Free agency begins on July 1st, so it seems as good a time as any to figure out how much cap space New York will have. I did exactly that! Below, you'll see the Knicks' payroll for the 2015-16 season.
A number in italics is a cap hold, which is basically a placeholder for a player who will be a free agent.
A number in blue is an unguaranteed salary, which would be removed from the team's cap number in whole or in part if the player in question is released by a certain day.
As you can see, the Knicks can have a little more than $27 million in cap space this summer, but to get to that number, they would have to renounce the rights to every free agent on the roster. To start with, they actually have no choice but to renounce the rights to at least one player because they currently have 14 people on payroll and it's safe to assume they'll sign Porzingis and Grant as soon as possible. I included them in the calculations at their predetermined rookie scale salaries. To solve this problem, in adding up the current payroll, I left out Travis Wear because he's the free agent with the smallest salary.
If I were a betting man, I'd say the Knicks will renounce the rights to every single one of their free agents. There is no reason to retain the rights of players for whom the Knicks do not hold any bird rights, since they could not go over the cap to sign them regardless (unless it was for an exception or the veteran's minimum). They only hold bird rights on a few players: full bird rights on Andrea Bargnani, Alexey Shved, and Quincy Acy, as well as early bird rights on Shane Larkin and Cole Aldrich. Larkin, Acy, and Aldrich are probably players that will get paid the veteran's minimum, so the Knicks would be able to go over the cap to re-sign them regardless. (However, if you think the Knicks will retain their rights, just subtract about $1.9 million from the cap space because there would be three fewer incomplete roster charges.) Shved is a player that some fans want to bring back *cough*Joe*cough* but he's certainly not worth his $6.2 million cap hold. Finally, there's no chance the Knicks retain Bargnani's bird rights at the ridiculous cost of $17.25 million.
New York also has two players on unguaranteed contracts for next season: Langston Galloway and Ricky Ledo. Often, teams follow up a pair of 10-day contracts with a deal that includes an unguaranteed second year, so it's not unusual that this is the case. The Knicks will probably waive Ledo even if they are interested in bringing him back because they'll be able to go over the cap to re-sign him to a minimum deal regardless. Galloway isn't going anywhere, obviously.
There are also a few procedural moves the Knicks will need to make. First, they will need to renounce the four trade exceptions (for J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Travis Outlaw, and Tim Hardaway, Jr.) they currently have. Then, they will need to renounce both their Bi-Annual Exception and their Mid-Level Exception. This is because if a team is below the cap, these exceptions are counted against the team's cap space. However, the Knicks will have access to the Room Exception if they need it.
Anyway, assuming the Knicks do renounce the rights to all 9 free agents currently on payroll and Ricky Ledo, they'll owe a total of almost $39.9 million for Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Cleanthony Early, Langston Galloway, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, and 6 incomplete roster charges. The salary cap is currently projected at $67.1 million, which, as I said, would leave New York with a little more than $27 million in space. The NBA won't release the exact numbers for max contracts until they announce the official 2015-16 salary cap on July 9th, but I don't think it's presumptuous to say that's enough room for a few big moves. #DestiNY #TheFutureIsNow #StayMe7o