Tag: Free Agency

Why Nwaba’s Time in Chicago Seems to be Over

The Chicago Bulls claimed David Nwaba off waivers last off-season. Nwaba at the time was 24 but only had 20 games of NBA experience, playing less than 400 minutes during this time. Nwaba ended up with a even bigger role in Chicago. He played in 70 games for Chicago last season, and played well throughout the season. Nwaba’s strengths were his defense and rebounding.

Nwaba

You see the numbers from https://cleaningtheglass.com/. When on the court, Nwaba is top in the NBA at his position for rebounding %. The blue/red numbers indicate the % he ranks within in his position for each category. Simply put when out there, Nwaba is one of the better rebounders on the court. Nwaba is also a quality defender. Even with his limited offensive skill set, Nwaba brought value to the Bulls last season. Nwaba entered restricted free agency for the 2018 off-season, and at the start of the off-season it seemed the Bulls were going to bring Nwaba back. They extended the qualifying offer to him, and seemed to have interest in bringing back the 2 year pro. But on July 14th, 2018 the Bulls removed the qualifying offer, and renounced the rights to Nwaba.

The move was done to make room for free agent Jabari Parker, but the Bulls didn’t have to do this. Nwaba had a cap hold of 1.7 million as a restricted free agent. The Bulls could have kept him restricted, kept his hold, and still offer Jabari Parker a 2yr/38 million contract(18.9mil salary for 18-19). But for some reason the Bulls decided to remove the qualifying offer, and also renounce his rights. Clearing the 1.7 million cap hold, and giving Chicago ability to offer 2yrs/40 million(20mil salary for 18-19). Was that necessary? Was there a fear Parker wouldn’t have accepted 18.9 million salary for 18-19, and demand an extra 1.1 million to bring it to 20 million? I doubt that. So why did the Bulls do that?

I imagine the Bulls were honest with Nwaba about his potential role. The Bulls have Lavine, Parker, Valentine, and Hutchinson on the roster. These are all players who play Nwaba’s position, and are all players Bulls have interest in seeing play next season. There is also Holiday, and now Antonio Blakeney who was promoted to an NBA contract for the next 2 seasons. The realization of there is no guaranteed playing time for Nwaba was there. Nwaba likely expressed his desire to not only get raise, but mainly be in situation where he can have a role and opportunity to showcase his skills. That would have not been a guarantee with Chicago. Seems both sides came to realization that Chicago is not the ideal fit for Nwaba due to potential limited role, and it was inevitable the relationship wasn’t going to work moving forward.

The possibility of Nwaba coming back is still there. Bulls have the room exception worth 4,449,000. They can offer up to 2 years, with a starting salary up to that amount. But the money doesn’t change the lack of a role Nwaba could experience in Chicago next season. The only way I can see Nwaba back in Chicago is if the interest in Nwaba from other teams just isn’t there for him, leaving Chicago as one his few options for next season. I see that as unlikely, as Nwaba is a player that can help teams in any system. And I have to imagine there is a team that can offer him a back end rotational position throughout the season.

I would have kept Nwaba restricted, and hoped to work out something with him. If he didn’t want to come back, he didn’t have too. But the Bulls made him unrestricted, leaving them without a first right to refusal opportunity. I still see value in Nwaba, and would have liked if the Bulls tried to keep him around purely as an asset, let alone a player that could help you next season. But at this point, it doesn’t seem Nwaba coming back is going to happen.

Which Teams Have the Cap Flexibility to Make Lavine a Serious Offer?

Chicago Bulls guard Zach Lavine will become a free agent July 1st, 2018. The Bulls can make Zach Lavine a restricted free agent, which is all but expected by offering him the qualifying offer by June 29, 2018. Restricted free agent basically means if Zach signs another contract with another team, the Chicago Bulls will have two days to match that contract and retain him. The Bulls are expected to resign Lavine, but John Paxson has also made it clear “the market dictates a lot on how things go”. Translation the Bulls will likely see what others are offering, and make an offer based around his market.  The 2018 market will be rather dry, as many teams will be over the salary cap. To offer Zach Lavine a max contract, teams will need to have about 25 million in cap space. Let’s take a look at all 29 teams and see if they have the cap space to make a significant offer.

