Breaking down Knicks’ salary cap situation with Kemba Walker signing now official


Knicks president Leon Rose Treated Art

Now that the Kemba Walker deal is official, we know that the Knicks have used all of their 2021 cap space.

And we also know a few things about their future cap space.

The Knicks currently have $90 million in salary committed to 2020-23. That includes contracts for Julius Randle (we used his $24M salary for this exercise, which doesn’t include bonuses), Walker, Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Quinten Grimes and Miles McBride.

The Knicks also have three players with team options for 2022-23. The options for RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley total $19 million.

They also would have Kevin Knox’s cap hold of $17.5 million on the books and a hold of $1.8 million for Mitchell Robinson. Lastly, they have Luca Vildoza on a $3 million salary for 2022-23. That is not guaranteed.

If you add up all of those figures, you’re left with around $131.5 million in salary.

The 2022-23 cap is currently projected at $119 million.

Based on that projection, max contracts that summer will start at either $29.8 million (25 percent of the cap), $35.7 million (30 percent of the cap) or $41.7 million (35 percent of the cap).

If the Knicks want to sign a player in the 2022 offseason to a max deal starting at $35.7 million, they’d have to shed close to $50 million in salary or cap holds. Anything is possible, of course, but this is a significant number. The trade market is the Knicks’ most likely route to acquiring an established star.

NEXT LEVEL FOR NERLENS

In an interview with MSG Networks, Nerlens Noel explained his thinking in re-signing with the Knicks.

“Everything we built last year,” he said on MSGPM with Kaz Famuyide and Monica McNutt. “It was a really close-knit team that I wanted to stay involved with. All the opportunities I got last year I tried to seize. Coming into this new year, I want to build on that. I want to help this team get to the next level of the playoffs.”

As the roster currently stands, Noel and Mitchell Robinson will compete for the starting center job again in training camp/preseason.

Story continues

KD SUPPORTED OUBRE SIGNING

Kelly Oubre inked a two-year, $25 million deal with the Hornets. The Lakers, Clippers, Milwaukee, Denver, Brooklyn and Portland were among the teams that conveyed offers to Oubre during free agency, according to Oubre’s agent, Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management.

The Knicks also had interest in Oubre, but opted to sign Fournier as their starting shooting guard in 2021-22.

Outside of the Knicks, none of the teams listed above could offer Oubre significant money.

But some stars had strong interest in adding Oubre to their roster.

Damian Lillard told The Athletic that he made a pitch to Oubre prior to free agency. It’s fair to assume that Oubre was one of the free agents Lillard hoped Portland would land.

It’s also worth noting that Kevin Durant was among the members of the Nets organization who supported/had interest in the idea of adding Oubre. The Nets couldn’t have matched Charlotte’s offer to Oubre. Portland also couldn’t match Charlotte’s offer to Oubre.

But Lillard and Durant were among the members of their organizations who hoped that Oubre would join them instead of Charlotte.

EXCEPTIONS

The Knicks may still have the room mid-level exception available to them. It’s worth $4.9 million. They also have veteran’s minimum exceptions to use. Their roster seems mostly full but a few names are still out there to keep an eye on: JJ Redick, Avery Bradley, Josh Hart and Juwan Morgan.

Redick, Bradley and Hart are vets. Morgan is a young big who is viewed as a strong rebounder and defender who can knock down a perimeter shot. He played important minutes for Utah in the 2020 postseason.



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