Quick Spots

 

If the Rams were a one and done team, just how expensive are the next few years going to be?

QB | Matthew Stafford

Signed a 4 year, $160M extension this past March that included $63M guaranteed at signing, $61.5M of which has been paid out in 2022. His $1.5M salary for 2023 was also fully guaranteed at signing. If he’s on the roster March 19th, another $57M locks in.

The Out
If Stafford is healthy enough to pass a physical next March, the Rams could technically designate him a Post June 1st release before March 19th, taking on $49.5M of dead cap split into $13.5M next season, & $36M for 2024. While it’s an unlikely scenario, and a lot of cap to take on, the move would allow the Rams to avoid the full guarantee trigger, which would essentially mean $89M cash through 2025.

Practical Remaining: 3 years, $90.5M

WR | Cooper Kupp

Signed a 3 year, $80.1M extension this past June that included $35M guaranteed at signing, $30M of which was paid out in 2022. A $5M roster bonus due March 19th was also fully guaranteed at signing. If he’s on the roster March 19th, another $35M fully locks in, through the 2024 season.

The Out
With $5M cash guaranteed in 2023, it’s hard to imagine the Rams considering any type of movement on their star WR’s deal. His $27.8M cap hit next season is begging for another restructure, which will all but guarantee that this contract stays intact through 2025, or 3 years, $60M.

Practical Remaining: 3 years, $60M

WR | Allen Robinson

Signed a 3 year, $46.5M free agent contract this past March, including $30.75M fully guaranteed through 2023.

The Out
With 2023 completely guaranteed at a $15.25M clip, Robinson isn’t going anywhere (barring a trade) until the 2024 offseason.

Practical Remaining: 1 year, $15.25M

LT | Joseph Noteboom

Signed a 3 year, $40M extension this past March, including $16.5M fully guaranteed at signing, $11.5M of which was paid out in 2022. A $5M roster bonus due March 19th is also fully guaranteed right now.

The Out
An achilles injury that will linger into the new league year + a $5M full guarantee for March all but secures Noteboom’s $13.5M next season. The Rams can walk away for just $6M dead cap after 2023.

Practical Remaining: 1 year $13.5M

RT | Rob Havenstein

Signed a 3 year, $34.5M extension this past September, including $19M fully guaranteed at signing, $7.6M of which has been paid out in 2022. His $1.5M base salary, $4M roster bonus, & a $6M option bonus for the 2023 season are all fully guaranteed right now.

The Out
With a $5M roster bonus for the 2024 season becoming fully guaranteed next March, it’s highly likely that the Rams stick out this contract through that 2024 campaign.

Practical Remaining: 2 years $23M

C | Brian Allen

Signed a 3 year, $18M contract extension this past March that included $6M fully guaranteed at signing, $5M of which hit the books in 2022. A $1M roster bonus for 2023 is also fully guaranteed.

The Out
If he’s on the roster March 19th, his $4M salary for 2023 becomes fully guaranteed. 2024 is a veritable option, but at just $7M cash, could also be a good value for LA if he’s healthy.

Practical Remaining: 1 year, $6M

DT | Aaron Donald

Signed a 3 year, $95M extension this past June that included $46.5M fully guaranteed at signing, $31.5M of which hit the books in 2022. A $15M roster bonus for 2023 was also fully guaranteed at signing, and was treated as a signing bonus for cap purposes.

The Out
Technically, Donald’s $13.5M salary for 2023 doesn’t fully guarantee until March 17th, but with $44M of dead cap already on the books, the Rams won’t consider any type of movement here. A $5M roster bonus for 2024 also locks in on March 17th, putting that $35M in total compensation on the likelier side as well.

Practical Remaining: 2 years, $63.5M

LB | Leonard Floyd

Signed a 4 year, $64M contract extension in March 2021 that included $32.5M fully guaranteed at signing, all through the 2022 season.

The Out
Floyd has a $2M roster bonus due March 19th, but the Rams can move on before that in favor of a $19M dead cap hit if they please. It seems likely the 30 year old gets one more year out of this deal (but a trade is very much within reach here).

Practical Remaining: 1 year, $15.5M

LB | Bobby Wagner

Signed a 5 year, $50M free agent contract this past March that included $10M fully guaranteed at signing, $6.5M of which hit in 2022. A $3.5M roster bonus due 2023 is also fully locked in right now.

The Out
He’s been fantastic, and deserving of every bit of the $11M salary he’ll see next season. If he’s on the roster March 19th, 2023, a $2.5M roster bonus for 2024 becomes fully guaranteed as well.

Practical Remaining: 2 years, $22M

CB | Jalen Ramsey

Signed a 5 year, $100M extension in September of 2021, including $43.7M fully guaranteed at signing. $12.5M of his 2023 salary became fully guaranteed last March.

The Out
Ramsey’s on pace to be as good this year as he was last year, so there’s really no reason to consider an out from a football standpoint. But if the Rams start looking to shed contracts, Ramsey’s 1 year, $12.5M guarantee makes this a very tradeable asset.

Practical Remaining: 1 year, $17M

Related Links

team-290

Per reports, Inter Miami and Lionel Messi are close to an agreement to bring the superstar to the MLS on a record deal. The reporting of this makes it sound like the contract will be north of $14 million which is currently the highest guaranteed salary in the in MLS.

 

The Top-3 highest guaranteed salaries in MLS history:

Lorenzo Insigne ($14 million, 2022)

Xherdan Shaqiri ($8,15,3000, 2022)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($7,200,000, 2019)

 

Related:

2022 MLS Salary Rankings

MLS Lionel Messi Inter Miami

The Los Angeles Angels continued their slow rebuild by acquiring OF Hunter Renfroe from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for young pitchers Janson Junk (RHP), Elvis Peguero (RHP), Adam Seminaris (LHP).

It’s the third notable move this offseason, following the acquisition of SS Giovanny Urshela from the Minnesota Twins, and the free agent signing of SP Tyler Anderson (3 years, $39M) away from the Dodgers.

Renfroe is headed for a 4th and final trip through arbitration this winter, projected to earn around $12M for the upcoming season. He posted 23 doubles, 29 homers, 72 RBIs & a 2.77 WAR last season for the Brewers, fairly consistent with his annual output over the past 6 years. He slots in immediately as the starting right fielder for LAA, alongside Mike Trout in CF, and Taylor Ward in LF.

Giovanny Urshela figures to be the day 1 starting shortstop for the Angels, projected to earn around $9.25M in his final arbitration season. The 31-year-old posted 27 doubles, 13 homers, 64 RBIs, and a 2.92 WAR last season in Minnesota.

Tyler Anderson had a career year on the mound for the Dodgers last season, cutting his ERA down to 2.57, the WHIP down to 1.00, while accumulating a 4.26 WAR across 178 innings. He currently projects as the #2 arm in the rotation behind Shohei Ohtani - barring another (likely) acquisition this winter. His 3 year deal comes with a flat $13M per season, which ranks 28th among starting pitcher pay right now.

The Angels now project toward a $206M tax payroll when including estimated arbitration & pre-arbitration salaries against their 40-man roster. With a threshold of $233M this season, this means around $26M of space to work with.

PGA Player Impact Program

Russell Henley earns $1.48 million at World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Top 5

1. Adam Svensson, $1,458,000

T2. Sahith Theegala, $612,900

T2. Brian Harman, $612,900

T2. Callum Tarren, $612,900

T5. Alex Smalley, $277,830

T5. Seamus Power, $353,500

T5. Chris Stroud, $353,500

T5. Cole Hammer, $353,500

T5. Joel Dahmen, $353,500

 

Full Results

 

PGA

14 players were handed a Qualifying Offer for the 2023 season: 2 were accepted, 12 were declined. Our thoughts on the financial futures for each player as we head toward the winter months.

Dansby Swanson (ATL, SS, 28)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Swanson will hit the open market with plenty of offers as he figures to be the lower costing elite shortstop available this winter. He popped 52 homers across the past two seasons, and projects to a 6 year, $150M contract in our system.

Willson Contreras (CHC, C, 30)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Contreras hits the market as the top available catcher, and all of the big boy contenders are in. He mashed 43 homers across the past two seasons, and projects to a 4 year, $65M deal in our system.

Tyler Anderson (LAD, SP, 32)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Not only did Anderson reject the Dodgers’ offer - he turned around and signed a 3 year, $39M contract across town with the Angels a minute later. LAA is hoping 2022 wasn’t just an anomaly (2.57 ERA, 1 WHIP, 4.26 WAR), as they need quality pitching about as much as any team in the game.

Trea Turner (LAD, SS, 29)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Maybe the most complete player on the open market this winter, Turner has been linked to a dozen teams already - including the Yankees and Mets. The 5 tool stud projects to a 6 year, $200M contract in our system, but there’s no reason he doesn’t demand $300M if he wants to go longer.

Joc Pederson (SF, OF, 31)

Qualifying Offer: Accepted

This seemed a no-brainer from the get-go, as Pederson played out a 1 year, $6M deal for the Giants in 2022 - and posted one of his best statistical seasons to date. There’s a clear fit between the two sides, and if a bat like Aaron Judge as added as lineup protection, Pederson’s 2023 free agency (without a QO attached) could be very rewarding.

Carlos Rodon (SF, SP, 29)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Rodon opted out of a $22.5M salary for 2022, so there’s clearly multi-year guarantee in mind here. He won’t be disappointed as every contender from St. Louis to the Dodgers to both New York franchises will have a significant stake in his future. He’s a 6 year, $195M player in our system.

Chris Bassitt (NYM, SP, 33)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Bassitt had an excellent season in Queens and rightfully rejected a $19M option for the upcoming campaign. He’ll find at least this much on an average annual basis over a multi-year contract, with 3 years, $61M being our projected baseline.

Jacob deGrom (NYM, SP, 34)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

It’s tough to tell if deGrom is simply ready to test (and accept) his place on the open market, or if the Mets simply aren’t willing to offer the financial figures it’s going to take to keep their ace based on his previous injury history. Will Steve Cohen cave and hand out the 3 year, $135M contract we peg him to? If he doesn’t - someone will.

Brandon Nimmo (NYM, OF, 29)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Nimmo isn’t a household name, but he’ll be one of the most coveted position players on the open market this year (despite a down year across the board in 2022). The speedy, top of the lineup, high-energy, strong defensive center fielder is likely to bag around $22M per year this winter.

Martin Perez (TEX, SP, 32)

Qualifying Offer: Accepted

A little bit of a surprise, as many thought Perez’ shocker 2022 production would have turned into a multi-year guarantee. Clearly the early offers weren’t jumping off the page, so a near $20M salary to stick with a situation that worked well, and a chance to hit the market again next winter, is a perfectly plausible decision.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS, SS, 30)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Bogaerts left 3 years, $60M on the table when he opted out of a mess of a Boston situation. He’ll be seeking a deal around $30M per year, and the Cardinals, Cubs, and Phillies appear ready to strike.

Nathan Eovaldi (BOS, SP, 32)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

If the Red Sox were in better shape, this is probably an offer that gets accepted. Boston is still trying to lock down Eovaldi to a multi-year deal, but other suitors are certainly getting involved now as well. He’ll likely see less than $19.6M per year on his next contract, but 2 years, $33M in a better situation is likely more attractive across the board.

Aaron Judge (NYY, OF, 30)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

12 teams are likely offering him $300M right now. Brian Cashman probably processed the qualifying offer and rejection papers simultaneously. Judge is an 8 year, $303M player in our system, but a bidding war gets this thing into the middle 300s pretty easily.

Anthony Rizzo (NYY, 1B, 33)

Qualifying Offer: Rejected

Rizzo had offers from good teams (San Diego, Houston), but smartly chose to stay in the Bronx on a 2 year, $40M guarantee (3rd year club option that can raise the deal to $51M). He’s not the player he once was, so finding a fit at age 33 seems like a situation you want to remain in.

When NBA teams lose a player for the season due to injury, they’re limited in how they can replace that player. There is no injured reserve in the NBA. Unless teams are down several players, they don’t get an extra roster spot.

The NBA functions under a soft cap, but with a hard cap limiter that can be triggered in some situations. That can make it hard to sign a replacement player. By the time the season starts, the vast majority of teams are already operating over the cap, with limited resources available to sign a player.

There are always trades, but in that case, you might be robbing Peter to pay Paul and creating another roster issue for yourself.

However, the NBA does have one tool that teams can apply for when they lose a player for the season. The Disabled Player Exception is an exception that teams can be granted to help replace an injured player, but there are some restrictions.

Here’s a quick Q&A as to what a DPE is and how they can and can’t be used.

 

How do teams get a Disabled Player Exception (DPE)?

Teams have to petition the NBA in order to be granted a DPE. It’s not an automatic thing when a player is injured. A team must apply to the NBA for a DPE.

From there, it’s up to either an NBA-designated doctor or the league’s Fitness to Play panel to determine the extent of the injury to the player the DPE is being asked for. If the determination is made that the injured player is substantially more likely than not to miss the rest of the season, the DPE is granted to the team that petitioned for it.

Teams have until January 15 of each season to apply for a DPE. If a player is ruled out for the season after that, teams cannot petition for a DPE. If a player is deemed to be out for the subsequent season, the team will need to reapply during that next league year for a new DPE.

 

How much is a DPE for in terms of salary?

The DPE is worth one-half of the injured player’s salary, with a maximum value equal to that of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception for the season in which the DPE is granted.

Example: If the injured player’s salary for whom the DPE is granted has a salary of $10 million for the 2022-23, the DPE value would be worth $5 million.

If the injured player was making $30 million for 2022-23, the DPE value would be capped at $10,490,000, which is equivalent to the Non-Taxpayer MLE for the 2022-23 season.

 

How can a DPE be used?

The DPE is a unique exception from other salary cap exceptions. Exceptions like the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level, Taxpayer Mid-Level, Room and Bi-Annual Exceptions are signing exceptions only. They must be used to sign a free agent(s).

Traded Player Exceptions (TPE) can be used in two ways: teams can trade for a player (or players) whose salary fits inside of the TPE or they can use the TPE to claim a player off waivers whose salary fits inside of the TPE.

The DPE is unique in that it can be used to sign a player, trade for a player or to claim a player off waivers. However, there are restrictions with the DPE that do not exist for the other exceptions.

 

What are the restrictions to a DPE?

Unlike the signing exceptions (NTMLE, Tax MLE, Room and BAE), the DPE can only be used to sign a player to a remainder-of-season contract.

The remainder-of-season condition also exists in trades and waiver claims as well. If a team trades for a player or claims that player off waivers, they have to be on an ending (commonly called expiring) contract. And there cannot be an option year after, either. It must be a true ending contract.

In addition, the DPE can also only be used to acquire one player. Unlike several of the signing exceptions and TPEs, the DPE cannot be used to acquire more than one player.

Essentially, teams are granted the DPE to replace the one injured player for the remainder of that current season only.

For re-signing purposes, teams do inherit whatever applicable form of Bird Rights would come after acquiring a player via a DPE.

 

Do you get an additional roster spot when granted a DPE?

No. Teams are still bound by the maximum of 15 players on standard contracts.

In a normal, non-COVID-impacted season, the only way teams can gain extra roster spots is via the Hardship Exemption. If a team has at least four players out for at least three regular season games, they can petition the NBA for a Hardship Exemption, which would grant the team an extra roster spot.

Technically, a team could fill a Hardship roster spot via a DPE. However, when that fourth player is ready to return from injury or illness, the team would need to get back into roster compliance by waiving or trading a player to get back to 15 players on standard contracts.

 

When does a DPE expire?

Unlike signing exceptions, which expire at the end of the regular season, and TPEs, which have a one-year expiration date from the date of creation, a DPE can only be used through March 10.

The idea with the DPE is to give a team an opportunity to add a player through the trade deadline and the early part of what is now commonly called “buyout season”.

A DPE will also expire when used. A DPE is also rendered void if the injured player returns or if the injured player is traded to another team.

If a team only uses a portion of a DPE, the unused portion expires, as the DPE can only be used to acquire one player.

 

Does a DPE prorate in value as the season goes along?

No. Unlike a signing exception, the DPE always retains its full value until it expires or is used.

 

What happens if a DPE is used and then the injured player returns?

Nothing. The player acquired via the DPE is unaffected. This is basically seen a stroke of good fortune that a player thought to be out for the remainder of the season was able to return.

Reminder: Because no roster spot is created through a DPE, there would not need to be corresponding roster move for the injured player to return.

 

Can you trade for an injured player and then apply for a DPE?

No. The player must have been injured while under contract to the team in order for that team to apply for a DPE.

 

Does a DPE count against the salary cap and luxury tax?

Yes, when used to acquire a player, whatever portion of a DPE is used will count against both the salary cap and the luxury tax.

In addition, if a team is hard capped at the tax apron, they cannot exceed the apron via use of a DPE. A hard-capped team is still required to have a team salary that is no higher than that of the tax apron.

 

Does a DPE offer any sort of short or long-term salary relief for the injured player?

No. There is a process under which teams can petition to have a player’s salary removed due to career-ending injury. But that process is independent of the DPE process.

 

Do any teams currently have DPEs available?

The Boston Celtics have a DPE of $3,239,500 which was granted for Danilo Gallinari.

There are no other current DPEs available for use.

 

What are some recent cases where a DPE was used?

In 2017-18, after Gordon Hayward broke his left leg on opening night, the Boston Celtics were granted a DPE of $8,406,000. That was the equivalent of that season’s Non-Taxpayer MLE, as Hayward’s salary for that season was nearly $30 million.

Boston used that DPE to sign Greg Monroe for $5 million after he was waived by the Phoenix Suns.

 

Is a petition for a DPE ever declined?

Yes. Last season, the Chicago Bulls petitioned for a DPE for Patrick Williams after he tore ligaments in his wrist early in the 2021-22 season. The NBA denied the application, as it was deemed Williams had a chance to return for that season. That proved prescient, as Williams did return in late-March.

In addition, the Indiana Pacers had also applied for a DPE for Edmond Sumner last season. However, Sumner was traded by Indiana before that DPE was granted, which rendered the application void.

NBA Glossary

The Raiders locked in 5 players to contract extensions this offseason, to the tune of $439M in total value. Of that, $227M is considered to be practically guaranteed, with $108M fully guaranteed at signing. If we dive even deeper, we learn that the 2023 season isn't 100% guaranteed for any of these new contracts.

With Las Vegas' season floundering, the hot stove will soon be full of future predictions for the state of this roster going forward. How safe are these 5 contracts heading toward 2023?

Derek Carr

3 years, $121,500,000

Carr’s latest extension carries $65.2M of potential guarantees - but only $25M at signing (his 2022 compensation).

This is a contract to watch in the coming months, as it truly can be a 1 year, $25M deal in its simplest form. If he’s healthy, the Raiders can release Carr before February 15th, owing him no additional salary, while taking on a measly $5.6M dead cap hit ($29.2M saved). After this date, his $33M salary for 2023, + $7.5M of 2024 compensation become fully guaranteed. All $40M of this is currently guaranteed for injury right now.

Davante Adams

5 years, $140,000,000

The Raiders gave up a 1st and 2nd round pick to bring on Adams, both from the 2022 draft. They turned around and handed him a 5 year, $140M contract that included over $65M guaranteed - but only $22.75M guaranteed at signing.

Like Carr’s contract, there’s an out after 2022, but the dead cap that remains ($31.4M) with Las Vegas to trade Adams next March seems too rich to take on - even if the draft pick haul would be enticing. Even if the Raiders start over at the QB position, having a player of Adams’ ability makes sense - at least for a minute.

Maxx Crosby

4 years, $94,000,000

$26.5M of the $53M practically guaranteed on this contract is fully locked in at signing, including a $10.05M roster bonus for 2023. When March 17th rolls around, another $26.5M fully guaranteed (2023 salary + 2024 salary).

Crosby’s a centerpiece to build around regardless of who’s coaching or playing quarterback, and this deal isn’t too much for any franchise to tolerate. 

Darren Waller

3 years, $51,000,000

Las Vegas’ good-faith extension for Waller appears to be a disastrous decision as they reportedly tried to shop the 30 year old at the trade deadline, then placed him on the IR a few weeks later. $8.25M of his 2023 salary is already fully guaranteed, with another $2.75M set to lock on March 17th. Will they look to find a suitor for a 1 year, $11M guarantee? If so, the Raiders will take on just a $660,000 dead cap hit for 2023  - nearly $12M of savings.

Hunter Renfrow

2 years, $32,000,000

Renfrow’s 3 year contract comes with $14.5M guaranteed at signing, including a $4.32M roster bonus in 2023. His $6.5M salary for next season fully locks in on March 17th. Like Adams, it’s likely Renfrow sticks through 2023. The deal contains no guarantee for the 2024 season.

Russell Henley earns $1.48 million at World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba.

Top 5

1. Tony Finau, $1.512,000

2. Tyson Alexander, $915,600

3. Ben Taylor, $579.600

T4. Trey Mullinax, $353,500

T4. Alex Smalley, $353,500

T4. Alex Noren, $353,500

 

Full Results

 

PGA

The Mets struck early this offseason, locking in Edwin Diaz to a 5 year, $102M contract during the exclusive negotiations portion of free agency. With full details of that contract now available, we’ll dive deep into the facts and figures here.

The Total Value

With a base value of $102M, Diaz’s new contract is the highest total value deal in relief pitcher history - by a bunch.

1. Edwin Diaz, $102M
2. Aroldis Chapman, $86M
3. Kenley Jansen, $80M
4. Mark Melancon, $62M
5. Raisel Iglesias, $58M

When factoring in the 6th year club option, and annual award bonuses, there’s a world where this contract can approach $120M in full.

The Average Salary vs. the Tax Salary

On its face, the $20.4M per year average annual salary blows the reliever market out of the water, as Liam Hendriks ($18M), Aroldis Chapman ($16M), & Kenley Jansen ($16M) currently held the top spots.

If we take position out of the equation, Diaz becomes the 41st highest average paid player in baseball at the time of his signing, 3rd-highest for the Mets (Scherzer, Lindor).

Things change quite a bit from a luxury tax perspective though. $26.5M of the base contract is deferred compensation, which drops the tax salary (CBT) to around $18.6M. With the Mets projected to soar past the $233M tax threshold this season, every little bit of savings helps.

The Cash Breakdown

Enter at your own risk here.

2023
Diaz will cash a $12M signing bonus right now plus $11.75M of his $17.25M base salary this season. The remaining $5.5M is deferred to 2033-2035.

2024
$11.75M in-season, $5.5M more 2035-2037.

2025
$12M in-season, $5.5M more 2037-2039

2026
$13.5M in-season, $5M more 2039-2041

2027
$14.5M in-season, $5M more 2041-2042

2028
$17.25M club option, or a $1M buyout

The Bells & Whistles

Player Opt-Out
Diaz will have the ability to opt-out of this contract after the 2025 season, or 3 years, $64M. He’ll be approaching 32 years old at this time, with a minimum 2 years, $38M remaining on the contract (plus a possible $17.25M club option). An awful lot has to go very well for an opt-out to be considered a likely path.

Trade Clause
Diaz gains a full no trade clause now through the 2025 league year. On November 1st, 2025, that converts to a 10-team no trade clause through the remainder of the contract.

Award Bonuses
Diaz can earn an additional $100,000 each time he’s tagged World Series MVP or Reliever of the Year. Another $50,000 for each All-Star, Gold Glove or LCS MVP selection. And $50,000 for a Cy Young award ($25,000 for 2nd, $10,000 for 3rd).

As the 2022-23 MLB offseason gets underway, we'll take a quick snapshot look at where each of the 30 franchises stands in terms of 40-man tax payrolls. These figures include all guaranteed contracts, our calculated estimates for arbitration players, and near-minimum pre-arbitration estimates for the rest of the roster. 

The tax threshold for the upcoming season is $233,000,000.

ARI $101,719,966
ATL $221,629,211
BAL $62,992,001
BOS $151,341,928
CHC $137,937,672
CHW $175,089,067
CIN $91,133,510
CLE $98,875,844
COL $171,600,410
DET $127,584,390
HOU $165,798,816
KC $89,214,816
LAA $170,602,982
LAD $188,440,828
MIA $111,600,746
MIL $148,537,938
MIN $110,725,357
NYM $243,452,328
NYY $195,963,027
OAK $50,926,176
PHI $172,612,219
PIT $65,331,968
SD $198,399,703
SF $121,004,470
SEA $160,250,207
STL $165,120,737
TB $112,020,312
TEX $126,675,058
TOR $215,561,766
WSH $114,842,375

MLB WORLD SERIES

Houston Astros earned their second title in franchise history. 2022 Roster & Salaries

MLS CUP

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) won its first MLS Cup since it first started playing games in 2018. The team is led by Carlos Vela who earned $4.05 million in 2022 and signed an extension during the summer. 2022 Roster & Salaries

NASCAR CUP SERIES

Joey Logano wins the 2022 Cup Series Championship and the second title of his career. His average finish was 13.5. 2022 Results

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

Ty Gibbs wins the 2022 Xfinity Series Championship in his rookie season. His average finish was 9.2.

NASCAR TRUCK SERIES

Zane Smith wins the 2022 CAMPING WORLD Truck Series Championship in his rookie season. His average finish was 9.2.

NASCAR MLB MLS

With the MLB offseason now upon us, a quick look at important dates pertaining to the business of baseball over the next few months.

 

November 6th: The offseason begins as players can file for free agency, option decision making begins, and the trade market re-open. Free Agents are not yet allowed to negotiate with other teams.

 

November 10th: The 2022-23 league year officially begins, including negotiations for all free agents. All option decisions for the 2023 season are due by today. It’s also the deadline for teams to place a qualifying offer on outgoing free agents (valued at $19.65M for 2023).

 

November 15th: Teams must set their offseason 40 man rosters by today, ahead of the December 7th Rule 5 Draft.

 

November 18th: The deadline for teams to non-tender pending arbitration-eligible players. 

 

November 20th: The deadline for players to accept or decline a qualifying offer that has been placed on them.

 

December 7th: The Rule 5 Draft

January 13th: The deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit their offers for 2023 salary.

 

January 15th: The international signing window opens.

MLB announced this year's crop of exceptional defenders, handing out Gold Gloves to 20 players Tuesday night.

Related: Historical Gold Glove Financials

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Nolan Arenado picks up a $25,000 bonus for his 10th (straight) Gold Glove, while 5 of these National League selections (Walker, Rodgers, Swanson, Happ, Donovan) are winning for their first time.

Catcher: J.T. Realmuto (PHI, $23.8M)
First Base: Christian Walker (ARI, $2.6M)
Second Base: Brendan Rodgers (COL, $710k)
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson (ATL, $10M)
Third Base: Nolan Arenado (STL, $35M)
Left Field: Ian Happ (CHC, $6.85M)
Center Field: Trent Grisham (SD, $729k)
Right Field: Mookie Betts (LAD, $22.5M)
Pitcher: Max Fried (ATL, $6.85M)
Utility: Brendan Donovan (STL, $700k)

Total Roster: $109.7M

AMERICAN LEAGUE

9 of the 10 American League selections this season are first-time winners, with LeMahieu (4th) being the only exception. There’s a $75M difference between the NL Gold Glovers & the AL winners this year.

Catcher: Jose Trevino (NYY, $720k)
First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR, $7.9M)
Second Base: Andres Gimenez (CLE, $706k)
Shortstop: Jeremy Pena (HOU, $700k)
Third Base: Ramon Urias (BAL, $705k)
Left Field: Steven Kwan (CLE, $700k)
Center Field: Myles Straw (CLE, $1.65M)
Right Field: Kyle Tucker (HOU, $764k)
Pitcher: Shane Bieber (CLE, $6M)
Utility: D.J. LeMahieu (NYY, $15M)

Total Roster: $34.8M

Roquan Smith asked the Bears to move on from him this summer. Three months later, that request has been granted, as the Pro Bowl linebacker is on his way to Baltimore for the next 10 weeks. Smith is playing out the 5th-year option of his rookie contract, and is currently scheduled for unrestricted free agency next March.

The Traded Contract

Smith entered 2022 on a $9.3744M 5th-year option. His remaining salary at the November 1 deadline is $5.408M. The Bears agreed to retain $4.833M of that balance, sending Smith to the Ravens on a minimum $575,000 salary for the remainder of 2022.

Original Salary: $9.3744M
Deadline Salary: $5.408M
Minimum Deadline Salary ($1.035M/18)*10: $575,000
Retained by Chicago: $8.799M

The Trade Compensation

In return for Smith, the Bears received LB A.J. Klein ($497,2200, a 2023 2nd round pick, & a 2023 5th round pick. Chicago negotiated a better draft pick package by agreeing to retain nearly all of the remaining salary on Smith’s contract this season.

Bears’ Projected 2023 Draft Picks
(excluding compensatory picks)

1st
2nd
2nd (BAL)
3rd
4th
4th (PHI)
5th
5th (BAL)
7th
7th

Roquan’s Next Contract

The move to Baltimore puts Smith’s rookie extension back in full focus, something the Bears weren’t willing to consider in their current rebuild window.

Smith carries a $16M valuation in our system to date, but it’s highly realistic to assume that he’ll be seeking a deal at or above Shaquille Leonard’s $19.7M per year deal with the Colts. Leonard’s $52.5M in practical guarantees is also the off-ball linebacker bar, while C.J. Mosley’s $43M guaranteed at signing is the current (but probably unrealistic) high. The highest total value off-ball linebacker contracts currently stand at:

Shaquille Leonard: $98.5M
Fred Warner: $95.2M
C.J. Mosley: $85M
Zach Cunningham: $58M
Deion Jones: $57M


As the #8 overall selection back in 2018, Smith is the highest drafted player in this subset. The advanced metrics have never been friendly to him, and his career season high sack total is 5 (rookie season) - so there’s at least some argument to be made that a market reset isn’t a lock here.

One thing’s for certain: With Lamar Jackson destined for the Baltimore franchise tag next February, Roquan Smith won’t be receiving one of those. Will a 5 year, $90M contract with $45M practically guaranteed get the job done?

team-3 team-5

Teams must make decisions on rookie scale options for the prior season by October 31st. Therefore, since we are in the 2022-23 season, teams must decide on exercising or declining rookie scale options for the 2023-24 season. 

If an option is exercised, it becomes an actively guaranteed salary for the 2023-24 season.

If an option is declined, the option becomes a Cap Hold and will enter free agency as an Unrestricted Free Agent.

 

Here is a team-by-team list of the rookie scale option decisions:

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Brooklyn Nets

Charlotte Hornets

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

Detroit Pistons

Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets

Indiana Pacers

LA Clippers

  • None

Los Angeles Lakers

  • None

Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat

  • None

Milwaukee Bucks

  • None

Minnesota Timberwolves

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Philadelphia 76ers

Phoenix Suns

  • Jalen Smith - 2022-23 option was declined, signed 3 year $15.13 million contract as free agent in 2022 offseason

Portland Trail Blazers

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

Utah Jazz

Washington Wizards

NBA Rookie Options

QUARTERBACKS

Mason Rudolph (PIT, 27)

Deadline Salary: $1.6M

The 27-year old is in the final year of a 2-year contract in Pittsburgh, and has been relegated to QB3 duties. The Steelers would take on a $2.44M dead cap hit here.

Jameis Winston (NO, 28)

Deadline Salary: $666,666

Winston appears to have lost his footing on the QB1 job in New Orleans (for a minute). With $5.8M of his 2023 salary guaranteed for injury, there’s a bit of risk in putting him out there right now, but another franchise could think differently. The Saints would take on dead cap hits $3.3M in 2022, and another $11.2M in 2023.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Alvin Kamara (NO, 27)

Deadline Salary: $575,000

Kamara’s been a late addition to the trade rumor hot stove with contenders looking to pounce on the versatile weapon. His contract contains 3 years, $47.8M after 2022, and $5M of his 2023 salary is already fully guaranteed - but a potential looming suspension would void those guarantees immediately. A deadline trade means $5.55M of dead cap in 2022, and another $14.3M in 2023 for New Orleans.

Kareem Hunt (CLE, 27)

Deadline Salary: $2.75M

Hunt requested a contract/trade before the season started, but the Browns wouldn’t bite on either. He’s a little more expensive than most backs at this deadline thanks to $200,000 in per game roster bonuses, but he’s also one of the more proven weapons on the block. Acquiring teams could just opt to guarantee those per game bonuses, and convert the remaining salary into signing bonus, using void years to greatly decrease the 2022 cap hit.

Josh Jacobs (LV, 24)

Deadline Salary: $1.1M

The Raiders declined Jacobs’ $8M 5th-year option for 2023, so he’s operating on a pretty friendly expiring salary here. He’s been a huge part of the Las Vegas offense, so as long as they believe they’re in the playoff hunt, shopping Jacobs is likely off of the table. But with $1.1M to be acquired at the deadline, it’s easy to imagine there’s a suitor or two out there.

Melvin Gordon (DEN, 29)

Deadline Salary: $1.32M

Gordon is posting a career-low 3.5 yards per attempt right now for a stagnant Broncos’ offense, and is scheduled for free agency after the 2022 season. A loss in London could mean a firesale for Denver before the 11/1 deadline.

Cam Akers (LAR, 23)

Deadline Salary: $650k

Akers fell out of favor with the Rams about as quickly as any player has. His rookie contract has a year and a half remaining on it, but none of it is guaranteed. He's a $650k rental at the deadline if someone is willing to bite, leaving behind dead cap hits of $1.03M in 2022, and another $512k in 2023.

Antonio Gibson (WSH, 24)

Deadline Salary: $588,011

With Brian Robinson back in the fold, Gibson’s role is certain to be reduced. His rookie contract runs non-guaranteed through 2023, so teams could be gaining a year and a half of decent value with a deadline move. Washington would take on dead cap hits of $757,252 in 2022 & $286,843 in 2023.

Jeff Wilson (SF, 26)

Deadline Salary: $575,000

McCaffrey’s arrival immediately had teams calling the Niners about Wilson, who are certainly listening. He comes with a minimum salary on an expiring contract for the next 10 weeks, so there’s real bang for buck potential here. San Francisco would retain a $510,000 dead hit per this move.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Brandin Cooks (HOU, 29)

Deadline Salary: $914,081

Cooks signed a 2 year extension with Houston this past April, but the Texans appear poised to sell anyone for parts right now (as they should be). He’s relatively cost-controlled for the remainder of 2022, but a fully guaranteed $18M salary for 2023 likely has some teams staying away - barring a restructure.

Kendrick Bourne (NE, 27)

Deadline Salary: $3.09M

Bourne is one of the more expensive players being rumored at the deadline, at least for the remainder of 2022. His contract contains a non-guaranteed $5.5M salary in 2023, so there’s a chance this can be more than just a rental for an acquiring team. The Patriots would take on dead cap hits of $3.28M in 2022, and another $1.4M in 2023.

Jerry Jeudy (DEN, 23)

Deadline Salary: $1.1M

Jeudy hasn’t lived up to this #15 overall selection to date, and the Broncos could be one of the more aggressive teams at this deadline from a selling stance. Jeudy’s contract carries fully guaranteed salaries of $1.1M to finish 2022 & $2.6M through 2023, with a 5th-year option available for 2024.

Elijah Moore (NYJ, 22)

Deadline Salary: $592,435

Moore’s request to be shipped out of NY has been denied by the Jets (thus far), but deadlines spur actions and teams are likely still calling. Moore’s remaining contract stands at 2 ½ years, $3.94M, with $1.6M of that fully guaranteed.

Chase Claypool (PIT, 24)

Deadline Salary: $673,000

Claypool still hasn’t found footing in Pittsburgh, despite 4 quarterbacks attempting to gel with him. None of the $673,000 remaining in 2022 or the $1.5M slated for 2023 are guaranteed, so a late round draft pick might make sense for a team looking to bulk up depth in their WR room with little risk. The Steelers would take on dead hits of $1.1M in 2022, and $593k in 2023.

Marquez Callaway (NO, 24)

Deadine Salary: $497,222

The Saints can’t stop adding players to the trade block, and Callaway might be the best “value” of them all. He’s eligible for restricted free agency after 2022, keeping him cost-controlled for a year and a half.

 

TIGHT ENDS

Mike Gesicki (MIA, 27)

Deadline Salary: $6M

Gesicki went from arguably the Dolphins’ best pass catching threat the past few years, to almost non-existent in 2022. While the price is a bit hefty for a deadline move, a big name injury in the next few weeks can spur some action (Dallas comes to mind early on). It’s a 1 year, fully guaranteed $6M deal at the deadline.

Albert Okwuegbunam (DEN, 24)

Deadline Salary: $497,222

He’s played only 25% of the Broncos’ snaps to date, and appears certain to be on the move in the coming days. The acquiring team takes on a less than $500k salary for the remainder of 2022, and a $1.01M option for 2023 - none of it guaranteed. Denver will retain dead cap hits of $585,038 in 2022, $187k in 2023,

 

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Isaiah Wynn (NE, OT, 25)

Deadline Salary: $5.785M

The former #23 overall pick has been in and out of favor with the Patriots, but it appears he’s not long for this roster one way or another. His 5th-year option salary makes him somewhat expensive for a deadline move, but it only takes one team.

 

DEFENDERS

Bradley Chubb (DEN, LB, 26)

Deadline Salary: $7.06M

Chubb seems to be the big fish on the market this weekend, as contenders identify him as the “Von Miller” of the class. There aren’t many teams with $7M+ of cap space out of the gate, so Denver might be eating quite a bit of this remaining salary in order to buy a better draft package. 

Josh Allen (JAX, LB, 25)

Deadline Salary: $1.9M

Jacksonville hasn’t made it clear that Allen is available, but that’s not stopping teams from calling. The contract carries a fully guaranteed $1.9M through 2022, then a fully guaranteed $11.5M 5th-year option in 2023, so this is more than just a rental move.

Brian Burns (CAR, DE, 24)

Deadline Salary: $1.3M

Carolina claims that Burns is still off limits - but a couple of first round picks can change that tune quickly. He’s fully guaranteed at $1.3M through 2022, with a fully guaranteed $16M 5th-year option in 2023.

William Jackson (WSH, CB, 30)

Deadline Salary: $3.17M

Jackson and the Commanders have been at odds most of the season, so they’ll be thrilled to find a partner in the next few days. $2.7M of the remaining salary for 2022 is fully guaranteed, but none of the $12.75M scheduled for next season is.

Roquan Smith (CHI, ILB, 25)

Deadline Salary: $5.4M

The Bears and Smith agreed to “live with each other” after offseason trade demands went nowhere. Chicago should be looking for as many draft picks as possible down the stretch these days, so adding Smith and his expiring contract back to the trade block (amongst others) makes the most sense. They’ll take on $4.3M of 2022 dead cap to ship him out at the deadline.

Sidney Jones (SEA, CB,  26)

Deadline Salary: $1.26M

Jones has been relegated to a depth role in Seattle, and could garner the Seahawks another draft asset this weekend. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next March.

Sean Bunting (TB, CB, 25)

Deadline Salary: $1.4M

Bunting is on an expiring contract, scheduled for unrestricted free agency in a few months. His deadline salary is a little pricier than some teams will be willing to spend for depth, but he sees a likely move regardless. The Bucs will take on a $1.9M dead cap hit per this trade.

