals are final until the NBA’s salary cap is determined. This is why DeAndre Jordan was able to return to L.A. even though he agreed to a verbal deal with Dallas.
The salary cap for the 2016-2017 season is projected to be around $94 million, which would be around a $24-million-dollar increase from last year. The cap will be determined after the NBA’s annual audit is complete, which is about 10 days from now.
This huge spike in cap space means that NBA contracts will be looking very different than what we’ve grown accustomed to, and we’ll see a lot more role players being “overpaid” because those deals are relative to the new max deals. We will also see some elite players signing one-year deals, such as LeBron James, in anticipation of the cap increasing even more next year, to a projected $107 million dollars, which would mean the maximum amount a player could be paid would be even higher.
The other factor you need to know about is the salary floor, or the minimum amount a team must spend for a season. This minimum is 90 percent of the salary cap, so if the cap is going to be $94 million, the floor will be around $84 million.
That means teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, who sign cheap scrubs in order to tank for a good draft pick, will actually have to sign some decent players in order to meet the salary floor. Teams are not required to meet the floor, but they are penalized for how much they are below the minimum, so the 76ers will definitely be spending some money this year.
There are several rumors that say the 76ers will be offering Harrison Barnes the maximum, which would not only put the Golden State Warriors in an awkward position, but if they could sign him, help them reach the salary floor.
Now you’re all prepared for NBA free agency! The cap will be around $94 million, all deals over the next week or so are just verbal agreements, and there are sure to be some surprising deals. Kevin Durant, Mike Conley, Dwight Howard, Al Horford, and countless other free agents could be on the move, so make sure to follow The Source for the major updates.