According to an NBA memo to teams in April, the league’s expected salary cap for 2018-19 is $101 million and $108 million in 2019-20.
Between Knight, Tyson Chandler, T.J. Warren, Jared Dudley, Josh Jackson, Alan Williams, Dragan Bender, Devin Booker, Troy Daniels, Marquese Chriss, and the current cap holds of Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, and the guaranteed half salary of Tyler Ulis if not retained, the Suns have $79,888,759.50 allocated for the 2018-19 season.
*Note – I included Alan Williams and his $5.52M salary for this season, although there is no guarantee that the Suns pick it up as it is a team option, and there are no contract numbers yet for Elie Okobo or George King, however they will be small.
That said, Phoenix is poised to be around $12 million under the cap even with Knight’s full salary intact for this season (this number is a little vague since there are no contracts yet for Okobo or King).
(Should they waive Alan Williams, they will be around $17 million under the cap.)
Should they waive and stretch Knight’s contract, that will open the amount of free cap space to approximately $21 million for this season and about $26 million if they do not retain Williams.
Remember, that number can still increase a little bit more if Knight signs a contract elsewhere.
Looking forward to 2019-20, we all know that Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley’s contracts come off the books, however, Devin Booker’s (presumed) max contract extension will begin. At the moment, without any salary acquisitions this offseason, the Suns will still have considerable cap space available (as I see it, over $20 million as well), which of course can be expanded somewhat by the waiving and stretching of Knight’s contract.
Even knowing all of this, I believe that it is not be worth the Phoenix Suns waiving and invoking the stretch provision on Brandon Knight’s contract unless a trade for a star player was imminent and the only way to fit him under the cap right away would be if Knight’s contract was stretched.
I would also only expect that such a move was for a point guard as waiving Knight would leave the roster awfully thin at point negating any gains that was expected to be made this season with the return and help of Knight.
If no such trade came to be, then the roster can survive with Knight’s contract intact this season, whilst also having his veteran experience as a starting point guard helping to guide the young Suns as a bridge to the next long-term point guard. Potentially then in the 2019 offseason (or even by the trade deadline) his contract (and talent) might be needed elsewhere and on the final year of an expiring contract, Knight might be moved clearing up the requisite cap space.