8 veteran quarterbacks were handed contract extensions prior to the 2022 regular season. All 8 of those quarterbacks are currently underproducing per their career standards. Our dive into the numbers

Aaron Rodgers

Signed a 3 year, $150.8M extension to remain with the Packers this past March. Rodgers & the Packers are off to a 3-4 start, with a tough Buffalo matchup waiting for them this weekend.

Rodgers is posting 6 year lows in many of the passing categories to start the year, including 228 yards per game, a 94.3 rating, 6 fumbles, and a 26 touchdown pace. A damaged throwing hand thumb can certainly be factored in, but this is an offense with very little cohesion right now.

Contractually the two sides will have to be 100% committed to each other at the end of the season in order to proceed as is. A $58.3M option bonus is set to hit the books 5 days into the 2023 waiver period, setting up a boatload of dead cap for the Packers no matter how this thing ends. The same can be said in 2024, when a $47M option bonus will kick in.

 

Matthew Stafford

Stafford was rewarded by the Rams for his Super Bowl winning 2021 campaign with a 4 year, $160M extension, including $61.5M cash in 2022. LA finds themselves 3-3 heading into November, a game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West.

Statistically, Stafford is completing a career-best 71% of his passes, but the yardage is down, the TDs are down, the interceptions are up, the fumbles are up, and passer rating (84.6) is miserably down. Like the Packers, LA doesn’t appear to have enough horses in the barn to run a successful offense currently.

Contractually, Stafford is fully guaranteed through 2023, and 2024 fully guarantees next March. Then $10M of 2025 guarantees March of 2024. So for all intents and purposes, there’s at least $70M more to be squeezed out of this contract - for better or worse.

 

Russell Wilson

The mystery of Russell Wilson’s lost production isn’t being solved any time soon. The last place 2-5 Broncos look about as disjointed as an offense can.

Wilson is completing 58% of his passes. He has 5 passing TDs in 6 games. His 83.3 Passer Rating puts him just behind Davis Mills. And he’s on pace to rush for just 240 yards on the ground, a facet of his game that appears to have vanished for good. 

Contractually, he should be heading toward a non-guaranteed $27M salary on an expiring contract - if not for the $161M guaranteed extension he was blindly handed this past September. Wilson is fully guaranteed through the 2024 season right now, and his 2025 salary locks in when March 2024 rolls around. There are no per game bonuses, no workout bonuses, no early roster bonuses that can be restructured or converted. It’s just guaranteed salary for 3 ½ more years.

 

Derek Carr

Carr was heading into an expiring contract year before the Raiders extended him out 3 years, $121.5M. The new deal carries $65.2M of potential guarantees - but only $25M at signing (his 2022 compensation.

Statistically, Carr’s resume isn’t as daunting as some of the other names on this list, but he’s certainly on pace to finish with lower numbers than last year across the board. His current 91.3 Passer Rating is his lowest number since 2017, as is his 63.5% completion rate.

This is a contract to watch in the coming months, as it truly can be a 1 year, $25M deal in its simplest form. If he’s healthy, the Raiders can release Carr before February 15th, owing him no additional salary, while taking on a measly $5.6M dead cap hit ($29.2M saved). After this date, his $33M salary for 2023, + $7.5M of 2024 compensation becomes fully guaranteed. All $40M of this is currently guaranteed for injury right now.

 

Kyler Murray

Despite completing 65% of his passes, Murray is down about 30 passing yards per game, and his 83.7 Passer Rating is almost 17 points lower than his 2021 finish.

The timing and structure of this contract have been well documented (especially from us), but it’s worth saying it again, as the Cardinals find themselves 3-4 and in the NFC West basement. Murray’s going to earn $219M through 2027, from someone. He possesses one of the strongest contract structures in the history of the NFL.

 

Deshaun Watson

Statistically speaking - nope.

Contractually, Watson has already cashed in $44.965M this year. When he returns to the Browns, he’ll pocket another $402,500 for the remainder of the 2022 campaign. Then it’s $46M x 4 years, fully guaranteed from here out: $184M

 

Kirk Cousins

Don’t forget about Kirk. The Vikings tacked on $35M guaranteed to Cousins’ previous contract for salary cap (and football) purposes. He’s basically posted numbers that align with his career, however the efficiency is down - a path we’re seeing with all of these listed quarterbacks.

Cousins’ passer rating currently sits at 88.7, 14 points less than last season. He’s on pace for 14 INTs after throwing only 7 in 2021.

Contractually, Kirk is inline for another $30M (guaranteed) in 2023, and currently holds a fairly tenable $36.25M cap hit next season.

 

Tom Brady

After he unretired, the Buccaneers freed up $8.3M of much needed cap space by restructuring Brady’s previous contract. The maneuver increased Brady’s cash from $12.2M up to $30M, the 2nd largest single season payout in his career.

Through 8 games, Brady’s numbers aren’t awful. They’re just not translating into TDs at near the rate he’s used to producing at. In fact, of the 7 QBs listed here, Brady’s 92.37 passer rating is by far the best. His 283 yards per game is by far the best. But the 19 TD passes he’s on pace for is eerily low.

Contractually, this is still a 1 year deal for Brady, as the Bucs utilized void years to spread the cap out in their favor. If (when) he walks away after 2022, Tampa Bay will have $35.1M of dead cap to deal with in 2023.

Since drafted #20 overall back in 2021, Kadarius Toney has seen action in just 12 games, including only 2 thus far in 2022. The Chiefs will now take on this project in return for a 2023 3rd round compensatory draft pick, and a 2023 6th round pick.

 

The Traded Contract

Toney brings with him a 2 ½ year, $5.22M fully guaranteed contract to Kansas City, including a 5th year option for the 2025 season.

2022: $784,431 (guaranteed)
2023: $1,907,228 (guaranteed)
2024: $2,530,842 (guaranteed)
2025: 5th-year option available

 

The Dead Cap & Savings

The Giants free up minimal cap space in each of the next 3 seasons with this move, but they take $5.2M cash off of their books, and acquire two picks, one with a chance to be extremely helpful next April.

Dead Cap
2022: $2,333,639 ($499,183 cash)
2023: $3,668,912

Cap Savings
2022: $784,431
2023: $72,772
2024: $4,365,298

 

In Conclusion

The Chiefs are operating with quantity in their offense right now, and Toney not only adds to that - but has a chance to become the featured quality option over the next few seasons. He’ll certainly have the right quarterback throwing him passes from here out.



team-15 team-23

Robert Quinn requested a trade away from the Bears this past offseason. On Wednesday, Chicago finally granted his wish, shipping the 32 year old pass rusher to the 1st Place Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for retained salary, and a 2023 4th round draft pick.

 

The Traded Contract

Philadelphia picks up a 3 year, $27.7M contract per this deal, but only the $684,444 comes with any type of guarantee.

2022: $684,444 (guaranteed)
2023: $14M (non-guaranteed)
2024: $13M (non-guaranteed)

Update: The Eagles have agreed to remove the final two years of the contract per the terms of the trade. Quinn will now be eligible for free agency after the 2022 season.

 

The Dead Cap & Savings

The Bears paid a price to gain a halfway decent (4th round) draft pick out of this transaction. Chicago agreed to retain $7.1M of the remaining $7.82M in 2022 salary still due to Quinn. So in total:

Dead Cap
2022: $16,453,055 ($12.215M cash)
2023: $8,475,000

Cap Savings
2022: $684,444
2023: $9,762,500
2024: $17,237,500

 

In Conclusion

The Bears accomplished 3 things here: They moved on from a player who openly did want to remain with the organization. They acquired a mid round draft pick that gives them a chance at plugging an immediate hole next year, and they opened up $10M of cap space across this and next season to further help in their rebuilding process.

If they achieved all of that for an additional $7.1M, who am I to say that it wasn’t money well spent (yet).

The New York Jets wasted little time replacing their injured star running back Breece Hall (torn ACL), when they acquired James Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jets will forfeit a 2023 6th round pick that can convert to a 5th rounder if Robinson rushes for 600 yards total in 2022. He enters week 8 with 340 yards gained already.

Contractually speaking, Robinson was entering year 3 of his undrafted rookie contract. He brings with him a non-guaranteed $546,946 salary to the Jets, leaving behind $349,721 of dead cap to the Jaguars.

Robinson is eligible for restricted free agency next March, and could factor into the Jets’ rotation on a low end tender (scheduled to cost around $2.6M next season). If such becomes the case, New York will have Hall, Robinson, & Michael Carter under contract for around $5.8M of allocated cap space - a lethal value play for a team on the upswing.

team-24 team-14

Rory McIlroy earns himself $1.89 million in his first tournament of the season at The CJ CUP in South Carolina.

Top 5

1. Rory McIlroy, $1,890,000

2. Kurt Kitayama, $1,134,000

3. K.H. Lee, $714,000

T4. Tommy Fleetwood, $462,000

T4. Jon Rahm, $462,000

Full Results

PGA

The 49ers planted their foot in the ground as serious NFC contenders last night when they acquired RB Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for four draft picks.

The trade compensation suggests that multiple teams had made offers for the 26 year old offensive weapon, with teams like the Bills & Rams all reportedly interested.

The Terms

San Francisco Acquires:
RB Christian McCaffrey (26)

Carolina Acquires:
2023 2nd round pick
2023 3rd round pick
2023 4th round pick
2024 5th round pick

The Traded Contract

The Niners are set up for outstanding financial value with this contract through the remainder of 2022, thanks to a simple base salary restructure that was processed on McCaffrey’s contract by the Panthers this past March.

SF’s Cap/Cash Hits
2022: $690,000 (guaranteed)
2023: $12,000,000 ($1M guaranteed for injury)
2024: $12,000,000 (non-guaranteed)
2025: $12,200,000 (non-guaranteed)

49ers 2022 Salary Cap Table

The Dead Cap & Cash

The Panthers will take on significant dead cap hits each of this and next year per this trade. 2022: $8,095,750 ($7,910,000 cash)
2023: $18,352,250 ($0 cash)

Panthers 2022 Salary Cap Table

The Savings

In addition to the four draft picks acquired, Carolina frees up a little bit of cap space both this and next season, and a good amount of potential cash going forward as well.

2022: $690,000 cap/cash saved
2023: $1,198,500 cap, $12,000,000 cash saved

The Draft Picks

With four shiny new picks acquired from this deal, the Panthers now boast some of the best draft capital in the league.

Projected 2023 1st-4th Round Picks:
#1, #33, #51, #86, #97, #117

In Conclusion

The 49ers get a bonafide offensive star for a bounty of draft picks, and he barely moves the needle financially speaking this season. In fact, even with McCaffrey in tow, San Francisco is only allocating $3,368,545 to their active running back core in 2022, 30th in the NFL.

However, the 49ers have now essentially forfeited their 2023 draft, with the #148 selection in the 5th round currently slated to be their first pick (compensatory draft picks notwithstanding). It’s an all-in move from San Francisco, something we’ve seen work quite a bit across the sports world of late.

And if Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t “the guy” - maybe Christian McCaffrey can be.

team-4 team-27

Not sure if this is out there yet (#sarcasm), but James Harden took a $14.3M haircut with his 2022-23 salary with the Philadelphia 76ers. But was this a real paycut, or one of those “funny money restructures”?

What Was vs. What Is

The undisputed truth about Harden’s 2022-23 compensation is that it started as a $47,366,760 player option, and wound up a $33,000,000 guaranteed salary. All he had to do was exercise the option, and the $47M+ was his.

Less Now but More Overall, right?

Emphatically no. The easy out with this conversation is to look at the original $47.3M salary, and the new $68.64M contract, and say that he wins out in the end. But the 2023-24 salary is a $35.64M player option, and NBA stars almost always opt out of less-than-max player options these days (Kyrie Irving excluded).

Furthermore, by declining the $47.3M option, he also reset his “starting salary” point. Had he exercised that option, then signed a maximum free agent contract next offseason, Harden’s 2023-24 starting salary would be 105% of that $47.3M, because he had earned more than the maximum salary in the previous year. This means that Harden could have cashed in $47.3M + $49.7M, or $97M over the next two years had he stayed on his current path, $29M more than his current contract contains.

But, a thinner, healthier James Harden is going to return to star form this year, and then decline his player option next year, right? Probably, which puts him back on track for a 35% of the salary cap maximum salary in 2023-24. If we assume a $134,000,000 league cap, this means a $46,900,000 salary, or $79.9M over the next two seasons.

Two-Year Payout Scenarios (22-23 + 23-24)

  1. Current 2-Year Payout: $68.64M
  2. Current Salary + Opt-Out & Max Contract Next Summer: $79.9M
  3. Original Option Exercised, Max Contract Next Summer: $97.1M

Concluding Thoughts

Harden’s been an easy target, so trying to find and poke holes in a move like this can come with the territory, but this is a true veteran pay cut, no matter how you slice it. The fact of the matter is that the $14.3M saved by his new salary allowed players such as P.J. Tucker & Montrezl Harrell to fit into the puzzle.

Need more proof that he’s all-in on this team? If the goal here was to chop off salary but solidify his long term payout (Chris Paul in Phoenix), then this would have been a true multi-year contract, though still for not near what a maximum contract can pay him next season. But Harden taking a 1 year contract (with Bird rights) gives him the power to veto any trade scenario that the 76ers might have been inclined to include him in this season - per the CBA. A multi-year contract would have forfeited this trade veto power.

Love him or hate him, the player that has forced himself off of two rosters in the past few seasons did everything in his power to not only stay on this one - but to make it even better.

After a sideline altercation with the coaching staff more than sealed his time in Carolina, WR Robbie Anderson was traded to the Arizona Cardinals Monday for 2 late round draft picks.

The Cardinals will relinquish a 2024 6th round pick, & a 2025 7th round pick for the wideout, who brings a team friendly salary to his new team.

Undrafted out of Temple back in 2016, Carolina signed Anderson to a 3 year, $37.7M contract last August, including $20.5M fully guaranteed at signing. Furthermore, the Panthers converted $11.7M of 2022 salary into signing bonus, this past March, leaving only the prorated minimum salary to be moved in this trade.

Arizona Receives

Total Contract: 2 years, $12.69M

2022 Cap/Cash: $690,000 (guaranteed)
2023 Cap/Cash: $12M ($0 guaranteed)

There’s a $3M roster bonus due next March that will put the 2023 salary on notice. If the remainder of the year goes well, a $12M salary may be tenable financially speaking.


Carolina Retains
The Panthers keep $19.9M of dead cap on their books per this move, broken out as:

2022: $10.26M
2023: $9.7M

Carolina saved just $690,000 (cap & cash) this season, but a worthwhile $12M (cap & cash) for 2023. 


Concluding Thoughts
Anderson’s acquisition is a reaction to the (possibly) season ending loss of WR Marquise Brown (foot). For now, the Cardinals now have DeAndre Hopkins ($30.75M), Marquise Brown ($13.4M), and Robbie Anderson ($12M) on the 2023 books for a combined $56M of cap.

Cam Akers

RB, Rams
Age: 23
Deadline Salary: $650k

Akers fell out of favor with the Rams about as quickly as any player has. His rookie contract has a year and a half remaining on it, but none of it is guaranteed. He's a $650k rental at the deadline if someone is willing to bite.

 

William Jackson

CB, Commanders
Age: 30
Deadline Salary: $3M

The Commanders take on dead cap hits of $10.8M in 2022 ($3M saved), & $9M in 2023 ($6.75M saved). New team acquires cap & cash hits of $3M for 2022, $12.75M for 2023 ($2.5M roster bonus due March 17th).

 

Daron Payne

DT, Commanders
Age: 25
Deadline Salary: $4.7M

Payne is set for unrestricted free agency after 2022, playing out his 5th year option this season. Washington would take on $3.8M of dead cap to trade him at the deadline.

 

Robbie Anderson

WR, Panthers
Age: 29
Deadline Salary: $575,000

The Panthers restructured most of Anderson’s 2022 salary, so they’ll be eating a healthy chunk of dead cap to move on here: $10.3M in 2022 ($575k saved), $9.7M in 2023 ($12M saved). New team acquires him at $575,000 for 2022, $12M for 2023 (including a $3M roster bonus due in early March).

 

Christian McCaffrey

RB, Panthers
Age: 26
Deadline Salary: $575,000

The Panthers restructured most of McCaffrey’s 2022 salary so they’ll be eating a healthy chunk of dead cap to move on here: $8.21M for 2022 ($575k saved), $18.3M for 2023 ($1.1M saved). New team acquires him at $575,000 for 2022, $12M for 2023, $12M for 2024, $12.2M for 2025, with only the 2022 compensation fully guaranteed. 

 

Chase Claypool

WR, Steelers
Age: 24
Deadline Salary: $673,000

Claypool still hasn’t found footing in Pittsburgh, despite 4 quarterbacks attempting to gel with him. None of the $673,000 remaining in 2022 or the $1.5M slated for 2023 are guaranteed, so a late round draft pick might make sense for a team looking to bulk up depth in their WR room with little risk. The Steelers would take on dead hits of $1.1M in 2022, and $593k in 2023.

 

Roquan Smith

LB, Bears
Age: 25
Deadline Salary: $5.4M

The Bears and Smith agreed to “live with each other” after offseason trade demands went nowhere. Chicago should be looking for as many draft picks as possible down the stretch these days, so adding Smith and his expiring contract back to the trade block (amongst others) makes the most sense. They’ll take on $4.3M of 2022 dead cap to ship him out at the deadline.

 

Robert Quinn

DE, Bears
Age: 32
Deadline Salary: $7.1M

Like Smith (above), Quinn expressed early frustration with sticking on this floundering Bears’ roster. Little materialized from it, and Quinn hasn’t exactly helped the matter on the field (#110 edge rusher according to PFF), but if the Bears are desperate for draft capital, they can certainly “buy back” much of this remaining salary in order to increase their trade price. On its face, Quinn’s contract would carry over $7.1M (guaranteed) in 2022, $14M in 2023 (non-guaranteed) and $13M in 2024 (non-guaranteed).

 

David Montgomery

RB, Bears
Age: 25
Deadline Salary: $1.55M

Montgomery has shown flashes of being a true bellcow RB1 in this league, with above average pass-catching abilities as well. He’s playing out the final year of his contract, and it seems unlikely the Bears will be in position to continue this relationship going forward, so pulling back a mid-to-late draft pick (versus playing the compensatory draft pick game) probably makes good business sense. Chicago will take on $1.24M of dead cap at the deadline here.

 

M.J. Stewart

S, Texans
Age: 27
Deadline Salary: $965,000

Former 2nd round pick Stewart was waived out of his rookie contract by Tampa back in 2020. Now, on a near minimum 1-year contract, and in a depth role for the Texans, he’s rounded into one of the better pass coverage safeties in the league. An extension to stay in Houston might be option 1, but the Texans have been known to flip players like this for a pick whenever possible, and a certain AFC Favorite is  awfully short handed in their secondary.

 

Josh Jacobs

RB, Raiders
Age: 24
Deadline Salary: $1.1M

The Raiders declined Jacobs’ $8M 5th-year option for 2023, so he’s operating on a pretty friendly expiring salary here. He’s been a huge part of the Las Vegas offense, so as long as they believe they’re in the playoff hunt, shopping Jacobs is likely off of the table. But with $1.1M to be acquired at the deadline, it’s easy to imagine there’s a suitor or two out there.

 

Kenny Golladay

WR, Giants
Age: 29
Deadline Salary: $7.2M

Who knows. Contractually speaking, we’re talking about a fully guaranteed $7.2M in 2022, $18M in 2023 ($4.5M guaranteed), $18M in 2024 ($0 guaranteed). This seems too rich to be traded, but the Giants can offer to eat the lion’s share of it to buy a draft pick.

 

Saquon Barkley

RB, Giants
Age: 25
Deadline Salary: $4M

The 4-1 Giants probably aren’t seriously considering moving one of their biggest weapons, despite his expiring contract, but a lot can change over the next few weeks. If an offer at or north of what his compensatory draft pick value would be comes in, NY will have to take the call.

 

Mike Gesicki

TE, Dolphins
Age: 27
Deadline Salary: $6M

Gesicki went from arguably the Dolphins’ best pass catching threat the past few years, to almost non-existent in 2022. While the price is a bit hefty for a deadline move, a big name injury in the next few weeks can spur some action (Dallas comes to mind early on). It’s a 1 year, fully guaranteed $6M deal at the deadline.

One of the premier games on this week’s NFL slate is the Monday night divisional showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers. While the 49ers QB situation dominated the late summer headlines, the original offseason controversy revolved around Deebo Samuel’s contract extension and rumored trade request. He ultimately inked a 3 year extension worth up to $71.55m (58.1 guaranteed), but his apparent desire to be less involved as a rusher was a common theme throughout negotiations. As predicted, that was mostly just a bargaining tactic and his usage as a dynamic dual threat player is still a major part of the San Francisco offense. I expect that to continue this week if the 49ers have any hope of beating the Rams. With already thin RB depth and Jimmy Garoppolo running the offense, Samuel is likely to see 5-7 touches on the ground and can easily break one of those for a long gain.

Bet this on Draftkings Sportsbook
Deebo Samuel o29.5 Rush Yards

Once the 2022 regular season concludes, 2020 draft picks will become contract extension eligible for the first time in their careers. We’ll take a look at where the first five drafted quarterbacks stand in terms of calculated values, realistic projections, and thoughts on what could be on the table next spring.

Joe Burrow (CIN, 25)

Spotrac Valuation: $40.3M
Realistic Baseline: 5 years, $260M ($52M)
2023 Prediction: Extension

Burrow’s stock hit an all-time high with the Bengals’ magical 2021 run, but things have come back down to earth a bit slightly to start the 2022 campaign. Cincy doesn’t have a great track record with high, multi-year guaranteed contracts, but that will certainly change with this negotiation. Burrow has a better resume than previous #1 overall pick Kyler Murray, who locked in $220M over the next 6 seasons.

 

Tua Tagovailoa (MIA, 24)

Spotrac Valuation: $37.3M
Realistic Baseline: 5 years, $225M ($45M)
2023 Prediction: No Extension

It’s been a wild start to Tua’s third campaign, as he’s shown both immediate improvement in various areas - and terrifying injuries. Things were trending in the right direction for Tua getting a second contract in Miami, but it stands to reason that that process is on hold for the immediate future. There’s plenty of season left to change that notion, but Tua remains on the “maybe” list for an early extension for now.

 

Justin Herbert (LAC, 24)

Spotrac Valuation: $43.7M
Realistic Baseline: 5 years, $250M ($50M)
2023 Prediction: Extension

Herbert doesn’t have the credentials or even a playoff snap to match up with Burrow but he’s every bit the talent (if not more). The Chargers have invested plenty over the past two offseasons both in free agency, and in extending their own, to solidify a core group. Adding a mega contract for Herbert to that list makes plenty of sense as the next logical step.

 

Jordan Love (GB, 23)

As the 4th QB drafted in this class, Love’s future at least belongs in this conversation. What feels like a dead end could quickly become much more if Aaron Rodgers decides to hang it up - or switch teams - after 2022. Love holds a fully guaranteed $2.3M in 2023, and the Packers will have a decision on his 5th year option for 2024 next May, so there’s no major rush here. 

 

Jalen Hurts (PHI, 24)

Spotrac Valuation: $43.8M
Realistic Baseline: 5 years, $240M ($48M)
2023 Prediction: Extension

Hurts has the most to gain out of this group, with an organization that invested heavily via the draft, free agency, and trade wire to make this a legitimate contending team. Philadelphia looks the part to start 2022, and Hurts (currently #2 according to PFF) does too. Howie Roseman may already have the contract printed at this point. 

Russell Wilson’s 5 year, $242.5M extension with the Denver Broncos came with 2 years, $51M left on the contract he was acquired on. The new deal lowered his 2022 cap figure from $24M down to $17M, despite an increase in cash from $24M to $57M.

Structurally, the deal is a dead cap nightmare, as it contains a $50M signing bonus, a $20M 2nd year option bonus and a $22M 3rd year option bonus. These bonuses keep his base salaries & cap figures relatively low over the next 3 seasons, and also build in a 4 year guarantee with almost certainty.


CASHFLOW
Wilson will see $57M in Year 1 (3rd most), $85M through Year 2 (5th most), $124M through Year 3 (4th most), & $161M through Year 4 (2nd most). HIs $50M signing bonus ranks 3rd among active players, behind only Dak Prescott ($66M), and Matthew Stafford ($60M).

$135M of the $296M total value contract lives in the last 3 years of the contract. These years contain no full guarantees, and are considered “option” years for all intents and purposes.



CAPFLOW
As mentioned above, the new contract lowers Wilson’s 2022 cap figure by $7M, down to $17M. The Broncos also see a cap credit of $5M in 2023, as that hit drops from $27M to $22M. The deal includes a $35.4M cap figure in 2024, which should represent around 15% of the league salary cap for that season, a more than tenable number.

In 2025 however, Wilson’s cap hit is set to rise north of $55M. If the Broncos are comfortable with Wilson as their QB through 2026, they’ll most certainly convert some of the $37M base salary for 2025 into a signing bonus, lowering that year’s cap hit, but increasing the dead cap for 2026 (currently at $31.2M). This will all but ensure that Wilson sees out at least 5 of the 7 years of this contract.


GUARANTEE STRUCTURE
Wilson’s contract comes with $124M fully guaranteed at signing, including all salary and bonuses through the 2024 season. On the 5th league day of 2024, his $37M salary for 2025 becomes fully guaranteed, placing this deal as a 4 year, $161M contract for practical purposes out of the gate.

$4M of Wilson’s 2026 salary is guaranteed for injury at the time of signing, but with any form of salary restructure in 2024 and/or 2025, the dead cap should secure his 2026 salary anyway.


TIMING
The Broncos urgency to get a deal done with their new QB prior to him ever taking a snap for them may be a contentious decision at some point of this contract (positively or negatively speaking), Denver had a perfect model to piggyback off of in Matthew Stafford’s trade to the Rams, and eventual extension after a superb, Super Bowl winning, first season in LA.

Was Denver worried that the longer they wait, the more expensive this contract would get? Was getting in and out of the guaranteed portion of the new contract before age 38 important to them? Or were they simply charmed into locking up Wilson because of the immediate impact & charisma he brought to the organization, even before taking the field?

Only time will tell.

The Chicago Bears have attempted only 28 passes through two weeks while every other team in the NFL has at least 28+ completions. They’re easily the most run heavy offense which has translated to a combined two receptions for their top pass catchers Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet. At some point this has to change but it likely won’t be this week with a juicy matchup against the Houston Texans who have been shredded on the ground. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 161 yards and the Broncos combined for another 149. Now David Montgomery should see 20+ touches and could be in line for a big day based on volume alone. Add in a few explosive plays and he could easily eclipse the century mark this weekend.

Wagers of the Week:

October is fast approaching and the clock is getting late on the 2022 regular season. Most divisions have already been decided but there’s still a few spots to watch as we enter this pivotal two week stretch. 

Plenty has been written about the Braves chasing down the Mets in the NL East but that’s mostly a result of a historic run from Atlanta rather than a major collapse by New York. Luckily, the Mets have a soft schedule to finish with series against MIL, OAK, MIA, and WSH. I like them to get back on track starting at home against the Pirates and a wildly inconsistent Mitch Keller.

Cleveland has vastly outperformed their pre season expectations but they’re stumbling to the finish line due to key injuries among  their starters. With a pieced together rotation, they desperately need a win anytime Shane Bieber or Triston McKenzie take the mound and I’m counting on that to happen against a fading Minnesota team.

Wager of the Week:  NYM (-270) + CLE (-144)

Fanduel Sportsbook

NFC Division Winners

The NFC doesn't offer a clearcut #1 overall option as we break ground on the 2022 campaign. This should offer plenty of betting value, even at the divisional levels.

NFC East - Eagles (+130)
The Giants and Commanders are in transition years which leaves this as a two team division between the Eagles and Cowboys. Dallas had an underwhelming offseason and there’s a number of uncertainties on both offense and defense. Philadelphia has the more complete roster but remains only a slight betting favorite which surprises me. The Eagles could explode this year and could run away with this division quickly if things don’t break perfectly for the Cowboys.

NFC North:  Vikings (+240)
It’s uncomfortable betting against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay but I have legitimate concerns about their offensive ceiling without Davante Adams. Their defense is among the best in the league but I expect they’ll be tested in a lot of low scoring games. Minnesota hired former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and will transition to a pass heavy approach. Despite the new scheme, Minnesota maintains a ton of continuity on offense and there’s definite top 5 potential here. If the Vikings defense is even remotely better than in 2021, I like them to unseat Green Bay atop the division.

NFC South:  Bucs (-230)
I like the non favorites in this division more than the field but not enough to overtake Tampa Bay. The only way I see this going wrong is if Tom Brady falls off a cliff behind a decimated offensive line. Otherwise, I expect the Panthers and Saints to surprise some people but ultimately fall short.

NFC West:  Rams (+125)
The Rams, 49ers and Cardinals all have a legitimate chance of emerging here and I predict this finishes as the best division in football despite the lowly Seahawks. I lean towards the defending Super Bowl Champs but this could look bad fast if Trey Lance reaches his ceiling. Instead I expect inconsistencies in his first full season as a starter. 

NFC Wildcards:  Packers, Cardinals

The 2022-23 NBA season hasn’t started yet, but already teams are positioning themselves for the 2023 offseason. While the 2022 free agent class was considered to be weak in terms of star power, the 2023 class is setting up to be a good one.

In addition to some All-Star level players looking like they’ll be available, multiple teams are positioned to have cap space this upcoming offseason. Between 10 and 13 teams project to have cap space. On the high end, teams like the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers project to have between $50 and $70 million to spend. Other teams are down in the range of $20 million. In total, Spotrac projects there to be well over $450 million to spend in free agency.

With that much spending power potentially available, here’s who teams may be spending that cap space on. This list is current before any veteran extensions are signed. Extensions have become more and more popular in recent years, which has taken a lot of talent off the free agent board before free agency even opens. In other words: don’t be surprised if a handful of the names on this list never make it to 2023 free agency.

With all that in mind, here are the Top 50 potential 2023 free agents:

  1. James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers – unrestricted free agent – player option
  2. Kyrie Irving – Brooklyn Nets – unrestricted free agent
  3. Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors – unrestricted free agent – player option
  4. Khris Middleton – Milwaukee Bucks – unrestricted free agent – player option
  5. Fred VanVleet – Toronto Raptors – unrestricted free agent – player option
  6. Andrew Wiggins – Golden State Warriors – unrestricted free agent
  7. Tyler Herro – Miami Heat – restricted free agent
  8. Kristaps Porzingis – Washington Wizards – unrestricted free agent – player option
  9. Jordan Poole – Golden State Warriors – restricted free agent
  10. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers – unrestricted free agent
  11. Nikola Vucevic – Chicago Bulls – unrestricted free agent
  12. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Atlanta Hawks – unrestricted free agent – player option
  13. Kevin Porter Jr. – Houston Rockets – restricted free agent
  14. D’Angelo Russell – Minnesota Timberwolves – unrestricted free agent
  15. Bojan Bogdanovic – Utah Jazz – unrestricted free agent
  16. Harrison Barnes – Sacramento Kings – unrestricted free agent
  17. Jerami Grant – Portland Trail Blazers – unrestricted free agent
  18. Al Horford – Boston Celtics – unrestricted free agent
  19. Christian Wood – Dallas Mavericks – unrestricted free agent
  20. Kyle Kuzma – Washington Wizards – unrestricted free agent – player option
  21. Herb Jones – New Orleans Pelicans – restricted free agent – team option
  22. Will Barton – Washington Wizards – unrestricted free agent
  23. Jakob Poeltl – San Antonio Spurs – unrestricted free agent
  24. Dillon Brooks – Memphis Grizzlies – unrestricted free agent
  25. Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers – unrestricted free agent
  26. Brook Lopez – Milwaukee Bucks – unrestricted free agent
  27. Bruce Brown Jr. – Denver Nuggets – unrestricted free agent – player option
  28. De’Andre Hunter – Atlanta Hawks – restricted free agent
  29. Josh Hart – Portland Trail Blazers – unrestricted free agent – player option
  30. Gary Trent Jr. – Toronto Raptors – unrestricted free agent – player option
  31. Reggie Jackson – LA Clippers – unrestricted free agent
  32. Patrick Beverley – Los Angeles Lakers – unrestricted free agent
  33. P.J. Washington – Charlotte Hornets – restricted free agent
  34. Steven Adams – Memphis Grizzlies – unrestricted free agent
  35. Cameron Johnson – Phoenix Suns – restricted free agent
  36. Seth Curry – Brooklyn Nets – unrestricted free agent
  37. Caris LeVert – Cleveland Cavaliers – unrestricted free agent
  38. Jae Crowder – Phoenix Suns – unrestricted free agent
  39. Malik Beasley – Utah Jazz– unrestricted free agent – team option
  40. Nassir Little – Portland Trail Blazers – restricted free agent
  41. Mason Plumlee – Charlotte Hornets – unrestricted free agent
  42. Max Strus – Miami Heat – unrestricted free agent
  43. Matisse Thybulle – Philadelphia 76ers – restricted free agent
  44. Russell Westbrook – Los Angeles Lakers – unrestricted free agent
  45. Larry Nance Jr. – New Orleans Pelicans – unrestricted free agent
  46. Grant Williams – Boston Celtics – restricted free agent
  47. Otto Porter Jr. – Toronto Raptors – unrestricted free agent – player option
  48. Kelly Oubre Jr. – Charlotte Hornets – unrestricted free agent
  49. Brandon Clarke – Memphis Grizzlies – restricted free agent
  50. Josh Richardson – San Antonio Spurs – unrestricted free agent

 

Related:

2023 NBA Free Agent Tracker

NBA Free Agents

As fantasy drafts finalize approaching the real Week 1, a quick dive into players we'll be watching extra closely this season (fantasy and real), as they may be playing themselves into big pay raises next spring.

Quarterbacks

Lamar Jackson (BAL)

Unmatched fantasy ceiling potential, should be motivated to put up huge regardless of the offensive game plan. Lamar Jackson/Josh Allen entered the league as similar prospects but Buffalo has done much more to develop JA as a passer via scheme, supporting cast, offseason adjustments etc. The Ravens offensive personnel and scheme is almost identical to when Jackson debuted in 2018. It’s fair to wonder where he’d be developmentally if in a different situation.

Spotrac True Value Stat Ranks:
2019: QB1
2020: QB3
2021: QB6

With this said - Lamar doesn't need to prove anything else on the field to ensure a big payday. He's holding his foot down to normalize Deshaun Watson's contract, something no other QB has been able to do as of yet. If he doesn't give in, there may very well be a $45M tag in his immediate future.

Baker Mayfield (CAR)

This is simply a bet on the player returning to (2018-2020) levels rather than the version we saw in 2021. Recurring shoulder injuries derailed his season and a deteriorating situation in Cleveland solidified his exit. Now, a fresh start in Carolina should have Mayfield motivated to prove he’s still a starting caliber QB. The division isn't nearly as competitive as some others, and there are paths to success here if you squint hard enough. If he does bounce back, it’s hard to see Carolina letting him leave after the season considering they’ve scrambled at QB since Cam Newton left. There's a world where we're projecting a franchise tag for Mayfield in a few months.

Also: Jalen Hurts (PHI), Ryan Tannehill (TEN), Geno Smith (SEA)

Running Backs

Derrick Henry (TEN)

Tennessee sweetened his 2022 pot a bit ($2M more cash, $5.2M less cap), further increasing his 2023 cap hit to $15.75M. In other words, something is going to give after the upcoming season. If he's still same ole Derrick Henry come Christmas, a restructured extension becomes extremely likely.

Aaron Jones (GB)

Jones' cap hit increases from $5.9M this year to $20M next year. There's also $16M cash built into the 2023 season, including a $7M roster bonus due in early March. With AJ Dillon chomping at the bit for a full-time role, the Packers may already have a trade/release built into Jones' future. But with Davante Adams gone, it stands to reason that the Packers offense can utilize Jones in a variety of ways for all three downs. If he has the year many expect him to, there will be pressure on Green Bay to flex this contract.

Also: Saquon Barkley (NYG), David Montgomery (CHI), Tony Pollard (DAL)

Wide Receivers

Juju Smith-Schuster (KC)

Set up for a potential monster year as the top WR in a high upside Chiefs offense with minimal target competition. Turns only 26 in November, should be in the midst of his prime. Recency bias makes us overlook his breakthrough 111/1426/7 sophomore season and he posted 97 catches, 9 TDs in 2020. Recent down years coincided with Ben Roethlisberger's decline. I’ll attribute Juju's lack of production to a limited offense led by a 40 year old quarterback rather than an actual decline in skills.

He signed a total ‘prove it’ deal (1yr/$3.76m) and I expect him to shatter that ROI. Early favorite to lead our 2023 TVS among veteran WRs. With that said, it's rare for a player to accept a $4M contract, then jump up to $25M in a matter of months. Teams pay what plays accept themselves at. He's probably on a Robbie Anderson/Corey Davis financial path from here out.

DJ Chark (DET)

Another bet on talent, buy low in a new situation with a ‘prove it’ contract (1yr/$10m). Former 2nd rd pick in 2018 (61st overall). Intriguing size/speed profile that never completely translated in underwhelming Jacksonville offense outside of 1,000 season in 2019. Again, I’ll give the player a pass and blame his lack of production on the situation (Bortles, Foles, Minshew, Urban Meyer). One could argue his current QB Jared Goff is only marginally better but offense showed competence in 2021. The Lions were 30th in yards per play allowed in 2021 and defense barely improved. Team should get into plenty of shootouts which sets up nicely for fantasy production. If this leads Chark to breakout performance, could enter 2023 FA as the most coveted WR on the market.

Allen Lazard (GB)

Lazard doesn’t have the typical profile or production of a receiver that gets a big contract. This is simply about opportunity and potential production in a contract year. Davante Adams departure leaves a huge target void that will get filled by an unproven group of receivers. Enter Lazard who played a mostly ancillary role in recent years but filled in as WR1 whenever Adams missed time and has shown clear chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. I expect Rodgers to lean on him early and often which could lead to career highs. Lazard already feels like the worst value 2023 FA WR contract.

Also: Marquise Brown (ARI), Jacobi Meyers (NE), Mecole Hardman (KC), Parris Campbell (IND)

Tight Ends

Dawson Knox (BUF)

Developmental TE who emerged as a high end red zone threat in 2021. Will need strong follow up performance to prove it wasn’t a fluke. TDs will likely regress but obvious chemistry with Josh Allen and plenty of primetime visibility should boost him into both high production and league popularity. Both pay well.

Foster Moreau (LV)

Talented TE stuck behind Darren Waller, who should see a new contract announced once he returns to full health. He should see more opportunities in Josh McDaniels' two TE offensive sets, and could play himself into a bit of an overpay on the open market (Jonnu Smith, Hayden Hurst, etc...)

Also: Dalton Schultz (DAL), Mike Gesicki (MIA), T.J. Hockenson (DET)

AFC Division Winners

EastBills (-230)

Buffalo is the second largest division favorite and while it’s hard to argue against their loaded roster there are subtle ways they could disappoint. Injury regression could set in or the offense could struggle under new OC Ken Dorsey. If one or both of those become reality and the Miami offense ascends to top 5 status under new coach Mike McDaniel, this division could finish much closer than anticipated. 

NorthRavens (+145)

I tend to think the North is a coin flip between Baltimore and Cincinnati but I’m betting on an MVP caliber season from Lamar Jackson and some regression from the Bengals offense.

