A league-wide lack of salary-cap space may limit the amount of free-agent fireworks in 2020, but a handful of teams could take advantage of the barren market.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic threatened to wreak havoc on the NBA’s 2020-21 salary cap, few teams were projected to have much cap space this offseason.
Barring unexpected decisions with player options — i.e., Andre Drummond, DeMar DeRozan or Tim Hardaway Jr. opting out — only six teams are likely to have more than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception at their disposal. If the cap stays flat at roughly $109 million, the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns will be the lone teams with that kind of spending power, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.
What teams have the most to gain in NBA Free Agency?
It’s currently unclear exactly where the 2020-21 cap will land, as the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NBA’s financial model into chaos. Game-night spending makes up roughly 40 percent of the league’s revenue, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, although it remains to be seen when (or if) fans will be allowed to attend games next season.
Both players and teams have an incentive to avoid a massive salary-cap decline, so the two sides figure to reach an agreement on an artificially inflated cap figure. But regardless of what the cap ends up being, the following five teams could be the biggest beneficiaries in free agency.