My first instinct when I found out Hayward didn't sign an extension was "look up who will have the cap space to steal him from us next Summer". However, predicting any teams cap space can be very difficult. There are a lot of things that can change from now and next summer, like trades. We don't know which players will pick up their options, which teams will pick up their players options, and so on. But that doesn't mean we can't try right?
With each team that I look at, I'm going to pretend I'm their GM and make the decision they would make. I will do the same thing with player options as well. For example, I'm going to assume that Rudy Gay will opt into his contract, because I really don't think he'll get anywhere close to the same money on the open market. And what about max players like Lebron/Melo? I really have no idea what they'll do, but for the most part I'm going to assume that they'll resign with their teams (not all players though (i.e. Love).
I'm not going to take into consideration cap holds for each team. When it comes to cap holds, timing is everything, which is entirely to impossible to predict. For example, Kyle Lowry's cap hold is going to be 9 million dollars, but what if Toronto decides to give up his rights day one? What if they want to resign him, but Lowry takes seven days to make a decision where he goes, and Toronto is left w/ that cap hold eating into their space that whole time? Plus, it's just more work that I don't want to do.
(of note, these are rough numbers. I didn't want to break out the calculator for every team).
Projected Salary Cap for 2014/2015- 62.1 million
Boston Celtics- 52 million (48 million guaranteed),
Verdict- Right now, the Celts don't have the cap space to make a substantial offer to Hayward, not to mention they'll want to retain Bradley as well. This could change though if they trade one of Rondo/Wallace/Green for expiring contracts. Because they're tanking, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them free up cap space by next Summer. Don't rule them out as Hayward contenders next Summer.
Projected Salary Cap for 2014/2015- 62.1 million
Brooklyn Nets- 85+ million.
Verdict- No deal
New York Knicks- 85+million
Verdict- No deal
Philadelphia 76ers- 21 million (15 million guaranteed)
Verdict- The 76ers are going to have gobs of cap space next year, and could easily offer Hayward a big contract. But is the fit right? I think so. The 76ers have their point guard in MCW, their center in Noel, and even if they draft Wiggins or Parker, Gordon is versatile enough to play either wing position. I'm just not sure if they're ready to cash in so soon on their rebuild. Consider the 76ers as a moderate threat to sign him.
Toronto Raptors- 50 million (32 million guaranteed)
Verdict- The raps will have tons of space if Gay opts out of his contract, but I'm not banking on that happening. With him and Johnson still on the roster, they'll sit at 50 million and won't have the space to sign G.
Chicago Bulls- 60 million dollars
Verdict- The Bulls still have their amnesty in their pocket and can use it on Boozer this upcoming season. With him off the books, the bulls will have 15 million in cap space to spend. They could go after Hayward, but I imagine they'll be going after bigger fish like Lebron, or simply resign Luol Deng. For now, I wouldn't count them as possible Hayward contenders.
Cleveland Cavaliers- 41 million (36 million guaranteed)
Verdict- This cap space depends on Andrew Bynum's non guaranteed contract next year. If he isn't waived, then the Cavs won't have the money to offer Gordon a contract. I don't particularly think the fit is great, considering they just drafted Karasev and their own young guys are coming up on their pay days as well, they'll probably want to keep their roster flexible.
Detroit Pistons- 40 million (33 million guaranteed)
Verdict- Detroit's future cap space depends on what they decide to do with Monroe. If they resign him, they'll be out of the Hayward running. If they trade him for a player worth upwards of 7 million a year, they could be out of the running. But if they trade him for a draft pick/expiring contract, they could very well make Hayward a good offer. I'd think Hayward would be a great fit w/ this team if they hadn't recently drafted KCP. Detroit needs more good decision makers/floor spacers, and G fits the bill. Too many variables going on here though to consider them as G contenders.
Indiana Pacers- 64 million
Verdict- Pacers already have the rich man's version of G....plus no cap space.
Milwaukee Bucks- 48 million
Verdict- The Bucks will be 14 million or so under the cap and able to offer G a good sized contract. I like the fit as well. Mayo/Gordon on the wings next to Sanders/Henson & their all star pg from the draft. This also gives Anetke..ounp...oo...... a few years to develop until he can take over starting wing spot from Mayo. Consider the Bucks a Hayward threat.
Atlanta Hawks- 48 million
Verdict- Why not go after another Jazz man right? Demarre Carrol has been starting this year, but I'm not sure this is his best role on a team. The hawks will have the money to sign hayward, and he'd be a nice fit next to Korver in the starting lineup. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Hawks offered Hayward a contract next Summer.
Charlotte Bobcats- 41 million
Verdict- The bobcats are another possible player in the Hayward sweepstakes. Hayward would greatly improve their wing positions, as non shooter MKG is their only guy looking to be apart of their future going forward. Bobcats as good a lock as anyone to go after Hayward this Summer.
Miami Heat- 70 million (2 million guaranteed)
Verdict- Lets just pretend they keep their core together. Cause I can't fathom 60 million in cap space :P. No risk for G here.
Orlando Magic- 40 million (33 million guaranteed)
Verdict- The Magic have the cap space to make a bid on Gordon, but I don't see the fit here. They have a couple of young wings already in Oladipo and Harris, not to mention Afflalo still on the books.
Washington Wizards- 43 million (36 million guaranteed)
Verdict- The Wiz have the cap space to sign Hayward, but I doubt it happens with Beal and Porter on board.
Those are your Eastern Conference teams. For a quick recap, here are the teams who will likely have the cap space to sign Gordon AND will be a good fit for the team: Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Charlotte.
My next post will be on the Western Conference, and one more following post on what the wing market will look like.