SouthColts (-125)

If Matt Ryan is even marginally more consistent than Carson Wentz was in 2021, Indianapolis should sleep walk to a division title. I don’t like betting against Mike Vrabel but Tennessee  swapped AJ Brown for an unproven rookie and Derrick Henry is coming off a pretty significant foot injury. I suspect this quickly turns into a rebuilding year for the Titans.

WestChargers (+240)

To be clear, I’m still high on the Chiefs and think their predicted demise is premature. The way they win will look different than years past but the sum of their parts is better than people give them credit for. That being said, I just really like this Chargers squad. Tons of continuity on their already elite offense and the addition of Khalil Mack changes the entire dynamic of their defense. I’m betting this is the year it all comes together for them.


AFC Wildcard:  Chiefs, Dolphins

NFL AFC sport-3 team-62 team-3 team-13 team-301

Danny Ainge took over running the Boston Celtics front office on May 9, 2003. It took Ainge about a month-and-half to make his first trade. He hasn’t stopped making trades since.

Ainge’s persistence in making trades earned him the moniker “Trader Danny” while in Boston. When he joined the Utah Jazz, Ainge’s role was initially as an advisor. Anyone who has followed Ainge knew that would only last for so long. He’s not the type to sit on the sidelines. It’s not in his nature.

It took a bit, but Ainge is now bringing the same tried-and-true approach to Utah that he used in Boston. Ainge believes that if you aren’t a title contender, you should be rebuilding and stockpiling assets to aid in becoming a title contender. There’s little gray in his basketball world. It’s best to be really good. But it’s better to be bad than it is to be average or just sort of good.

It’s important to remember Ainge famously told Red Auerbach in the 1990s that the Celtics should trade away Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Ainge’s thinking was Boston was stuck as a good team, but not a real contender and that the veterans were starting to deteriorate.

Ainge’s thought back when he was a player has stayed with him as a front office executive. You want to build a contender, but more importantly, a sustainable contender. That involves churning the roster from time to time, and occasionally, it necessitates a full teardown.

In the middle of his first season running the Celtics in 2003-04, Ainge traded Antoine Walker and Tony Delk in a then controversial deal that brought Raef LaFrentz and a 2004 first round pick to Boston. By that trade deadline, Ainge had shipped off a couple more veterans for an additional 2004 first round pick.

That summer, with his team ready for a rebuild around a still-young Paul Pierce, Ainge hired Doc Rivers. Rivers was then still seen as a young, but somewhat unproven head coach. He’d had four good, but never great seasons with the Orlando Magic before getting fired early in Year 5.

The Celtics then used three first round picks in the 2004 NBA Draft to select Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Tony Allen. The plan was that those three would pair with Pierce to form the nucleus of the Celtics next contender. If not, Ainge would keep moving vets to find the right guys to help Boston raise another banner.

Later that summer, Ainge would add Gary Payton to run the Celtics offense. By the 2005 trade deadline, Boston was playing pretty well. That spurred Ainge to trade a future Boston first round pick in a deal to bring back old friend Antoine Walker.

Let’s pause there for a minute.

There’s this impression of Ainge that he’s like a venture capitalist, corporate raider type that comes in, strips things down and then sells when he’s finally gotten things back into the black on the balance sheet.

That’s not really true.

Yes, it’s fair to say Ainge hoards his draft picks. He does do that…to an extent. But Ainge has also repeatedly traded picks when he’s found the right deal. Sure, he’s “close” to making trades a lot, but part of that comes from Ainge’s willingness to be candid with the media about trade talks. He doesn’t guard trade talks like state secrets that should never get out. He’s more open about what happens during the trade process than most of his peers.

The point is, Ainge is a master of the teardown. He’ll collect assets left and right. But he’s not unwilling to flip those assets to build his teams back up.

Back to the break-down and build-up process Ainge has undertaken over the years.

That 2004-05 Celtics team fell short and lost in the first round. As is his nature, Ainge didn’t sit still. Walker’s second go-around in Boston was a short one. That summer Walker was sent to the Miami Heat as a part of the largest trade in NBA history: a five-team, 13-player, two-pick deal.

By January, Ainge was back at it again. He swung a seven-player deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves where Boston acquired another first round pick. Ainge had begun his second teardown in Boston.

The summer of 2006 saw moves towards a rebuild. On a busy 2006 Draft night, Ainge picked up Rajon Rondo’s draft rights and swapped LaFrentz and a pick for Theo Ratliff (really his contract) and Sebastian Telfair.

All that happened while Ainge held tight with Paul Piece. The 2006-07 season was a mess for the Celtics. Pierce got injured, the kids were kids and Boston lost. A lot. But everyone accepted all the losing because Boston had the second-most ping pong balls in the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery. Boston felt confident they’d come away with Greg Oden or Kevin Durant to put next to Pierce and the kids.

Then disaster struck.

The Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics and Atlanta Hawks all jumped up in the draft and Boston fell from the second pick to the fifth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

But Ainge was ready. He had kids and some extra picks and he started building back up again. This time around, he hit on every move.

At the 2007 NBA Draft, Boston swapped that fifth pick, former first rounder Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak for Ray Allen and 2007 second rounder Glen “Big Baby” Davis. That set the stage for the big move a month later.

Ainge competed the transformation by trading former first rounders Al Jefferson and Gerald Green along with two 2009 first round picks (one of them going back home), Ratliff’s contract and a couple of vets for Kevin Garnett.

A year later, Boston had raised Banner 17.

If you needed proof Ainge could tear a team down and then push his assets in to build back up, that was it. If you were still a skeptic, he did it again a few years later.

After a five-year run of title contention, Ainge harkened back to that 1990s conversation with Red Auerbach. Instead of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, Ainge had Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as his aging vets. He knew Boston had already dragged an extra year or two of their best basketball out of the veteran duo.

Ainge didn’t hesitate and he pulled the trigger on another teardown. Being just sort of good wasn’t good enough.

At the 2013 NBA Draft, Ainge agreed to dealing Pierce and Garnett, along with Jason Terry and a 2017 first round pick to the Brooklyn Nets for a package of veteran players and three first-round picks and a pick swap.

Before that deal, Ainge agreed to let Doc Rivers go to the LA Clippers in exchange for the Clips’ 2015 first rounder. At the 2013 Draft, Ainge traded up a few picks to select Kelly Olynyk.

During the moratorium period between the draft and making the Brooklyn trade official, Ainge pulled off a true surprise by hiring Brad Stevens. For a second time, Ainge was handing his sideline to a young, unproven head coach, just as a rebuild was starting.

Oh, and Ainge wasn’t done trading either. He’d swing three more trades, all of which brought Boston young players and/or draft picks.

During the 2014-15 season, Ainge amped up his trading to a whole new level. The Celtics facility might as well have had a revolving door, as player came and went at a staggering pace.

Ainge picked up Tyler Zeller and a first round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers to help them clear cap space go bring LeBron James home.

Ainge then helped Cleveland clear some space by eating a handful of contracts to pick up two future second round picks. That deal happened right as training camp was starting, but Ainge was far from done.

On the eve of the season, Ainge swapped Joel Anthony for Will Bynum to help the Detroit Piston clear some salary, while giving Boston a guard. But Ainge still wasn’t done.

In the month-long period from January 18, 2015 through the trade deadline on February 19, 2015, Ainge swung a whopping six trades. This including acquiring and re-trading all of Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright and Austin Rivers during that month-long span.

But you know what else happened? The Celtics were playing better than expected. This thrown-together, wear-a-nametag group was winning enough to hang around the playoff picture.

That made Ainge’s last deal of the period a masterstroke. In a three-team deal with the Pistons (remember the favor from the eve of the season?) and the Phoenix Suns, Ainge acquired Isaiah Thomas, Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko, and somehow another first round pick.

The Celtics made the playoffs in 2015 and haven’t missed out on the postseason since.

It was in the seasons immediately following that one where Ainge developed the reputation as a pick hoarder. He steadfastly refused to include the Brooklyn picks that eventually became Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum (after a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers) in deals for players like Jimmy Butler and Paul George. It turns out, he was right to keep those picks.

But what gets overlooked is Ainge was prioritizing development of Stevens’ young roster, along with preserving cap space. In back-to-back summers, notoriously not-a-free-agent-destination Boston landed Al Horford and Gordon Hayward in free agency. And then Ainge made a deal that should have punted the “he won’t trade picks to buy vets” reputation into the sun.

In August of 2017, Ainge traded the beloved, but deteriorating Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder (who was going to be replaced by the combination of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and newly signed Gordon Hayward) and the last of his precious Nets picks for Kyrie Irving.

Ainge had built a title contender by trading veterans and picks for a second time. Or so we thought.

That Celtics group lead by Irving and Hayward never came together. Injuries and unhappiness sunk that team before they even got started. So, Ainge did what he does and he pivoted again.

Faced with losing Irving and Horford in the same summer, Ainge worked a double sign-and-trade to bring in Kemba Walker for Terry Rozier. Walker would team with the rapidly emerging Brown and Tatum, and a healthy Hayward to get Boston to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, Hayward got hurt again and Walker was never the same after a midseason knee injury.

If all the other moves of his Boston tenure weren’t enough to shed this idea that Ainge could build a team back up and will trade picks, his last few moves sacrificed draft capital just to give Boston a chance at making moves down the line. He worked a sign-and-trade to help Hayward join the Charlotte Hornets by giving up two second round picks to just to create a trade exception. Then he gave up more draft picks to bring Evan Fournier in via that trade exception.

Then Ainge retired and left Boston. 18 seasons, 15 playoff appearances. Three different teardowns and rebuilds. All resulting in teams that ranged from good to great.

Now, Ainge looks to be repeating the process in Utah. Only this time he’s starting from a place of better leverage.

Instead of trading aging veterans for nice collection of draft picks, Ainge traded two in-their-primes All-Stars for a haul of future drafts picks and young players unlike any we’ve seen before.

In two moves, Ainge has added five unprotected first round draft picks from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s also picked up lightly-protected first round pick and three years of unprotected pick swaps.

If you add in 2023 first rounders Ochai Agbaji and Walker Kessler, that’s a total of 11 additional first round picks the Jazz now largely have control of through 2029.

Just like he did with the Celtics, trading the stars is only the start. Ainge will now begin the process of moving veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gay and Malik Beasley. He’s already flipped Patrick Beverley, who came over in the Gobert deal, to take a flyer on talented youngster Talen Horton-Tucker.

It’s a good bet that Ainge will turn at least a couple of those players into another first round pick or two. And he’ll probably take on some veterans in the process and flip them in subsequent trades. Helpful advice: If you’re traded to the Jazz in the next couple of years, rent instead of buying. You might not be there long.

It’s a tried-and-true process that has worked for Ainge three times before. But it’s not just about tearing a roster down to the studs and collecting assets. That’s just step one. Step two is hiring a young, but talented head coach. Step three is using those assets to build the team back up for his handpicked coach.

Danny Ainge can break a team down, identify a coach and then build that team back up. He’s already done it. Three different times in Boston, in fact.

And now he’s doing it again in Utah. He’s torn the team down and hired Will Hardy as the head coach. The building up process will eventually come. Take a breath, give it a little time and enjoy watching a team-building genius do what he does best.

NBA team-121

The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Rosters are largely finished, despite the Utah Jazz still talking trades for Donovan Mitchell and most of the vets on their roster.

Teams are mostly adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Northwest Division is in transition. The Denver Nuggets are title contenders. The Minnesota Timberwolves made a big bet that going big will pay off big. The Portland Trail Blazers should be healthier and should compete for a playoff spot. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still working their back after kicking off a full-scale rebuild. And then there the Jazz. After years of being good, but never quite good enough, Utah appears poised to kick off a complete teardown and restart.

 

Denver Nuggets

Additions: Christian Braun (2022 NBA Draft), Bruce Brown Jr. (free agency), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (trade), DeAndre Jordan (free agency), Ish Smith (trade), Peyton Watson (2022 NBA Draft), Collin Gillespie (Two-Way), Jack White (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Will Barton (Wizards via trade), Facundo Campazzo (unrestricted free agent), DeMarcus Cousins (unrestricted free agent), Bryn Forbes (Timberwolves via free agency), JaMychal Green (Thunder via trade (since waived), Monte Morris (Wizards via trade), Austin Rivers (Timberwolves via free agency), Markus Howard (Spain via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $9.1 million Traded Player Exception, $3.5 million Traded Player Exception

Analysis: The Nuggets are betting on the combination of better health and the development of young players to take the franchise to new heights. Denver is starting the year with perhaps the best team they’ve ever had, in addition to the most expectations they’ve had too.

The Nuggets big move was to swap mainstays Will Barton and Monte Morris to the Wizards for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Denver hopes that adding Caldwell-Pope, along with another free agent addition, will help clean up the team’s leaky perimeter defense. Caldwell-Pope is also excellent playing off the ball, so he should fit in nicely in an offense built around Nikola Jokic’s passing skills.

The free agent addition to help with the above was Bruce Brown. Brown is rugged defender who can hold his own 1-3. He’s also a terrific cutter and small-ball screen-and-roll man. If his 40% three-point shooting from last year, Brown will be a perfect addition for Denver.

While not truly “additions”, the Nuggets will be thrilled to have Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. back in the fold. Murray missed the entire season, while Porter missed the vast majority of it. Both will be an immediate boon to the team’s offense. Their returns will take a lot of the pressure off Jokic to create so many of the scoring opportunities.

As for the young players, Denver will be counting on Bones Hyland and Zeke Nnaji to take on bigger roles this season. Both seem capable and ready. To open the year, Hyland may play the bigger role as Murray’s backup. The Nuggets seem likely to be cautious with Murray, at least to open the season. Nnaji will team with veteran Jeff Green to handle the backup big minutes. If Nnaji can handle 15-20 minutes per game, it will allow Denver to keep Jokic fresh throughout the year.

The Nuggets have everything in place to make a deep playoff run. They have the two-time MVP in Jokic (who also inked an extension that should keep him with the Nuggets for years to come), plenty of scoring, lineup versatility and they seem to have shored up their defense. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Denver was in the Western Conference Finals or even the 2023 NBA Finals.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Additions: Kyle Anderson (free agency), Bryn Forbes (free agency), Rudy Gobert (trade), Josh Minott (2022 NBA Draft), Wendell Moore Jr. (2022 NBA Draft), Austin Rivers (free agency), A.J. Lawson (Two-Way), Eric Paschall (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Malik Beasley (Jazz via trade), Patrick Beverley (Jazz via trade (since traded to the Lakers)), Leandro Bolmaro (Jazz via trade), Jake Layman (unrestricted free agent), Greg Monroe (unrestricted free agent), Josh Okogie (Suns via free agency), Jarred Vanderbilt (Jazz via trade), McKinley Wright (Mavericks via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: Minnesota made the biggest move of the offseason, both literally and figuratively. The Timberwolves traded for Rudy Gobert by sending the Jazz a package that included multiple players and several years of draft picks. The hope is that Gobert will fix the interior defense issues that have plagued the Wolves for years and that his offensive limitations will be masked by a talented scoring group.

The big question (no pun intended) is: Can Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns play together? Offensively, it doesn’t seem to be a challenge. Towns is perfectly comfortable and capable on the perimeter. On defense, Towns will have to step out and defend on the perimeter more than ever. Gobert will be at the rim to clean things up when drivers slip by Towns, but getting out to shooters on a regular basis will be a new experience.

Trading so many players for Gobert meant that new front office leader Tim Connelly had to rebuild some depth on the fly. All things considered, Connelly did a solid job filling out the rotation.

Kyle Anderson was poached from the Grizzlies and he’ll be a great fit coming off the bench. Anderson can back up both forward spots and he can start if necessary. His passing will be a boon to a frontcourt that features mostly finishers vs passers.

Bryn Forbes came over to be a designated shooter off the bench. On the nights where he’s rolling, Forbes will play. When he’s not, he won’t see many minutes. Austin Rivers was also brought in to add depth and a little defense to the backcourt.

If Gobert and Towns mesh, the Wolves have a chance to be very good. Anthony Edwards is ready to break out as a super star. D’Angelo Russell isn’t perfect, but he’s better than most give him credit for. Taurean Prince was extended for some additional frontcourt depth, and his contract looks like a nice potential trade chip. And keep an eye on Jaden McDaniels. He’s got a ton of potential and could be the team’s starting small forward in a lineup that would be absolutely enormous.

The Wolves have made the playoffs just twice since Kevin Garnett was traded 15 years ago. This group appears set to break that string with multiple appearances. The real question: Can Minnesota do more than just make the playoffs? That depends on the big guys and Edwards all hitting the top end of their potential.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Additions: Ousmane Dieng (2022 NBA Draft), Chet Holmgren (2022 NBA Draft), Jalen Williams (2022 NBA Draft), Jaylin Williams (2022 NBA Draft), Eugene Omoruyi (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Isaiah Roby (Spurs via waiver claim), Melvin Frazier Jr. (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $8.5 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: It felt like this season the Thunder would start to take steps forward in their rebuild. Then one injury seems to have them back several steps.

Chet Holmgren, the second overall pick, will miss the entire season after a Lisfranc fracture suffered over the summer. That’s a blow to a team that was going to be mixing and matching in their frontcourt to figure out who fits together with Holmgren. Now, a year of on-court development is gone.

On the plus side, all of the Thunder’s other young pieces are ready to go. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Lu Dort (freshly re-signed to a five-year deal) are all over their injuries and ready to start the season. First rounder Jalen Williams will add to that mix, along with holdover Tre Mann to give Mark Daigneault a lot of options to play with in his backcourt.

Up front, despite Holmgren being out, Daigneault will attempt to work draft picks Ousmane Dieng and Jaylin Williams into a group that features a bunch of question marks. Darius Bazley is the most accomplished of the bunch and he’s still very much a question mark heading into Year 4. Aleksej Pokusevski has potential, but it’s mostly unrealized. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins both flashed as rookies, but need a lot more work. And Kenrich Williams was extended as the veteran of the group at the ripe old age of…27. But that’s a good thing, as Williams is an underrated player.

Oklahoma City was going to be bad again, but it was going to the kind of bad with a purpose. Now, part of that purpose is hard to define with Holmgren out. But the Thunder and Sam Presti are pretty good at making lemonades out of lemons.

There are a ton of minutes available in OKC and a lot of interesting young players competing for them. The competition for roster spots in the preseason should be pretty fierce. Even with Holmgren out, that’s a positive. Another year of development and likely another high draft pick are coming, and then maybe the Thunder start stepping forward in 2023.

 

Portland Trail Blazers

Additions: Drew Eubanks (free agency), Jerami Grant (trade), Gary Payton II (free agency), Shaedon Sharpe (2022 NBA Draft), Jabari Walker (2022 NBA Draft)

Subtractions: Eric Bledsoe (waived), C.J. Elleby (Timberwolves via free agency), Elijah Hughes (unrestricted free agent), Joe Ingles (Bucks via free agency), Didi Louzada (waived), Ben McLemore (unrestricted free agent), Keljin Blevins (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $6.5 million Traded Player Exception, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: The Trail Blazers season went off the rails last year. A rash of injuries sunk the team before they had a chance to really get started. That snapped a string of eight straight playoff appearances. If Portland has their way, that will be a one-year thing.

The Blazers acquired Jerami Grant to help shore up the team’s forward position. Grant can play both forward spots and should give Portland the best athlete they’ve had with Damian Lillard (who extended and added a couple more years to his deal through 2026-27) in a while. He wants a contract extension, but that seems to be in wait-and-see mode for the time being.

Portland also added Gary Payton II from the Warriors to improve the perimeter defense. Payton should fit in perfectly in a three-guard rotation with Lillard and Anfernee Simons. He can play with either guy and will defend the opponent’s best perimeter scorer on a nightly basis.

Speaking of Simons, he was one of two big re-signings by the Blazers. One of the primary beneficiaries of last season’s injuries, Simons took advantage of his extra minutes. He’s an incredibly talented offensive player who should fill the role C.J. McCollum held down for nearly a decade.

Jusuf Nurkic was the other key re-signing. Portland had no real way of replacing Nurkic if he had left, and they don’t have another player ready to step in for him. That meant the Blazers overpaid to re-sign him, but it’s hardly a cap-crippling deal. Plus, Nurkic has great chemistry with Lillard and that’s worth a good amount on its own.

Shaedon Sharpe was the “man of mystery” at the draft. The Blazers are betting he’ll pop in a similar way to Simons. It might take a year or two, but Sharpe has a ton of natural talent.

Overall, Portland looks to have a solid roster. If healthy, they’ll be in the playoff mix. But outside of a team or two unexpectedly slipping, it’s hard to see a path where the Trail Blazers aren’t having to make their way through the Play-In Tournament to start a new playoff streak.

 

Utah Jazz

Additions: Malik Beasley (trade), Patrick Beverley (trade (since traded to Lakers), Leandro Bolmaro (trade), Simone Fontecchio (free agency), Talen Horton-Tucker (trade), Stanley Johnson (trade), Walker Kessler (2022 NBA Draft rights trade), Jarred Vanderbilt (trade), Johnny Juzang (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Trent Forrest (Hawks via free agency), Rudy Gobert (Timberwolves via trade), Juancho Hernangomez (waived), Danuel House Jr. (76ers via free agency), Royce O’Neal (Nets via trade), Eric Paschall (Timberwolves via trade), Hassan Whiteside (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $9.7 million Traded Player Exception, $9.2 million Traded Player Exception, $7.3 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: When he was running the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge was tabbed with the moniker “Trader Danny” and he’s living up to that nickname with the Jazz. Ainge has kicked off a reset or rebuild for Utah. What will determine that designation is what happens with Donovan Mitchell.

Ainge traded two starters away already by sending Rudy Gobert to Minnesota and Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn. Gobert netted Utah a massive return of players and future draft picks, while O’Neale brought over another first round pick.

Now, Ainge has his eyes on trading Mitchell for another huge haul. The New York Knicks have been keen on adding Mitchell, and have picks and young players to offer. So far, the Knicks have held firm on not giving Utah the additional draft pick or picks and all the young players they seem to want. Still, most expect a deal to eventually get done because it makes too much sense for both parties.

The Jazz also flipped Patrick Beverley to the Los Angeles Lakers to take a flyer on Talen Horton-Tucker. The versatile guard has shown a ton of potential, but was blocked from getting more minutes in LA. That problem shouldn’t exist in Utah…eventually.

Once Ainge is able to trade Mitchell, he can focus on finding homes for a slew of veterans who have no place on a rebuilding team. Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Rudy Gay and maybe even recently-acquired Malik Beasley could all have new homes before training camp starts. That’ll open up minutes for the younger players the Jazz will be evaluating all season.

This is the playbook Ainge used to rebuild the Celtics after trading away Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He amassed draft picks in the initial trade and then kept adding to the hoard by flipping useful veterans for more picks.

It’s hard to fully evaluate the Utah roster, because everything feels unfinished. If Mitchell and the vets are still with the Jazz to start the season, they’ll be a competitive team towards the bottom of the Play-In mix. But that’s not what anyone in Utah wants.

The goal here is to bottom out and start over around kids and an overflowing treasure chest of draft picks. And if one of those picks turns out to be Victor Wembanyama or Scoot Henderson, so much the better. The years of being a solid playoff team, but no better, are gone in Utah. The Jazz are taking a big step backwards in hopes of eventually taking the biggest step forward they’ve ever taken.

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The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Rosters are largely finished, despite a potential Donovan Mitchell trade still hanging around.

Teams are mostly adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Atlantic Division has a couple of title contenders, a solid playoff team, another that could be a solid playoff team and the most confusing team in the NBA. The Boston Celtics made the 2022 NBA Finals and hope that their additions will allow them finish the job this time around. The Philadelphia 76ers have added depth and defense around their star duo in hopes of finally finding playoff success. The Toronto Raptors have resisted breaking up their core and will be firmly in the playoff mix. In New York, the Knicks are still pushing for a Donovan Mitchell deal to supplement what was already a solid offseason. And then there are the Brooklyn Nets. The talent is there for a deep playoff run, but how long will it all hold together after a season and summer marked by absences and unhappiness?

 

Boston Celtics

Additions: Malcom Brogdon (trade), Danilo Gallinari (free agency), J.D. Davison (Two-Way), Mfiondu Kabengele (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Malik Fitts (Pacers via trade (since waived)), Juwan Morgan (Pacers via trade (since waived)), Aaron Nesmith (Pacers via trade), Nik Stauskas (Pacers via trade (since waived)), Daniel Theis (Pacers via trade), Matt Ryan (unrestricted free agent), Brodric Thomas (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts, $6.9 million Traded Player Exception, $5.9 million Traded Player Exception

Analysis: The Celtics made only a couple of additions, but they were big ones that Boston hopes will help them get back to, and win, the NBA Finals. And with several roster spots still open, there is still some work left to do too.

Boston traded for Malcolm Brogdon in an attempt to clean up some of the ballhandling issues that infected the team during the playoffs. Brogdon’s ability to play on and off-ball, as well as his willingness to come off the bench, are also big for the team. And, Boston parted with no key rotation players to get Brogdon. Aaron Nesmith was stuck without enough time to develop on a contender, and Daniel Theis was only a semi-regular in the rotation.

In free agency, the Celtics signed Danilo Gallinari. The hope is that Gallinari, paired with Brogdon, will give Boston the bench scoring they lacked as they got deeper into the playoffs. An offseason meniscus injury has Gallinari’s availability somewhat in doubt, but the hope is he won’t miss much time.

Beyond that, the Eastern Conference champs are basically running it back. There are a slew of veterans reportedly joining Boston in a training camp battle for regular season roster spots. Someone out of the group of Bruno Caboclo, Noah Vonleh, Denzel Valentine and possibly Brodric Thomas and Matt Ryan, will emerge to snag a spot on the regular season roster.

Boston could use another big. Maybe they need another big wing if Gallinari is out for a while. But for now, that will all play itself out during camp and the early part of the regular season.

The Celtics still have some tradable assets available to them, if needed. They can match salary with relative ease in a deal for a high-salary player, or they can ship off a combination of young players in a deal with a rebuilding team. But, for now at least, Boston’s roster seems relatively set. They’ve added depth around their rotation mainstays and will start their title push with the group they’ve got.

 

Brooklyn Nets

Additions: Markieff Morris (free agency), Royce O’Neale (trade), Edmond Sumner (free agency), T.J. Warren (free agency), Alondes Williams (Two-Way)

Subtractions: LaMarcus Aldridge (unrestricted free agent), Bruce Brown Jr. (Nuggets via free agency), Goran Dragic (Bulls via free agency), Andre Drummond (Bulls via free agency), Blake Griffin (unrestricted free agent), David Duke Jr. (restricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $6.5 million Taxpayer MLE

Analysis: “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” is a line from Macbeth, but Shakespeare could have just as easily been writing about the Brooklyn Nets over the last year.

It’s not that the Nets did nothing, because Brooklyn made some solid pickups. But for the most part, after a lot of noise and speculation, the main news is that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are back in the fold and ready to go.

For months, Durant’s trade request, made in the moments just before free agency opened, lingered over the NBA. Some players and teams were paralyzed while waiting on a Durant deal to develop. A similar, but less impactful, process played out with Irving.

Now, both superstars are back in Brooklyn. For how long? That’s anyone’s guess.

With Durant and Irving, and a hopefully healthy Ben Simmons, the Nets have a solid nucleus for the upcoming season. There are availability questions, as all three have missed considerable time with injuries over the years, but it’s as a good a starting point as any team in the league.

Brooklyn re-signed Nic Claxton, Patty Mills and Kessler Edwards to start rounding out the rotation. Claxton has a clear runway to the starting center spot, while Mills should revert back to the high-end backup role he was always intended to play. The Nets will also welcome back Seth Curry and a healthy Joe Harris, which allows Steve Nash to put plenty of shooting around his All-Star trio.

Royce O’Neale was added to help upgrade the team’s wing defense. O’Neale slipped some while with the Jazz last year, but if he can find his form again, he’ll play plenty as one of the team’s better big wing defenders.

The Nets took a chance on a pair of former Pacers by signing T.J. Warren and Edmond Sumner. Both are coming off seasons that were lost to injury, but have shown plenty in the past. Warren will give the team some frontcourt scoring punch off the bench, assuming he can stay healthy. Sumner could be a bigger option for a backcourt that is comprised of mostly smaller players.

Perhaps because of waiting out the Durant trade request, Brooklyn’s roster feels a little unfinished. They added Markieff Morris as a veteran frontcourt option, but the Nets could still use more depth up front. They don’t have anything resembling a proven backup center option, and that’s a hole given Claxton is a first-time starter.

If everything comes, and holds, together, the Nets are title contenders. But they’ve got to get past a summer of unhappiness, while incorporating a lot of new faces. And then they have to stay healthy. That’s a lot of “ifs”, but the collection of talent can’t be overlooked in Brooklyn.

 

New York Knicks

Additions: Jalen Brunson (free agency), Isaiah Hartenstein (free agency), Trevor Keels (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Ryan Arcidiacono (unrestricted free agent), Alec Burks (Pistons via trade), Taj Gibson (Wizards via free agency), Nerlens Noel (Pistons via trade), Kemba Walker (Pistons via trade)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $5.4 million Room Exception

Analysis: Roster changes weren’t numerous for the Knicks, but they were as impactful as any team in the NBA. New York rapidly moved on from previous free agent additions while upgrading at both point guard and center.

The offseason centered around adding Jalen Brunson. New York will probably get punished for tampering with the former Mavericks guard, but they’ll happily pay a second pick in exchange for Brunson leading the backcourt moving forward.

If Brunson looks like the player he was for a lot of last season but especially in the playoffs, no one will bat an eye at his $26 million average annual salary. Brunson is that good. And he fills a spot that’s been a long-term issue for the Knicks.

Up front, New York added Isaiah Hartenstein on one of the best value deals of the summer. Hartenstein is one of the better rim protectors in the league, and his offensive game has continued to develop. He’ll pair with a re-signed (if slightly overpaid) Mitchell Robinson to give the Knicks 48 minutes of quality center play.

To clear the space for Brunson and Hartenstein, New York salary-dumped the trio of Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker into the Detroit Pistons cap space. Injury and age-related issues made it unlikely any of the three would be major contributors for the Knicks this season. Essentially, New York didn’t lose much of anything in moving on here to make two major upgrades.

The next big decision was to ink RJ Barrett to a reported four-year, $120 million extension. While many are screaming about $30 million per season for Barrett, that lacks context. With the salary cap going up, that’s going to be the going rate for an All-Star level of player. And that’s exactly what Barrett should become over the next couple of seasons.

And, of course, the Knicks are still trying to get a Donovan Mitchell trade done. Most around the NBA expect this to happen, but it will have to wait until both New York ups their offer a bit, while the Utah Jazz simultaneously bring down their asking price a bit.

Assuming a Mitchell deal happens, New York will be in the mix for a top-six spot and an assured playoff spot. Without Mitchell, the Knicks are part of a pretty big group that will be fighting to make it through the Play-In Tournament. That’s the difference adding Mitchell will make in taking this from a pretty good offseason to an excellent one.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Additions: Danuel House Jr. (free agency), De’Anthony Melton (trade), Trevelin Queen (free agency), P.J. Tucker (free agency), Julian Champagnie (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Danny Green (Grizzlies via trade), DeAndre Jordan (Nuggets via free agency), Paul Millsap (unrestricted free agent), Myles Powell (China via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis: The Sixers are making a title run by shoring up their defense and depth in the front court and on the wing. And Daryl Morey turned to some familiar faces to do so.

P.J. Tucker was coaxed over from the Miami Heat with a three-year deal for the full Non-Taxpayer MLE. That deal could look a little sketchy in a year or two, but Tucker should hold his value for at least the next season. He’ll give Philadelphia a solid backup 4/5 or he could start at the 4 if Doc Rivers goes a little bigger to open games. Tucker has slipped just a bit against quicker perimeter players, but he can hold up against anyone else.

Danuel House was brought in to help defend the bigger wings that often gave the 76ers trouble. He got the Bi-Annual Exception, which is more than fair value for what House can do as a 3&D player. Trevelin Queen was also added as a bit of a flyer to do similar work to House. He flashed potential with the Houston Rockets while on a Two-Way last season, so Queen is someone to keep an eye on.

In the backcourt/wing mix, Philadelphia swapped Danny Green and a first-round pick to bring in De’Anthony Melton. Melton immediately becomes the team’s backup combo guard behind James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. He should be an upgrade over Shake Milton, who was previously tasked with that role.

All of these additions were made possible by James Harden opting out and taking significantly less in a new deal. That freed up the necessary cap and tax flexibility for Morey to add to the roster. Harden signed a two-year, $68.6 million contract, but everyone expects he’ll opt out and then sign a long-term deal for max money next summer.

None of the players Philadelphia lost will likely have much of an impact. The team didn’t replace DeAndre Jordan with another veteran center, and that’s one of the few holes the Sixers still have to fill. Given Joel Embiid’s injury history, you’d like to have a proven veteran behind him. That’s something Morey can address down the line, if necessary.

It remains to be seen if Harden’s sacrifice will be worth it or not, but this is the best roster Philadelphia has taken into a season in a while. Everyone is healthy and hungry to advance beyond the second round. If Harden is back near his MVP form, the 76ers are title contenders. If not, they’re capped as a good, but not great playoff team.

 

Toronto Raptors

Additions: Juancho Hernangomez (free agency), Christian Koloko (2022 NBA Draft), Otto Porter Jr. (free agency), D.J. Wilson (free agency), Jeff Dowtin (Two-Way), Ron Harper Jr. (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Isaac Bonga (Germany via free agency), Armoni Brooks (waived), Svi Mykhailiuk (waived), Yuta Watanabe (Nets via free agency), David Johnson (restricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $2.99 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception, $5.25 million Traded Player Exception

Analysis: Toronto had an eventful offseason, but is mostly running back the same squad as last year’s talented team. Team president Masai Ujiri waded into trade talks for a couple of superstars, but held firm on keeping players the Raptors have put a high value on.

Scottie Barnes was deemed off limits in trade talks after he won 2022 Rookie of the Year. That’s a reasonable, and likely prudent, decision. Barnes is already good and still overflowing with potential to be better. Toronto has put a less firm, but still solid, stake in the ground on not trading OG Anunoby either.

Barnes and Anunoby, alongside veterans Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr give the Raptors a tough, versatile starting group on both ends of the floor. Behind them, Ujiri has done a good job giving Nick Nurse options to play both big and small, depending on what matchups call for.

The Raptors signed Thaddeus Young to a two-year extension, but left the second season most non-guaranteed should Young age out faster than expected. The team also re-signed Chris Boucher for additional frontcourt depth. Boucher has been a little all over the map, but if he can find consistency with his shot, he’ll be well worth the three-year, $35 million deal he got.

The most important new face is Toronto adding Otto Porter Jr. to their never-ending collection of forwards. How Porter fits in a crowded group at the forward spot is something Nurse will have to work out, but he’s on an excellent value contract.

Ujiri may not have swung a deal for Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell or Rudy Gobert, but that doesn’t mean he’s not working on something. The Raptors are set to trade from a position of strength, especially at the 3-5 spots. When it’s time to go all in for a star, Ujiri will be able put together a solid package, while still leaving Toronto with plenty of depth.

Until then, the Raptors are a really good team. They’re a tier below the best teams in the Eastern Conference, but it won’t take much to make the step up. If Barnes develops, or they make a big trade, Toronto will be in the mix to make a deep playoff run.

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The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Rosters are largely finished, despite the Los Angeles Lakers making a late push to rebuild their roster ahead of training camp and a Donovan Mitchell trade still floating around.

Teams are mostly adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Pacific Division is the home of the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors got fully back on track with a mostly-healthy season and won their fourth title in the last eight years. The champs fully intend to contend again this coming season. The Phoenix Suns slid back to the pack just a bit and missed out on a second straight Finals berth, but they’ll be back as contenders. The LA Clippers have to be healthier this season. If so, the Clips have the deepest roster in the NBA, and give the division a third title contender. The Los Angeles Lakers are less deep, but any team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is starting from a good place. And if they can swing another late deal, they’ll be positioned to contend again. And then we have the Sacramento Kings. They aren’t quite on par with the rest of the division, but Sacramento isn’t a laughingstock anymore either. They’ve got a talented roster that is hungry is to win.

 

Golden State Warriors

Additions: Patrick Baldwin Jr. (2022 NBA Draft), Donte DiVincenzo (free agency), JaMychal Green (free agency), Ryan Rollins (2022 NBA Draft), Lester Quinones (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Nemanja Bjelica (Turkey via free agency), Andre Iguodala (unrestricted free agent), Damion Lee (Suns via free agency), Gary Payton II (Trail Blazers via free agency), Otto Porter Jr. (Raptors via free agency), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Lakers via free agency), Chris Chiozza (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis: The Warriors mainstays are all back. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are back to make another run at a fifth title. Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole have grown into All-Star level players and are also back. In addition, Golden State re-signed Kevon Looney. That’s the top-six players in the rotation that are all returning.

It’s after that where things will look different. The Warriors lost key rotation players in Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr. They also lost some of their deeper bench players who have all had moments in Damion Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Nemanja Bjelica.

The only major additions Golden State brought in were Donte DiVincenzo and JaMychal Green. In effect, they’ll replace Payton and Porter. DiVincenzo was finding his way with the Bucks before an injury caused him to miss Milwaukee’s title run and a large chunk of last season. If healthy, he’ll be a shooting and playmaking weapon alongside Poole in the Warriors backcourt. Green is starting to slow down, but he’ll give the team a solid 10-15 minutes a night at the 4 or the 5.

The main difference for the Warriors this year is that their kids like James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody should have a runway to more minutes. If one of two of them pop, Golden State will have added depth for this upcoming season and a bridge to the post-Curry/Green/Thompson years.

This is a key year for Golden State. Ownership has made waves about curbing some of the record spending that occurs every year. That could see major roster upheaval happen next summer. But for this season, the Warriors should be right back in the mix for another championship.

 

LA Clippers

Additions: John Wall (free agency), Moussa Diabate (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Isaiah Hartenstein (Knicks via free agency), Rodney Hood (unrestricted free agent), Jay Scrubb (waived)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis: The Clippers offseason didn’t involve a lot of roster changes. But that doesn’t mean they’ll look like the same team next season.

John Wall finally worked a buyout with the Houston Rockets and he signed on with LA. Wall will likely back up Reggie Jackson initially, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Wall eventually take over the starting role. He reportedly looks healthy and feels good. Wall’s a candidate for a bounce-back season.

The team’s lone loss in free agency was a big one. When the Clips committed the Taxpayer MLE to Wall, Isaiah Hartenstein left for a bigger deal from the New York Knicks. That leaves LA shorthanded at the center spot behind Ivica Zubac. That’s something the team may eventually need to address beyond camp signing Moses Brown.

Speaking of Zubac, he was one of four Clippers veterans to land a new contract. Joining Zubac in reupping in Los Angeles were Nic Batum, Amir Coffey and Robert Covington. That foursome, along with the return of some injured stars gives Ty Lue the deepest roster in the NBA.

With Kawhi Leonard set to return and Paul George healthy after an injury-plagued season, the Clippers have star power and depth. There are at least 12 legitimate NBA players on this roster. Lue will have his work cut out for him to keep everyone happy with enough minutes. But LA will likely liberally rest players, making that an easier task than it seems.

