NBA Free Agency 2019: Which Teams Have the Most Cap Space?

Certainties are always at a premium when it comes to NBA free agency, but there is little doubt that New York will swing for the fences this summer.

And that's New York as a city and not just the Knicks, for the Brooklyn Nets are as determined to make a splash in the market this summer as their more glamorous neighbors.

According to figures compiled by Spotrac, the two teams are forecast to have the highest amount of cap space available in the league.

The Nets are projected to have $67 million available in practical cap space—that is cap space with cap holds renounced if the team's combined salary was below the cap maximum—while the Knicks follow with $60.4 million.

If reports are to be believed, the Nets could use the lion's share of that sum toward luring Kyrie Irving to New York and hoping he can convince Kevin Durant to follow suit.

Earlier this week, Bleacher Report indicated Irving had held conversations with the two-time NBA Finals MVP over the possibility of a move to New York.

Despite a torn Achilles that could rule him out for most of next season, Durant is a wanted man in the Big Apple, with the Knicks long billed as the number one destination should he opt to become a free agent this summer.

Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics and Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors greet each other prior to the start of their NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on January 27, 2018 in Oakland, California. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty

The Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers are the next two teams with the highest projected cap space, which could be particularly significant as far as the latter is concerned.

Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are both set to become unrestricted free agents this summer and the Sixers have some important decisions to make. One of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics, faces a similar scenario.

The franchise has $35 million in projected cap space and looks set to lose Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, who have both made clear they believe their futures lie away from Boston.

The latter is just one of the names on the Los Angeles Clippers' radar.

Aside from Horford, the Clippers continue to pursue Kawhi Leonard and believe they can convince him to swap Canada for his native southern California.

With over $54 million of cap room available, the Clippers can afford two max-contract level salaries.

Luring Leonard away from Toronto will be far from easy, however, as the Raptors are the only team who can offer him a five-year, $190 million Supermax deal.

On Monday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the reigning NBA Finals MVP would decline his 2019-20 player option and become an unrestricted free agent, adding that he was "seriously considering" re-signing with Toronto.

If the Clippers are expected to make waves in free agency, their neighbors' first priority is to bulk up a wafer-thin roster. After a dismal season, the Lakers pulled the trigger earlier this month and traded for Anthony Davis.

In exchange for Davis, the Lakers sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks—including the number four overall in Thursday's NBA draft —to New Orleans.

The timing of the trade for Davis, however, could have a major unwanted impact for the Lakers. ESPN reported that July 6 is the earliest date the trade can be officially completed and would leave the Lakers with $27.7 million in salary cap space—or $23.7 million should Davis not forego his $4 million trade bonus.

Should the two teams wait until July 30 to complete the trade, the Lakers would have $32.5 million in cap space as they would operate as a team over the cap and would therefore use the fourth overall pick in this year's draft as salary.

With the Pelicans unlikely to do the Lakers a favor, the potential nine-million swing will almost certainly mean the 16-time NBA champions will not add a third max-contract level free agent.

In fact, they could face a battle to adequately fill up their roster.

Projected cap space according to Spotrac

(All figures in between brackets denote team over the cap)

  1. Brooklyn Nets—$66.9 million
  2. New York Knicks—$60.4 million
  3. Sacramento Kings—$59.1 million
  4. Philadelphia 76ers—$58.9 million
  5. Los Angeles Clippers—$54.1 million
  6. Dallas Mavericks—$46.9 million
  7. Indiana Pacers—$32.5 million
  8. Boston Celtics—$32.3 million
  9. New Orleans Pelicans—$31.2 million
  10. Los Angeles Lakers—$23.1 million
  11. Phoenix Suns—$21.4 million
  12. Chicago Bulls—$18.6 million
  13. Orlando Magic—$17.7 million
  14. Milwaukee Bucks—$17.2 million
  15. Atlanta Hawks—$12.7 million
  16. Memphis Grizzlies—$10.3 million
  17. Charlotte Hornets—$5.8 million
  18. San Antonio Spurs—$4.3 million
  19. Washington Wizards—$2.6 million
  20. Utah Jazz—$219,000
  21. Toronto Raptors—($5.9 million)
  22. Minnesota Timberwolves—($7.7 million)
  23. Denver Nuggets—($12.1 million)
  24. Detroit Pistons—($15 million)
  25. Houston Rockets—($17.1 million)
  26. Golden State Warriors—($17.5 million)
  27. Portland Trail Blazers—($28.9 million)
  28. Miami Heat—($35.1 million)
  29. Cleveland Cavaliers—($36.4 million)
  30. Oklahoma City Thunder—($41.8 million)
NBA Free Agency 2019: Which Teams Have the Most Cap Space? | Sports
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