The NBA Offseason just got a lot more exciting. Earlier today at the end of the Board of Governors meeting, Commissioner David Stern made the announcement that the salary cap for the upcoming NBA season would be much higher than it was earlier expected. With talks of a cap ceiling being estimated at only $ 50.4-53.6 million last summer due to economic troubles plaguing the league, team executives, general managers, and fans all around the Associated cheered with joy when Stern announced that the cap would be projected at $ 56.1 million.
While this is a decrease from the 2009-10 season salary cap maximum ($ 57.7 million), it’s not big enough to limit any of the top candidate NBA teams from landing superstar free agents like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire, Rudy Gay, and Carlos Boozer. Many teams now feature the cap space to potentially sign not just one, but even two superstars to max contracts. For instance, if the Knicks do not initially resign All Star forward David Lee (which the won’t, you can add him to this free agent mix), they will have $ 34 million to spend on luring LeBron and another marquee free agent. For a team that’s been cutting salary since before the 2008-09 season for to get ready for July 1, 2010, (when free agency begins… along with absolute and utter madness) this was big news.
Another team this is great for is the Miami Heat. All along, many Heat fans have been upset that the team has yet to compliment their franchise player Wade with another top-notch player since they won the NBA Finals in 2006. The best teammates he has played with since that championship run have been Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal (or as Charles Barkley likes to refer to them, Tito Jacksons). With the way the salary cap plays out, they have a fantastic chance to not only resign Wade, but also add a star to the team to help him out. Many people in basketball are not predicting, but expecting Stoudemire to become a member of the Heat in the next season and add another quality player.
Other teams clearly benefit from this cap space, also. The New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Clippers all have enough cap space to go after a top guy in the league. New Jersey now has the second most spending money this offseason behind the Knicks, with $ 26 million to hand out to talent while also adding a top rookie, as they are guaranteed a top four pick in this years draft. The Bulls, on the other hand, already have an All Star in Derrick Rose and a fantastic big man in Joakim Noah with enough money to spend that they wouldn’t have to cut any cap. The Kings feature young talent like Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, and Omri Casspi that is a veteran away from contending for the playoffs. The Clips have great potential in Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin (who WILL come back strong next year from injury and prove he was worthy of being the top pick in ’09) and good veterans with Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, but owner Donald Sterling is a serious disadvantage for the Lakers alternative, just due to the fact that he is not well thought of or respected by people in the league because of antics like discriminating against African American and Hispanic residents in housing apartments that he owned. Washington will try to land a couple of players off the free agent market, but the Gilbert Arenas gun fiasco and a weak roster in place will not help the Wizards chances.
NBA fans have been going insane in excitement for this upcoming offseason and today they only were teased more about the possibility of what could happen in a matter of months. Fans were only assured today that this magical offseason will happen and come July 1st, the free agents and team will be ready to strike. I can’t wait for the bidding to begin.