The goal for the Clippers is to win the franchise’s first title. With a such a deep roster, anything but a Finals run will be a disappointment.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Additions: Patrick Beverley (trade), Troy Brown Jr. (free agency), Thomas Bryant (free agency), Max Christie (2022 NBA Draft), Damian Jones (free agency), Juan Toscano-Anderson (free agency), Lonnie Walker IV (free agency), Scotty Pippen Jr. (Two-Way), Cole Swider (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Carmelo Anthony (unrestricted free agent), D.J. Augustin (unrestricted free agent), Kent Bazemore (Kings via free agency), Avery Bradley (unrestricted free agent), Wayne Ellington (unrestricted free agent), Talen Horton-Tucker (Jazz via trade), Dwight Howard (unrestricted free agent), Stanley Johnson (Jazz via trade), Mason Jones (unrestricted free agent), Mac McClung (Warriors via free agency), Malik Monk (Kings via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis: The Lakers continued their quest to build another title team around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Yes, Russell Westbrook is still in Los Angeles, but just about everyone else is gone.

After signing a bunch of veterans to one-year contracts a year ago, the Lakers let most of those same players leave this summer. In their places, LA went younger and more versatile. That alone should be an upgrade.

Leading the new-look Lakers will be Darvin Ham. After years of being an assistant to watch, Ham finally landed his first head coaching gig. It seems long overdue, as Ham appears to be more than ready for the bright lights of Los Angeles.

To this point, the biggest on-court addition for the Lakers was their most recent one. After a deal for Kyrie Irving never came together, Rob Pelinka traded for Patrick Beverley to give them team some additional guard depth. Beverley is easily the best perimeter defender on the roster, and he’s a good off-ball player as a cutter and shooter.

The Lakers had to give up Talen Horton-Tucker, but there wasn’t room or a fit for him in the team’s rotation. He was an on-ball creator on a team that already features several of those. Stanley Johnson was the best wing defender the Lakers have, but he was poised to be supplanted in the rotation anyway.

Of the free agent additions, they can be lumped into two categories: wings and centers.

The Lakers added Lonnie Walker IV to give the team the scoring punch they lost when Malik Monk headed to the Kings. Juan Toscano-Anderson should replace Johnson as the team’s energetic wing defender. And Troy Brown Jr. has talent, but he’s never put it all together. If he can just focus on getting out and filling lanes on the break and finding shooting space, Brown might finally pop.

Up front, Los Angeles went younger and more skilled by bringing back a couple of familiar faces. Thomas Bryant and Damian Jones are solid, if unspectacular centers. Bryant brings a good offensive game, but he’s not much of a defender. Jones has been a decent rim protector and rebounder. Overall, they should make a productive platoon.

Still, you get the sense this roster isn’t finished. Westbrook is still very available in trade. The Lakers have recently made it known they’re willing to trade both of their tradable first round picks in 2027 and 2029 if they can get back rotation upgrades. That’ll probably continue to drag on until the trade deadline, if Westbrook isn’t moved.

As is, the Lakers aren’t title contenders. In a deep Western Conference, it’ll be a fight for them to even make the playoffs. If they can flip Westbrook and bring back a couple of rotation players, then they’ll have the depth to make a run at a top-six spot and an assured playoff spot. If they do that and stay healthy, Los Angeles could even make a run at the Finals.

 

Phoenix Suns

Additions: Jock Landale (trade), Damion Lee (free agency), Josh Okogie (free agency), Duane Washington Jr. (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Aaron Holiday (Hawks via free agency), Gabriel Lundberg (Italy via free agency), JaVale McGee (Mavericks via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $6.5 million Taxpayer MLE

Analysis: Phoenix didn’t change much. They were a perplexing Game 7 blowout loss from making it back to the Western Conference Finals. Despite some drama with Deandre Ayton, the Suns are basically running it back with the group that made the 2021 NBA Finals.

Ayton’s restricted free agency hung over the summer longer than most expected. Phoenix held firm that they would give Ayton a four-year max deal, but wouldn’t go to a five-year deal. The Suns also said they’d match any offer sheets Ayton signed, and that’s exactly what they did. Now, Phoenix has Ayton on a slightly less expensive four-year deal after matching the Indiana Pacers offer sheet, than they would have from paying Ayton outright.

Still, keeping Ayton was the correct move. He’s not perfect, but Ayton fits in well with Chris Paul and Devin Booker and is one of the better scoring/rebounding centers in the league. Phoenix should be happy they’ve still got the young big man in the fold.

The Suns re-signed Bismack Biyombo to back up Ayton, while letting JaVale McGee walk for more money in free agency. Biyombo had a career resurgence last season, and he’ll be fine for 10-15 minutes a night behind Ayton.

Returning to the frontcourt mix this season should be Dario Saric. He missed the entirety of last season after tearing his ACL in the 2021 NBA Finals. If healthy, Saric gives Monty Williams a versatile offensive player to throw in the frontcourt mix.

Phoenix brought in Damion Lee, fresh off a title with the Golden State Warriors, and Josh Okogie to give the team some additional wing depth. At times, injuries caused Williams to play imbalanced lineups last season. Lee and Okogie should provide some decent depth, should that issue arise again.

There really isn’t much else to say. If healthy, the Suns are title contenders. They’ve got all the ingredients a championship team needs. And they’ve got enough tradable contracts to address any holes that crop up during the year. The title window might not stay open long in Phoenix, but they seem to be making the most of it while it is open.

 

Sacramento Kings

Additions: Kent Bazemore (free agency), Quinn Cook (free agency), Matthew Dellavedova (free agency), Kevin Huerter (trade), Sam Merrill (free agency), Chima Moneke (free agency), Malik Monk (free agency), Keegan Murray (2022 NBA Draft), KZ Okpala (free agency), Keon Ellis (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Donte DiVincenzo (Warriors via free agency), Maurice Harkless (Hawks via trade), Justin Holiday (Hawks via trade), Josh Jackson (unrestricted free agent), Damian Jones (Lakers via free agency), Jeremy Lamb (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $4.1 million of Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: Sacramento isn’t content with being the “same old Kings” anymore. They might not make the playoffs this season, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

The Kings added several rotation upgrades this summer that should make them a more competitive squad all the way through the regular season. And they didn’t sacrifice much in terms of future flexibility to do it either.

Keegan Murray landed in Sacramento at the draft and he already looks like a keeper. Murray can shoot, score and rebound at the forward position. He’s got the ideal player to learn from alongside him in Harris Barnes. Early on, Murray looks like a draft win for the Kings.

Sacramento upgraded their shooting and wing scoring by signing Malik Monk and trading for Kevin Huerter. Monk is the best shooter on the roster, and after a year playing with LeBron James, Monk knows how to get open to find his shots.

Huerter should be an ideal fit next to De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt. He’s got great size, he’s a better defender than most think, and Huerter is a good passer too. Like Monk, he’s also become adept at playing off-ball and drifting into spots where playmakers can find him for shots.

The Kings are going to get a full season with Domantas Sabonis, after last year’s deadline deal brought the All-Star big man to Sacramento. Sabonis’ passing and scoring should allow new head coach Mike Brown and staff to get creative with their offensive sets. They can run the offense through Sabonis or Fox, while players like Huerter, Barnes, Murray and Monk can play the role of secondary creators.

Brown should also bring better organization to the Kings defense. Sacramento isn’t flush with good defenders yet, but they should execute better with some sound schemes. It’s a start and one that should be miles better than what we’ve seen recently.

The playoff drought might not be quite ready to end, but this Kings squad should be firmly in the mix all year. If a team or two stumbles, and things come together quickly in Sacramento, a trip to the Play-In Tournament should be in the offing. That would be a good step forward for a franchise that hasn’t seen the postseason in any form in nearly two decades.

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MLB rosters expand to 28 next week which means we’re approaching the last month of the regular season. It’s an exciting checkpoint for everyone as contenders make their final push and other teams get a look at younger players within their organization. Most divisions have clear separation at this point so it’s a great time to change things up and check in on World Series odds and values.

Favorites:  Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, Mets

There are four clear favorites and it’s hard to make an argument against any of them but there’s not much value here from a betting perspective. The Mets are the clear value as they have the longest odds of the group but a similar projected World Series win percentage as the rest.

Long Shot Division Leaders:  Cardinals, Guardians

I’ve been skeptical of St. Louis all season but they made great deadline moves to deepen their rotation and look firmly in control of the NL Central. Their offense is good enough to carry them in any series but despite the pitching upgrades I’m still not convinced they have a World Series level rotation. It will be an incredible story if Cleveland can get this across the finish line but I’m not sure anyone outside of that clubhouse thinks they have legit World Series potential.

Wildcard:  Braves, Blue Jays, Padres, Phillies, Mariners, Rays

This group is where all the value lives. A few of these teams are still in contention for their division and any of the six could easily make noise in October. Atlanta and San Diego are my favorites as they have two of the best rosters in the league but seem underrated since they’re stuck behind the powerhouse Mets and Dodgers. I also like Seattle as a team with a dynamic offense, three core starters and a shutdown bullpen.

In The Hunt:  Brewers, White Sox, Twins

Not only are they longs hots to win it all but it’ll be an uphill climb for these teams to even make the playoffs if they turn it around quickly. I’d stay away entirely unless you see an edge.

The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Rosters are largely finished, despite the Los Angeles Lakers making a late push to rebuild their roster ahead of training camp.

Teams are mostly adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Southeast Division is a mix of contenders, middle-of-the-pack squads and rebuilding teams. The Miami Heat are annually in the mix to the make the NBA Finals, and this season shouldn’t be any different. The Atlanta Hawks are looking to rebound and make an Eastern Conference Finals run like they did in 2021. The Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards seem perpetually stuck around the Play-In picture. The Orlando Magic are the worst team in the division, but their future is arguably the brightest of any Southeast Division team.

 

Atlanta Hawks

Additions: A.J. Griffin (2022 NBA Draft), Maurice Harkless (trade), Aaron Holiday (free agency), Justin Holiday (trade), Frank Kaminsky (free agency), Tyrese Martin (2022 NBA Draft), Dejounte Murray (trade), Trent Forrest (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Sharife Cooper (waived), Gorgui Dieng (Spurs via free agency), Danilo Gallinari (Celtics after being waived by Spurs after trade), Kevin Huerter (Kings via trade), Kevin Knox (Pistons via free agency), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (unrestricted free agent), Skylar Mays (unrestricted free agent), Lou Williams (unrestricted free agent), Delon Wright (Wizards via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $10.5 million Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis:  The Hawks have retooled their rotation around mainstays Trae Young, John Collins and Clint Capela. Atlanta brought in what they hope will be more defense and shooting, as they attempt to get back into contention after a down season.

Dejounte Murray was by far and away the biggest addition the Hawks made this summer. It cost Atlanta Danilo Gallinari and multiple first-round picks, but it should be worth it. The only reason it’s a “should” is because Murray’s fit alongside Young will take a little while to sort out. Murray is used to having the ball a lot, and he’s not great off-ball. Young is also a ball-dominant playmaker and scorer. Assuming they can mesh, the Hawks will have dual point-of-attack players that can score and create looks for others. And Murray is easily best defender on this roster already.

Beyond adding Murray, Atlanta swapped Kevin Huerter for Maurice Harkless and Justin Holiday. This move was driven by luxury tax concerns, but the Hawks did well to land Holiday. He’s a dependable shooter and should see plenty of minutes off the bench. Huerter’s shooting and scoring, as well as his passing and defense (both are better than you probably think), will be missed. But essentially, Murray is replacing Huerter, while Holiday replaces Gallinari. It’s a different look, and a smaller team, but it’s not likely to be any sort of downgrade.

None of the other changes, many as they were, screams huge upgrade or downgrade. The Hawks filled out the back of the bench with some veterans, which should help if there are injuries. The team still has their full MLE, but they are already pushing up against the tax line. That one may remain whole for a while, but could see a portion used during buyout season after the trade deadline.

To this point, despite many, many rumors to the contrary, Collins remains in Atlanta. That’s a good thing, as the Hawks didn’t really have a replacement ready in house for all Collins does for them. If De’Andre Hunter can stay healthy, and Bogdan Bogdanovic gets over offseason knee surgery quickly, Atlanta has the star power and depth to challenge for a top-6 spot in the East.

 

Charlotte Hornets

Additions: Mark Williams (2022 NBA Draft), Bryce McGowens (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Miles Bridges (restricted free agent), Montrezl Harrell (unrestricted free agent), Isaiah Thomas (unrestricted free agent), Arnoldas Kulboka (Greece via agency), Scottie Lewis (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $10.5 million Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: Charlotte’s offseason was fairly uneventful in terms of players coming and going, but that wasn’t really the Hornets fault. And it definitely wasn’t the team’s plan for this offseason.

Shortly before free agency opened, both Miles Bridges and Montrezl Harrell ran into legal issues. Those situations are currently ongoing and have impacted the free agency for both players. It’s impossible to know what the Hornets plans were, had Bridges or Harrell not run afoul of the law, so we’ll keep the focus to what the team actually did roster-wise.

Mark Williams was added at the draft. Williams looks like a good value pick in the middle of the first round, as well as filling an immediate need on the roster. Like a lot of young bigs, it’s going to take him a little while to adjust to the NBA game, but once Williams does, he should be good. The Duke product is a solid finisher around the rim, and the Hornets are filled with good passers to set him up. Eventually, Williams should also fill the role of rim protector and rebounder that this team desperately needs.

The only other addition of note was bringing back Steve Clifford as the team’s head coach. But even that process was fraught, as the Hornets thought they had Kenny Atkinson in the fold, before Atkinson changed his mind and chose to stay with the Golden State Warriors. That pushed the team back to Clifford for a second run in the Queen City.

Clifford has a history of cleaning things up with his teams and getting them to play as a more organized and cohesive group. Charlotte has been a good team the last couple of years, but sloppy play, combined with injuries, has seen them capped as a Play-In team.

The Hornets were able to re-sign Cody Martin on a nice value contract. He’ll play a big role as the team’s primary backup wing. That’s a key spot, considering Gordon Hayward’s continued troubles staying on the court.

Charlotte does have their full MLE remaining, but the free agent pool is pretty shallow at this point. Considering the team is sitting $22.5 million under the tax line, and the Bridges situation seems likely to remain unresolved for quite some time, it feels like the team missed a chance to add an impact player there.

Overall, this offseason seems really “meh” for the Hornets. The legal issues hung over everything and have left this roster feeling very unfinished. Unfortunately, that’s likely to continue well into the season at this point.

 

Miami Heat 

Additions: Nikola Jovic (2022 NBA Draft), Darius Days (Two-Way), Marcus Garrett (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Markieff Morris (unrestricted free agent), P.J. Tucker (76ers via free agency), Mychal Mulder (waived), Ja’Vonte Smart (waived)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $4 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: Miami’s offseason was focused on retaining their own free agents, despite one key player getting away. Yet, the Heat will still be good. The question now becomes: How good?

P.J. Tucker left Miami for Philadelphia and the full Non-Taxpayer MLE. Miami could have given the same deal to Tucker, but it would have caused constraints elsewhere with the roster. It’s a big loss for the Heat, as they haven’t replaced Tucker in any sort of meaningful way.

Of all the teams that can be considered Finals contenders, Miami arguably has the biggest hole of anyone. They don’t really have a power forward on the roster, but they don’t seem overly concerned about it either. The Heat believe they can get by with smaller lineups that feature more offensive versatility.

Of the team’s offseason additions, Nikola Jovic is the biggest one, but he’s unlikely to have much of an impact this season. The young forward will log time in the G League, but he’s got a ton of potential to be a contributor down the line.

Miami was able to bring back all of Victor Oladipo, Caleb Martin and Dewayne Dedmon. Oladipo looked good in the playoffs last year, and should give Miami some scoring punch, whether he starts or comes off the bench.

Martin blossomed into a legitimate rotation player last season. He’ll start this year as one of Miami’s better 3&D options. Dedmon is back to provide frontcourt depth, but don’t be surprised if he’s surpassed by Omer Yurtseven in the rotation this season.

The major outstanding item for the Heat is an extension for Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro. The question there seems to be: How much can you pay a bench player? Of course, Herro has the potential to be much more than a bench player, but that’s his role for now. Projecting his impact as a full-time starter will drive how much Miami is willing to offer in a new deal.

The Heat have poked around trades for superstars like Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell, but nothing has come to fruition… yet. Some of that has to do with a lack of big, tradable contracts for Miami, as well as lacking some draft assets moving forward.

It feels like there’s another move or two to come for the Heat. This is especially true with adding more size to the frontcourt. But don’t count out Miami. They’ll play hard and they’ll find a way to get what they need by the trade deadline. They always do.

 

Orlando Magic 

Additions: Paolo Banchero (2022 NBA Draft), Caleb Houstan (2022 NBA Draft), Kevon Harris (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Ignas Brazdeikis (Lithuania via free agency), Robin Lopez (Cavaliers via free agency), 

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $8.5 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: The Magic kept it simple this summer. They selected Paolo Banchero first overall at the 2022 NBA Draft. Then Orlando re-signed some of their own free agents. The team is committed to the rebuilding process and isn’t looking for shortcuts with their roster.

Banchero was the right selection for Orlando at the top of the draft. He’s got the highest floor of the top prospects, while also having a high ceiling. Banchero’s ability to shoot, score and pass will be an immediate boon to a Magic offense that struggles to create easy offense. And Banchero moves well enough on defense that he’ll hold his own on a team that has a lot of solid defenders already.

In the second round, the Magic snagged Caleb Houstan in part because his rep as a shooter. Orlando struggled at times to convert open jumpers, so having someone who can help open up the floor for the bigs and drivers is a key. Houstan will get his chances to fill that role.

In free agency, the Magic re-signed Mo Bamba, Gary Harris and Bol Bol. All three got fully non-guaranteed second seasons. That’s a key, because it makes them very attractive trade chips up to the trade deadline, should Orlando choose to go in that direction.

Bamba had a breakout season last year. He was better around the rim, but the big improvement came with Bamba consistently knocking down three-pointers. He was also better as a rim protector and rebounder, finally making good on some of that potential he had flashed as an interior defender.

Harris had a bounce-back season for the Magic. Many missed it, as Harris toiled in relative obscurity in Orlando, but he averaged 11.1 points on better shooting than he had shown in the last few years. Harris’ no-nonsense approach also fits in well with the team’s really young backcourt.

Markelle Fultz is fully recovered from a torn ACL after returning late last season. Jonathan Isaac should finally be back on the floor as well. He’s missed two-plus seasons with a variety of knee and leg injuries. And Jalen Suggs is healthy after an injury-plagued rookie season.

Having those players back, along with Banchero, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter and Cole Anthony, should give the team plenty of opportunities to see how this group fits together on the court. This year is about developing the kids, while figuring out how all of these players fit together. That’s the focus for now. Wins will come, but that’s at least a year away in Orlando.

 

Washington Wizards 

Additions: Will Barton (trade), Johnny Davis (2022 NBA Draft), Taj Gibson (free agency), Monte Morris (trade), Delon Wright (free agency)

Subtractions: Thomas Bryant (Lakers via free agency), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Nuggets via trade), Raul Neto (Cavaliers via free agency), Tomas Satoransky (Spain via free agency), Ish Smith (Nuggets via trade) Cassius Winston (Germany via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $2.7 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million of Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: The Wizards big move was re-signing Bradley Beal. That was priority one and it was accomplished about as soon as free agency opened. But Washington made other moves that should make a big impact on the team’s success this season.

Let’s start with Beal. Did the Wizards give him everything they possible could? They sure did. He got a no-trade clause, a trade bonus, a player option and one of the largest contracts in NBA history. Did Washington have to give Beal all of that? That’s a bit more complicated.

Beal is the Wizards franchise player. He wants to be in Washington. Those are important things that often get overlooked. He’s also really good…when he’s healthy. And that last part is the challenge. There’s a good chance that Beal’s deal looks bad by the fifth season, when the veteran guard will be 33 years old. And that’s when the no-trade clause might come into play.

But those are all things to worry about later for Washington. For this season, they have their guy back and that’s going to be huge for the Wizards.

Helping Beal will be reinforcements at point guard and on the wing. Washington traded Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith to get Monte Morris and Will Barton. Morris will step in and give the team the solid point guard play they lacked for most of last season. He did well when filling in for Jamal Murray as a starter the last two seasons in Denver, and he looks poised for an even bigger role in Washington.

Backing up Morris will be Delon Wright. Wright has bounced around some the last few seasons, but remains a good backup point guard. He’s also got enough size to play alongside Morris in some lineups, if necessary.

Barton will replace Caldwell-Pope as a different look on the wing. Barton is a slashing scorer, whereas Caldwell-Pope was the archetypical 3&D wing. On those nights when the jumpers aren’t falling, Barton is a guy who can go get you a bucket.

Washington is looking forward to a full season with Kristaps Porzingis, as well as development from a host of young players including Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert. Kyle Kuzma is also back after turning his best all-around season in the NBA.

The Wizards need everything to fit right, as well as injury-prone players to stay healthy. If that happens, this team will challenge for a playoff spot. If the fits are off, or injuries strike again, it’ll be back to the lottery for Washington.

NBA team-94 team-212 team-107 team-113 team-122

PGA TOUR

The PGA Tour announced some enhancements for the Tour and it's players moving forward.

Here is a quick breakdown of the announcement:

  1. Top players commit to at least 20 PGA Tour events:
    1. The Genesis Invitational
    2. Arnold Palmer Invitational 
    3. the Memorial Tournament
    4. WGC-Dell Match Play Championship
    5. Sentry Tournament of Champions
    6. THE PLAYERS Championship
    7. The Masters Tournament
    8. PGA Championship
    9. U.S. Open
    10. The Open Championship
    11. Four additional Elevated Events (TBD) with at least $20 million purses each
    12. Three additional FedExCup events of the player's choosing
  2. Purse increases to the following events:
    1. THE PLAYERS Championship: $25 million
    2. FedEx St. Jude Championship (playoff): $20 million
    3. BMW Championship(playoff): $20 million
    4. TOUR Championship/FedExCup Bonus Pool: $75 million
    5. The Genesis Invitational: $20 million
    6. Arnold Palmer Invitational: $20 million
    7. the Memorial Tournament: $20 million
    8. WGC-Dell Match Play Championship: $20 million
    9. Sentry Tournament of Champions: $15 million
    10. Four additional Elevated Events (TBD): at least $20 million purses
  3. Expansion of the Player Impact Program (PIP)
    1. Reward 20 players (previously 10) for 2022 and 2023 seasons
    2. Bonus pool will now be $100 million (previously $50 million) for 2022 and 2023 seasons
    3. 2023 PIP Criteria alterations: Internet Searches, General Awareness, Golf Fan Awareness, Media Mentions, Broadcast Exposure (previously had a Social Media component)
  4. "Earnings Assurance Program"
    1. Applies to fully exempt members (Korn Ferry tour graduates and above) and must participate in at least 15 events 
    2. Guaranteed a minimum $500k per player
    3. Rookies & returning members receive money up front
    4. Replaces the "Play15" which 
  5. Travel Stipend
    1. For non-exempt members and does not effect purse money
    2. Receive $5k for missed cuts
    3. Travel and tournament-related expenses to be subsidized

 

The TGL

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy announced a partnership with the PGA to create a new league called The TGL. The league is aimed at targeting a younger audience and will utilize technology and custom-built arenas.

  • When:
    • Matches will begin in Jan 2024 and run through April 2024.
    • Monday nights during primetime during a two-hour window
  • Where:
    • 18-hole matches on a virtual course within custom-built arenas
  • Who:
    • Six teams made up of three PGA Tour players will player on
    • Each team will compete in five matches during a 15-week schedule.

 

Related:

Spotrac Podcast

PGA Tour Earnings

PGA Tiger Woods Rory McIlroy

The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Rosters are largely finished, despite Donovan Mitchell and a few others still being on the trade market, even if Kevin Durant no longer is.

Teams are adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Southwest Division was one of the best in the NBA last season. Four of five teams made the postseason. The Dallas Mavericks made a run to the Western Conference Finals, while the Memphis Grizzlies finished with the second-best regular season record in the NBA. The New Orleans Pelicans made it through the Play-In Tournament before pushing the heavily-favored Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. And the Spurs managed to squeak into the last Play-In spot. Finally, the Houston Rockets might have had the NBA’s worst record, but it was by design as they leaned heavy into the second year of their rebuild.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Additions: Jaden Hardy (2022 NBA Draft), JaVale McGee (free agency), Christian Wood (trade), Tyler Dorsey (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Sterling Brown (Rockets via trade), Jalen Brunson (Knicks via free agency), Trey Burke (Rockets via trade), Marquese Chriss (Rockets via trade), Boban Marjanovic (Rockets via trade), Moses Wright (China via free agency)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis:  The Mavericks didn’t make a lot of changes to their roster this summer, but the few they did make should have major impacts. Let’s start with adding Christian Wood.

Dallas traded four players for Wood, but none were regular rotation players by the end of last season. Wood is an immediate upgrade over the Mavs other big men. He’s the best inside-outside scorer of the group and should give Luka Doncic a versatile pick-and-roll partner. The other Dallas bigs are either rollers or poppers. Wood can both roll to the rim and finish, or he can pick-and-pop. That gives the Mavericks a more offensive versatility.

One of the reports out of Dallas is that Wood may start the year coming off the bench, and that’s because the Mavs other big addition this summer was reportedly promised a starting spot. Should JaVale McGee be getting that sort of promise? Probably not. But McGee should help shore up the interior defense for a team that was solid everywhere else. Thus, McGee starts, at least to open the season.

No matter what the lineup constructions are, both Wood and McGee are going to play a lot and that’s going to help the Mavericks. They traded some perimeter scoring, ballhandling and playmaking for size, but the hope is Dallas has enough of the former still on the roster.

Tim Hardaway Jr. will likely take back his starting spot, and he’ll give the team another offensive creator alongside Doncic. While not an actual addition, Hardaway missed the entire playoffs, so he’s kind of a like a new face from when we last saw the Mavericks.

Still, Jalen Brunson is a big loss. He really came into his own last season, especially in the postseason. Replacing Brunson will be a combination of Hardaway being back, a little more from Spencer Dinwiddie and further growth from Josh Green. Just don’t expect much from Jaden Hardy in his rookie year. He’ll probably log more G League minutes than NBA minutes, even if he’s got the potential to be a rotation player down the line.

The Mavs are probably one tier below the best teams in the West, with Golden State, Phoenix, the LA Clippers and Denver ahead of them. But if any of those teams slide, Dallas is poised to step forward, much like they did a season ago.

 

Houston Rockets

Additions: Sterling Brown (trade), Trey Burke (trade), Marquese Chriss (trade), Tari Eason (2022 NBA Draft), Trevor Hudgins (Two-Way), Boban Marjanovic (trade), Jabari Smith Jr. (2022 NBA Draft), TyTy Washington (2022 NBA Draft)

Subtractions: Anthony Lamb (unrestricted free agent), Trevelin Queen (76ers via free agency), Dennis Schroder (unrestricted free agent), John Wall (waived), Christian Wood (Mavericks via trade)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $10.5 million Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception, $3.1M Traded Player Exception for Christian Wood

Analysis: The Rockets were awful last season. But that wasn’t unexpected. Houston was supposed to be bad. Yet, it was somewhat of an odd season.

The Rockets had losing streaks of 15 games, 12 games, eight games, seven games and five games. They also, oddly, had a winning streak of seven games. As a matter of fact, that streak immediately followed the 15-game losing streak.

At any rate, Houston landed near the top of the lottery where they selected Jabari Smith Jr. The 6-foot-10 combo forward is flush with talent. He’s got just as much potential as either of the players selected before him (Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren), but Smith’s fit with the Rockets might be even better.

Houston has added a whopping seven first rounders in the last two drafts. Smith should slot in as a stater next two one of last year’s picks, Alperen Sengun, in the frontcourt. While Banchero and Holmgren would have been good fits with Sengun too, Smith’s athleticism should pair even better with the ground-bound big man.

On the wing, the Rockets re-signed Jae’Sean Tate to a great value contract. Tate has become Houston’s best perimeter defender and his off-ball ability is a boon to the team’s offense.

Tate’s ability to play without the ball is important because the Rockets guards get a lot of usage. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are both solid scorers and playmakers. As they continue to grow and refine their games, they’ll likely become even better at setting up their teammates for scoring.

Houston also added Tari Eason and TyTy Washington at the draft. They’ll combine with a couple of last year’s first rounders, Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba, to make up what should be a very youthful bench. There’s a ton of potential there, even if will be a little wild and unharnessed at times.

After trading away Christian Wood to open up frontcourt playing time for the kids, Eric Gordon is somehow the last vet standing in Houston. Gordon is coming off another productive season, but as he’s now on a de facto expiring contract, it would be a surprise to see him remain with the Rockets past the trade deadline.

It’s probably going to be another year filled will losses for Houston. But their young core is as exciting as any in the NBA. And this team is going to have a few years to continue growing together, as so many of them were added in just last few seasons. Oh…and the Rockets project to have over $70 million in cap space next summer. So, yeah, the future is very bright in Houston.

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Additions: Kennedy Chandler (2022 NBA Draft), Danny Green (trade), Jake LaRavia (2022 NBA Draft), David Roddy (2022 NBA Draft), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Two-Way), Vince Williams (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Kyle Anderson (Timberwolves via free agency), Jarrett Culver (unrestricted free agent), De’Anthony Melton (76ers via trade), Yves Pons (France via free agency), Tyrell Terry (waived)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $9.3 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: There was a thought that the 2022-23 season would be when the Grizzlies would start pushing forward after rebuilding. Memphis blew past those expectations by challenging for a playoff spot in the bubble, a playoff appearance two seasons ago and then by finishing with the NBA’s second-best record last season.

This offseason was about adding a bit more youth, while mostly keeping their cap space powder dry for future flexibility. In the process, Memphis lost a couple of rotation players, but they’re hopeful that some kids are ready to take on bigger roles.

At the draft, the Grizzlies traded De’Anthony Melton to the Philadelphia 76ers. Memphis got back Danny Green, but the real get was adding a second first-round draft pick. After draft night was over, the Grizzlies left with Jake LaRavia, David Roddy and Kennedy Chandler. The team hopes all three will eventually be rotation players.

Free agency was a similar mixed big. The team re-signed Tyus Jones. That was big, as Jones is a critical player being the backup to Ja Morant. But the Grizzlies lost do-everything forward Kyle Anderson. That one could come back to hurt them given some questions in the frontcourt.

Most importantly, Memphis got Morant to ink a five-year, max contract extension. Crucially, that is a full five-year deal without a player option on the end. The Grizzlies have their superstar and he’s in Memphis for the long haul.

The moves around the rotation leave the roster feeling a bit incomplete. Jaren Jackson Jr. will miss the beginning of the season, adding to that incomplete feel. Last year’s first rounder Ziaire Williams will be asked to do more this season, while the Grizzlies hope one of LaRavia or Roddy is ready for some rotation minutes right away. A bounce-back season from Brandon Clarke will also go a long way towards helping replace Jackson’s production, along with what was lost with Anderson leaving.

Because the rest of the Western Conference is so strong, and Memphis will be missing Jackson for a while, the Grizzlies might take a bit of a step back this season. But that’s not the end of the world. They’re still away ahead of schedule and they’ve got a lot of flexibility to keep adding in the future.

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Additions: Dyson Daniels (2022 NBA Draft)

Subtractions: Tony Snell (unrestricted free agent), Gary Clark (unrestricted free agent), Jared Harper (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $10.5 million Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: No team had a quieter offseason than the New Orleans Pelicans. They added exactly one player to the standard roster and lost exactly one player from the standard roster. But that’s because New Orleans got a jump on the offseason at the trade deadline. Oh…and they’ve got a pretty big “addition” coming back too.

Dyson Daniels was the lone addition this offseason, and he may not see regular rotation minutes until next season at the earliest. Daniels is a combo guard with enough size to play the three, but the Pelicans rotation minutes 1-3 are basically spoken for. Look for Daniels to log a lot of development time with the Birmingham Squadron of the G League, which is good for him and a good sign of how much depth New Orleans has.

The big “addition” the Pelicans have coming is the return of Zion Williamson. After missing all of last season after a fractured foot, Williamson appears to be full-go for the start of this season. He’s arguably the best player any team has added to their rotation compared to last year.

Equally as important as Williamson being back this season is the five-year extension he signed with New Orleans. The Pels even have some protections against injuries in the deal, along with Williamson having to meet weight requirements. And if Williamson comes back and dominates like he did two seasons ago, he can qualify for Designated Player status and get a bump from 25% of the cap to 30%. It’s a win-win deal for both player and team.

New Orleans will also get a full season with C.J. McCollum and Larry Nance Jr. in the rotation. Those two, combined with Williamson, give the Pelicans a legitimately 10-deep rotation. And that’s with a few useful players in deeper reserve too.

New Orleans probably isn’t quite ready to break through to challenge the Warriors, Suns, Clippers and Nuggets at the top of the conference…yet. But if they have good health, and things mesh together well, this is probably the last year for a while that the Pelicans aren’t fighting for a spot at the top of the West.

 

San Antonio Spurs

Additions: Malaki Branham (2022 NBA Draft), Gorgui Dieng (free agency), Isaiah Roby (waivers), Jeremy Sochan (2022 NBA Draft), Blake Wesley (2022 NBA Draft), Dominick Barlow (Two-Way), Jordan Hall (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Devontae Cacok (unrestricted free agent), Jock Landale (Hawks (subsequently Suns) via trade), Dejounte Murray (Hawks via trade), Lonnie Walker IV (Lakers via free agency), D.J. Stewart Jr. (unrestricted free agent), Robert Woodard II (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $30 million in cap space, $5.4 million Room Exception (after cap space is used)

Analysis: The San Antonio Spurs appear to be finally leaning into rebuilding. At last year’s trade deadline, the Spurs traded Derrick White to the Boston Celtics, and this summer they traded Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks for three first round picks. San Antonio also let Lonnie Walker IV leave in free agency, which meant three former first-round guards left in the span of about five months.

Replacing those three? Three rookies who were selected in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Jeremy Sochan is the mostly highly-regarded of the three. He’s an NBA-ready defender, and a developing offensive player. Essentially, Sochan is exactly the kind of player the Spurs turn into an All-Star.

Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley both have a good deal of potential in the backcourt. Branham is more of a pure two-guard, as he’s a score-first player. Wesley has shown flashes of point-guard potential, and that’s likely where he’ll be developed initially. San Antonio doesn’t have a lot at the point guard spot beyond Tre Jones and sometimes point guard Josh Richardson.

The Spurs made a sneaky offseason pickup when they snagged Isaiah Roby off waivers after he was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roby showed signs of being rotation-level big at times with the Thunder. San Antonio can afford to give him some more minutes in what appears to be a developmental year to see if there’s really a player in there or not with Roby.

The other big move by San Antonio was to ink Keldon Johnson to a team-friendly extension. Johnson got $74 million in a semi-descending contract. If you aren’t familiar with Johnson, you will be soon. He averaged 17 points on good shooting efficiency last season. This year, he’ll likely be the centerpiece of the Spurs offense, so those scoring numbers should climb even more. Johnson is really good and more people should know it.

Finally, the Spurs, along with the Indiana Pacers, will be everyone’s favorite “third team in” on multi-team trades. San Antonio is sitting on nearly $30 million in cap space. Next offseason, the Spurs should have over $45 million in cap space. If you need to move some money to make a deal work, San Antonio should be your first call.

Spurs fans have been begging the team for the last few years to stop chasing spots at the bottom of the playoff picture or in the Play-In Tournament. The team finally seems to have agreed and has kicked off a rebuild. They’ve got some solid young talent and a ton of flexibility, both cap-wise and with future drafts picks. They might be rebuilding right now, but don’t bet on San Antonio staying down for long.

NBA team-98 team-102 team-106 team-180 team-118

The NBA offseason is basically behind us. Despite a few big names languishing on the proverbial trade vine as the change from summer to fall approaches, rosters are largely finished.

Teams are adding camp players and angling for Affiliate Player rights to get them to their G League teams. A few notable free agents remain unsigned, but the vast majority of potential rotation players have been signed.

Now, it’s time to start looking towards the start of the 2022-23 season. With training camps opening in approximately one month, let’s start by looking back at what changes the 2022 offseason brought.

The Central Division was one in some flux last season. The Milwaukee Bucks remained title contenders, while the Chicago Bulls took a big step forward towards playoff relevancy. The Cleveland Cavaliers turned in their best post-LeBron season, while Detroit Pistons continued their rebuilding project around rookie Cade Cunningham. And the Indiana Pacers kicked off a long-awaited reset (rebuild?) and fell out of the playoff picture for the second straight season after a run of nine postseason appearances in the previous 10 years.

 

Chicago Bulls

Additions: Goran Dragic (free agency), Andre Drummond (free agency), Dalen Terry (2022 NBA Draft), Justin Lewis (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Troy Brown Jr (Lakers via free agency), Matt Thomas (unrestricted free agent), Tristan Thompson (unrestricted free agent), Tyler Cook (unrestricted free agent), Malcolm Hill (restricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $7.29 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE

Analysis:  The Bulls didn’t make many changes, but the ones they did make should be impact moves. After injuries ruined what was shaping up to Chicago’s best season in years, Arturas Karnisovas firmed up depth at some key positions.

Before we get to the additions, the Bulls key move was to re-sign All-Star Zach LaVine. Chicago and LaVine agreed to a max deal worth $215 million over five seasons. Had he stayed healthy, LaVine might have turned in an All-NBA season last year. The Bulls also re-signed Derrick Jones Jr. to a team-friendly deal for some additional forward depth behind DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams.

Andre Drummond gives Chicago a viable backup behind Nikola Vucevic. Ideally, with Vucevic turning 32 years old early in the season, he’ll see his minutes drop from the 33.1 per game he played last season. Drummond remains a good rebounder and solid play-finisher, so he should provide quality play when Vucevic sits.

Goran Dragic gives the Bulls incredible depth at the guard position. With Lonzo Ball’s availability after last season’s knee surgery still in question, Chicago didn’t want to be caught short at the lead guard spot. Dragic is 36 years old, but he’s still a solid shooter and scorer. On the nights when the veteran point guard doesn’t have it, Billy Donovan can lean more on Alex Caruso and last year’s second-round find Ayo Dosunmu for more minutes. Coby White also remains in the mix, but his future with the Bulls seems to be very uncertain.

Dalen Terry was a nice upside selection in the middle of the first round. He gives Chicago some size on the wing, which they lack behind their starters. This will probably be mostly a developmental year for Terry. Expect him to log plenty of time with Windy City of the G League.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Additions: Ochai Agbaji (2022 NBA Draft), Robin Lopez (free agency), Raul Neto (free agency), Ricky Rubio (free agency), Isaiah Mobley (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Moses Brown (Clippers via free agency), Ed Davis (unrestricted free agent), Rajon Rondo (unrestricted free agent), Brandon Goodwin (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $4.6 million of Non-Taxpayer MLE, $4.1 million Bi-Annual Exception

Analysis: The Cavaliers took a major step forward in 2022. They landed in the Play-In Tournament before falling to the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks. Despite the disappointment of not making the playoffs, the future is brighter than it’s been in a while in Cleveland.

