Chicago Bulls 2018 Offseason Numbers Breakdown

I currently project the Bulls to have about 25 million in cap space for 2018. I will help you understand how I came up with that and more.

First you must know what contracts the Bulls have guaranteed for next season. Here is a list of those players:


Ignore the red, orange, and purple colors for now. That will be explained shortly. Everything in black there is what the Bulls have guaranteed for next season. That is 10 players the Bulls have under guaranteed contracts, at a total of 57,934,535. Now let’s understand what the red and orange colors mean. Let’s start with orange. The orange is there to indicate “non-guaranteed” contract. In the slot next to it explains when the contract becomes guaranteed. The red represents a cap hold. What is a cap hold? A cap hold is a number a team’s free agent will count against their cap. Every team’s free agent has a cap hold until A) his team resigns him to a new contract B) he signs a new contract with another team C) the team renounces the player. A and B are self explanatory, but C I will explain a little further. Really what you must know are the consequences for renouncing a player. Renouncing the player will eliminate the bird rights the player has gained with his team. I don’t want to get deep into bird rights right now, but just understand bird rights is mainly how teams resign their players over the salary cap. Without bird rights, you can not resign a player over the salary cap unless you are using an exception like the “mid-level” exception.

So for the purposes of my 25 million in cap space projection, I assume the Bulls will renounce Vonleh and waive Zipser by 7/19/18. I also assume the Bulls will keep Lavine’s and Nwaba’s cap hold in place. Adding in Lavine’s and Nwaba’s holds to the Bulls guaranteed salary, the team salary number now becomes 69,240,887.

The next numbers we must account for are the Bulls draft picks. The Bulls currently have two first round picks, their own and one from New Orleans protected 1-5. I project those picks to become the 5th overall and 16th overall. 4,425,600 is the 5th overall pick salary in 2018-19, and 2,157,900 is the 16th overall pick salary as well. Yes those picks can land anywhere 5-10, 16-20 possibly. Possibly higher or lower. But the difference between 5-8 and 16-20 is minor. The projections might not be 100% but are close enough to get a good idea.


Adding in those draft projections to our numbers from earlier brings the Bulls team salary to 75,824,387. Those are all the numbers we need to determine the Bulls cap space for next season. We will now take the current salary cap projection the NBA is working under for the 2018-19 season, which is 101,000,000, and subtract our current Bulls team salary projection from that salary cap projection. 25,175,613 is the answer you should get after doing the math, and that is where my 25 million in space projection comes from. That number can vary depending on many factors. Where the picks land once the lottery has finished, also what the salary cap ends up being for 2018-19. It won’t be exactly 101,000,000, but it’s safe to assume it won’t be to far off from that projection. It’s safe to assume the Bulls will have anywhere from 23-30 million in space.

Now let me explain a little bit more about how I came up with some of these other numbers:


This is more for educational purposes at this point. Where is that first number 113,734,855 coming from? How can the Bulls have that much in team salary?

So that number is all the guaranteed salary, cap holds, non-guaranteed salary, draft pick projections, and all the EXCEPTIONS combined. I’m talking about these exceptions:


If you are under the salary cap, then all your exceptions must count toward your team salary. The Bulls without them are under the cap, so they must be added into the team salary. With my 25 million in cap space projection, I assume the Bulls will renounce them. You can renounce your exceptions to clear more cap space, but you will lose them for that season. It is possible the Bulls don’t renounce them, until cap space is needed there is no need to renounce them.

This is the reason for 113,734,855 number, but it is also the reason for the -12 million in space. Until the Bulls renounce their exceptions along with their holds and non-guaranteed money, this is the space they are working with.


The next number 87,885,037 is just all the guaranteed salary, holds, non-guarnateed salary combined. Basically if the Bulls renounced all their exceptions but kept everything else in place. And the 13,114,963 in cap space represents where they would be if they did just that. We already discussed the 75,824,387 figure, along with the 25 million in space. Lastly let’s just discuss the last numbers there. The 59,597,157 is just the guaranteed salary + the incomplete roster charge. What is an incomplete roster charge(IRC)?

An incomplete roster charge occurs when a team drops below 12 players under contract. The Bulls have 10 players under contract. Assuming the Bulls don’t use their draft picks by either trade or drafting overseas players that will stay overseas, the Bulls will only have 10 players under contract. Because of this the Bulls would be charged the rookie minimum of 831,311 twice, which is 1,662,622. So the Bulls guaranteed salary plus the “IRC” is 59,597,157. The cap space of 41,402,843 is possible if the Bulls renounced all their free agents, waived all non-guaranteed money, and traded or drafted overseas players that would stay there with their picks. The 41 million figure is the max space the Bulls could create without trade. Unlikely situation.

After reading all this you should understand everything in this photo:

2018 Off Season

Not only that, you should be able to figure out yourself the Bulls cap space projections for the 2018 offseason.