More than $3 billion in contracts were handed out by NBA teams in the first eight hours of NBA free agency opening up on Sunday. It felt like a Piranha feeding frenzy with, by our estimate now, 50 free agent contracts agreed to by players and teams (nothing can get signed or traded until July 6).
So who has serious cap space left?
Turns out, both Los Angeles teams. And we know why, those two teams, along with the Toronto Raptors (who don’t need space in this case) are waiting on Kawhi Leonard‘s decision.
Even after an agreement to get Patrick Beverley to return, the Clippers are at $41 million in cap room, something confirmed by ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
The Lakers still have $32.2 million in cap space, they have been just short of a pure max for Leonard from the start ($32.7 million) but figure the lure of playing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis — and the marketing opportunities in Los Angeles with that Lakers’ brand — will help the star look past the $500,000 or so they are short.
Both the Clippers and Lakers also have the $4.8 million room mid-level exception to add players, when it gets to that.
Next on the list is Dallas with $29 million, followed by the New York Knicks, who after the Reggie Bulluck agreement have about $18 million left. The Atlanta Hawks are still out there with about $14 million in space.
All of those teams have enough cap room to take on Goran Dragic and be the third team in the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade to Miami (so long as another sweetener is thrown their way for taking on that salary). Don’t be shocked if the Lakers jump in if they miss out on Leonard, they could use another shot creator at the point guard spot.
After that, there are a number of teams with cap space, or mid-level exceptions, they can spend, but it is under $10 million. The teams listed above are the big players, and if you see the Lakers or Clippers making moves (or both), it’s a sign they are out of the running on Leonard.