The Cavs were in position to make the playoffs outright for a lot of the season, but some late injuries caused them to slip in the standings. Last season’s injuries at both the center spot and the point guard spot seem to have been the impetus for the team’s offseason signings.

Robin Lopez was brought in to provide depth up front. Lopez probably won’t log a lot of time unless another center is out, but he’s become adept as a “stay ready” big.

Ricky Rubio was brought back after a mid-season trade sent him away to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Caris LeVert. Rubio was having a terrific season for Cleveland before tearing his ACL in late-December. He probably won’t return until around the holidays, but when he does, Rubio will give the Cavs terrific depth behind Darius Garland.

Until Rubio is back, Raul Neto will likely hold down the backup point guard spot. Neto is also very good at playing off-ball, so he may feature in some lineups with Garland and Rubio at times too.

Ochai Agbaji was a good flyer in the middle of the first round of the draft. Cleveland continues to look for wing depth, so Agbaji could find minutes if he plays well enough. The competition isn’t all that stout, so keep an eye on the rookie playing his way into the rotation.

The only real remaining question for Cleveland is with guard Collin Sexton. Sexton remains unsigned, and the restricted free agent and the Cavs reportedly aren’t close on a deal. Talks have remained ongoing and there’s no animosity, so hopefully this deal gets done sooner rather than later. Sexton’s scoring off the bench would be a boon to a team hoping to make a real playoff run this season.

 

Detroit Pistons

Additions: Alec Burks (trade), Jalen Duren (2022 NBA Draft trade), Jaden Ivey (2022 NBA Draft), Kevin Knox (free agency), Nerlens Noel (trade), Kemba Walker (trade), Buddy Boeheim (Two-Way)

Subtractions: Carsen Edwards (Fenerbahce via free agency), Luka Garza (unrestricted free agent), Frank Jackson (unrestricted free agent), Jamorko Pickett (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $5.5 million in cap space, $5.4 million Room Exception (after cap space is used)

Analysis: Despite having nearly $50 million in cap space available to them this offseason, the Pistons continued the rebuilding process. It was the right move for Detroit too, as taking shortcuts could have undone the progress Troy Weaver and crew have made over the last couple of years to clean up the cap sheet.

This summer’s work started at the draft. Detroit added Jaden Ivey with their own pick, and then picked up Jalen Duren by agreeing to eat Kemba Walker’s salary from the New York Knicks. Ivey should be an immediate starter alongside Cade Cunningham in the backcourt. Ivey’s scoring game should mesh nicely with Cunningham’s playmaking.

Duren might take a bit longer to join the starting lineup, but when he does, he should stick for a long time. Duren will be the athletic frontcourt weapon on both ends to finish plays for Cunningham and Ivey on offense, and to help cover for them at the rim on the other end.

The Pistons biggest move in free agency was re-signing Marvin Bagley III. While the deal was an overpay, it’s hardly a cap-crusher. Bagley played some of his best ball after landing in Detroit at the trade deadline. He’s still young enough to fit with the team’s youthful core. And Bagley fills a need for frontcourt size.

Kevin Knox was added as a low-cost flyer. Detroit has had some success with rehabbing players over the last couple of seasons. If Knox works out, the Pistons have a nice frontcourt player on a team-friendly deal. If not, Weaver can move on with nothing lost.

Walker is expected to bought out before training camp starts. Detroit has no reason to waive Walker just yet, and will exhaust any trade possibilities where Walker could be salary-matching first. Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel are in more interesting spots. Both could be nice veteran depth for a young team that is looking to take steps forward. Or either could be on the move. As long as they don’t take away too many minutes from the kids, almost anything Detroit gets out of either Burks or Noel is fine.

As for the kids, the Pistons collection features several other promising youngsters beyond the ones we already mentioned. Saddiq Bey has proven he’s a more than solid two-way player. Isaiah Stewart will be a terrific rotation piece as an energy big, at the very least.  And Detroit still hopes that Killian Hayes, Isaiah Livers and Saben Lee might pop and take their place as useful rotation players.

Sure, the Pistons didn’t make a splash in free agency. But just like sometimes the best trade is one you don’t make, the money you don’t spend is often the best too. This group is going to get another season of developing together and next summer might feature the spending spree Detroit fans have been waiting on.

 

Indiana Pacers

Additions: Bennedict Mathurin (2022 NBA Draft), Andrew Nembhard (2022 NBA Draft), Aaron Nesmith (trade), Daniel Theis (trade)

Subtractions: Malcolm Brogdon (Celtics via trade), Ricky Rubio (Cavaliers via free agency), Lance Stephenson (unrestricted free agent), T.J. Warren (Nets via trade), Duane Washington Jr. (waived), Nate Hinton (unrestricted free agent), Gabe York (unrestricted free agent)

Remaining Acquisition Tools: $29.6 million in cap space, $5.4 million Room Exception (after cap space is used)

Analysis: The Pacers have had a semi-quiet offseason, but not for lack of trying. And with nearly $30 million in leftover cap space, Indiana remains a team to watch leading up to the start of the season.

Indiana’s big addition was Bennedict Mathurin at the draft. Mathurin is a supremely confident wing that can shoot and score. He showed in Summer League that he should fit in perfectly as a long-time running mate for Tyrese Haliburton.

At the start of the offseason, the Pacers swapped Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics for Aaron Nesmith, Daniel Theis and a first-round pick. (Three other players were also acquired that have since been waived.) Nesmith struggled to find consistent playing time with Boston, but should have a shot at minutes in Indiana. With regular minutes, Nesmith may find the shooting rhythm that caused him to a lottery selection only a few years ago.

The Pacers biggest move was one that didn’t end up landing them the player they were chasing. Indiana gave a four-year, max offer sheet to free agent center Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns quickly matched the offer. This was one where the Pacers would have landed a nice centerpiece had Phoenix not matched, but are out nothing since the Suns did match.

Indiana did re-sign big man Jalen Smith to a team-friendly deal for $15 million over three seasons. Smith played his best basketball after joining the team at the trade deadline, and he’s got plenty of upside left. Considering the Pacers were capped at how much they could pay Smith, they did well in this re-signing.

With nearly $30 million in remaining cap space, Indiana joins the San Antonio Spurs as everyone’s favorite “third team in” to make multi-team deals work. The Pacers are also still listening to offers for veterans Myles Turner and Buddy Hield. They might be calling it a “reset” in Indiana, but it’s at least a partial rebuild. However, starting that rebuild with Haliburton and Mathurin, along with a boatload of cap space, is a pretty good spot to be in.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Additions: Marjon Beauchamp (2022 NBA Draft), Joe Ingles (free agency), A.J. Green (Two-Way)

Subtractions: None

Remaining Acquisition Tools: Veteran Minimum Contracts

Analysis: The Bucks are running it back and no one should blame them for it. Milwaukee lost Khris Middleton during their first-round playoff series and then bowed out to the Boston Celtics in seven games in the second round. Had Middleton been available, we might be talking about the Bucks as repeat champions.

This offseason was mostly focused on re-signing their own players. Milwaukee gave Bobby Portis slightly more than $48 million over the next four seasons. That’s more than fair value for everything Portis brings the Bucks. With Brook Lopez aging, Portis can start or handle heavy minutes as the team’s third big.

The Bucks also re-signed Jevon Carter, who should give them solid depth behind Jrue Holiday at the point guard spot. George Hill is still around, but by the time the playoffs rolled around, it seemed clear that Carter should be getting the backup lead guard minutes.

Wesley Matthews and Serge Ibaka are both also back. Matthews’ role should lessen, assuming the Bucks are healthy on the wing this year. But Matthews is still a capable 3&D wing, even if he’s starting to struggle some with the quicker players. Ibaka is the team’s fourth or fifth big. That’s a role he can capably play, especially if he’s over the back issues that plagued him last season.

Milwaukee’s main offseason addition was Joe Ingles. We may not see Ingles take the floor until after the holidays, as he’s rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in late-January. When he does play, don’t be surprised if Ingles takes on more of a role as a 3/4 player, as opposed to the 2/3 role he’s had in his career. Ingles is strong enough to defend backup fours, and his passing should be a boon to the backup units.

Marjon Beauchamp was a bigtime upside selection at the draft. If he can make shots and defend, the Bucks will have found themselves a player. He’s probably a couple of years away from making an impact as a rotation player, so look for Beauchamp to log lots of G League time this season.

Everything is in place for the Bucks to be a title contender next season. They’ll need better injury luck, but when you start you team around Giannis Antetokounmpo, you’re in a better place than the vast majority of the NBA.

NBA team-64 team-97 team-100 team-103 team-108

Michael Harris' recent extension with the Braves is just the latest example of players locking themselves into fair market extensions early in their careers. If this trend is here to stay, we'll take a look at which players could be next.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Corbin Carroll (OF, 21)

Put Carroll in conversation of “players who could get a huge contract extension before ever taking a MLB at bat”. The 21 year old outfielder has 600 minor league plate appearances, and he’s gotten better at every level. The #2 prospect in baseball could be a September callup for the floundering Diamondbacks, but a full-time promotion seems imminent. Luis Robert’s 6 year, $50M deal in Chicago seems a likely starting point here, though Carroll may want a year in the big league’s to show his talents before signing anything

Don’t let the current MLB standings fool you. Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, and recently drafted Dru Jones are all legit positional talents, and 6 of Arizona’s Top 10 prospects are pitchers. This is a team prepping for a run.

Atlanta Braves

Vaughn Grissom (SS, 21)

Yea, he hit a towering home run over the green monster to start his MLB career, but we’re looking at the whole picture here. Dansby Swanson is a pending UFA (having one of the best seasons of his career), so there’s a logical hole at the position forthcoming, but Grissom might not be ready defensively to step into that big of a role. With the rest of the infield completely intact (Riley, Albies, Olson), Atlanta probably doesn’t want to take a chance at such an important position - but they might. 

Baltimore Orioles

Adley Rutschman (C, 24)

The Orioles have been one of the better stories in MLB this season, and Rutschman’s promotion is a big reason why. Rutschman is one of the best offensive catching prospects we’ve seen in years, and could be a future captain for this organization. Baltimore appears ready to take the next steps forward in their rebuild process, and are expected to be aggressive this winter. As we move closer towards an automated strike zone, forward thinking teams will place an emphasis on offensive catchers as their defensive contributions will be minimized.

The problem? MLB currently possesses 4 catchers with an average salary north of $10M. The average signed age of those 4 contracts: 30-years-old. Buster Posey’s 8 year $159M extension with the Giants at age 26 was the last young catcher contract - and it was signed 10 years ago. Baltimore probably wants to see a full 2023 season under his belt before any sort of offer is made.

Boston Red Sox

Rafael Devers (3B, 25)

Devers has been in the league for the better part of 5 seasons now, including back to back All Star selections, and two Top 12 MVP candidacies. The 25 year old projects to an 11 year, $368M contract in our system right now. Are the Red Sox willing to bite this bullet before Devers enters his final year of team control?

Cleveland Guardians

Andres Gimenez (SS, 23)

Acquired from the Mets in the Francisco Lindor trade, Gimenez has had a breakout campaign in 2022 (currently ranks as the 7th best value in the league according to our True Value Statistic). He becomes arbitration eligible for the first time next year, so there’s no rush to a new contract, but (despite a strong pipeline of middle infielders in the system), the Guardians have a track record of signing blossoming young talent to less than market extensions - so why wouldn’t they at least try here?

Detroit Tigers

Spencer Torkelson (1B, 22), Riley Greene (CF, 21)

With general manager Al Avila now out, the Tigers “process” appears to be at a standstill, despite big offseason contracts for Javy Baez & Eduardo Rodriguez. While the organization still possesses strong young position players like Greene, their arms (Matt Manning, Casey Mize) leave much to be desired.

Will the next front office look to trade a few of these bats in order to quickly fill these pitching holes? Or will they zag, and lock in these young position players, looking to solidify a core that can hopefully attract offseason talent to Detroit? Easier said than done.

Houston Astros

Kyle Tucker (OF, 25)

On pace for back to back 30 HR/90 RBI campaigns, Tucker isn’t just a complementary piece to Houston’s puzzle, he’s a core element. He’s team-controlled through 2025, which aligns with the expirations of both Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman’s contracts, but Tucker may be the centerpiece for Houston’s next generation. He projects to a 6 year, $180M contract currently.

Kansas City Royals

Bobby Witt Jr. (SS, 22)

Witt is the perfect candidate for an early extension, as he’s filling up the stat sheet (power, speed, etc..) despite battling injuries and a lackluster lineup around him. The Royals aren’t going to attract major free agents, and their payroll going forward is minimal at best. Locking in one of their own makes perfect sense, and an adjusted version of Wander Franco’s 11 year, $182M contract should be the floor.

Seattle Mariners

Julio Rodriguez (OF, 21)

The clock just started on J-Rod, and he’s already an All-Star selection and soon to be rookie of the year nomination deep. Will the Mariners follow the Padres’ lead with Fernando Tatis Jr. (bad timing), and build out a career long contract now before the going gets too good? FTJ was 21 when he signed his 14 year, $340M contract. J-Rod will be 22 this December. With legitimate 5-tool production already here, Seattle should be attempting to lock in this deal now. The per 162 game comparisons for these two players are extremely close, with Tatis Jr. projecting to produce slightly more power on average. An extension in the $340M ballpark makes sense.

Only 10 days removed from the biggest trade in recent history and Juan Soto is already headed back to Washington as the Padres travel east for a weekend series against the Nationals. The failed contract negotiations and subsequent fallout is fresh on everyone’s mind and Soto will be eager to have a big weekend.

The Padres offense went cold amidst a 5 game losing following the deadline but things are back on track after scoring 20 runs in their last two wins vs the Giants. Now they get friendly matchups against the back end of the Nationals rotation starting with Cory Abbot on Friday (followed by Anibal Sanchez and Paolo Espino).

Soto is an elite player regardless of the circumstances but he’ll be extra motivated in an otherwise meaningless series and I expect him to produce in a big way.  Here’s a few ways I’m getting in on the action:

As the 2022 NFL regular season approaches, we'll push ahead to players from each position who are positioning themselves for big paydays in the coming months.

 

Quarterback: Joe Burrow (CIN, $43.1M)

NCAA National Championship -> Torn ACL -> Super Bowl finalist -> #1 rated PFF QB. It’s been a wild few years for Burrow, but all signs point to him being this generation’s elite winner, even if his stats may lag behind the likes of a Herbert or Mahomes. He becomes extension eligible for the first time after 2022, and Kyler Murray’s $104M guaranteed at signing, $160M practically speaking, becomes his floor.Honorable Mention: Justin Herbert (LAC, $43M), Lamar Jackson (BAL, $44M)

 

Running Back: Tony Pollard (DAL, $6.3M)

Pollard broke out in 2021, leaving many to wonder if Dallas would simply move away from Ezekiel Elliott before the 2022 campaign. Zeke’s contract made that difficult, so it’ll be another strong one-two punch season for the Cowboys’ running game. Pollard will play out an expiring contract, while Elliott’s deal contains no more future guaranteed salary. Honorable Mention: Damien Harris (NE, $5.8M), D’Ernest Johnson (CLE, $2.5M)

 

Wide Receiver: Justin Jefferson (MIN, $26M)

196 catches, 3,000+ yards, and 17 TDs in 2 seasons, including 91 yards per game, and 10 yards per grab. Not a bad start to an NFL career. Kevin O’Connell’s offense should continue that trend, and Jefferson will become extension eligible after the upcoming season. Honorable Mention: CeeDee Lamb (DAL, $16.5M), Tee Higgins (CIN, $18M)

 

Tight End: Dawson Knox (BUF, $12.3M)

Knox broke out last year after a sluggish start in Buffalo. He’s extension eligible right now, but appears poised for a franchise tag next February at this stage. Honorable Mention: T.J. Hockenson (DET, $13.5M), Darren Waller (LV, $14M)

 

Offensive Tackle: Elgton Jenkins (GB, $14M)

Jenkins filled in at left tackle for the injured David Bakhtiari, and could take that role on full-time after the 2022 season. Unfortunately, he’s also recovering from a torn ACL as he enters his expiring contract year. Honorable Mention: Donovan Smith (TB, $19.3M), Andrew Thomas (NYG, $16.3M)

 

Offensive Guard: Quenton Nelson (IND, $17.2M)

Nelson and the Colts have been in contract discussions for quite some time, but still seem far apart in their negotiations. It’s safe to assume that Nelson has $20M per year on his brain, and it’s hard to argue that figure all things considered. $50M guaranteed should be the first number he considers though. Honorable Mention: Wes Schweitzer (WAS, $13.8M), Chris Lindstrom (ATL, $10.3M)

 

Offensive Center: Andre James (LV, $12M)

With Derek Carr now re-upped long term, and left tackle Kolton Miller paid handsomely as well, keeping a recently blossoming Andre James in the fold past 2022 makes sense as well. Honorable Mention: Matt Hennessy (ATL, $9.6M), Lloyd Cushenberry (DEN, $7M)

 

Defensive Tackle: Jeffery Simmons (TEN, $23.6M)

The advanced stats have never treated Simmons well, but he’s always comp’ed closely with DeForest Buckner (who signed a $21M per year deal 2 ½ years ago). With Aaron Donald now at the $30M per year/$95M guaranteed mark, it’s safe to assume that $25M/$75M is within reach here. Honorable Mention: Chris Jones (KC, $21.1M), Christian Wilkins (MIA, $16.7M)

 

Edge Defender: Nick Bosa (SF, $27.8M)

Bosa has been one of the most consistent edge rushers in the game (when healthy), compiling production that falls in just slightly behind that of T.J. Watt’s ($28M per year, $80M guaranteed). That puts his 4 year, $111M projection about where it belongs. Honorable Mention: Rashan Gary (GB, $20.5M), Marcus Davenport (NO, $23.2M)

 

Linebacker: Roquan Smith (CHI, $17.6M)

The Bears made Smith a back-loaded, low guarantee offer this summer that was not only rejected, but has prompted a trade request. The off-ball linebacker market now sits at $19.7M per year, $52.5M guaranteed. Most expect Smith to eclipse this (even if the numbers don’t quite project him there yet). Honorable Mention: Jordyn Brooks (SEA, $12.5M), Tremaine Edmunds (BUF, $14.2M)

 

Cornerback: A.J. Terrell (ATL, $20.8M)

Terrell has quietly put together an impressive resume for a bad Falcons team. He’s a cornerstone piece to keep and build around, but it won’t be cheap. Jaire Alexander’s $21M per year and Denzel Ward’s $71.25M guaranteed are the new bars to eclipse. Honorable Mention: Rock Ya-Sin (LV, $10.7M), Kenny Moore (IND, $10M)

 

Safety: Derwin James (LAC, $16.5M)

James has been holding out much of the summer as he negotiates his next contract in LA. The safety market has pushed up nicely this summer, thanks to deals for Jamal Adams, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Marcus Williams. James belongs squarely in this mix, with $18.4M per year, $38M guaranteed as the current ceiling. Honorable Mention: Antoine Winfield Jr. (TB, $16.3M), Amani Hooker (TEN, $16.7M)

 

Special Teams: Matt Gay (K, LAR, $5M)

While consistent (98% PAT, 94% FG), Gay probably doesn’t belong in the Justin Tucker/Harrison Butker conversation just yet. All said though, a $5M per year $12M+ guaranteed extension should be in the cards. Honorable Mention: Greg Joseph (K, MIN, $4.75M), Deonte Harty (KR, $10M)

My favorite matchup tonight is between the AL Wildcard leading Blue Jays and the Central leading Twins. After breaking in as a top prospect with Minnesota, Jose Berrios was dealt to Toronto at the 2021 deadline. Now he returns to his former home and will face their new pitcher Tyler Mahle who was just acquired at this year's deadline.

Berrios has been flat out bad in his first full season north of the border but he’s always performed well at Target Field and can pile up Ks even when he’s struggling. Likewise, Mahle previously flashed elite K rates in 2019 despite an inconsistent career to date. Perhaps he can recapture previous success in his first stint outside of hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. 

Both offenses rank among the bottom half in K% vRHP but they still strike out well over 20% and can be victimized by good pitching. I’ll take the pitching side here and the over on 5.5 Ks for both Berrios and Mahle. Consider also adding Twins ML (+106) as home underdogs in what is essentially a 50/50 matchup.

NBA teams have signed nearly 200 players to new contracts totaling over $4 billion in new money. While that seems like a staggering figure, it’s important to note that the NBA business is as healthy as it’s ever been.

The NBA and NBPA navigated through three pandemic-impacted seasons and have come out of them better than anyone expected. The cap rose from $112.1 million for 2021-22 to $123.6 million for 2022-23.

The cap projects to continue that upward momentum. The conservative projection for 2023-24 is $133 million, with the luxury tax line set at $161 million. By as soon as the 2025-26 season, it won’t be a surprise if the cap is over $150 million.

But that’s something to look at down the line. Even though the 2022-23 season hasn’t tipped off yet, several teams are clearly preparing for the 2023 offseason already. We’re using the conservative cap projection of $133 million as we take our first look at what the landscape might look like in the summer of 2023.

(Note: 2023 standings projections have been used here to determine 2023 NBA Draft selections and their corresponding cap holds. Projections on options, guarantees and renouncements have also been made. No trades have been projected for any teams.)

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Houston Rockets - $70.1 million
  2. Detroit Pistons - $62.9 million
  3. Indiana Pacers - $53.1 million
  4. San Antonio Spurs - $46.3 million
  5. Utah Jazz - $33.4 million
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder - $32 million
  7. Orlando Magic - $31.7 million
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers - $25.1 million
  9. Memphis Grizzlies - $19.8 million
  10. Charlotte Hornets - $19.7 million
  11. Los Angeles Lakers - $19.1 million

11 teams project to have cap space in the summer of 2023. There’s a good chance a few others could join them too. And, of course, a few teams above could drop off this list as they continue to make roster moves.

The Rockets are looking at hitting the summer of 2023 with seven players on rookie scale contracts, Jae’Sean Tate on a team-friendly deal and another top-five draft pick. Even if Kevin Porter signs an extension, Houston will be in the mix for the most cap space in the league.

The Pistons are in a very similar boat. Six players on rookie scale deals, Marvin Bagley on a fully guaranteed deal and a likely top-10 pick. Detroit feels slightly more ready to take the next step than the Rockets (but only slightly!). That means that after a few years of collecting assets and renting out their cap space, Detroit could be a real player in free agency in 2023.

The Pacers are still sorting through their rebuild. They shipped Malcolm Brogdon off already and could do the same with Myles Turner too. That would leave Indiana without a lot of long-term salary obligations. That could make for a very quick retool of their roster, as opposed to a multi-year rebuild.

San Antonio is tearing things down almost fully. They signed Keldon Johnson to a very fair value extension. They’ve got Doug McDermott on the final year of his three-year deal at $13.75 million. Beyond that it’s basically all rookie deals. The Spurs are tanking, which has historically worked out well for them. The last two times they took this approach they ended up with David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Is Victor Wembanyama next?

Utah is in the same boat as the Spurs. This projection doesn’t factor in Donovan Mitchell being traded, but that seems likely to happen. In that case, the Jazz could be up near Rockets/Pistons territory as far as cap space goes. Cap flexibility, a ton of draft picks and some interesting young players? Sounds like a Danny Ainge rebuild is well underway in Utah.

Oklahoma City and Orlando are in the same boat. Great young talent, a few key players signed long-term and a ton of cap flexibility. They’re both on their way back up.

The final four teams are swing teams. If Cleveland re-signs Collin Sexton, they probably drop out of the cap space running. They can then stay over the cap and re-sign some key players. If they don’t re-sign Sexton, or he takes the qualifying offer, the Cavs are probably in the running to push for max cap space with another salary-clearing move.

The Grizzlies have a lot of different ways they can go, same with the Hornets. Memphis is clearly well ahead of Charlotte, because they have Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr and Desmond Bane, who are better than LaMelo Ball and question marks. But both teams could be players in 2023 free agency to add pieces around their young stars.

You might be surprised to see the Lakers land here, but with Russell Westbrook coming off the books, LA is in position to add around LeBron James (this projection reflects him either re-signing or his cap hold being retained) and Anthony Davis. There’s not much else on the books for the Lakers. If they trade Westbrook for a player signed long-term, or for a player they project to re-sign for big money, they’ll be right back in the same boat as the last couple of seasons with the Taxpayer MLE and minimums to fill out the roster.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Brooklyn Nets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Sacramento Kings

Cap flexibility is a bit of a division between haves and have-nots in the summer of 2023. That’s reflected by just these four teams looking like they’ll have the Non-Taxpayer MLE to use.

Brooklyn is obviously in a weird spot with the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If both are gone, the Nets could even end up a cap space team next summer. For now, we’re going to put them here in the middle and, like everyone else, impatiently wait to see how their roster comes together.

The Bulls, Wolves and Kings are all swing teams. If they choose to move on from some of their veterans (Nikola Vucevic, D’Angelo Russell and Harrison Barnes), then they could all be cap space teams. If they retain their rights to re-sign them, or move them in deals to bring in other players, they’ll be over the cap. But all could still be far enough under the tax to use the full MLE.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Golden State Warriors
  6. LA Clippers
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Milwaukee Bucks
  9. New Orleans Pelicans
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Portland Trail Blazers
  14. Toronto Raptors
  15. Washington Wizards

This is a pretty huge group of teams dancing around the luxury tax line. The thing all of these teams have in common is that they’re already locked in to the core of their rosters for at least the next two seasons.

Many of these teams have re-signed players to max or near-max deals in recent years. A few have pending free agents who will be pushing for a max deal next offseason. And a handful are already all but guaranteed to be over the tax.

Of this group, the teams that could end up with a bit more cap flexibility are Dallas, Portland, Toronto and Washington.

The Mavericks have a few key free agents, plus a couple of players on partially guaranteed contracts they could move on from. If so, they’d free up some space to make moves around Luka Doncic.

The Trail Blazers are only going to be flexible if they let Jerami Grant walk. That seems unlikely to happen, unless Portland draws a hard line at what they’ll extend Grant for. They’ll probably be right around the tax.

Toronto could potentially put themselves in position to have cap space, but that would mean moving on from Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. It’s more likely they’ll have those guys back, of have moved them in a trade, and that means the Raptors will be working around the tax line.

Washington has Bradley Beal on his massive new deal, but that’s really their only substantial long-term money. Their summer really hinges on what happens with Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. If either re-signs for big money, the Wizards will be up against the tax.

NBA

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Los Angeles Angels disappointing season has been the emergence of Patrick Sandoval as a middle of the rotation starter. Never a highly regarded prospect (LAA #12 in 2019), he’s easily the Angels breakout player of the year providing consistency behind Ohtani and Syndergaard. Despite that success, his peripherals suggest over performance and regression could be coming. The HR/9 is way down from previous career averages and his 3.64 ERA has some luck built in (4.54 xERA). For these reasons, I think Sandoval can be exposed by good offenses like Texas and like the Rangers money line (-108).

The Angels have the highest strikeout rate in the league (26.3%) and are now without Mike Trout indefinitely. Toss in a looming trade line with plenty of notable players rumored to be on the block (including Shohei Ohtani), and there's reason to believe the Angels' struggles will continue this weekend.

Consider a single game parlay, adding one of 2022's bigger surprises Martin Perez at over 5.5 Ks, plus a Texas Rangers moneyline win over LAA.

MAKE THE BET ON FANDUEL

 

With the 2022 MLB trade deadline about 100 hours away, we’ll take a quick look at notable candidates rumored to be on the move, including the cost to acquire them on August 2nd.

Starting Pitchers

Carlos Rodon (SP, 29, SF)
Contract Status: 2023 Player Option ($22.5M)
Deadline Salary: $7.56M

Noah Syndergaard (SP, 29, LAA)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $7.38M

Nathan Eovaldi (SP, 32, BOS)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $5.97M

Jake Odorizzi (SP, 32, HOU)
Contract Status: 2023 Player Option ($6.5M)
Deadline Salary: $2.81M

Luis Castillo (SP, 29, CIN)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $2.58M

Michael Lorenzen (SP, 30, LAA)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $2.37M

Shohei Ohtani (SP/DH, 27, LAA)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $1.93M

Tyler Mahle (SP, 27, CIN)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $1.82M

Frankie Montas (SP, 29, OAK)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $1.76M

Michael Fulmer (SP, 29, DET)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.74M

Drew Smyly (SP, 33, CHC)
Contract Status: Club Option thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $1.49M

Pablo Lopez (SP, 26, MIA)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $861k

Jose Quintana (SP, 33, PIT)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $703k

Jose Urquidy (SP, 27, HOU)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2025
Deadline Salary: $263k

Paul Blackburn (SP, 28, OAK)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2025
Deadline Salary: $249k

Relief Pitchers

Josh Hader (RP, 28, MIL)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $3.86M

Andrew Chafin (RP, 32, DET)
Contract Status: Player Option thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $2.1M

Daniel Bard (RP, 37, COL)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.54M

David Robertson (RP, 37, CHC)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.23M

Matthew Strahm (RP, 30, BOS)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.05M

Dylan Floro (RP, 31, MIA)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $1.05M

Anthony Bass (RP, 34, MIA)
Contract Status: 2023 Club Option ($3M)
Deadline Salary: $1.05M

Jorge Lopez (RP, 29, BAL)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $527k

Tanner Scott (RP, 27, MIA)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $369k

Gregory Soto (RP, 27, DET)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2025
Deadline Salary: $254k

Paolo Espino (RP, 35, WSH)
Contract Status: Team Control thru 2026
Deadline Salary: $251k

David Bednar (RP, 27, PIT)
Contract Status: Team Control thru 2026
Deadline Salary: $251k

Steven Okert (RP, 30, MIA)
Contract Status: Team Control thru 2026
Deadline Salary: $249k

Catchers

Willson Contreras (C, 30, CHC)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $3.38M

Christian Vazquez (C, 31, BOS)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $2.46M

Sean Murphy (C, 27, OAK)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2025
Deadline Salary: $255k

1st Basemen

Josh Bell (1B, 29, WSH)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $3.51M

Trey Mancini (1B/OF, 30, BAL)
Contract Status: Mutual option thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $2.63M

C.J. Cron (1B, 32, COL)
Contract Status: Signed thru 2023 ($7.25M)
Deadline Salary: $2.54M

Dominic Smith (1B/OF, 27, NYM)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $1.38M

Ji-Man Choi (1B, 31, TB)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $1.12M

Christian Walker (1B, 31, ARZ)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $914k

Middle Infielders

Whit Merrifield (2B, 33, KC)
Contract Status: Signed thru 2023 ($6.75M)
Deadline Salary: $2.46M

Jose Iglesias (SS, 32, COL)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.75M

Donovan Solano (2B, 34, CIN)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.58M

Cesar Hernandez (2B, 32, WSH)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.4M

Andrelton Simmons (SS, 32, CHC)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.4M

3rd Basemen

J.D. Davis (3B, 29, NYM)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $970k

Brandon Drury (3B, 29, CIN)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $597k

Outfielders

Juan Soto (OF, 23, WSH)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $6M

Joey Gallo (OF, 28, NYY)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $3.61M

David Peralta (OF, 34, ARZ)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $2.81M

Ian Happ (OF, 27, CHC)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $2.4M

Bryan Reynolds (OF, 27, PIT)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2025
Deadline Salary: $2.37M

Tommy Pham (OF, 34, CIN)
Contract Status: 2023 Mutual Option ($6M)
Deadline Salary: $2.1M

Robbie Grossman (OF, 32, DET)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $1.75M

Michael Taylor (OF, 31, KC)
Contract Status: Signed thru 2023 ($4.5M)
Deadline Salary: $1.58M

Ramon Laureano (OF, 27, OAK)
Contract Status: Arbitration thru 2024
Deadline Salary: $861k

Jose Siri (OF, 26, HOU)
Contract Status: Team Control thru 2027
Deadline Salary: $247k

Designated Hitters

Nelson Cruz (DH, 41, WSH)
Contract Status: Mutual Option thru 2023
Deadline Salary: $4.2M

J.D. Martinez (DH, 34, BOS)
Contract Status: Pending UFA
Deadline Salary: $6.8M

 

Do you think we missed someone? Hit us up @spotrac with suggestions!

The Seattle Seahawks acquire QB Jordan Love from the Green Bay Packers for a 3rd round pick.

Love’s shot in Green Bay probably vanished with Aaron Rodgers’ 3 year, $150M extension. It’s still conceivable that Rodgers moves on after 2022, but if not, acquiring a trade asset for their former #26 overall pick makes sense. Seattle is about to roll into 2022 with Drew Lock & Geno Smith, so adding a young arm like Love fits their current model. Love has 2 years, $4M (guaranteed) remaining on his contract, plus a potential 5th-year option in 2024.

 

The Baltimore Ravens acquire WR Deebo Samuel from the San Francisco 49ers for WR Devin Duvernay, and a 2nd round pick.

Baltimore never replaced Marquise Brown after they shipped him to Arizona on draft day. While the roster is loaded with impact running backs, and Rashod Bateman is a top tier breakout candidate, adding Samuel would change the pace and ceiling for this Ravens’ offense. Deebo has 1 year, $3.9M remaining on his rookie contract, so this deal will come with an extension in mind (4 years, $100M+).

 

The Chicago Bears acquire WR Denzel Mims from the New York Jets for a 6th round pick.

Mims is a release candidate this summer, despite 2 years, $2.4M (non-guaranteed) remaining on his rookie contract. Will a WR-needy team swoop in with a late round pick before that happens? Chicago is about to roll out Byron Pringle, Darnell Mooney, & Velus Jones Jr. for Justin Fields’ sophomore campaign. Mims should be able to compete for a spot here out of the gate.

 

The Las Vegas Raiders acquire S Jessie Bates from the Cincinnati Bengals for S Johnathan Abram & a 3rd round pick

The Raiders went “all-in” in a lot of areas this offseason, but still find themselves in one in a division loaded with pass-offense. Abram will be fighting for a starting spot this camp, despite being their #27 overall selection back in 2019. He has 1 year, $2M (guaranteed) remaining on his rookie deal. Bates has no plans to sign his $12.9M franchise tag in Cincinnati. He’s no longer eligible for a long term extension, but can be structured on any form of 1-year deal for 2022. There’s probably a world where the Raiders can get Cincinnati to retain some of the salary prior to the trade.

 

The Atlanta Falcons trade LB Deion Jones to the Denver Broncos for a 6th round pick.

Jones has been on the trade block for awhile, and his contract doesn’t help the situation much. He’s fallen off of a cliff productively over the past two seasons, but a change of scenery (especially to a contender) could very well change that course of action. The Falcons restructured Jones’ deal prior to the 2021 season, including fully guaranteeing his $9.64M salary for 2022, making this a 1 year, $9.6M traded deal for all intents and purposes. A trade leaves behind $9.9M of dead cap this season, and another $5.3M next year.

 

QB Jimmy Garoppolo accepts a 1 year, $7.5M restructured contract to remain in San Francisco for 2022

It’s getting late for starting QBs to bounce around, and there doesn’t appear to be a clear path for Garoppolo (who isn’t yet 100% healthy) to land a chance at a starting gig. Obviously a training camp injury can quickly change this, and the 49ers should wait a move like this out as long as possible, but if nothing else surfaces, dropping Garoppolo’s 2022 compensation down to the $7.5M injury guarantee, while adding in plenty of playing time/production incentives, should satisfy their need for an experience backup QB this season.

 

The Los Angeles Rams sign DL Ndamukong Suh

Suh remains available, despite having been linked to a few notable teams throughout the summer. He played out a 1 year, $14M contract with the Rams back in 2018, before his 3-year (successful) stint in Tampa Bay. Los Angeles lost a few notable names this offseason (and signed a few new ones), but a 1 year, $5M (incentive laden) deal to add him into the mix can’t hurt.

The Rockies head to the midwest for a weekend series in Milwaukee and while Corbin Burnes will get all the attention in this one, I’m focused on Antonio Senzatela for our bet this week.

The Brewers offense is getting healthy but they still strikeout >23% against right handed pitchers. While Senzatela isn’t elite, his splits outside of Coors are considerably better as you could imagine with his K/9 jumping from 4 to 7.3 on the road. If he can go 5+ innings, I think he easily clears 4 Ks and I even have interest in alternate strikeout lines above this.

BET ON FANDUEL

As we do each year when free agency winds down, we’re going to cover the 10 worst value contracts teams signed this offseason. Full disclosure: In the opposite of the 10 Best Free Agent and Extension Values, it’s getting harder and harder to find 10 bad or even questionable contracts. More and more it trends towards a “Kind of get it, but don’t like it” thought vs a truly bad deal.

A few notes:

  • Unlike the Best Values, you will see max contracts and max extensions here. Some of them are just sort of mind-boggling in terms of committed salary.
  • No 2022 Rookie Scale signees will appear here. Even if we think the pick was bad, the contract is what it is with Rookie Scale deals.
  • This isn’t necessarily a “worst contracts” list. That’s a different thing. We’re also limiting this to signings made during the 2022 offseason only.

Got it? On to the list!

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Minnesota trading for Rudy Gobert: We’re already breaking the rules! This isn’t a signing of any sort, but that’s how few bad deals there were this summer. Instead, we’re covering a trade!

It’s not that the Gobert trade was really bad, especially not for this upcoming season. It was just…a lot. Five players and essentially five picks went to Utah for Gobert. A 10-for-1 deal! The Timberwolves have to hope this leads to multiple playoff appearances at least, and Finals contention at most. Otherwise, what was it all for?

  • Detroit trading for Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel: The Pistons eating contracts is a great use of their cap space. Especially ones that are effectively one-year deals. But Detroit only got two second-round picks in this deal. Why is that a bad return for renting out some cap space? The Knicks HAD to do this trade to clear the cap space to sign Jalen Brunson. The Pistons should have squeezed them for more draft capital.

 

On to the 10 Worst Free Agent Values of the 2022 Offseason!

  1. Marvin Bagley III – Detroit Pistons – three years, $37.5 million: 

Who were the Pistons bidding against here? This deal came together so quickly, that it seems like the conversation was one proposal by one side and an immediate accept from the other. Bagley played pretty good in Detroit. He may end up being a fine value at $12.5 million for each of the next three seasons. But he would have been even better value at $8-10 million for each of the next three seasons.

 

  1. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers – two-year, $121.8 million extension: 

We’re going to hit a couple of veterans in similar boats here. Lillard gets the first nod because of the staggering amount of money this extension is for. $61 million-plus for two seasons? His age-35 and age-36 seasons no less. It’s highly respectable that Lillard wants to make it work in Portland. And, yes, the cap is going to go way up. But this deal is linked to that rise to at least some extent. It’s just staggering to think of a small guard, who has already had several injury issues, making more than $60 million at Lillard’s age in the 2026-27 season.

 

  1. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards – five years, $251 million: 

This one is about the money and the extras that Beal got. He now has the NBA’s only true, negotiated no-trade clause. He also has a player option on Year 5 of his new deal. Oh, and he’ll make $50 million per year too, topping out at $57 million in Year 5. This deal runs through Beal’s age-33 season. Like Lillard, it’s respectable he wants to win in Washington. And the Wizards were a little caught here, because Beal is their franchise guy. But the money wasn’t enough? Why include the no-trade clause too?

