2013 NBA Free Agency: Breaking Down the Knicks salary cap situation


As the New York Knicks look forward to the offseason, many Knicks fans are anxious to see exactly what the Knicks will do to a team that disappointed in 2013.

But in terms of adding to the current group, I wouldn’t count on anything big.

May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks power forward Amar

The salary cap heading into the 2013-14 season won’t be announce until July, but it isn’t expected to be more than it was this season, roughly over $58 million. With the tax line currently at $70.307 million, the Knicks will without a doubt be over that, which will force them to pay a penalty beginning this season under the new CBA.

Here’s how the Knicks current cap situation breaks down.

Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were brought to the Big Apple to be the Knicks “Big Three” to rival that of the Miami Heat.

Things haven’t worked out that way and they have become just three enormous contracts eating at the Knicks payroll.

The combination of ‘Melo, STAT and Chandler are owed almost as much as the entire salary cap: $57,169,385.

The Knicks have seven other players under contract as well which brings the total on the books right now to an insane $77,582,832.

There aren’t many decisions to make on the current roster.

James White is the only one with a non-guaranteed contract so he is likely gone, but that doesn’t help the Knicks gain cap space.

Both Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland are restricted free agents and if they get big pay raises, which is possible, the Knicks will be in a tough spot to match.

The biggest decision though involves J.R. Smith who will opt out of his contract and attempt to re-sign with the team for something in the ballpark of $4-5 million per year. The problem with that scenario though is the fact that a few other teams will be in a position to offer Smith more money and the Knicks can’t go any higher.

So how do the Knicks get in a better financial situation?

They can’t this year. It will take a few years.  Even if they miraculously trade the likes of Stoudemire or Chandler, they will have to take that much money back. That doesn’t help matter much.

The Knicks are expected to have to pay over $10 million in tax penalties this season, which is no big deal for Knicks’ owner James Dolan, but it still doesn’t help add talent to the team.

That number would’ve been far higher if New York had re-signed Jeremy Lin or matched Toronto’s offer sheet to Landry Fields.

The Knicks won’t part with Anthony or Chandler, and can’t seem to unload Stoudemire’s deal due to his injury history and uninsured contract. Marcus Camby’s three-year deal also clogs up New York’s books, as does Jason Kidd’s and Steve Novak’s. Neither contract is tradeable right now so it’s all but impossible that the Knicks can free up salary.

Even if Kidd and Camby retire it only frees up a little bit of money and the Knicks will still be over the cap.

In terms of ability to spend this offseason, quite frankly there is no ability to do so.

It’s going to be another summer filled with guys on minimum contracts to fill up roster spots. They will have an exception to use if Smith isn’t brought back but even so they will likely be only able to add one decent player.

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