With the NBA’s $24 billion TV deal set to begin in 2016, the salary cap will spike. Last week, the players rejected a proposal to “smooth” that increase over several years. The cap is now set to rise from $66 million this summer to between $88 and $92 million in the summer of 2016.
What does that mean for the Nets?
The good news: the Nets, who already projected to have significant cap room in the summer of 2016, will now have an extra $20+ million.
As of today, the Nets have just $25.9 million on the books for the 2016-2017 season, owed to Deron Williams and Bojan Bogdanovic. They have a $6.3 million team option for Jarrett Jack[note]With a $500,000 buyout clause[/note] and $2.4 million team options for Mason Plumlee and Sergey Karasev. They also will owe this year’s first-round pick about $1 million for the second season of his rookie contract, presuming they keep the pick.
Thaddeus Young and Brook Lopez both hold player options for 2015-16. They may opt out to seek long-term deals, or they may delay their free agency a year to participate in the feeding frenzy of 2016. Lopez has said on numerous occasions he’d like to stay with the Nets, and Young has also indicated his interest in staying.
There is also the question of Mirza Teletovic, who is a restricted free agent this offseason. He may accept a one-year deal to rehabilitate his value — and game — after a down year that ended with a scary pulmonary embolism. But despite his shaky 2014-15, Teletovic may command some interest on the open market: Channing Frye, who has had his share of medical problems, signed a four-year, $32 million with the Magic last summer. Teletovic’s 2013-14 was similar to Frye’s, which earned Frye his payday:
Teletovic’s shooting ability is top-notch for his position, and he may convince a team to ignore his medical concerns. That would leave the Nets with a difficult choice: match the offer and lose cap room in 2016, or let him walk and lose him for nothing when they lack the cap flexibility to replace him.
So what will the Nets do with all that space?