 

  1. Anfernee Simons – Portland Trail Blazers – four years, $100 million: 

To start off with, Simons is a terrific and improving young player. He’s also still relatively unproven. Committing $25 million per season, without any sort of team protection, is a lot. The Blazers also just split up their small, score-first backcourt. Now, they’re right back in the same spot. That makes this a bit of a questionable investment when you add it all up.

 

  1. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers – four years, $70 million: 

It’s apparently “pick on Portland” time here. But this Nurkic deal screams Bird Rights Trap more than any other this offseason. The Blazers had no other center on the roster. They couldn’t replace Nurkic for a similarly salaried player if he left. So, they re-signed him to a questionable contract. Prototypical Bird Rights Trap. If nothing else, this deal could (should?) have been a descending contract or the final year could (should?) have been partially guaranteed, if not fully non-guaranteed. It’s all just too much for a good, but not irreplaceable player.

 

  1. JaVale McGee – Dallas Mavericks – three years, $17.2 million: 

We’re at the “Why so much for that veteran?” portion of the list. The good news? Dallas ended up giving McGee about $3 million less than was originally reported. The bad news? It was still a three-year deal for a 34-year-old center on a team that didn’t really need a center all that badly. The worse news? This might push Christian Wood to the bench. That’s just weird, given Dallas just traded for Wood. The worst news? McGee has a $6 million player option the third year, which comes just as the Mavs books clear up considerably for another run at free agents.

 

  1. P.J. Tucker – Philadelphia 76ers – three years, $33 million: 

Tucker is a nice fit for Philadelphia, but a bit of an odd one. If he starts, Tobias Harris has to play the three. That kind of offsets Tucker’s impact defensively in the starting group. If he comes off the bench, Tucker isn’t really a perfect backup for Joel Embiid. And if Embiid misses time, the Sixers still need a real center to fill in for him. Finally, that $11.5 million player option in Year 3, when Tucker will be 40 years old already looks really bad.

 

  1. Dewayne Dedmon – Miami Heat – two-years, $9 million: 

This one isn’t bad as much as it is weird. Dedmon seems like a minimum salary big man at this point. The Heat couldn’t even play him by the end of their playoff run. Omer Yurtseven might already be better as a backup for Bam Adebayo. Even with a fully non-guaranteed second season, $4.7 million for this year is a lot for Dedmon. But (there’s always a but with Miami) the Heat were lacking midrange tradable contracts. That’s something to keep an eye on when we get to trade season.

 

  1. Mitchell Robinson – New York Knicks – four years, $60 million: 

The Knicks current front office has been great about smartly structuring contracts. Their deals generally include some level of team control on the final season, either a team option or a non-guaranteed year. Robinson’s deal has neither of those protections for New York. It is a descending deal, however, and the average salary is fine. The commitment is a bit odd though. Isaiah Hartenstein has less upside, but may be a more reliable player right now than Robinson. And New York made a decent-sized investment in signing Jericho Sims too. That’s a lot of money tied up in the center spot, even if none of it is truly bad money.

 

  1. Lu Dort – Oklahoma City Thunder – five years, $82.5 million: 

Dort’s deal isn’t actually bad. It’s just kind of long. The last time OKC committed this long of a deal to a non-max player, they ended up waiving and stretching Kyle Singler’s weird contract. Given that the Thunder have a team option on the final year, this is more like $16 million a year over four years. That looks better. But, even then, it’s starting to be a crowded roster in Oklahoma City. And Dort only just barely cracked 40% shooting last year. Will playing time be so easy to come by in Years 2-4 of this deal? If not, that’s a lot of money for a “No-3&D” backup wing.

 

Final Thought

As you can probably tell by the reluctant inclusions of Dewayne Dedmon, Mitchell Robinson and Lu Dort on this list, it’s getting harder and harder to find bad contracts in the NBA. Teams have been smarter about not committing major money to non-max players. At least in free agency. Most of the questionable money comes from overpaying to keep their own players.

In fact, eight of the 10 deals we picked were re-signings. And they came in all sorts of manners. Extensions, Bird Rights Trap and just plain odd valuations made up that group of eight questionable deals. NBA teams find it hard to let go, even when they probably should.

The real takeaway here: none of these deals are truly bad. They belong in the questionable category, if even that. It seems that the truly bad overpays are now reserved for trades (and that’s before we see what happens with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell), as opposed to signings and re-signings.

NBA Offseason

As we do each year when free agency winds down, we’re going to cover the 10 best value contracts teams signed this offseason. Full disclosure: It’s getting harder and harder to trim this list to just 10. Teams have gotten increasingly better about finding good value deals in recent years.

A few notes:

  • You won’t see any max contracts on here, nor max extensions. Even if you think it’s fair to pay a player $100 million per season, that’s not allowed. So, no matter how good it looks that teams got some players to ink max deals, they won’t show up here.
  • No 2022 Rookie Scale signees will appear here either. Like a max deal, it’s nearly impossible to do better than teams already do on these deals.
  • This isn’t necessarily a “best contracts” list. That’s a different thing. We’re also limiting this to signings made during the 2022 offseason only.

Got it? On to the list!

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Rookie Scale Extensions: We’re going to break a rule here, but just slightly. The New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers signing Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and Darius Garland to full max extensions would be breaking the “no max contracts” rule, but there’s a wrinkle. None of these guys have a player option on their fifth year. That’s a massive win for their teams and that’s why they are included here. They now have their stars for the next five years and that’s enormous for three rapidly improving small market franchises.
  • Otto Porter Jr. – Toronto Raptors: Porter’s deal is going to pay him just $6 million this season. But it’s functionally a one-year deal with Porter having a player option on Year 2. Great value, but it’s very short-term. That kept it off the list.
  • Bruce Brown Jr. – Denver Nuggets: Basically, the same situation as Porter. Getting Brown for the Taxpayer MLE of roughly $6.5 million is a terrific signing for the Denver Nuggets. But it’s also functionally a one-year deal, because Brown has a player option on Year 2.

 

On to the 10 Best Free Agent Values of the 2022 Offseason!

  1. James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers – reportedly two years, $68 million: 

The Sixers and Harden are reportedly putting the finishing touches on a deal worth roughly $68 million over two seasons. Yes, Year 2 will be a player option, but that’s all by design. Normally, a deal this short wouldn’t make the list, but Harden opted out $47.4 million to take considerably less from Philadelphia. He’ll then opt out next summer and go back up to a max or near-max deal. But it was that opt out this offseason that allowed the team to add P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. That’s basically three players for $50 million or so this season. That’s tremendous value for the Sixers.

 

  1. Keldon Johnson – San Antonio Spurs – reportedly four-year, $80 million extension: 

When news of this one first dropped, some responses were “How much?”, but Johnson is worth every penny. $20 million average annual value (AAV) for Johnson is actually a great deal for San Antonio. Johnson averaged 17 points on 13.5 field goal attempts per game last season on 47/40/76 shooting splits. Next year, Johnson will be the face of the Spurs. Don’t be surprised when he’s a breakout player and putting up over 20 points per game on solid efficiency.

 

  1. Kevon Looney – Golden State Warriors – three years, $25.5 million: 

Looney was just the starting center on a championship team. That alone would make you think a deal for the full Non-Taxpayer MLE starting around $10.5 million was coming for Looney. Instead, Golden State got him for three years and only $19.5 million guaranteed. Looney was one of only five players to appear in all 82 games last season. He’s a good rebounder and terrific defender. Getting him for under the MLE in AAV is tremendous value for the champs.

 

  1. Jae’Sean Tate – Houston Rockets – three years, $20.6 million: 

Tate played well enough that Houston re-signed him a year earlier than they needed to. That’s a huge win for Tate. On the Rockets side, they got great value here, as they are paying their best defender well under the MLE in AAV. And Houston has a team option on Year 3, which is also big for them. The Rockets have a roster stacked with young talent, and more picks on the way. Having flexibility to trade or get out of a deal is important. This is a true win-win contract.

 

  1. Tie: Cody Martin – Charlotte Hornets – four years, $31.4 million: 

It’s only fitting that the twins come in tied on our list. Cody gets the ever-so-slight nod, because his deal is really a three-year, $22.7 million contract, with a fully non-guaranteed fourth year. But that $7-8 million AAV for a good 3&D wing is terrific work by the Hornets.

 

  1. Tie: Caleb Martin – Miami Heat – three years, $20.4 million: 

Caleb Martin gets nudged slightly behind his brother, because he has a player option on Year 3. That could put the Heat in a tough spot in a couple of years. But Miami still got great value for the Taxpayer MLE amount for a player who should have played more in the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

  1. Gary Payton II – Portland Trail Blazers – three years, $26.1 million: 

Payton cashed in being a champion with the Golden State Warriors, but he also benefitted from the champs being a bit cost-conscience this summer. When the Warriors wouldn’t pay Payton, he headed north on a really solid contract for the Blazers. Year 3 is a player option, but for the next two years Portland gets an elite perimeter defender to put with a guard group that desperately needs a defender. Payton will fit in perfectly in the three-guard rotation with Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. And if that 36% three-point shooting holds up, Portland will look even better here.

 

  1. Ricky Rubio – Cleveland Cavaliers – three years, $18.4 million: 

The Cavs did well to get Rubio back. He was playing great for them before tearing his ACL. Cleveland’s guard-play behind Darius Garland really fell apart after Rubio got hurt. That was a big part in the Cavaliers slipping in the standings. Rubio might not be ready to go until mid-season, but that’s fine. The Cavs will get a boost ahead of the trade deadline with an “acquisition” of sorts, just as Darius Garland might need his minutes dialed back a bit. And if Rubio can’t make it all the way back, or can’t hold up, the final year is only partially guaranteed, giving Cleveland an easy out.

 

  1. Ivica Zubac – LA Clippers – three-year, $32.8 million extension: 

The Clippers did well to get their starting center signed to a new deal before the league year changed over. Because LA was sort of an average team last season, many may have missed just how good Zubac was. He was a nightly double-double threat, while holding down the backline of the defense. And he did so in just 24 minute per game. Look for his playing time and stats to bump up slightly, which will be good news for this year’s Clippers as a title contender.

 

  1. Malik Monk – Sacramento Kings – two years, $19.4 million: 

This contract was a win for the Kings. Not only did a quality free agent choose Sacramento, but the Kings didn’t have to give him a player option on the second year. Sacramento needed perimeter shooting and bench scoring, and they got it in Monk for slightly less than the full Non-Taxpayer MLE. That’ll be huge as they build their roster around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis over the next two seasons.

 

  1. Isaiah Hartenstein – New York Knicks – two years, $16 million:

Hartenstein is really good. He might even be better than Mitchell Robinson, who the Knicks paid over twice as much over the next two seasons. No matter what, New York locked down 48 quality minutes of center-play for the next two seasons. In Hartenstein, the Knicks got a big man who can defend, rebound, pass and finish. Hartenstein is also showing signs of extending his range too. For less than the Non-Taxpayer MLE, that’s tremendous value.

NBA Offseason

(1) Kyle Schwarber vs (8) Albert Pujols
Kyle Schwarber leads the NL and all Derby participants with (28) HRs and was rewarded with the top overall seed. Appearing in his 11th All Star Game and 5th Home Run Derby, Pujols is a great nostalgia story but it’s hard to imagine him getting past Kyle Schwarber and keeping pace with this field through two additional rounds.

(2) Pete Alonso vs (7) Ronald Acuna
Alonso is the two time reigning champ and has the most HRs in Derby history (131) but somehow earned the second seed. He’s still the betting favorite but faces perhaps the toughest first round opponent not named Schwarber. I’m not betting against Alonso but Ronald Acuna’s plus plus raw power could play perfectly here. He’s as good of a bet as any if he finds a rhythm and gets through the first round.

(3) Corey Seager vs (6) Julio Rodriguez
Seager returns to Dodger stadium for the first time since signing a massive free agent deal with the Rangers last offseason. He’s typically not thought of as a power hitter but Seager is enjoying a career year and has (22) HRs through the first half - almost matching his career high of 26. Rookie of the Year candidate Julio Rodriguez is favored but I’m more likely to side with the proven veteran given the odds.

(4) Juan Soto vs (5) Jose Ramirez
This matchup is a coin flip and there’s not much to analyze. Two of the best all around hitters in the game and both could easily win this if things fall right. Soto got off to a slow start but has found his power stroke in the past week while Ramirez is as consistent as they come.


Wager of the Week

I agree with Vegas that Schwarber and Alonso are the easy favorites here but the field is talented enough for me to hesitate at the current odds. 

My favorite bets are down the board a bit. Seager is absolutely hammering the ball right now and should be comfortable in his former home stadium. Jose Ramirez has one of the easiest power swings in the game and could compete with anyone in the field across three rounds.

  • Corey Seager (+1200)
  • Jose Ramirez (+1400)

 

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK'S HR DERBY ODDS

Almost immediately after the Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Finals, the criticisms started. Their fourth title in eight years was called a “checkbook win”. There’s also been reporting that Joe Lacob’s fellow NBA governors are upset about the Warriors lavish spending.

To be fair, Golden State has outspent the rest of the NBA by a wide margin over the last half-decade or so. That’s a fact.

Last season, the Warriors were over $39 million over the luxury tax line. That amount, combined with the subsequent penalties for being so far over the tax, plus being a luxury tax repeater team, hit Golden State with a total tax bill of over $170 million.

The second-most expensive team in terms of total tax bill? The Brooklyn Nets at roughly $97.7 million. Third on the list were the LA Clippers at $83 million.

That’s $72 million to $87 million more than the next two most expensive teams in the NBA last season. Even more staggering? The Warriors paid far more in luxury taxes than the other four tax teams did combined. The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers combined to pay approximately $131.7 million in tax payments last season. That’s more than $38 million less than the Warriors.

The other 23 teams? No tax payments at all. They all got a check from the tax teams that totaled about $11 million per non-taxpaying team.

Even if you consider the Nets and Clippers to be within range of the Warriors, that still leaves 27 teams fighting to catch the champs in terms of spending. Thus, the bellyaching that Golden State is operating in a realm the rest of the NBA can’t hope to play in.

Boo hoo. Grab a tissue and wipe your tears while the world’s smallest violin plays a somber tune for your melancholy.

Yes, small market teams probably can’t spend what the Warriors are spending. That is true. The TV and metro markets of teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are a fraction of that of Golden State’s market. They’d have struggles keeping up that level of spending over a period of a few years, never mind over the bulk of a decade.

But the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz are in markets as small as the teams listed above and both were luxury tax teams last season. The “small market” Portland Trail Blazers have regularly been tax payers too.

Market size clearly doesn’t, and shouldn’t, dictate ownership’s willingness to pay the tax. When you have the right team, you pay for it. Compete for titles, and you get expensive. That’s just how it works in the NBA. Even the small-market-example-of-excellence Spurs regularly paid the tax when they were competing to win the Finals.

And that’s the real crux of this argument. Have the Golden State Warriors bought championships, à la the accusation often leveled at the George Steinbrenner-era New York Yankees?

No. Or, at least, not exactly.

Since the Warriors won their first title in 2016, they’ve paid the tax in five of eight seasons. In their four championship seasons, Golden State has only actually paid the tax in two of those years.

Now, this year’s tax bill got a bit out of control. But that’s come from years of spending starting to add up, as opposed to a one-year, or series of one-year, spending sprees. That’s one place where the comparisons to the Yankees fall apart.

The other place the Yankees comp comes up short? The Warriors aren’t building the bulk of their roster through free agent signings and trading for players other teams can no longer afford.

Here’s the Warriors roster from last season and how they acquired each player:

  • Nemanja Bjelica – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Stephen Curry – 2009 Draft
  • Draymond Green – 2012 Draft
  • Andre Iguodala – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Jonathan Kuminga – 2021 Draft
  • Damion Lee – 2018 Minimum Exception
  • Kevon Looney – 2015 Draft
  • Moses Moody – 2021 Draft
  • Gary Payton II – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Jordan Poole – 2019 Draft
  • Otto Porter Jr. – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Klay Thompson – 2011 Draft
  • Juan Toscano-Anderson – 2020 Minimum Exception
  • Andrew Wiggins – 2020 Trade
  • James Wiseman 2020 Draft
  • Chris Chiozza – 2021 Two-Way
  • Quinndary Weatherspoon – 2021 Two-Way

Here’s how those acquisitions break down:

  • Draft – 8 players
  • Minimum Exception – 6 players
  • Two-Way – 2 players
  • Trade – 1 player

Outside of Andrew Wiggins, every player on the roster was acquirable by a means available to every other team. With eight players acquired via the draft, the Warriors are one of the more homegrown teams in the NBA. Funnily enough, the highest-drafted of those eight players, James Wiseman, didn’t even appear in a game last season.

Now, that homegrown talent has largely blossomed and they’ve signed very lucrative contract extensions, followed by second and third extensions by some of the players. That’s largely what pushes Golden State’s salary plus tax commitment into the stratosphere.

Yes, they acquired Wiggins through a chain of transactions that relates back to signing Kevin Durant as a free agent. But even that original Durant acquisition wasn’t about just overpaying and “buying” a title. That 2016 signing was aided by a cap spike and the vastly under-market deal of Stephen Curry at the time.

After his initial 1+1 deal, Durant opted out. He did the same thing one more time. In total, Durant signed three different deals with the Warriors to keep pushing his salary higher. But when Durant wanted to leave, Golden State didn’t just let him walk. They kept that salary slot alive by working a double sign-and-trade to acquire D’Angelo Russell.

About seven months later, Russell was flipped for Wiggins, and his then-seen-as toxic contract. Two-and-a-half seasons and a title later, opinions on Wiggins’ deal have softened or flipped entirely.

In total, the Warriors made one chained-together set of deals that turned Durant into Russell into Wiggins that was even remotely enabled by their ability to spend.

Beyond that Durant-Russell-Wiggins salary slot, of which you can find a similarly exorbitant deal on the books of almost every team in the NBA over the last decade, all the Warriors have done is paid to keep their own players, while largely filling out their roster with minimum signings.

Which begs the questions: Was Golden State supposed to let their own players leave? Are the Warriors to be faulted for drafting and developing, and then paying, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson? How about Jordan Poole when he’s next to sign a big new deal?

If the answer is no, then what’s the crying about? The name of the game, for all 30 NBA teams, is always “draft and develop” first. The Warriors have simply been better at that than most for a decade.

The next logical question becomes: Can, or could, any other team have continued to up their salary plus tax commitment over a long period to keep a title team together?

This one is a little more complicated. But outside of the situation where James Harden was traded from Oklahoma City to Houston, what title contender has ever failed to pay to keep an All-Star around? To go a bit further: what team, in general, has lost an All-Star in the last 20 years because of salary concerns?

Yes, that was answering a question with more questions. But the answer to number of All-Stars leaving because their teams wouldn’t pay them is exactly zero. 0. None. Nada. Nil. Zilch. When All-Stars have left teams, it’s been to try to win somewhere else, often at the cost of giving up salary by leaving.

In an era where there are often complaints about super teams and players jumping from team to team seemingly on a whim, Golden State Warriors has built a team of mostly homegrown players and they’ve won more than anyone else over the past decade.

Instead of complaining about the Warriors largesse and skyrocketing tax bills, maybe the fingers should be pointed in the other direction. Why aren’t more teams drafting and developing better? And then, if they do, why aren’t they able to keep those teams together?

The answers to those questions probably aren’t money-based. Those teams didn’t stay together because of other reasons, often driven by failures of the teams or the players on those teams to win enough to keep everyone happy and home.

In a league where every team is owned by billionaires, it’s true that the Golden State Warriors have outspent everyone else. Not because they are the only ones who can, but because they’re the only ones who have. And it’s because they’ve outplayed everyone else during that same period and kept their team together in an era where that rarely happens. That’s a combination that should be applauded and respected instead of abhorred and reviled.

NBA Golden State Warriors

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Starting Pitchers

The AL rotation includes one of its highest paid, an ageless wonder, and plenty of contractual value down the line. Gerrit Cole's $36M salary ranks 2nd only to Max Scherzer, who would have found his way here had he avoided injury. Justin Verlander's return to the mound from injury has been nothing short of spectacular, and he's now only 30 innings away from unlocking a $25M player option for the 2023 season.

Player Team 22 Salary Status
Shane McClanahan Rays $711,400 Control thru '27
Nestor Cortes Yankees $727,500 Control thru '25
Alek Manoah Blue Jays $730,000 Control thru '27
Framber Valdez Astros $3,000,000 Control thru '25
Martin Perez Rangers $4,000,000 Pending UFA
Paul Blackburn Athletics $710,000 Control thru '25
Gerrit Cole Yankees $36,000,000 Signed thru '28
Justin Verlander Astros $25,000,000 Option thru '23
Shohei Ohtani Angels $5,500,000 Control thru '23

 

Relief Pitchers

While other organizations are paying single relievers upwards of $20M per year (unsuccessfully), the Guardians remain on brand, getting extreme value out of their most important positions. Emmanuel Clase will make $20M over the next 5 seasons to hold down the back end of Cleveland's pen. All of these relievers have considerable team control left.

Player Team 22 Salary Status
Clay Holmes Yankees $1,100,000 Control thru '24
Emmanuel Clase Guardians $1,900,000 Signed thru '28
Gregory Soto Tigers $722,400 Control thru '25
Jorge Lopez Orioles $1,500,000 Control thru '24

 

Positional Starters

Lotta star power here. Judge highlights this list not only because of his production, but also his expiring contract status. Ohtani and Devers aren't far behind, and both have serious question marks about staying with their current franchises. When will the Blue Jays strike financially with Vlad? When will Trout cry uncle with the floundering Angels?

Player Pos Team 22 Salary Status
Alejandro Kirk C Blue Jays $714,000 Control thru '26
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 1B Blue Jays $7,900,000 Control thru '25
Jose Altuve 2B Astros $29,000,000 Signed thru '24
Rafael Devers 3B Red Sox $11,200,000 Control thru '23
Tim Anderson SS White Sox $9,500,000 Signed thru '24
Shohei Ohtani DH Angels $5,500,000 Control thru '23
Aaron Judge OF Yankees $19,000,000 Pending UFA
Mike Trout OF Angels $37,116,666 Signed thru '30
Giancarlo Stanton OF Yankees $29,000,000 Signed thru '27

 

Reserves

Miggy Cabrera and Julio Rodriguez aren't here as gimmicks, they've both had excellent first halfs - despite coming from opposite ends of the career spectrum. Benintendi is one of the top trade candidates this month, and Bogaerts player option next year (plus Trevor Story's recent signing) has many monitoring the Boston offseason as well. Meanwhile, the Astros continue Astro-ing.

Player Pos Team 22 Salary Status
Yordan Alvarez DH Astros $764,600 Signed thru '28
Miguel Cabrera 1B Tigers $32,000,000 Signed thru '23
Xander Bogaerts SS Red Sox $20,000,000 Opt-out available
Jose Ramirez 3B Guardians $22,000,000 Signed thru '28
Jose Trevino C Yankees $720,000 Control thru '25
Luis Arraez 2B Twins $2,125,000 Control thru '25
Andres Gimenez SS Guardians $706,600 Control thru '25
George Springer OF Blue Jays $29,666,666 Signed thru '26
Byron Buxton OF Twins $9,142,857 Signed thru '28
Andrew Benintendi OF Royals $8,500,000 Pending UFA
Kyle Tucker OF Astros $764,200 Control thru '25
Julio Rodriguez OF Mariners $700,000 Control thru '28

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Starting Pitchers

Gonsolin and Alcantara have been lights out, and one should be throwing out the first pitch at the LA event. Castillo is a top trade candidate, Musgrove is a top extension candidate, and we may be witnessing a swan song season for Kershaw.

Player Team 22 Salary Status
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers $17,000,000 Pending UFA
Sandy Alcantara Marlins $3,800,000 Signed thru '27
Corbin Burnes Brewers $6,500,000 Control thru '24
Luis Castillo Reds $7,350,000 Control thru '23
Max Fried Braves $6,850,000 Control thru '24
Anthony Gonsolin Dodgers $720,000 Control thru '26
Joe Musgrove Padres $8,625,000 Pending UFA

 

Relief Pitchers

Edwin Diaz has been near unhittable, and yet is quietly heading toward the open market. Bednar and Mantiply will be fielding calls this deadline, and Josh Hader's extension situation in Milwaukee is worth monitoring over the next few months as well.

Player Team 22 Salary Status
Edwin Diaz Mets $10,200,000 Pending UFA
Josh Hader Brewers $11,000,000 Control thru '23
Ryan Helsley Cardinals $722,450 Control thru '25
David Bednar Pirates $715,000 Control thru '26
Joe Mantiply Diamondbacks $717,000 Control thru '26

 

Positional Starters

A third of these starters could hit the open market this fall, and all but Chisholm are well compensated currently. Contreras is a top trade candidate, Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate, and Trea Turner currently projects to a $32M per year extension.

Player Pos Team 22 Salary Status
Willson Contreras C Cubs $9,625,000 Pending UFA
Paul Goldschmidt 1B Cardinals $26,000,000 Signed thru '24
Jazz Chisholm 2B Marlins $718,000 Control thru '26
Manny Machado 3B Padres $32,000,000 Opt-out after '23
Trea Turner SS Dodgers $21,000,000 Pending UFA
Bryce Harper OF Phillies $27,538,462 Signed thru '31
Ronald Acuna Jr. OF Braves $15,000,000 Signed thru '28
Joc Pederson OF Giants $6,000,000 Pending UFA
Mookie Betts OF Dodgers $22,500,000 Signed thru '32

 

Reserves

The NL East is well represented here, as the Mets and Braves are putting together a big 2022. Pujols received a special selection, Arenado has already said he won't be opting out, Swanson is almost a shoo-in to hit the open market, and the Juan Soto contract/trade talks will only intensify as the Nationals plummet down the standings.

Player Pos Team 22 Salary Status
William Contreras C Braves $710,000 Control thru '27
Nolan Arenado 3B Cardinals $35,000,000 Opt-out after '22
Pete Alonso 1B Mets $7,400,000 Control thru '24
Albert Pujols DH Cardinals $2,500,000 Pending UFA
Jeff McNeil 2B Mets $3,000,000 Control thru '24
Travis d'Arnaud C Braves $8,000,000 Signed thru '24
C.J. Cron 1B Rockies $7,250,000 Signed thru '23
Dansby Swanson SS Braves $10,000,000 Pending UFA
Kyle Schwarber OF Phillies $19,000,000 Signed thru '25
Juan Soto OF Nationals $17,100,000 Control thru '24
Ian Happ OF Cubs $6,850,000 Control thru '23

The Texas Rangers return home following a (3-6) road trip against the Royals, Mets and Orioles and the schedule doesn’t get any easier as they’ll greet the AL Central leading Minnesota Twins. The good news is Texas will have their best three starters on the mound with Jon Gray, Martin Perez and Dane Dunning facing off against Sonny Gray, Devin Smeltzer and Dylan Bundy.

Gray and Perez have lived up to their roles as front of the rotation starters and Dunning is talented despite his inconsistent results. On the Twins side, Smeltzer and Bundy have been excellent to start but it feels like both are pitching over their heads. Regression could be coming against a dangerous Rangers offense. 

We would typically attack the home team in their first game back from a lengthy road trip but both teams were off yesterday so it’s less of a factor here. Instead, I’m interested in the home team with plus matchups at almost even odds.

Series WinnerTEX (+104)

 

Chicago heads to San Francisco for a crucial interleague matchup as both teams look to keep pace in their respective division races. The White Sox have mostly disappointed but they’re lingering on the fringe of a less competitive division and getting healthy as they begin the second easiest remaining strength of schedule. I believe they’re better positioned to make a run as we flip the calendar to July.

They can get it jump started this weekend as they match up the top end of their rotation (Lynn, Cease, Giolito) against a lesser trio of Cobb, Webb, and Desclafani. With five lefties on offense, the Giants can be difficult for RHPs but I think the strength of these starters in a pitchers ballpark can offset that platoon advantage. I'll take the positive odds on Chicago winning at least two of three on the road.

Series Winner:  CWS (+134)

Atlanta Hawks

Acquired Dejounte Murray, PG from the Spurs for 3 first round picks, a 1st round swap, and Danilo Gallinari, PF

 

Boston Celtics

Juwan Morgan, SF $1.82M option exercised
Sam Hauser, SF, $1.56M option declined

Brooklyn Nets

Signed Nicolas Claxton, 2 years, $20M

Signed Patrick Mills, 2 years, $14.5M

Acquired Royce O'Neale from the Jazz for a 2023 first round pick.

Kyrie Irving, PG, $36.5M option exercised

Kessler Edwards, SF, $1.82M option declined

Patrick Mills, PG, $6.18M option declined

 

Charlotte Hornets

Hired Steve Clifford as coach on a 3 year contract

Acquired Bryce McGowens, SG from the Timberwolves for Josh Minott and a 2nd round pick.

Jalen McDaniels, PF, $1.93M option exercised

 

Chicago Bulls

Andre Drummond agreed to a 2 year, $6.6M contract

Tony Bradley, C, $2.04M option exercised

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Ricky Rubio agreed to a 3 year, $18.4M contract

 

Dallas Mavericks

JaVale McGee agreed to a 3 year, $20.4M contract

Acquired Christian Wood, PF from the Rockets for Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and Wendall Moore Jr.

Acquired Jaden Hardy, SG from the Kings for two seconds round picks

 

Denver Nuggets

Davon Reed agreed to a 2 year, $4.07M contract

Nikola Jokic signed a 5 year, $270M extension

DeAndre Jordan agreed to a 1 year $2.91M contract

Acquired Peyton Watson, SG and two second round picks from the Thunder for JaMychal Green and a first round pick.

Acquired Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG and Ishmael Smith, PG from the Wizards for Monte Morris and Will Barton

Jeff Green, PF, $4.5M option exercised

 

Detroit Pistons

Kevin Knox agreed to a 2 year, $6M contract

Marvin Bagley III agreed to a 3 year, $37M contract

Acquired a first round pick and two second round picks for Jerami Grant, PF & Ismael Kamagate 

Acquired Kemba Walker, PG and Jalen Duren from the Knicks for a first round pick.

Acquired Nerlens Noel, C, Alec Burks, SG, two second round picks and $6M cash for future considerations

Cory Joseph, PG., $5.16M option exercised

Hamidou Diallo, SG, $5.2M option exercised

Frank Jackson, PG, $3.15M option declined

Luka Garza, C, $1.56M option declined

Carsen Edwards, PG, $1.82M option declined

Agreed to a buyout with Kemba Walker, PG (estimated $6.4M)

 

Golden State Warriors

Acquired Ryan Rollins, SG from the Hawks for Tyrese Martin and $2M cash

 

Houston Rockets

Jae’Sean Tate agreed to a 3 year, $22.1M contract

Acquired Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown , Trey Burke , Marquese Chriss and Wendall Moore Jr. from Dallas for Christian Wood

Acquired TyTy Washington Jr. and two second round picks from the Timberwolves for Wendall Moore Jr., SF

John Wall, PG, $47.3M option exercised

Agreed to buyout John Wall, PG at $40.8M

Jae’Sean Tate, SF, $1.78M option declined

 

Indiana Pacers

Acquired Kendall Brown, SF from the Timberwolves for a second round pick.

Oshae Brissett, SF, $1.84M option exercised

 

Los Angeles Clippers

Amir Coffey agreed to a 3 year, $11M contract

Nicolas Batum agreed to a 2 year, $22M contract

Extended Ivica Zubac, 3 years, $32.8M

Nicolas Batum, SF, $3.33M option declined

Ivica Zubac, C, $7.52M option declined

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Damian Jones agreed to a 2 year, $4.72M contract

Juan Toscano-Anderson agreed to a 1 year, $1.9M contract

Troy Brown Jr. agreed to a 1 year, $1.97M contract

Lonnie Walker IV agreed to a 1 year, $6.48M contract

Hired Darvin Ham as coach to a 4 year contract

Kendrick Nunn, SG, $5.25M option exercised

Russell Westbrook, PG, $47.1M option exercised

Wenyen Gabriel, PF, $1.88M option exercised

Stanley Johnson, SF, $2.35M option exercised

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant agreed to a 5 year, $193M extension

Tyus Jones agreed to a 2 year, $30M contract

Extended coach Taylor Jenkins 2 years

Acquired Kennedy Chandler, PG from the Spurs for a second round pick and $1M cash.

Acquired Jake LaRavia, PF from the Timberwolves for Walker Kessler, TyTy Washington Jr., and a second round pick.

Acquired David Roddy, PF and Danny Green from the 76ers for De'Anthony Melton

 

Miami Heat

Dewayne Dedmon agreed to a 2 year, $9M contract

Victor Oladipo agreed to a 1 year, $11M contract

P.J. Tucker, PF, $7.35M option declined

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Jevon Carter agreed to a 2 year, $4.6M contract

Wesley Matthews agreed to a 1 year, $2.9M contract

Joe Ingles agreed to a 1 year, $6.48M contract

Bobby Portis agreed to a 4 year, $49M contract

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, $1.87M option exercised

Pat Connaughton, SG, $5.73M option exercised

Bobby Portis, PF, $4.56M option declined

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Karl-Anthony Towns agreed to a 4 year, $219M extension

Kyle Anderson agreed to a 2 year, $18M contract

Acquired Walker Kessler, C, TyTy Washington Jr. , and a second round pick for Jake LaRavia

Acquired Wendall Moore Jr., SF from the Rockets for TyTy Washington Jr. and two second round picks

Acquired Josh Minott, PF and a second round pick for Bryce McGowens

Extended Taurean Prince, PF, 2 years, $16M

Naz Reid, C, $1.93M option exercised

Jaylen Nowell, SG, $1.93M option exercised

 

New Orleans Pelicans

N/A

 

New York Knicks

Jalen Brunson agreed to a 4 year, $104M contract

Isaiah Hartenstein agreed to a 2 year, $16M contract

Acquired Jalen Duren, C from the Hornets for a first round pick and three second round picks

Acquired three first round picks from the Thunder for Ousmane Dieng, SF

Acquired a first round pick from the Pistons for Kemba Walker, PG & Jalen Duren

Acquired future considerations from the Pistons for Nerlens Noel, C, Alec Burks, a second round pick, and $6M cash.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

Mike Muscala agreed to a 1 year, $2.64M contract

Luguentz Dort signed a 5 year, $87.5M contract

Acquired JaMychal Green, PF and a first round pick from the Nuggets for Peyton Watson and two second round picks

Acquired Ousmane Dieng, SF from the Knicks for three first round picks

Derrick Favors, C, $10.18M option exercised

Mike Muscala, PF, $3.5M option declined

Luguentz Dort, SG, $1.93M option declined

Isaiah Roby, SF, $1.93M option exercised

 

Orlando Magic

Mohamed Bamba agreed to a 2 year, $21M contract

Gary Harris signed a 2 year, $26M extension

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Trevelin Queen agreed to a 2 year, $3.4M contract

Danuel House agreed to a 2 year, $8.5M contract

P.J. Tucker agreed to a 3 year, $33.2M contract

Acquired De'Anthony Melton, SG from the Grizzlies for Danny Green and David Roddy

Shake Milton, SG, $1.99M option exercised

James Harden, SG, $47.4M option declined

 

Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker signed a 4 year, $214M extension

 

Portland Trail Blazers

Gary Payton II agreed to a 3 year, $28M contract

Anfernee Simons agreed to a 4 year, $100M contract

Hired Joe Cronin as GM to a 4 year contract

Acquired Jerami Grant, PF and Ismael Kamagate  from the Pistons for a first round pick and two second round picks.

 

Sacramento Kings

Malik Monk agreed to a 2 year, $19M contract

Hired Mike Brown as coach to a 4 year contract

Acquired two second round picks from the Mavericks for Jaden Hardy, SG

Trey Lyles, PF, $2.63M option exercised

 

San Antonio Spurs

Acquired a second round pick and 41M cash for Kennedy Chandler, PG

Acquired Danilo Gallinari, PF, three first round picks and a first round swap from the Hawks for Dejounte Murray

 

Toronto Raptors

Thaddeus Young agreed to a 2 year, $16M contract

Chris Boucher agreed to a 3 year, $35.25M contract

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, $1.88M option exercised

 

Utah Jazz

Acquired a 2023 first round pick from the Nets for Royce O'Neale

Juancho Hernangomez waived

Hired Will Hardy as coach to a 5 year contract

 

Washington Wizards

Delon Wright agreed to a 2 year, $16M contract

Anthony Gill agreed to a 2 year, $3.44M contract

Bradley Beal agreed to a 5 year, $215.02M contract

Acquired Will Barton, SF and Monte Morris  from the Nuggets for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ishmael Smith

Bradley Beal, SG, $36.4M option declined



  1. The Cleveland Browns acquire QB Deshaun Watson

    If I told you a team gave up 3 first round picks, a third round pick, and a fourth round pick for a player, you’d say - wow, that’s a haul. If I then told you that the player received a $230M contract, fully guaranteed at signing, you’d say - is this baseball? If I told you that it was already known prior to that the player would be suspended for a large portion of time upon the signing of the contract, you’d say - wait, what? And then if I told you the team accepted language in the contract that forbids them from recouping money lost due to that suspension, you’d say - this must be the Browns right?

    The outcome of this trade is obviously TBD, but the circus makes it the leader in the clubhouse by a factor of ten thousand.

  2. The Denver Broncos acquire QB Russell Wilson

    In any normal offseason, this move would have led the charge through the summer. But Deshaun Watson, and the “Summer of the WR” overshadowed the transaction almost immediately after it was processed. That shouldn’t change the potential ceiling that Wilson brings to a “win-ready” roster. Denver and Wilson appear to be taking the Rams/Stafford approach, in that both will give it a year to settle in before a new contract is approached. Wilson holds 2 years, $51M through 2023.

  3. The Miami Dolphins acquire WR Tyreek Hill

    It was a toss-up between Hill and Adams as the top WR trade, but based on volume alone, Hill takes the top spot. The Chiefs acquired 5 draft picks for their star WR: A 1st, 2nd, 4th, 4th, and 6th. Factor in the 4 year, $120M extension ($72.2M guaranteed), and this adds up to a blockbuster move by the Dolphins.

  4. The Las Vegas Raiders acquire WR Davante Adams

    The Dolphins made the Raiders acquisition of Adams look paltry in hindsight. Adams joins the AFC West for a 1st, 2nd, and $65M guaranteed through 2024. The Carr/Adams connection could be a gamechanger for the Raiders, who live in one of the league’s toughest divisions, yet refuse to mail it in.

  5. The Indianapolis Colts acquire QB Matt Ryan

    This would be higher (and might be in a few months) if I felt better about the Colts young, unproven passing weapons. It feels like this offense will be about possession, and short yardage progression. With a weak division and a lot of talent, they should walk into the postseason with Ryan at the helm, who holds a 2 years, $54M guaranteed through 2023.

  6. The Cleveland Browns acquire WR Amari Cooper

    Two days before the Browns won the Watson sweepstakes, they brought over Cooper from the Cowboys for what now seems like highway robbery - a 5th round pick. Yes, he’s guaranteed $20M this year (most of which has already been converted to a signing bonus), but a healthy Cooper is a runaway WR1 for this roster, and with 3 years, $60M left on the deal, if he works out, there’s value to be had here. If not, they can walk away after 2022 with no additional cash owed. Hopefully he and Jacoby Brissett are working overtime on their chemistry.

