The following is a list of nets assets this summer. Where players are listed by position, their salary is in parentheses. Where players are listed as free agents, their cap hold is in parentheses. Critically, for your information, a cap hold is a placeholder value for a free agent that counts against the salary cap, unless the Nets resign the player (the new contract replaces the hold), or renounce the player. For a restricted free agent (DLO and RHJ), if the Nets renounce the player, the player becomes unrestricted – thus, you do not renounce a RFA unless you are letting them go. For an unrestricted free agent, renouncing them means that you still can keep them, but must use cap space to do so (you lose bird rights). Furthermore, cap holds are placed on the cap for first round picks (not second rounders). Finally, to the extent players on the cap, unrenounced free agents, and first rounders with cap holds total less than 12, for each player under 12, there is one incomplete roster charge assessed to the cap.
This article will have some analysis, but will mostly focus on the facts as to the Nets assets.
Starting with 2018, the Nets, with Faried’s complete salary in the fold, are $14.1 million over the cap. This means that a buyout does not change their asset outlook, as a buyout cannot get them under the cap (nor would a buyout change how much player money they can trade in or out).
As to the summer of 2019, two assumptions must be made, because they are obvious:
1: Allen Crabbe, due to being drastically overpaid, will opt into his contract.
2: the Nets will not renounce DLO, because they want to keep him.
In short, this means that the Nets, as of now, have $30,350,781 in space next summer, when accounting for Russell’s over $21 million cap hold, as follows:
- 2019-2020 roster
- PG: Dinwiddie ($10,605,600)
- SG: LeVert ($2,625,718), Crabbe ($18,500,000)
- SF: Harris ($7,666,667), Musa ($1,911,600)
- PF: Kurucs ($1,699,236)
- C: Allen ($2,376,840)
- Draft Pick Holds: 17 + 27 ($4,935,360)
- Russell’s accounted for cap hold: ($21,059,095)
- Incomplete Roster Charges: $897,158 per spot, three spots ($3,588,632)
- Dead Money: $5,474,787 (Deron Williams stretch)
- Salary Cap: $109,000,000 projected cap. $78,649,219 in commitments. $30,350,781 in space.
- Non Russell Free Agents, with cap holds in parentheses: Davis ($5,388,800), Hollis-Jefferson ($7,411,071), Dudley ($14,295,000), Carroll ($23,100,000), Napier ($1,845,301 nonguaranteed), Graham ($1,645,357 nonguaranteed), Williams + Pinson (no cap holds for two ways)
For starters, it should be noted that due to the rookie scale, the Nets cap space figure will depend partially on where they pick, and where Denver picks. Conservatively, the Nets may pick anywhere from 6-20, while the Nuggets may pick anywhere from 20-30. That means the Nets can have anywhere from $26,901,141–$30,773,301 in cap space, depending on how high or low both picks fall.
Either number means the Nets lack max cap space as of now. The max for a 7-9 year experience player (Kawhi Leonard) is $32,700,000, while the max for a 10 year experience player (Kevin Durant) is $38,150,000.
There are two big things the Nets can do to pry open max cap space. The first is trading their only non friendly contract — Allen Crabbe. If his money is entirely gone, the Nets will have ten year experience max space (read: Durant). If the Nets eliminate approximately two thirds of his salary, they should have Durant like space. If the Nets eliminate about half of Crabbe’s salary, they should have Leonard like space.
The other way to pry room open, quietly, is D’Angelo Russell. No, the answer is NOT to renounce him – that would be stupid. The answer is to see if he is agreeable to an extension at which his starting salary would be less than his cap hold. If you assume, for argument purposes, that Russell’s year 1 salary on his next contract is $16,059,095, or $5 million less than his hold, then, by signing him to the contract, the Nets would open $5 million in space. It would thus behoove the Nets to sign him ASAP — in essentially the opposite scenario as they used to sign Joe Harris last, in 2018 (since his new salary substantially exceeded his tiny cap hold).
As for the other Nets with cap holds, Davis is valuable, but as a reserve, their max pursuits should not be impeded by his hold if they are in the game for some excellent free agents. The other holds essentially should be renounced, at how large they are.
Happy trade season and summer!