(Teams are in alphabetical order)

1) Atlanta Hawks

Hawks 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: About 25 million

Max Space: About 40 million

Atlanta will be one of the few teams with the ability to open max space for Lavine this summer, but I’m not sure how much it makes sense for Atlanta to pursue Lavine at this point in their rebuild. If they like Lavine the option is there to make a significant offer for Lavine, but I would guess this is not a route they want to go at the moment.

 

2) Boston Celtics

Celtics 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -29 million

Max Space: about -6 million

Boston is a team that will be over the cap and likely wouldn’t be interested in Lavine anyway. 

3) Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about 11 million

Max Space: about 16 million 

Brooklyn can open cap space this off-season, but at this point can only open up to about 16 million. They could however stretch someone like Mozgov or Carroll and clear about 10 million in space, and that would be enough to offer up to Lavine’s max. The Nets a team depending on how they want to go about their rebuild is another team who has the flexibility to make Lavine an offer.  

4) Charlotte Hornets

2018 Hornets Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -22 million

Max Space: about -17 million 

Charlotte won’t have cap space this off-season. Unlikely to have any interest in Lavine.

5) Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -40 million

Max Space: about -4 million

Cleveland a team that will be over the cap, with or without LeBron. Cleveland unlikely to be interested in Lavine.

6) Dallas Mavericks

Dallas 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about 26 million

Max Space: about 35 million

Dallas is a team that has cap flexibility this off-season. Cuban has said he wants to win next season, and besides last off-season has always tried to make big splashes in free agency. I assume Dallas will be a busy team this off-season, and I could possibly see them showing interest in offering Lavine a contract. 

7) Denver Nuggets

Nuggets 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -17 million

Max Cap Space: about 12 million

Denver has no need for Lavine, along little cap flexibility. And if Jokic and Barton get extensions, a team that will have luxury tax issues. Denver won’t have interest in Lavine. 

8) Detroit Pistons

Pistons 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -20 million

Max Cap Space:  about -14 million

Detroit a team that will be over the cap. Little flexibility here.

9) Golden State Warriors

Warriors 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -32 million

Max Cap Space: about -6 million

Warriors clearly won’t have serious interest in Lavine.

10) Houston Rockets

Rockets 2018 Off-Season Cap Sheet

Projected Cap Space: about -36 million

Max Space: about 17 million

Houston can open up space but it’s unlikely. It would require them renouncing their rights to Chris Paul and players like Capela, which they would then lose their bird rights. Also no need for Lavine. Not a team that will be interested. 

11) Indiana Pacers

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about 38 million

Max Cap Space: about 55 million 

Indiana a rare team that can open up a ton of cap space this off-season. Luckily for the Bulls they have Oladipo which makes Lavine somewhat unnecessary. But Indiana is a team looking to stay competitive. They barely have any salary commitments beyond next season. A team that could look to use space now because of their flexibility moving forward. Which makes them offering Lavine a contract,a possibility. But a team I see being more interested in players like Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker. 

12) Los Angeles Clippers

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about 23 million (Jordan opting out is necessary for this)

Max Cap Space: about 40 million 

The Clippers are an interesting situation. The ability to have space is there, but so much will rely on DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers’ player options. Mainly Jordan’s option. If he opts in the space will no longer be there. But also if opts in so he can be traded(similar to Chris Paul last off-season), then Clippers are likely taking back additional salary. Only way for space to be there is if Jordan opts out. Until those situations are figured out, Lavine isn’t really an option here. But if those players opt out, then the Clippers could be a team that could show interest in Lavine. The flexibility is there but it’s out of the Clippers’ control.

13) Los Angeles Lakers 

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about 47-60 million

Max Cap Space: about 60 million

The Lakers will have the most cap flexibility this summer. It is known their targets are LeBron and Paul George. Magic Johnson has said if Lakers do miss on top targets this 2018 off-season, they will preserve space for 2019. Not sure who else they consider a top target, but if the Lakers want to offer Lavine a contract they easily could. At this point it just depends on how high Magic Johnson value’s Lavine. If Magic believes in Lavine, this is a team that could make things interesting for the Bulls and offer him up to his max easily.

