The Phoenix Suns have more cap space than most fans realize, with the ability, should they so choose, to come up with much more. Here is how it will all sort out this Sunday.
A ton of teams have cap space when free agency starts, which has caused a multitude of Phoenix Suns twitter accounts have delusions of Corey Joseph running around in their head.
Look, that may sound like way overblown fears, but the math makes the paranoia justifiable.
Just walk through the logistics of Sunday evening with me:
When you wake up Sunday morning, you’ll have nine teams already over the cap and two within a million bucks of the cap. For all intents and purposes, we can just say those 11 teams are unlikely to be players in free agency unless they go trade crazy and start stretching people.
If you’re playing along at home the eliminated teams are: Thunder, Cavaliers, Heat, Blazers, Rockets, Pistons, Nuggets, T’Wolves, Raptors, Jazz, and Wizards in order from highest spending to lowest.
Now let’s take into account the things we 99.999% are sure will happen at 6pm on Sunday.
We know the Warriors will offer Klay Thompson the max. At that point, they’re gone.
The Bucks are going to offer Khris Middleton the max and they’re gone.
So, now you’ve got 13 teams unable to do anything more than offer the exceptions.
Now let’s take into account what we think we know.
Kemba Walker is heading to Boston. Good for Boston, off you go.
At 6:01pm est on Sunday we should be in a spot where more than half the league’s teams are off the board and about $500 million in cap room (accounting for cap holds that’ll clear up) left to split among the remaining teams.
Assuming Harrison Barnes takes the offer to return to the Kings, It should look something like:
- Knicks: $60 Million
- 76ers: $59 Million
- Clippers $54 Million
- Mavs $47 Million
- Hornets $44 Million (I’m assuming they renounce Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky)
- Kings $35 Million
- Pacers $32 Million
- Pelicans $31 Million
- Lakers $30 Million
- Bulls $22 Million
- Suns $21 Million
- Magic $18 Million
- Hawks $13 Million
- Grizzlies $10 Million
- Spurs $4 Million
That’s a lot of change, but you’ve also got 40% of the players in the league looking for a job.
That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
The problem for the Phoenix Suns and other talent seeking teams is that there just aren’t that many players worth big money left on the market.
The reality is, some guys are about to get paid and that’s going to hurt the Suns…either because they’re going to overpay for a point guard like D’Angelo Russell or Patrick Beverly…or because they’re going to have someone come make a brutally high offer on Kelly Oubre.
Let’s run this out for a minute.
That leaves you with an estimated eight teams that have $30 million or more in space – we’re talking max money.
Here’s the best players left:
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- D’Angelo Russell
- Nikola Vucevic
- DeMarcus Cousins
- Julius Randle
- Al Horford
- Malcolm Brogdon
- Bojan Bogdanovic
- Brook Lopez
- DeAndre Jordan
- Paul Millsap
No offense to the players on this list, but it’s starting to get ugly.
It’s a range where the market value should be $10-12 million a year on those guys, but you’ve got so many teams with cap room that each of these guys could get $18-20 million a year and there’d still be funny money left out there to those at the next tier of Marcus Morris, Ricky Rubio, J.J. Redick types.
In life, you don’t get paid what you’re worth, you get paid what the market dictates and what you can negotiate.
This year, there’s going to be a lot of guys getting paid more than they’re worth.
Which makes this a tough offseason for James Jones and the Phoenix Suns.
If they can go get D-Lo and max him out, great! That’s a huge win, but the competition will be stiff and if you think the Suns are going to be able to fall back to getting PatBev at $12 million a year, try $18-20 million.
It’s going to hurt…
Sunday is going to be a ton of fun to watch play out. Monday night/Tuesday morning should be even better.
But as you watch, remember Suns fans: keep your expectations low. This is not a buyers market. This is a Nikola Vucevic getting max money from the Kings kind of market.