  7. The Washington Commanders acquire QB Carson Wentz

    Wentz has been one of the most inaccurate and worst decision-making QBs over the past 3 seasons, and yet Washington had no problem trading away a conditional 2nd round pick (2023 3rd round pick becomes a 2nd if Wentz plays 70% of the snaps in 2022) to take on his $28M salary this year. If it works out, then it works out. When it doesn’t, it’ll be back to square one for Washington, and a backup role for Wentz.

  8. The Los Angeles Chargers acquire EDGE Khalil Mack

    He might not be able to handle #1 pass rush duties anymore, but a Joey Bosa + Khalil Mack attack should be one of the most dangerous in all of football. Mack has 3 years, $64M left, but there’s an out after 2022 if LAC needs it. The Bears took back a 2nd and 6th round pick to move on here.

  9. The Philadelphia Eagles acquire WR AJ Brown

    Anyone with rooting interest here hates that I made this 9th, but Brown has to be great to make this one stick. Or at the very least, he better be markedly better than Treylon Burks, the key pick given up to bring Brown over to Philly (Tennessee also gained a 2022 3rd). Burks gets $14M guaranteed over 4 years, Brown gets $57M guaranteed over 3. I love the “all-in-for-Hurts” move, but it was a home run swing when a bunt could have easily kept the inning alive.

  10. The Buffalo Bills acquire QB Case Keenum

    There were a few options to sneak into the top 10, but after losing Mitchell Trubisky to free agency, Buffalo had a big hole behind MVP favorite Josh Allen. It was widely assumed that a reunion with Tyrod Taylor or Ryan Fitzpatrick would suit well, but Buffalo took much more value in their QB2 opening, shipping a 7th round pick to rival Cleveland for a player who at times, outplayed Baker Mayfield in each of the past two seasons.

    Not only is this a good handcuff for Josh Allen - it’s a massive loss for Cleveland right now, as they turned around and signed Jacoby Brissett (to a near $5M contract), while also paying Keenum’s $1M roster bonus. Keenum’s experience not only in his 10 year career, but also with this Browns’ offense the past two seasons, would have been essential as a fill-in option for Watson’s pending suspension.

Honorable Mentions

Bradley Beal (SG, WAS)

Beal opted out of a $36M player option on June 22nd, putting the pressure on the Wizards to lock him into a long-term contract, or construct a sign and trade package.

Pro: He’s a career 37% from 3, and posted his best season in 2020-21.
Con: He hasn’t played more than 60 games in a season since 2018, and shot a career worst 30% from 3 last year.

Maximum Contract with Washington
Beal is eligible for a 5 year, $247,660,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $42.7M
23-24: $46.1M
24-25: $49.5M
25-26: $52.9M
26-27: $56.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $183,610,000.

 

James Harden (SG, PHI)

Harden has to decide on a $47.3M player option by June 29th. It’s largely expected that he’ll decline the option in favor of “some” sort of multi-year contract to remain with Philly.

Pro: His 2 80 games with Brooklyn were statistically better than many give him credit for (35% from 3, 51% from 2, 23 points/10 assists in 36 minutes).
Con: He forgot how to play basketball when he joined Philly.

Maximum Contract with Philadelphia
Harden is eligible for a 5 year, $268,853,015 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $46.5M
23-24: $50.2M
24-25: $53.9M
25-26: $57.6M
26-27: $61.4M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $200,063,442.

 

Kyrie Irving (PG, BKN)

Irving has to decide on a $36.5M player option by June 29th, and we’ve learned to assume nothing with him. There’s a real chance Irving simply opts on, runs it back for 1 more season with KD, then controls his future thereafter. There’s a real chance he opts out, and never looks back. But the most likely outcome is probably in sync with what James Harden will do in opting out, and signing a short-term high-value contract with his current team.

Pro: Irving averaged 27.4 points per game last season - a career high. Tack on 6 assists, and 4 rebounds and he’s still one of the most valuable players in the game.
Con: When he plays.

Maximum Contract with Brooklyn
Irving is eligible for a 5 year, $247,660,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $42.7M
23-24: $46.1M
24-25: $49.5M
25-26: $52.9M
26-27: $56.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $183,610,000.

 

Zach LaVine (SG, CHI)

LaVine has largely been identified as one of the top available players in this year’s free agent class, as the 27 year old is finishing his sophomore contract in Chicago (no option).

Pro: Over the past 4 seasons, LaVine has averaged 25 points, 5 boards, and 4 assists, while shooting nearly 40% from three.
Con: He had arthroscopic knee surgery this May, so there may be a delay in getting him up to full speed going forward.

Maximum Contract with Chicago
LaVine is eligible for a 5 year, $212,280,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $36.6M
23-24: $39.5M
24-25: $42.5M
25-26: $45.4M
26-27: $48.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $157,380,000.

 

Jalen Brunson (PG, DAL)

The #33 overall selection from 2018 is hitting the open market on a high-note, as an increased role in 21-22 (32 MPG) saw his production rise considerably across the board. He’s a strong playmaker with good efficiency numbers both from three and inside the arc.

Pro: While the production has increased, it hasn’t risen to a level that should warrant a max contract. Something around 4 years, $100M seems about right.
Con: Potential buyer beware situation? He’s a nice player, but most likely not a franchise savior.

Maximum Contract with Dallas
Brunson is eligible for a 5 year, $176,900,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $30.5M
23-24: $32.9M
24-25: $35.4M
25-26: $37.8M
26-27: $40.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $131,150,000.

 

Deandre Ayton (C, PHX)

Did the draft hurt or improve Ayton’s chances to find a max contract on the open market? It might not matter. Phoenix is still an excellent team, and should be highly motivated to bring the former #1 overall pick back for a few years.

Pro: A career 25% shooter from 3 finished 21-22 at 37%. His game is still rounding into form (as you might expect for a 23 year old
Con: His current team doesn’t appear ready to max out a big man who doesn’t jump off the screen as an elite superstar. Will anyone?

Maximum Contract with Phoenix
Ayton is eligible for a 5 year, $176,900,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $30.5M
23-24: $32.9M
24-25: $35.4M
25-26: $37.8M
26-27: $40.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $131,150,000.

 

Miles Bridges (SF, CHA)

He’s gotten better every season, with 21-22 topping out at 20 points, 7 boards, 4 assists and a steal per game. He shoots 50% from the field, 80% from the line, and 35% from three. If Charlotte won’t pay him, multiple teams will offer to.

Pro: He seems to be rounding into a perfect #3 option on a great team.
Con: Despite consistent improvement, he’s not yet progressed to a “max” player, and maybe never will. Charlotte seems rightfully reluctant to overpay.

Maximum Contract with Phoenix
Bridges is eligible for a 5 year, $176,900,000 maximum contract, including salaries of:
22-23: $30.5M
23-24: $32.9M
24-25: $35.4M
25-26: $37.8M
26-27: $40.3M

Sign & Trade or Free Agent Maximum Contract
A sign and trade, or outright free agent contract with a new team means a maximum contract of 4 years, $131,150,000.

Signing a free agent player to a Top-5 free agent contract in the NBA is no recipe for long-term stability with the team the player signs with. Of the 35 players that were signed over the last 7 free agency periods (Top-5 signed contracts per the last 7 years), 45% of those contracts had some kind of movement, trade or waived, before the contract expired. 40% of the contracts had been traded before the contract had expired, but when looking at the period of 2015-16 through 2018-19, a four-year span, that number goes up to 75%. Moreover, a few of the contracts (Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Otto Porter Jr.) had been traded two times within that signed contract.

 

Movement over the last 7 years (through June 26, 2022):

  • Players traded at least once within contract: 14 (40%)
  • Players extended before the end of the contract: 5 (14%)
  • Players waived at some point before contract expires: 2 (5%)



While the last three free agency periods have a majority of the players with the teams they signed, it is already been rumored that a few players are already on the trade block:

  • Tobias Harris (PHI) has been rumored numerous times over the last 12 months
  • Kevin Durant (BKN) is now mulling his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets
  • Anthony Davis (LAL) has been rumored of recent to possibly be traded
  • John Collins (ATL) has been rumored to potentially be traded before the new league year begins
  • Duncan Robinson (MIA) has come up in reports as to what to do with him and his contract moving forward

 

If the trend from 2015-16 through 2018-19 continues into the contracts signed from 2019-20 through 2021-22 where the players having been rumored to be traded becomes a reality, we’re talking about a around a 50-75% chance that a player who signs a Top-5 contract in a free agency period is likely to be moved at some point before the contract expires. If you are a fan of any of the top signed free agents moving forward, beware that that player is likely going to get moved at some point in the future - most likely Year 3 or Year 4 of that contract based on what has transpired in the past. 

 

2015-16 

Marc Gasol

Signed with: Memphis Grizzlies

Contract Signed: 5 year, $113,211,750 (AAV: $22,642,350)

What Happened? 

  • Traded in Year 4 to Toronto

 

Kevin Love

Signed with: Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $113,211,750 (AAV: $22,642,350)

What Happened?

  •  Signed a 4 year $120 million extension with Cleveland in Year 4

 

Kawhi Leonard

Signed with: San Antonio

Contract Signed: 5 year, $94,343,125 (AAV: $18,868,625)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Toronto in Year 4

 

Jimmy Butler

Signed with: Chicago Bulls

Contract Signed: 5 year, $92,339,878 (AAV: $18,467,976)

What Happened? 

  • Trade to Minnesota in Year 3 
  • Traded to Philadelphia in Year 4
  • Declined Player Option for Year 5 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

DeAndre Jordan

Signed with: LA Clippers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $87,616,050 (AAV: $21,904,013)

What Happened? 

  • Declined Player Option in Year 4 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

2016-17 

Mike Conley

Signed with: Memphis Grizzlies

Contract Signed: 5 year, $152,605,578 (AAV: $30,521,116)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Utah in Year 4

 

DeMar DeRozan

Signed with: Toronto Raptors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $139,000,000 (AAV: $27,800,000)

What Happened? 

  • Trade to San Antonio in Year 3

 

Bradley Beal

Signed with: Washington Wizards

Contract Signed: 5 year, $127,171,313 (AAV: $25,434,263)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 2 year extension with Washington going into Year 4 

 

Andre Drummond

Signed with: Detroit Pistons

Contract Signed:  5 year, $127,171,313 (AAV: $25,434,263)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Cleveland in Year 4
  • Waived via buyout by Cleveland in Year 5

 

Nicolas Batum

Signed with: Charlotte Hornets

Contract Signed: 5 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $24,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Exercised Player Option in Year 5
  • Waived and stretched by Charlotte 13 days after exercising Player Option



2017-18 

Stephen Curry

Signed with: Golden State Warriors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $201,158,790 (AAV: $40,231,758)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 4 year $215 million contract extension with Golden State going into Year 5

 

Blake Griffin

Signed with: Detroit Pistons

Contract Signed: 5 year, $171,174,820 (AAV: $34,234,964)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Detroit in Year 1
  • Waived via buyout in Year 3

 

Gordon Hayward

Signed with: Boston Celtics

Contract Signed: 4 year, $127,829,970 (AAV: $31,957,493)

What Happened? 

  • Declined Player Option in Year 4 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

Jrue Holiday

Signed with: New Orleans Pelicans

Contract Signed:  5 year, $126,000,000 (AAV: $25,200,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Milwaukee in Year 4

 

Otto Porter Jr.

Signed with: Brooklyn Nets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $106,524,975 (AAV: $26,631,244)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Chicago in Year 2
  • Traded to Orlando in Year 4

 

2018-19 

Chris Paul

Signed with: Houston Rockets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $159,730,592 (AAV: $39,932,648)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Oklahoma City in Year 2
  • Traded to Phoenix in Year 3

 

LeBron James

Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $153,312,846 (AAV: $38,328,212)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 2 year contract extension with Los Angeles going into Year 3

 

Nikola Jokic

Signed with: Denver Nuggets

Contract Signed: 5 year, $147,710,050 (AAV: $29,542,010)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Denver Nuggets
  • Supermax extension eligible with Denver during 2022-23 offseason

 

Paul George

Signed with: Oklahoma City Thunder

Contract Signed: 4 year, $136,911,936 (AAV: $34,227,984)

What Happened? 

  • Traded with LA Clippers in Year 2

 

Aaron Gordon

Signed with: Orlando Magic

Contract Signed: 4 year $80,000,000 (AAV: $20,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Denver in Year 3
  • Signed a 4 year contract extension going into Year 4



2019-20 

Klay Thompson

Signed with: Golden State Warriors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $189,903,600 (AAV: $37,980,720)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Golden State

 

Tobias Harris

Signed with: Philadelphia 76ers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $180,000,000 (AAV: $36,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently With Philadelphia



Khris Middleton

Signed with: Milwaukee Bucks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $177,500,000 (AAV: $35,500,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Milwaukee

 

Kevin Durant

Signed with: Brooklyn Nets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $164,255,700 (AAV: $41,063,925)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 4 year contract extension going into Year 3

 

Kristaps Porzingis

Signed with: Dallas Mavericks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $158,253,000 (AAV: $31,650,600)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Washington in Year 3

 

2020-21 

Anthony Davis

Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $189,903,600 (AAV: $37,980,720)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Los Angeles

 

Brandon Ingram

Signed with: New Orleans Pelicans

Contract Signed: 5 year, $158,253,000 (AAV: $31,650,600)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with New Orleans

 

Gordon Hayward

Signed with: Charlotte Hornets (via Sign-and-Trade with Boston)

Contract Signed: 4 year $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Charlotte

 

Fred VanVleet

Signed with: Toronto Raptors

Contract Signed: 4 year $85,000,000 (AAV: $21,250,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Toronto

 

Davis Bertans

Signed with: Washington Wizards

Contract Signed: 5 year, $80,000,000 (AAV: $16,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Dallas in Year 2

 

2021-22 

Kawhi Leonard

Signed with: LA Clippers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $176,265,152 (AAV: $44,066,288)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with LA Clippers
  • Missed all of Year 1 due to season-ending injury

 

John Collins

Signed with: Atlanta Hawks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $125,000,000 (AAV: $25,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Atlanta

 

Chris Paul

Signed with: Phoenix Suns

Contract Signed: 4 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Phoenix

 

Jarrett Allen

Signed with: Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Cleveland

 

Duncan Robinson

Signed with: Miami Heat

Contract Signed: 5 year, $90,000,000 (AAV: $18,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Miami
NBA Free Agents

The 2022 NBA Draft is now behind us. There were 19 trades agreed to involving 2022 draft picks. These deals ranged from the big trades that sent Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks and Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers to smaller deals where draft picks were swapped.

Now that the draft has passed, we have a better idea of what this offseason landscape might look like.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.3 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.4 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands after the trade deadline:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $44.8 million
  2. San Antonio Spurs – $32.6 million
  3. Orlando Magic - $27.9 million
  4. Indiana Pacers - $25.6 million
  5. New York Knicks - $16.3 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. All five seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, these five will be in position to do the big spending in the offseason. The San Antonio Spurs bumped up this list after drafting two more shooting guards. That means the generally player-friendly Spurs will likely let Lonnie Walker IV hit the unrestricted market this summer, while also creating the second-most cap space in the league.

The Knicks are still looking to shed another salary or two to get into range to make a big offer to a point guard, likely Jalen Brunson. If they can move off one more $9-$17 million salary, New York will be major players in free agency this summer.

The Portland Trail Blazers were on this list prior to acquiring Jerami Grant at the draft. That acquisition, via the C.J. McCollum traded player exception, made it a virtual lock that Portland will operate as an over the cap team.

The Memphis Grizzlies are the lone real swing team this summer. If they were to lose Kyle Anderson and/or Tyus Jones, Memphis could pivot to having over $20 million cap space. That’s somewhat of a frightening thought for the rest of the NBA, as the Grizzlies could add to what is already a good, deep roster this summer.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Houston Rockets
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Miami Heat
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. Toronto Raptors
  9. Washington Wizards

This group of nine teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Memphis, Miami, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

The Heat could be choosing between a combination of using some of the Non-Taxpayer MLE to re-sign Caleb Martin, using Bird Rights to re-sign Victor Oladipo and re-signing P.J. Tucker via his Non-Bird Rights. But they should be able to create just enough room under the tax apron to do two. Maybe they can squeeze in all three, if everyone takes a bit of a cut. It’ll mean filling out the roster with minimums, but that’s where most title contenders are at anyway.

The Rockets are well within range of being able to use the full MLE this offseason. Houston isn’t really one MLE signing away from contending, so this will be a targeted signing to help shepherd the young roster.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group instead of the cap space group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they have three first-round draft picks to sign, and they’ve got over $28 million in dead money on the books. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC continues to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now. They are also getting really tight on roster spots.

The Trail Blazers can re-sign Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons and probably still squeeze in a full MLE signing too. If they’re serious about pushing back towards the playoffs, they’ll need to do all three.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players (assuming Bradley Beal returns to the Wizards). Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

 

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. New Orleans Pelicans

These four teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their wiggle room under the tax line.

The Cavs aren’t going to re-sign Collin Sexton to anything near a max deal, but if he gets somewhere between $15 and $20 million in first-year salary, they’ll be doing the same dance as Charlotte and Chicago.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 14 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space. The bigger challenge for the Pelicans is that they are getting really tight on roster spots.

 

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Milwaukee Bucks
  10. Philadelphia 76ers
  11. Phoenix Suns
  12. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some will shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 12 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.4 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

The teams to watch are the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. The Sixers have put themselves in range of being able to use the Non-Taxpayer MLE. A lot depends on what happens with James Harden and his player option or a new deal. If he plays ball, the Sixers can create a little more spending power.

The Suns are solely dependent on the Deandre Ayton situation. If he leaves with nothing coming back to Phoenix, they’ll have the full MLE and a big hole to fill at center. If it’s a sign-and-trade deal, the Suns will likely be limited to using the Taxpayer MLE to fill out their depth up front.

And, of course, there’s the circus in Brooklyn. For now, we’ll plug the Nets in here and assume that everyone decides to play nice and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stay put. If not, the Nets could end up just about anywhere on this list. It’ll be like pressing the reset button and basically starting all over in Brooklyn.

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

AL West:

We haven’t made it to July yet but it’s over here. Houston is now (-1700) and 98.6% to win the AL West per FanGraphs. Continue using them as an ‘odds booster’ but also consider an Astros World Series wager. FanGraphs considers them favorites to win at 14% but they have the third best odds (+650) behind the Dodgers (+440) and Yankees (+450).

 

AL East:

With four legit playoff contenders it’s difficult to declare this division already but the Yankees keep rolling along and now hold a 12.5 game lead over the 2nd place Blue Jays. I’m still in on the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox as October threats but there’s no way they can climb back into the division race at this point. Same as Houston, New York is an easy add to boost odds in a parlay.

 

AL Central:

Cleveland is emerging as one of the best early season values. A hot stretch has them at (+240) when their odds were (+900) only a few weeks prior. Meanwhile, the White Sox division odds are the lowest they’ve been all season (+160) as they begin the 2nd easiest remaining schedule. I’m not overly confident any of these teams separate from the pack but I’ll buy the dip with Chicago. They were clear favorites heading into the season (-210) and could be primed to make a run if they get healthy.


NL West:
Similar to the AL Central, I expect this race to stay close all year and don’t see any of the top three teams separating in a big way. Los Angeles entered the year with what many considered one of the strongest lineups ever assembled but suddenly they have a number of questions. This is reflected with the odds as they are the lowest we’ve seen yet after starting as massive division favorites. I think the Dodgers have underperformed to this point and expect their front office to find solutions for their roster issues. Simply put, this is a bet on a 2nd half rebound and I want to invest before the odds go in the other direction permanently.

 

Wager of the Week:

HOU (-1700) + NYY (-1100) + CWS (+160) + LAD (-200)

First round draft picks will be eligible to sign a rookie scale contract worth up to 120% of the determined rookie scale baseline or as low as 80% of the designated rookie scale baseline (which is very rare). 

 

Breakdown Details

  • Year 1 of the 120% Baseline scale will represent a Cap Hold immediately upon being drafted by a team. 
  • Years 1 and 2 are guaranteed upon signing.
  • Years 3 and 4 are guaranteed Club Options. Club Options must be exercised or declined by Oct 31st of the year preceding (i.e. if a Club Option is in 2024-25, a team must decide on that option by Oct 31, 2023). If a team does decline either option, that value will remain as a Cap Hold for that value’s year and the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.
  • If Years 3 and 4 options are both exercised, a team has the option to extend a Qualifying Offer making the player a Restricted Free Agent in the offseason following Year 4. Qualifying Offer amounts can be lower based on the amount of (or lack thereof) starts those players have over the last two years of the contract.

 

Logistic Details

  • Drafted players can be used in trades. However, their “value” in the trade would count for $0 as far as salary matching is concerned. 
  • Players cannot be traded for 30 days upon signing their rookie scale contract.

 

Example:

A key example of the last two bulleted items is with the 2014 NBA Draft when Andrew Wiggins was drafted #1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, which happened to be the year that LeBron James returned to Cleveland in Free Agency on July 12th. Andrew Wiggins had signed his rookie scale contract on July 24th and 30 days after that signing on July 23rd he was traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love as part of a three-team trade. 

Wiggins had to sign his rookie contract when he did and Cleveland had to wait the 30 days because they needed Wiggins’ first year salary to be a part of the salary matching process. Otherwise, Wiggins’ “value” to the trade would have accounted for $0 when matching all of the salaries for the salary matching rules. 



2022-23 120% of Rookie Scale Baseline

Pick

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Total

1

$10,907,040

$11,452,680

$11,997,960

$15,129,428

$49,487,108

2

$9,759,000

$10,246,800

$10,735,080

$13,547,671

$44,288,551

3

$8,763,720

$9,201,720

$9,640,200

$12,185,213

$39,790,853

4

$7,901,280

$8,296,560

$8,691,480

$10,994,722

$35,884,042

5

$7,155,240

$7,512,720

$7,870,560

$9,972,000

$32,510,520

6

$6,498,600

$6,823,320

$7,148,760

$9,064,628

$29,535,308

7

$5,932,440

$6,229,320

$6,525,360

$8,287,207

$26,974,327

8

$5,434,800

$5,706,600

$5,978,400

$7,604,525

$24,724,325

9

$4,995,840

$5,245,680

$5,495,520

$7,001,292

$22,738,332

10

$4,746,000

$4,983,480

$5,220,360

$6,655,959

$21,605,799

11

$4,508,640

$4,734,120

$4,959,720

$6,581,548

$20,784,028

12

$4,283,280

$4,497,720

$4,711,800

$6,492,860

$19,985,660

13

$4,069,200

$4,272,600

$4,475,880

$6,396,033

$19,213,713

14

$3,865,800

$4,059,000

$4,252,560

$6,298,041

$18,475,401

15

$3,672,120

$3,855,840

$4,039,320

$6,192,278

$17,759,558

16

$3,488,760

$3,663,240

$3,837,960

$5,887,431

$16,877,391

17

$3,314,160

$3,480,000

$3,645,720

$5,599,826

$16,039,706

18

$3,148,560

$3,305,880

$3,463,320

$5,326,586

$15,244,346

19

$3,006,720

$3,157,200

$3,307,560

$5,093,642

$14,565,122

20

$2,886,240

$3,030,600

$3,174,840

$4,895,603

$13,987,283

21

$2,770,800

$2,909,640

$3,048,120

$4,855,655

$13,584,215

22

$2,660,040

$2,793,120

$2,926,200

$4,813,599

$13,192,959

23

$2,553,960

$2,681,880

$2,809,080

$4,767,009

$12,811,929

24

$2,451,840

$2,574,360

$2,697,120

$4,717,263

$12,440,583

25

$2,353,680

$2,471,160

$2,589,120

$4,663,005

$12,076,965

26

$2,275,680

$2,389,080

$2,502,960

$4,512,837

$11,680,557

27

$2,209,920

$2,320,440

$2,430,960

$4,385,452

$11,346,772

28

$2,196,360

$2,306,400

$2,416,200

$4,361,241

$11,280,201

29

$2,180,280

$2,289,120

$2,398,560

$4,329,401

$11,197,361

30

$2,164,560

$2,272,800

$2,381,280

$4,298,210

$11,116,850

 

2022-23 Rookie Scale Baseline

Pick

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Total

1

$9,089,200

$9,543,900

$9,998,300

$12,607,856

$41,239,256

2

$8,132,500

$8,539,000

$8,945,900

$11,289,726

$36,907,126

3

$7,303,100

$7,668,100

$8,033,500

$10,154,344

$33,159,044

4

$6,584,400

$6,913,800

$7,242,900

$9,162,269

$29,903,369

5

$5,962,700

$6,260,600

$6,558,800

$8,310,000

$27,092,100

6

$5,415,500

$5,686,100

$5,957,300

$7,553,856

$24,612,756

7

$4,943,700

$5,191,100

$5,437,800

$6,906,006

$22,478,606

8

$4,529,000

$4,755,500

$4,982,000

$6,337,104

$20,603,604

9

$4,163,200

$4,371,400

$4,579,600

$5,834,410

$18,948,610

10

$3,955,000

$4,152,900

$4,350,300

$5,546,633

$18,004,833

11

$3,757,200

$3,945,100

$4,133,100

$5,484,624

$17,320,024

12

$3,569,400

$3,748,100

$3,926,500

$5,410,717

$16,654,717

13

$3,391,000

$3,560,500

$3,729,900

$5,330,027

$16,011,427

14

$3,221,500

$3,382,500

$3,543,800

$5,248,368

$15,396,168

15

$3,060,100

$3,213,200

$3,366,100

$5,160,231

$14,799,631

16

$2,907,300

$3,052,700

$3,198,300

$4,906,192

$14,064,492

17

$2,761,800

$2,900,000

$3,038,100

$4,666,522

$13,366,422

18

$2,623,800

$2,754,900

$2,886,100

$4,438,822

$12,703,622

19

$2,505,600

$2,631,000

$2,756,300

$4,244,702

$12,137,602

20

$2,405,200

$2,525,500

$2,645,700

$4,079,669

$11,656,069

21

$2,309,000

$2,424,700

$2,540,100

$4,046,379

$11,320,179

22

$2,216,700

$2,327,600

$2,438,500

$4,011,333

$10,994,133

23

$2,128,300

$2,234,900

$2,340,900

$3,972,507

$10,676,607

24

$2,043,200

$2,145,300

$2,247,600

$3,931,052

$10,367,152

25

$1,961,400

$2,059,300

$2,157,600

$3,885,838

$10,064,138

26

$1,896,400

$1,990,900

$2,085,800

$3,760,697

$9,733,797

27

$1,841,600

$1,933,700

$2,025,800

$3,654,543

$9,455,643

28

$1,830,300

$1,922,000

$2,013,500

$3,634,368

$9,400,168

29

$1,816,900

$1,907,600

$1,998,800

$3,607,834

$9,331,134

30

$1,803,800

$1,894,000

$1,984,400

$3,581,842

$9,264,042




Related Links

2022-23 NBA Draft Tracker

NBA Transactions

NBA NBA Draft

Of the NBA Top-100 Contract AAV (Average Annual Value) of All-Time through the 2021-22 season, 14 players have won an NBA Championship. These contracts include AAVs of $20M+ and contract lengths of 1 year through 5 years.

With the recent championship for the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry becomes the first $40M AAV contract with an NBA Championship in addition to becoming the first player with an AAV of $20M+ to win two championships within the same contract.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the other two other players to have contracts with an AAV of $20M+ and with NBA championships, but they did so under two different contract structures.

 

Stephen Curry

  • Contract: 5 year, $201.2M
  • AAV: $40.2M (Rank #11)
  • Championship within contract: 2 with GSW (2017-18, 2021-22)
  • Note: Championships came in the first and fifth years of the contract.

 

Klay Thompson

  • Contract: 5 year, $189.9M
  • AAV: $37.98M (Rank #12)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the third year of the contract. 

 

Khris Middleton

  • Contract: 5 year, $1177.5M
  • AAV: $35.5M (Rank #11)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

Kyle Lowry

  • Contract: 3 year, $100M
  • AAV: $33.3M (Rank #7)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with TOR (2018-19)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

LeBron James

  • Contract: 3 year, $99.9M
  • AAV: $33.2M (Rank #1)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with CLE (2016-17)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. 

 

  • Contract: 4 year $153.3M
  • AAV: $38.3M (Rank #7)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with LAL (2019-20)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

Andrew Wiggins

  • Contract: 5 year, $147.7M
  • AAV: $29.5M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Wiggins was acquired by Golden State via trade for D’Angelo Russell during the second year of the contract.

 

Kevin Durant

  • Contract: 2 year, $54.3M
  • AAV: $27.1M (Rank #8)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2016-17)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. Durant declined a Player Option for the 2017-18 season and then signed a new 2 year $51.25M contract with Golden State in free agency.

 

  • Contract: 2 year, $51.25M
  • AAV: $25.6M (Rank #15)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2017-18)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. Durant declined a Player Option for the 2018-19 season and then signed a new 2 year $61.5M contract with Golden State in free agency.

 

Anthony Davis

  • Contract: 5 year, $127.2M
  • AAV: $25.4M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with LAL (2019-20)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Davis declined a Player Option for 2020-21 season and then signed a 5 year $189.9M contract with Los Angeles in free agency.

 

Jrue Holiday

  • Contract: 5 year, $126M
  • AAV: $25.2M (Rank #40)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Milwaukee acquired Holiday from New Orleans on 11/24/20. Holiday declined a Player Option for the 2021-22 season and signed a 4 year $134.99M contract extension with Milwaukee on 4/4/21.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Contract: 4 year, $100M
  • AAV: $25M (Rank #41)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Antetokounmpo had signed a 5 year $228.2M contract extension with Milwaukee prior to the 2020-21 season.

 

Draymond Green

  • Contract: 4 year, $99.7M
  • AAV: $24.9M (Rank #45)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract.

 

Serge Ibaka

  • Contract: 3 year $65M
  • AAV: $21.7M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with TOR (2018-19)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract.

 

Shaquille O'Neal

  • Contract: 5 year, $101M
  • AAV: $20.2M (Rank #1)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIA (2005-06)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract.

 

Dirk Nowitzki

  • Contract: 4 year, $80M
  • AAV: $20M (Rank #2)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with DAL (2010-11)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract.

 

NBA

The Yankees and Astros have built up big leads in their respective divisions, while the Padres have shot past the Dodgers. 

AL West:
Another week, another big jump for the Astros division odds. They’re now (-1100) favorites, a 92% implied win percentage which is more in line with FanGraphs projection (97.2%).


AL East:
The Yankees sweep of Tampa Bay did no one in the division any favors and their lead is up to 10 games. I was admittedly skeptical entering the season but a few subtle offseason moves have paid huge dividends. They’re 31 games over .500 in June and it’s hard to imagine this team falling off a cliff, even in that difficult division.


AL Central:
The Guardians are (13-3) over in June but enter a critical stretch against the Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox and Yankees. Meanwhile, the White Sox have the easiest remaining schedule in the league. If Cleveland can weather the storm, expect this to be a three team race to the finish. 


NL West:
San Diego suddenly leads the division and the Dodgers are now without their ace Walker Buehler until at least September. LA has relied heavily on incredible starts from Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Andersen and both could see some regression in the second half. They’ll get Andrew Heaney back this weekend but I’d bet Andrew Friedman is looking to add another starter. The market hasn’t adjusted yet and our model shows the Padres as the biggest value yet this season. The division is still wide open and there's enough uncertainty with LAD that I’m willing to add some shares of San Diego where it makes sense.



MLB Divisional Parlay of the Week:  HOU (-1100) + NYY (-550) + SDP (+250)

AL West:

The Astros division odds made a sizable shift last week but now the other shoe has dropped with more significant movement this week. Los Angeles lost 14 straight games while Houston extended its lead to 9 games and they’re now (-700) favorites, a massive jump from (-200) only a month ago. This line is increasingly hard to bet on it’s own but there’s still some value. I’m treating it as an ‘odds booster’ going forward and will continue pairing it in parlays.



NL East:

We’ve highlighted the NL Central in recent weeks and continue watching it closely. This is a two team race with a lot of line movement in recent weeks. I still believe the Mets ultimately win here but the margin of error is suddenly low. Their lead is down to 6.5 games and it looks as though Pete Alonso and Starling Marte will be added to their already lengthy injured list. Our model keeps showing Atlanta as a strong value and it’s hard to ignore considering the circumstances.

 

Wager of the Week:  HOU (-700) + ATL (+350)

 

BET MLB DIVISION WINNERS ON FANDUEL

Spotrac’s Season Long Odds Market

The MLB regular season is a marathon, but betting on it doesn’t have to be. Keeping a close eye on data, trends, and line movements  can allow for great value on a week to week basis. Our Season Long Odds Market series will focus on a variety of year end bets, including Division, Pennant, & World Series winners, MVP & Rookie of the Year candidates, and plenty more.

Our process will include analyzing real-time odds from FanDuel Sports Book, predictive odds from FanGraphs, & a little logic based on schedules, standings, injuries, etc… We’ll identify teams who are in a strong window to place a season-end bet on based on the difference between current actual and expected odds, with a nod to parlay every now and then for even more value as well. 

Interested in this stuff? We’d love to hear from you.

 

Summary of Transactions

The Rams have utilized all areas of general management this offseason, and all of these moves have some form of salary cap impact. We’ll detail them below.

Pending Free Agent Extensions: 2
Under Contract Extensions: 2
Signed via Free Agency: 4
Acquired via Trade: 1
Contract Restructures: 1
Lost via Trade: 1
Lost via Retirement: 1
Outright Releases: 1
Lost via Free Agency: 9

2022 SALARY CAP IMPACT

TRANSACTIONS ‘22 CAP IMPACT NET CHANGE
4 Free Agent Signings
2 Pending Free Agent Extensions
8 Signed Draft Picks
$15.14M $15.14M
3 Under Contract Extensions -$13.125M $2.015M
2 Trades (1 in, 1 out) -$1.3M $715k
1 Outright Release -$2.05M -$1.335M
1 Retirement -$15.5M -$16.835M
1 Restructure -$12M -$28.835M

 

In other words, the Rams added or brought back 15 players, moved on from 3 under contract (trade, retirement, release), and by extending three notable players (Donald/Stafford/Kupp) and restructuring another (Floyd), came away with over $28M of additional cap space in 2022.

 

New Starters

Using the projected depth chart from Ourlads, here’s a breakdown of potential starting roles that have been replaced for the upcoming 2022 season.

WR Allen Robinson (trade) replaces Odell Beckham Jr. (free agency)/Robert Woods (trade)
OL Joe Noteboom (internal) replaces LT Andrew Whitworth (retirement, pending)
OG Logan Bruss (draft) replaces Austin Corbett (free agency)
LB Justin Hollins (internal) replaces Von Miller (free agency)
LB Bobby Wagner (free agency) replaces Troy Reeder (free agency)
P Riley Dixon (free agency) replaces Johnny Hekker (release)
KR Brandon Powell (free agency) replaces Cooper Kupp/Ben Skowronek

 

Pending Free Agent Extensions ($5.3M)

New contracts for a few offensive lineman before they hit the open market added $5.3M of cap to the Rams’ table this past March.

March 14th
Extended C Brian Allen 3 years, $18M with $10M guaranteed through 2023.
2022 Cap Charge: $1.8M

March 14th
Extended new LT Joe Noteboom 3 years, $40M with $25M guaranteed through 2023.
2022 Cap Charge: $3.5M

 

Under Contract Extensions

The Rams freed up $12.25M of cap space in restructuring/extended massive contracts with their franchise QB and defensive weapon.

March 19th
Extended QB Matthew Stafford 4 years, $160M with $130M guaranteed through 2025.
2022 Cap Charge: $13.5M ($9.5M saved)

June 6th
Extended DL Aaron Donald 3 years, $95M with $65M guaranteed through 2023.
2022 Cap Charge: $24M ($2.75M saved)

June 8th
Extended WR Cooper Kupp 3 years, $80.1M with $75M guaranteed through 2023.
2022 Cap Charge: $17.8M ($875k saved)

 

Trades

LA surprised many when they moved on from Robert Woods, and surprised nobody when they brought back Troy Hill. They netted $1.3M of cap with these moves.

March 19th
Traded WR Robert Woods to Tennessee, taking on an $11.9M dead cap hit.
2022 Cap Savings: $3.8M

April 30th
Acquired CB Troy Hill from the Browns on a 1 year $4.5M contract, converting $3M to bonus.
2022 Cap Charge: $2.5M

 

Free Agents

The Rams added 4 projected starters in free agency this spring. They combine for just $8.5M of 2022 cap this season.

March 17th
Signed WR Allen Robinson 3 years, $46.5M with $30.75M guaranteed through 2023.
2022 Cap Charge: $4.3M

March 19th
Signed KR Brandon Powell, 1 year, $1M
2022 Cap Charge: $895,000

March 31st
Signed LB Bobby Wagner 5 years, $50M with $20M guaranteed through 2024.
2022 Cap Charge: $2.5M

April 5th
Signed P Riley Dixon to a 1 year, $1M contract
2022 Cap Charge: $895,000

 

Releases

After a run of Pro Bowl caliber seasons, LAR moved on from their starting punter. It freed up $2M of cap space, and they went on to replace him with Riley Dixon’s $895k charge.

March 15th
Released P Johnny Hekker, taking on a $942,000 dead cap hit.
2022 Cap Savings: $2.05M

 

Restructures

The single contract conversion of the offseason (thus far) opened up $12M of much needed space at the start of free agency.

March 16th
Restructured LB Leonard Floyd’s contract
2022 Cap Savings: $12M

 

Draft Picks

The Rams have 8 players under contract from the 2022 NFL Draft, starting with pick #104.
2022 Top 51 Draft Pool: $1.25M

 

Retirement (assumed)

LT Andrew Whitworth retires, leaving behind a $2.16M dead cap hit for 2022, $2M for 2023.
2022 Cap Savings: $15.5M

 

Additional Dead Cap

In addition to the dead cap hits mentioned above, the Rams hold $680,000 of dead cap from moves made both in 2021 and this offseason thus far.
2022 Cap Charge: $680,000

 

Still To Come

Starting LG David Edwards, RT Rob Havenstein DT Greg Gaine, DE A’Shawn Robinson, FS Nick Scott, CB David Long and K Matt Gay are all in contract years. Do the Rams strike early on any of these extensions?

 

But What About 2023...

Now we're talking. Anyone who follows the business of the NFL closely knows that a move made today almost always mean more pain tomorrow. As it currently stands, the 2023 Rams have 62 players under contract with $240M of cap allocated. If we project a $218M league salary cap, this means we estimated LAR to be about $12M over right now from a Top 51 standpoint, $22M in total allocations.

Aaron Donald + Matthew Stafford + Jalen Ramsey + Leonard Floyd currently = $105M of 2023 salary cap.

The good news? All of that cap is just as flexible as the 2022 figures were. And Les Snead can wave his magic wand and do the above all over again. Rinse, Repeat, Rinse, Repeat...until they're bad.

team-290

AL West:

This week we finally saw a sizable correction on one of our favorite division values, Houston. The Astros odds have been slashed in half over the past month as the Angels have struggled to keep pace and Houston is now (-440) favorites. It’s hard to justify buying this line on its own but I now consider Houston an auto add to any season long parlays. Fangraphs has them at >93% to win that division and this line could be much higher.