14) Memphis Grizzlies 

Cap Sheet coming soon….

Projected Cap Space: about -13 million

Max Cap Space: about -2 million

Memphis has little cap flexibility. A team that will likely not be a factor in Lavine. 

15) Miami Heat 

Cap Sheet coming soon,

Projected Cap Space: about -19 million

Max Cap Space: about -18 million

Miami has no cap flexibility and close to being in the tax. Unlikely. 

16) Milwaukee Bucks

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about -20 million

Max Cap Space: about 2 million

Milwaukee has little cap flexibility, unlikely. 

17) Minnesota Timberwolves

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about -20 million

Max Cap Space: about -12 million

Minnesota will have no cap flexibility, unlikely..

18) New Orleans Pelicans

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about -27 million

Max Cap Space: about 3 million

New Orleans will have little cap flexibility, unlikely.

19) New York Knicks

Cap Sheet coming soon….

Projected Cap Space: about -3 million

Max Cap Space: about 31 million

New York a team that could have about 31 million in space, but that heavily relies on Enes Kanter declining his player option worth 18 million. I think that is unlikely, however even if he does with Hardway not sure where Lavine fits. 

20) Oklahoma City Thunder

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about -18 million 

Max Space: about 9 million

The Thunder could have cap space, but what it would take for that to happen is unlikely. Which is Melo opting out and the Thunder not retaining George. Losing George is likely but not Melo leaving. At this point, the Thunder will not have space to offer Lavine a contract. 

21) Orlando Magic

Cap Sheet coming soon..

Projected Cap Space: about 500,000

Max Space: about 20 million

The Magic can have cap flexibility if they decide not to bring Aaron Gordon back, which could happen. I’m not sure they would be interested in Lavine at that point, but the flexibility to make an offer would be there. 

22) Philadelphia 76ers

Cap Sheet coming soon..

Max Space: about 30 million 

Philadelphia can technically open max space for Lavine this off-season. It requires them renouncing their rights to JJ Reddick mainly, which would clear his 27.6 million cap hold. Philadelphia wouldn’t likely do that until necessary, but Philadelphia does have flexibility this off-season to create max space. 

23) Phoenix Suns

Cap Sheet Coming Soon..

Projected Cap Space: about 19 million

Max Space: about 28 million

Phoenix has cap flexibility moving forward, but with Devin Booker it is unclear if they would be interested in Lavine. If they are interested they can make a significant offer, but I think for now there is no interest. 

24) Portland Trail Blazers

Cap Sheet coming soon…

Projected Cap Space: about -31 million

Max Space: about -13 million

Portland is way over the cap, unlikely. 

25) Sacramento Kings

Cap Sheet coming soon..

Projected Cap Space: about 20 million

Max Space: about 32 million

Sacramento a team with cap flexibility this summer. A team that could show interest in Lavine depending on their interest in him. I think one of the few teams Chicago could have to worry about. 

26) San Antonio Spurs

Cap Sheet Coming Soon

Projected Cap Space: about 250,000

Max Space: about 18 million

San Antonio can have significant cap space, but it requires Danny Green and Rudy Gay opting out of their player options. I would assume for now that won’t happen, maybe Gay, but if it did then San Antonio could be an option. I would say unlikely at this point though.

27) Toronto Raptors

Cap Sheet coming soon..

Projected Cap Space: about -26 million

Max Space: about -26 million

Toronto will be way over the cap, unlikely. 

28) Utah Jazz

Cap Sheet coming soon 

Projected Cap Space: about 6 million

Max Space: about 22 million

Utah will have cap flexibility this summer. It mainly depends on how they want to handle Dante Exum’s restricted free agency, and his 15 million dollar cap hold. Same with Favors and his 18 million dollar cap hold. But point being Utah can open space for Lavine if they wanted. With Mitchell not sure where he fits though. I say unlikely. 

29) Washington Wizards

Cap Sheet Coming Soon

Projected Cap Space: about -27 million

Max Space: about -17 million

Washington is way over the cap, unlikely.