NL Central:

Milwaukee has been our other favorite on the board in recent weeks. Injuries to Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have tested their depth but the starting rotation has held serve so far. The Brewers lead is down to 3 games and while they’re still (-280) favorites, I suspect that number would be over (-300) without the current injury uncertainty. I love the Cardinals offense but still don’t believe in the pitching long term. If the NL East odds start to shift towards St. Louis, I’ll continue adding shares of Milwaukee.

NL EAST:

Last week we tried jumping the market and attacked the Braves slipping odds. That couldn’t have gone worse as the Mets swept the Phillies and Nationals while the Braves split against the Marlins and Diamondbacks. Despite mounting injuries, New York now holds a 9.5 game lead and it’s hard to imagine Atlanta climbing out of that deficit. Our model shows there’s still value on the Braves but I’ll begin hedging any previous Atlanta bets by mixing the Mets into parlays with our other favorites.

WAGER OF THE WEEK:

The current lines are pretty efficient and there's few combinations that get us a positive expected value bet. That being said, anything I do will continue revolving around HOU + MIL and I'm close to adding NYM to that group.

Our model shows value on the Blue Jays and the Yankees feel like they're one injury away from chaos. For that reason, I'm grabbing shares of Toronto and will keep a close eye on Tampa Bay who is quietly (30-21).

HOU (-440) + MIL (-280) + TOR (+250)

 

BET MLB DIVISION WINNERS ON FANDUEL

Spotrac’s Season Long Odds Market

The MLB regular season is a marathon, but betting on it doesn’t have to be. Keeping a close eye on data, trends, and line movements  can allow for great value on a week to week basis. Our Season Long Odds Market series will focus on a variety of year end bets, including Division, Pennant, & World Series winners, MVP & Rookie of the Year candidates, and plenty more.

Our process will include analyzing real-time odds from FanDuel Sports Book, predictive odds from FanGraphs, & a little logic based on schedules, standings, injuries, etc… We’ll identify teams who are in a strong window to place a season-end bet on based on the difference between current actual and expected odds, with a nod to parlay every now and then for even more value as well. 

Interested in this stuff? We’d love to hear from you.

With June 1st here, a number of NFL teams will see significant cap space open up thanks to their previous Post June 1st Designations back in March. Our look at the financial ramifications for each of the 11 players who will officially process at 4PM ET today.

Total Team Savings
Arizona: $10M
Chicago: $10.9M
Cleveland: $9.5M
Dallas: $10M
Las Vegas: $19.75M
Philadelphia: $2.1M
Seattle: $5.1M
Tennessee: $9.5M
Washington: $12M

Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

Injuries continue to riddle what could have been a dynamic career for Cohen, who had 2 years, $9.75M left on his deal with Chicago cut bait. The Post 6/1 Designation frees up $4M of 2022 cap space, leaving behind dead hits of $1.75M this year, and another $1.75M next season. Cohen remains unsigned.

La’el Collins, OT, Dallas Cowboys

After unsuccessful trade attempts, Collins was released by Dallas, only to sign with the Bengals 48 hours later. The Post June 1st departure frees up $10M of cap and cash for the Cowboys, leaving behind $4.9M of dead cap this year, $8.7M in 2023.

Landon Collins, S, Washington Commanders

Collins wound up earning $42.6M of the $84M contract signed back in 2019. Washington now frees up $12M of his $15.7M cap hit, leaving behind dead figures of $3.825M this year, and another $4.65M next season. Collins remains unsigned.

Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made a mess of Cox’s $102.6M extension, utilizing 3 bonuses, and 3 restructures to continually pushing cap down the line. That line ended this March, and the Post June 1st designation frees up just $2.12M of cap space, leaving behind hits of $12.8M for 2022, and $15.35M in 2023. Cox signed a 1 year, $14M deal to return to Philly almost immediately after this designation.

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Seattle Seahawks

Seattle will free up $5.1M of cash and cap for 2022, leaving behind dead cap hits of $1.4M this season, and $4.2M next year. Dunlap remains unsigned.

Austin Hooper, TE, Cleveland Browns

Hooper had 2 years, $19M left on his deal when Cleveland designated him a 6/1 release. The move frees up $9.5M for 2022, leaving behind dead cap hits of $3.75M in 2022, $7.5M in 2023. Hooper signed a 1 year $6M contract with the Titans shortly thereafter.

Julio Jones, WR, Tennessee Titans

The Titans moved on from Jones despite $13.2M of dead cap, including $2M cash. The designation leaves behind hits of $4.8M in 2022 ($9.5M saved), and $8.4M in 2023. Julio remains unsigned at this time.

Cory Littleton, LB, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders were never going to move forward with Littleton’s $15.7M cap hit for 2022, and the Post 6/1 designation now frees up $11.75M of it. The move leaves behind dead cap hits of $4M this year, $10M next season. Littleton found a home in Carolina on a 1 year, $2.6M contract.

Carl Nassib, DE, Las Vegas Raiders

Nassib became expendable when the Raiders won the bidding war for Chandler Jones this March. His June 1st designation frees up $8M of 2022 cap space, leaving behind dead cap hits of $1.652M for 2022, and another $4.9M in 2023. Nassib remains unsigned.

Jordan Phillips, DE, Arizona Cardinals

After two tough seasons, Arizona moving on to free up $10M was always going to be in the cards. The designation leaves behind dead cap hits of $3.3M for 2022, $5.9M for 2023. Phillips signed a 1 year, $5M deal to rejoin Buffalo shortly after the move.

Danny Trevathan, LB, Chicago Bears

The Bears moved on from 1 year, $7.125M remaining on Trevathan’s deal in favor of $2.4M of 2022 dead cap, and $6.5M in 2023. The designation frees up $6.9M of cap space this season. Trevathan remains unsigned.

AL Central:

This division is officially up for grabs and we’ll be watching it closely over the coming weeks. Chicago entered the season as clear favorites (-210) ahead of Minnesota (+500) but some key injuries have contributed to a slow start. This opened the door for the Twins who now hold a 4.5 game lead. The White Sox remain a slight betting favorite but the odds have moved towards even. I expect it to keep trending in that direction with a tough June schedule for Chicago (series against TOR, TBR, LAD, HOU and LAA). 

I like the Twins' depth but the optimal time to bet on them has passed. Instead, if Chicago loses additional ground over the next few weeks I’ll buy the dip ahead of players returning from injury (Lynn, Jimenez) and an easier schedule down the stretch. 

 

NL East:

When it was announced that Max Scherzer would miss 6-8 weeks I expected the market to gravitate towards Atlanta. To my surprise the opposite happened and there’s been further separation between the Mets and Braves. Candidly, I still believe the Mets win this division but I’m less convinced than I was 2 weeks ago. The Braves have a quality rotation with depth in the minors, an experienced bullpen and perhaps the best offensive infield in baseball. We know Alex Anthopoulos will plug outfield holes at the deadline and this team should again be a force down the stretch. If the market thinks the Mets are still clear favorites despite the injuries there’s value on the Atlanta side.

 

Wager of the Week:  

MIL (-290) + HOU (-270) + ATL (+340)

Following up on last week, there’s still plenty of value with Milwaukee and Houston compared to their projected win percentages. While the odds are not as good, I still think they’re a safe bet and will continue pairing them with other teams I like to improve the overall odds.

BET MLB DIVISION WINNERS ON FANDUEL

Betting

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
    • Cap Hit: $39,344,900 (7th)
  • Devin Booker (PHX)
    • Cap Hit: $31,650,600 (22nd)
    • Triggers eligibility for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. Could sign estimated 4 year $211 million (based on $134.5 million cap) which would begin with the 2024-25 season.
  • Luka Doncic (DAL)
    • Cap Hit: $10,174,391 (121st)
    • Already triggered Designated Rookie Extension ("Rookie Supermax") with previous two All-NBA selections. This makes it three All-NBA selections in a row. Will earn estimated 5 year $212.28 million beginning with the 2022-23 season (based on $122 million cap)
  • Nikola Jokic (DEN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
    • Eligible for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. Eligibility was triggered last season with 2020-21 MVP Award. 
  • Jayson Tatum (BOS)
    • Cap Hit: $28,103,500 (35th)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM

  • Stephen Curry (GSW)
    • Cap Hit: $45,780,966 (1st)
  • DeMar DeRozan (CHI)
    • Cap Hit: $26,000,000 (41st)
  • Kevin Durant (BKN)
    • Cap Hit: $42,018,900 (5th)
  • Joel Embiid (PHI)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
  • Ja Morant (MEM)
    • Cap Hit: $9,603,360 (129th)
    • Does not automatically trigger Designated Rookie Maximum Extension ("Rookie Supermax"), would need All-NBA in 2022-23 to trigger escalation

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM

  • LeBron James (LAL)
    • Cap Hit: $41,180,544 (6th)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Chris Paul (PHX)
    • Cap Hit: $30,800,000 (30th)
  • Pascal Siakam (TOR)
    • Cap Hit: $33,003,936 (19th)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,650,600 (22nd)
    • Triggers eligibility for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") in this offseason. Could sign estimated 4 year $211 million (based on $134.5 million cap) which would begin with the 2024-25 season.
  • Trae Young (ATL)
    • Cap Hit: $8,326,471 (150th)
    • Triggered Designated Rookie Maximum Extension ("Rookie Supermax") for already signed rookie extension that was signed in the 2021 offseason. Contract now becomes an estimated 5 year $212.28 million contract (based on $122 million cap)

 

ALL-NBA DEFENSE FIRST TEAM

ALL-NBA DEFENSE SECOND TEAM

  • Bam Adebayo (MIA)
    • Cap Hit: $28,103,500 (35th)
  • Jrue Holiday (MIL)
    • Cap Hit: $32,431,333 (21st)
    • Earned $120,000 bonus
  • Matisse Thybulle (PHI)
    • Cap Hit: $2,840,160 (267)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Robert Williams III (BOS)
    • Cap Hit: $3,661,976 (245th)
  • Draymond Green (GSW)
    • Cap Hit: $24,026,712 (43rd)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).

 

ALL-NBA ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

ALL-NBA ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

  • Nikola Jokic (DEN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
    • Eligible for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. This was triggered last season with 2020-21 MVP Award. 

 

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

  • Tyler Herro (MIA)
    • Cap Hit: $4,004,280 (230th)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers). View contract options

 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Ja Morant (MEM)
    • Cap Hit: $9,603,360 (129th)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).

 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

 

ROOKIE OF THE PLAYER

NBA NBA Awards

The Brewers and Astros both entered the season with some question marks. Could the Milwaukee offense support their dominant pitching staff? How would the Astros respond to the loss of Carlos Correa? Both teams have shown those uncertainties were likely over exaggerated as they currently hold small leads in their respective divisions.

Milwaukee is the NL Central favorite at (-270). These odds imply a 73% chance they win the division but FanGraphs projects their odds of winning at 88%. It’s pretty clear this division will be won by the Brewers or Cardinals.

Houston is a (-210) favorite to win the AL West which translates to a 67% implied probability. FanGraphs has their projection much higher at 81%. This division is also a two team race between the Astros and Angels.


BET MLB DIVISION WINNERS ON FANDUEL


Spotrac’s Season Long Odds

The MLB regular season is a marathon, but betting on it doesn’t have to be. Keeping a close eye on data, trends, and specific lines can allow for great value on a week to week basis. Our Season Long Odds series will focus on a variety of year end bets, including Division, Pennant, & World Series winners, MVP & Rookie of the Year candidates, and plenty more.

Our process will include analyzing real-time odds from FanDuel Sports Book, predictive odds from FanGraphs, & a little logic based on schedules, standings, injuries, etc… We’ll identify teams who are in a strong window to place a season-end bet on based on the difference between current actual and expected odds, with a nod to parlay every now and then for even more value as well. 

 

Interested in this stuff? We’d love to hear from you.

Kevin Gausman Over 7.5 Strikeouts

+

Drew Rasmussen Over 4.5 Strikeouts

As the Tampa Bay Lighting and Toronto Maple Leafs head north for a decisive game 7 matchup, the Blue Jays and Rays are in Florida for an important divisional series with both teams looking to keep pace with the AL East leading Yankees.

In previous seasons, the Tampa Bay offense feasted on RHP but struggled to put the ball in play against LHP. Those numbers have completely flipped this year as they own the highest K% against RHP and 2nd lowest vs LHP. On Friday, they’ll face RHP Kevin Gausman who has a 31.3 K% to start the year so I expect more of the same from both sides.

TBR K% vs LHP:   

2019:  25.7%

2020:  28.5%

2021:  25.6%

2022:  18.0%

TBR K% vs RHP:

2022:  25.8%

The opposite matchup has Drew Rasmussen battling the surprisingly inconsistent Blue Jays offense. It’s no secret Toronto is a sleeping giant but they’re currently striking out 23% against RHP. Rasmussen has flashed elite strikeout upside at times although Tampa rarely lets him go deep into games. I expect him to clear 5 strikeouts if he can go 5+ innings.

Check out the Blue Jays vs. Rays Same Game Parlays on FanDuel

The Baker Mayfield dilemma refuses to go away, and as the NFL enters the one true "quiet phase" of their season, a story about an embattled QB and a team who just fully guaranteed $230M to another one - will only gain steam.

But who really holds the leverage in this particular scenario? It's easy to look at this from a contractual angle, and assume that the $18.8M fully guaranteed to Baker Mayfield gives him all of the power here. But a recent ESPN article, and subsequent response, brings to light an item that I've been reluctant to approach with this disagreement yet - the Personal Conduct clause.

In short, the rumors are starting to swirl that this situation may be approaching a point at which the Browns may be able to build a case to prove that Mayfield's "antics" are violating the conduct clause in his contract. Should this be adjudicated, the $18.8M guarantee on the contract could potentially be voided, offering Cleveland a free out (no dead cap or cash to release him outright). It's an ugly path to take, and frankly it seems a weak case to be made from the outside looking in as well - but it's not something that should be ignored completely.

What Haven't They Just Accepted a Low-Ball Deal?
Yes, the Browns are in a financial pinch here, with the league's highest cash payroll, and a whopping $71.2M cash currently allocated to their QB room (Watson, $46M; Mayfield, $18.8M; Brissett, $4.65M; Dobbs: $1M).

But it should also be assumed that Deshaun Watson stands to miss games in 2022 due to suspension. So while paying Mayfield $1.05M per week on the active roster is costly, it may provide Cleveland the best chance to win ballgames early on. 

Furthermore - and potentially offering even sooner relevance, the NFL unfortunately sees a few prominent players lost to injury in training camps each year. As we saw with Teddy Bridgewater/Sam Bradford just a few years ago, it only takes one team in panic mode to turn an awful situation into an easy sell. 

Where Does this Wind Up?
While the right move might be to hang on to Mayfield, both for Watson protection and to wait out the best possible trade opportunity, the social media/player empowerment age will likely not allow things to hold out that long. Now that the "conduct" clause has reared its head, Baker and his people need to tread lightly with their disdain for the situation, but Odell Beckham Jr. likely paved the path for how to get off this team - both from a stirring the pot and a financial compromise standpoint. 

OBJ agreed to forfeit $3M of his guarantee in order to gain his release from Cleveland at the trade deadline last year. He went unclaimed on waivers, signed an incentive loaded deal with the Rams, and moved on with his career. 

Will Baker choose the same path? Cleveland likely has a strong handle on what other teams are willing to pay Baker for 2022, based on trade & split salary discussions they've had this winter. Is the next step to simply ask Baker to chop off what he'll likely earn elsewhere, and outright release the 27 year old QB?

Possibly, but if he wants to start football games in 2022, mending fences with Cleveland, and using Deshaun Watson's suspension as a "final showcase" to the rest of the league may actually be his best career move.

The Diamondbacks had a quiet offseason but did make one major acquisition with the addition of former Astros pitching coach Brent Strom. That move has paid immediate dividends as Arizona starters have the second lowest ERA in MLB behind only the Dodgers. You read that correctly - a rotation consisting of Madison Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly, Zach Davies, Zac Gallen and Humberto Castellanos is massively out performing all pre season expectations.

Merrill Kelly takes the mound Friday night for an appealing matchup with the Rockies. He has never been a dominant pitcher but looks great early, owning a 1.27 ERA (2.11 FIP) across 28.1 innings. Now he gets an inconsistent Colorado team who has struggled away from Coors field and more specifically strikes out a ton (24% on the road vs RHP since the start of 2021.) For those reasons  interested in the over on his strikeout total (4.5).

The NWSL and NWSLPA ratified the first-ever CBA in Feb 2022 and will run through Dec 31, 2026. The details of the actual CBA can now be viewed: click here

 

Minimum Salaries

2022: $35,000

2023: $36,400

2024: $37,856

2025: $39,370

2026: $40,945 

 

Any player who had a salary in 2021 over $22,000 will have their 2022 salary increased by a designated amount based on a predetermined range. For example, $22,000-$22,999 will have their 2022 salary increased by $13,000.

Any player who has a salary lower than $22,000 in 2021 will begin the 2022 season no lower than $35,000.

 

Competition Bonuses

Awarded to each Player on applicable Team:

NWSL Shield: $5,000

NWSL Champion: $5,000

NWSL Runner-Up: $3,750

NWSL Semi-Finalist: $2,500

NWSL Quarterfinalist: $1,250

Challenge Cup Champion: $1,000 (if held)

Challenge Cup Runner-Up: $500 (if held)

 

Awarded to selected players:

Best 11 Award: $5,000

Rookie of the Year: $5,000

Most Valuable Player: $5,000

Golden Boot: $5,000

Defender of the Year: $5,000

Goalkeeper of the Year: $5,000

All-Star Bonus: $2,000

 

NWSL

The 2022 NFL draft saw nine QBs selected from pick #20 to the very last #262 slot. We breakdown the finances for each selection, and the surrounding QB situation for each of their respective teams.

Related Links:
2022 NFL Draft Tracker

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Kenny Pickett unsurprisingly joins Pittsburgh at #20 overall and will get every opportunity to win the starting role out of the gate. He projects to sign a fully guaranteed 4 year, $14M contract in the coming weeks.

Pittsburgh signed Mitchell Trubisky to a 2 year, $14.285M this past March, and for all intents, he’s projected to be the Week 1 starter. The contract suggests a slightly overpaid backup QB however, with $6.285M of cash this year, and $8M non-guaranteed for 2023.

Mason Rudolph has been with the Steelers since 2018, and enters 2022 on a non-guaranteed $3M salary. There’s a chance Pittsburgh moves on here, freeing up that $3M of cap and cash.

Pittsburgh added Chris Oladokun with pick 241, a slot that comes with a projected 4 year, $3.7M contract, only $90,000 of which is guaranteed. He’s a camp body with a chance to make the practice squad.

 

Atlanta Falcons

Desmond Ridder was the second QB selected, going to Atlanta at #74 overall. The slot comes with a projected 4 year $5.3M deal with a $1.1M guarantee. Ridder will likely hold a clipboard for 2022, learning the ropes and the offensive system from Atlanta’s other new QB1, Marcus Mariota.

Atlanta signed Marcus Mariota away from Las Vegas this past March, to the tune of a 2 year, $18.75M contract. The deal includes $6.75M guaranteed, all in 2022, putting him on a 1 year showcase - with his likely replacement Ridder, now positioned behind him.

Felipe Franks was an undrafted signing last May, and should find himself on the practice squad for the 2022 campaign.

 

Tennessee Titans

If you had Malik Willis dropping deep into the 3rd round to the Titans on your board, you made a lucky guess. Most evaluators say Willis has the highest ceiling of this new QB group, and he’ll have all of 2022 to dig into Tennessee’s system, and work alongside Ryan Tannehill. The #86 slot comes with a projected 4 year, $5.1M contract, including $921,000 guaranteed.

Ryan Tannehill may be the next big name to leave Tennessee, following the release of WR Julio Jones, and trade of WR A.J. Brown in the past few weeks. Barring a trade, he’ll get the 2022 campaign to further his future case, but his 2 year, $56M contract offers no guarantees after this season, and Tennessee can free up $17.8M of cap to move on next March.

Logan Woodside latched on with Tennessee back in 2019, and has served in the backup role ever since. The selection of Willis puts his roster spot in jeopardy, though it’s perfectly possible that the Titans roster 3 QBs, or try to shelve Woodside on the practice squad. His 1 year, $895,000 contract is non-guaranteed.

 

Carolina Panthers

It wasn’t Malik Willis at #6. It wasn’t Baker Mayfield via trade. It wasn’t anything we expected. It was Matt Corral at the back end of the 3rd round. The #94 slot comes with a projected 4 year, $5M contract, $875,000 guaranteed, offering a pile of value if he can find his way onto the field for the Panthers.

Sam Darnold still projected to be the Week 1 starter for Carolina, as his fully guaranteed $18.8M (and the draft compensation the Panthers gave up to acquire him) make him a difficult player to move on from. Barring a resurgent season, Darnold is now on a 1-and-done pattern.

Phillip Walker joined the Panthers back in 2020, and has 9 games under his belt, including 2 starts. Though his 1 year, $895,000 contract is non-guaranteed, Carolina may be poised to keep all three of these QBs as their future with this position remains unsettled.

 

New England Patriots

The Patriots raised a few eyebrows with a 4th round selection of Bailey Zappe, one year after taking Mac Jones to be their next QB1 of the future. But all of the analysis leans to Zappe being a perfect complement to Jones for the next few years, with similar pocket presence, patience, and touch in the passing game. He’s likely been drafted to be the QB2 of their future, with Brian Hoyer on a short deal, and Stidham likely falling off of the roster. Zappe’s #137 slot comes with a projected 4 year, $4.3M contract, $650,000 guaranteed.

Mac Jones enters year 2 of a fully guaranteed $15.5M contract, with a 5th year option that keeps him under team control through 2025. His play leveled off a bit as the 2021 year progressed, but he appears to be the right player to develop in the Bill Belichick system.

Brian Hoyer was signed back to New England on a 2 year, $4M contract that includes $1.4M fully guaranteed in 2023. The 36-year-old’s roster spot will be as much about leading the QB room as it will be about acting as a potential veteran presence on the field as needed.

The Jarrett Stidham project appears to be nearing the finish line. The Patriots can free up $965,000 of cash/cap space by moving on from the final year of his rookie contract.

 

Washington Commanders

Washington brought in Sam Howell with the #144 overall selection this weekend, and will soon lock him into an estimated 4 year, $4M contract, $360,000 guaranteed. It’s a low-risk financial move, giving the Commanders an outside chance of grooming Howell into an NFL-ready product come 2023 or so.

Carson Wentz and his $28M+ salary were acquired from Indy this March, putting him in line to start for his 3rd team in 3 years. With no other viable starting options currently on the roster, it appears that Washington will be giving Wentz a chance to win this job for the long term. His contract carries 3 years, $81.705M remaining, and $9M of his 2023 compensation locks in on the 3rd league day of 2023.

Taylor Heinicke was bumped back to QB2 per the acquisition of Wentz, and his 1 year, $3.1M contract aligns with that role. There’s a good chance he’s competing for a starting job elsewhere in 2023.

 

Miami Dolphins

Skylar Thompson joins Miami at the #247 pick, a slot that carries a projected 4 year, $3.7M contract, $82,000 guaranteed. Thompson overachieved at Kansas State, and shows a lot of NFL-ready ability, but he’s almost certainly a practice squad candidate on this beefed up Miami roster.

Tua Tagovailoa enters the all-important year three of a rookie contract that now includes 2 years, $8M + a 5th year option remaining on it. With plenty of new toys and an upgraded offensive line, it’s a no-excuse situation for the 24 year old, especially as the Dolphins added Teddy Bridgewater to compete this summer.

Teddy Bridgewater signed a 1 year, $6.5M contract to join Miami this past March, and while all signs point to Tua keeping the QB1 reins out of the gate, it stands to reason that the Dolphins can keep him on a short leash this season, with Bridgewater certainly capable of stepping into a starting role at a moment’s notice.

Chris Streveler spent 2021 on the Ravens’ practice squad, and his $895,000 salary for 2022 is non-guaranteed in Miami. He’s a camp body until he’s not.

 

San Francisco 49ers

Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, projects to a 4 year, $3.7M contract, including $86,000 guaranteed. He joins a complicated QB situation (at least on the surface), with Trey Lance supposedly poised to take over the reins, and Jimmy Garoppolo too injured to trade currently.

Trey Lance enters year two of a rookie contract that now has 3 years, $11.28M fully guaranteed, plus a 5th-year option remaining on it. For all intents and purposes, he’s the QB1 entering camp, though Jimmy Garoppolo’s future, and Lance’s ability to settle into the role, all appear to be question marks as of now.

Jimmy Garoppolo enters the final year of his contract, with a chance to add $25.6M to his career earnings. An injury to his throwing shoulder kicked in a $7.5M guarantee on his 2022 salary, putting his ability to be moved on hold, either via trade or outright release. With Nate Sudfeld and now Brock Purdy on the roster, it appears as though the Niners’ plan is still to move on from Jimmy once he’s healthy, but stranger things have happened.

Nate Sudfeld signed a 1 year, $2M fully guaranteed contract to join San Francisco back in March, and projects to be the QB2 once Jimmy Garoppolo is moved on from.

Cincinnati currently owns the worst record in MLB and Joey Votto has started ice cold but they head to Colorado for a weekend series with the Rockies and it’s a prime spot to get the offense going. The Reds lineup is uninspiring but they have some sneaky power throughout which could surface at notoriously hitter friendly Coors Field. Votto has a career .232 ISO against RHP and posted a .355 ISO in 2021 (4th in MLB). The Reds will face righty Antonio Senzatela on Friday and I like Votto to pop his first HR(s) of the season.

To Hit a Home Run:  Joey Votto (+360)
To Hit 2+ Home Runs:  Joey Votto (+3500)

Joey Votto Betting

The first round of the NFL Draft was highlighted by the wide receiver position - everywhere you looked. For the first time in history, 6 WRs were selected in the Top 20 of the draft, with all of them picked between #8 & #18 overall. Of the 6, 3 were traded up for to select:

  • New Orleans jumped up 5 spots for Chris Olave
  • Detroit jumped up 20 spots for Jameson Williams
  • Tennessee added #18 for Treylon Burks

But the bigger news of night probably wasn't the 6 receivers who were drafted, but the two currently NFL wideouts who were traded amidst the selections.

The Cardinals acquired WR Marquise Brown from the Ravens with a 3rd round pick in exchange for the #23 overall pick last night. Brown reunites with college QB Kyler Murray, joining DeAndre Hopkins & A.J. Green to fortify a strong pass-catching arsenal in he desert. Arizona subsequently exercised Brown's 5th year option for 2023, locking him in at 2 years, $15.5M.

Not to be outdone, the Eagles soon after made an even bigger splash, acquiring WR A.J. Brown from the Titans for the #18 & #101 overall picks this year. Philly announced a 4 year, $100M extension for Brown shortly after, guaranteeing the 24 year old $57M according to initial reports. Tennessee used the #18 overall pick to select Treylon Burks out of Arkansas, who should come with a 4 year, $14.3M contract through 2025.

The run on WRs likely isn't done, as teams like Buffalo, Kansas City, Green Bay, & Baltimore should all be seeking another wideout Friday.

 

Best Available WRs (ESPN)

  • Christian Watson, North Dakota State
  • Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
  • John Metchie, Alabama
  • George Pickens, Georgia
  • Alec Pierce, Cincinnati

Subsequently, the immediate futures of both DK Metcalf (SEA) & Deebo Samuel (SF) remain in question, as the former may not want to extend amidst a rebuild, while the latter has reportedly asked out of his role with the Niners.

 

Trade Compensation for Recently Traded WRs

A.J. Brown: 2022 1st, 2022 3rd (extending to $57M guaranteed)
Marquise Brown: With a 2022 3rd, for a 2022 1st (exercised $13.4M option)
DeVante Parker: With a 2022 5th, for a 2023 3rd (no financial change)
Tyreek Hill: 2022 1st, 2022 2nd, 2022 4th, 2023 4th, 2023 6th (extended to $72M guaranteed)
Robert Woods: 2023 6th (no financial change)
Davante Adams: 2022 1st, 2022 2nd (extended to $65M guaranteed)
Amari Cooper: With a 2022 6th, for a 2022 5th, 2022 6th (no financial change)

Bradley Beal (SG, WSH)

The 2021-22 season was Bradley Beal’s 10th year in the NBA. That’s a milestone in terms of longevity and in terms of contract tiers. For Beal, he’s now eligible for the largest maximum deal possible. But it’s also an important marker for a player whose health concerns were once so real, it was fair to question if he’d make it this far. At any rate, one thing is certain: Bradley Beal will be a free agent this summer. With that in mind, here are the various contract options for the Wizards franchise player this summer. Read the Full Evaluation

 

Deandre Ayton (C, PHX)

When Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns couldn’t come to an agreement on a rookie scale contract extension, it was fair to question the commitment from one party to the other. While the breakdown seemed to be more about years than dollars, there was still a gap that couldn’t be overcome. Now, Ayton is wrapping up his best season, while the Suns have rampaged to the NBA’s best record. That begs a chicken/egg set of questions: Is Ayton good because of the Suns? Or are the Suns good because of Ayton? Read the Full Evaluation

 

Jalen Brunson (PG, DAL)

Despite having nearly $137 million committed to their 2022-23 roster, Cuban says the Mavericks intend to do “whatever we have to” to keep guard Jalen Brunson. Let’s examine what Brunson’s options for his next contract are. He’s got a handful of ways he can go, either before this season ends or this summer. Read the Full Evaluation

 

Jordan Poole (SG, GSW)

The Golden State Warriors face some decisions with Poole. This offseason, he’s extension-eligible for the first time. This season, Golden State will pay over $170 million luxury taxes and repeater penalties alone. That’s on top of over $175 million in salaries. That’s just shy of $350 million in salaries plus taxes for one season. That’s going to factor into a possible extension for Poole. Either with how much the team is willing to pay or with future roster decisions down the line. Read the Full Evaluation

 

Kyrie Irving (PG, BKN)

Irving has a $36.9 million player option for the 2022-23 season, as the final year of the four-year deal he signed with Brooklyn in the summer of 2019. The most likely course of action is that Irving will decline that option and become an unrestricted free agent. But whatever you think is most likely to happen and Kyrie Irving don’t always go hand in hand. Read the Full Evaluation

 

Tyler Herro (SG, MIA)

Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat is probably going to win Sixth Man of the Year. Actually, remove the probably. Herro will win Sixth Man of the Year. Herro has been dominant off the bench for Miami this season. He’s averaged 21 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Heat in his third season. In a somewhat odd twist, Herro has been far more effective as a reserve than as a starter. His efficiency drops considerably as a starter, which leads to fall-off in overall production. That begs the question: How much do you pay a sixth man? Read the Full Evaluation

 

Zach LaVine (SG, CHI)

Zach LaVine has stayed mostly healthy during this season’s surprise Bulls’ run. That has helped him garner back-to-back All-Star nods. In addition, LaVine has shown he’s not just a “good stats, bad team” guy, as he’s been a big part of Chicago’s turnaround. This summer, LaVine will again hit free agency. The difference is this time he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. And the Bulls won’t get him on any sort of under-market, team-friendly deal. LaVine is likely to get paid. Read the Full Evaluation

 

Zion Williamson (PF, NOP)

Zion Williamson has played in a grand total of 85 games over his first three seasons. 85 games. Or just three more games than one standard NBA season. And thus come the complications with Williamson’s next contract. All signs point to Williamson wanting a full max deal. The Pelicans may be reluctant to go there. Read the Full Evaluation

The NBA last expanded in 2004. The Charlotte Bobcats joined the league and spent a decade as the Bobcats before rebranding and bringing back the Charlotte Hornets.

Now, nearly two decades after adding their franchise, it’s time for the NBA to expand again.

No, expansion isn’t imminent. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has routinely shot down any rumor to that effect. But in recent years, Silver hasn’t completely brushed aside the idea as idle gossip. Instead, Silver has said the league “dusted off some of their analysis” on the topic.

This week, Silver’s new negotiating partner at the NBPA, Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio, said she is of the mindset that the NBA is ready to expand as well.

“We do want more teams, I think it's good for the business,’’ Tremaglio said during her opening keynote conversation with SBJ executive editor Abraham Madkour. “Ideally, we hope that there will be more teams popping up in the U.S.’’

What makes it time for the NBA to expand? Let’s break it down.

 

Labor Peace

The NBA and NBPA have established a long period of labor peace. The last CBA negotiations were barely a blip, despite some major changes to contract structures, and the like, being pushed through. That was nearly five years ago now.

Then, behind Silver on the NBA side and former Executive Director Michele Roberts on the NBPA side, the two parties managed to work through the pandemic. The 2019-20 season paused for roughly four months in 2020 before resuming and completing at Walt Disney World. That was no small task, and required immense coordination on the part of all parties involved.

The next season was full of challenges with various mandates, guidelines and laws, but the NBA played a full, if pared down, season. And the 2021-22 season has completed with very few postponements and a full 82-game slate.

None of that happens without the league and the players having a good working relationship. And that labor peace is necessary before you add any more parties to mix in the form of new teams.

 

Talent Pool

When the NBA has expanded in the past, it’s led to a somewhat watered-down product for at least a couple of years. The way the rules work for expansion, it’s hard for an expansion team to be good quickly. They work with limited resources, lower salary caps, draft handicaps and pick their initial rosters from the ends of benches around the league.

It’s that last part that matters though. The NBA is as deep in talent as it has ever been. There are quality players in the 11-17 (including Two-Way players) spots on each roster. Some of them just don’t play because the guys in front of them are that good.

In addition to that, it’s expected a new round of expansion would come with smarter run teams than in the past. They might be willing to eat a questionable contract or two for additional assets. That will lead to a handful of vets who need a fresh start popping up on expansion rosters.

And, as the expanded rosters during the pandemic-challenged seasons taught us, there are a lot of really good players on the fringes of the NBA just waiting for a chance.

 

Draft Reform

It’s expected that the NBA and NBPA will tackle draft reform sooner rather than later. It’ll probably wait until the next CBA negotiations, but could come before that. With the advent of the G League being a now stable minor league, and the creation of the G League Ignite for players who don’t want to attend college, it’s time to change things up a bit with entry into the NBA.

It’s expected that players will again be allowed to make the leap from high school to the NBA again. There may be parameters put around that to safeguard those players making that leap, but it’s expected to be pushed through. That further increases the pool of talent coming to the league, and is another indication that two more teams can be supported.

 

Cities Ready

There are several cities that are ready for expansion teams. Primary cities mentioned are Seattle and Las Vegas, but at least five or six others are considered viable candidates.

Seattle has upgraded Climate Pledge Arena (formerly Key Arena) enough to host an NBA team. There’s also talk of building an entirely new building in another area of Seattle, should they be awarded a team. In addition, Seattle’s major has continually said he regularly pushes for a team to be brought back to the Emerald City

In Las Vegas, there are plans to build a brand new, state-of-the-art arena, with the primary goal of getting an expansion team. In the interim, there are several sites that could host an expansion team, should that new arena not be ready.

If not one of those cities, then places like Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico City have all been mentioned as potential expansion sites. Some of them are champing at the bit to get team, especially Louisville, which has been pushing for expansion for nearly a decade now.

 

Maintaining “Basketball” Cities

As it pertains to Seattle and Las Vegas, the NBA has seen those as “basketball” cities. Seattle has a long history of turning out great players and had the SuperSonics for years. Las Vegas is the home of NBA Summer League, as well a location where several players live and train in the offseason.

However, Seattle has the Seahawks in the NFL and the Mariners in MLB, and added the Kraken in the NHL this year. Las Vegas now the Golden Knights in the NHL and recently added the Raiders in the NFL. There are rumors that Las Vegas could be a relocation spot for an MLB team too.

Now, basketball isn’t likely to lose its foothold in either of those cities. But the NBA is cautious about letting new teams, especially in direct season competition like the NHL, gain too big of a following to be overcome. The league understands that consumers have only so much expendable income. Getting those dollars funneled towards the NBA is a priority.

 

Immediate Cash Infusion

When asked about potential expansion in 2021, Adam Silver said that the reported $2.5 billion expected expansion fee was “very low”. It’s now expected that the expansion fee for each team would be somewhere between $3 and $3.5 billion. That’s $6 to $7 billion dollars that goes directly into the league.

In addition, expansion teams often operate under reduced revenue sharing and the like in their initial years. Even with a new TV contract coming, and then being split 32 ways vs 30, that expansion fee is a hefty chunk of change.

And it’s that new TV contract that also makes expansion somewhat more likely. While that pie would get further divided with two more franchises and up to 34 more players, there’s expected to be more than enough to go around. In addition, two more teams would mean two more Regional Sports Networks added. That’s just further income into the NBA coffers.

 

Increased Interest in the NBA

The NBA just released that they pulled their highest TV ratings in three years. NBA League Pass subscriptions are at their highest levels in history. And social media engagement is through the roof.

The league is ready to bring in new markets, and it will be easier than ever because there are readymade fans in those markets already. There’s not going to be any selling anyone on the NBA game, as there was when Charlotte (the initial version), Miami, Minnesota and Orlando joined the team. And the game has grown enough internationally, and the Toronto Raptors having been such a success, that growing that way wouldn’t be any sort of worry either.

 

NBA Reform

The NBA is in a position to rework their current division and conference setup in a major way. The schedule continues to be a major topic of conversation. While no one is advocating for less overall games, expansion could be a way to keep the current number of total games across the league the same, while lessening them for each individual team.

If Adam Silver really wants to push through his in-season tournament, it could be easier with two new teams and an overhaul of the schedule. Mostly, the NBA will continue to tinker with ways to make their winter-time product (regular season) as meaningful and exciting as their spring-time product (playoffs) is. Two new teams would help with that.

 

Overall

If you add it all up, it’s time for the NBA to expand. It’ll have been over 20 years since the last new team joined the league by the time an expansion team takes the floor.

While neither the NFL or MLB have expanded in that time period, they have relocated teams, re-aligned divisions/conferences/leagues and undertaken other drastic changes, like postseason expansion.

The NHL has added two teams in that time period, in two prime cities of Las Vegas and Seattle. In addition, MLS has grown by leaps and bounds since the NBA last expanded.

Mostly, when both Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio are openly admitting expansion is being discussed, it’s really time. Those are the two with the power to push expansion or block the discussions from even being started. It seems like both are ready to embrace the idea of adding teams to the league.

While expansion may not be imminent, it would be no surprise to get word within the next two-to-three years that the NBA is expanding with two new teams starting play within the next five years.

NBA Expansion

Bobby Wagner's tumultuous exit from Seattle becomes the defending champion Los Angeles Rams' next prized possession. Our look at how his 5 year, $50M contract breaks down in terms of guarantee, cash flow, & available incentives.

2022 Financial Details

Purse (est.):

$11.5 million

 

Top 10 Payouts (based on 2021 purse):

Winner - $2,070,000

2nd place - $1,242,000

3rd place - $782,000

4th place - $552,000

5th place - $460,000

6th place - $414,000

7th place - $385,250

8th place - $356,500

9th place - $333,500

10th place - $310,500

 

Past Winners

2021 Hideki Matsuyama $2,070,000
2020 Dustin Johnson $2,070,000
2019 Tiger Woods $2,070,000
2018 Patrick Reed $1,980,000
2017 Sergio Garcia $1,980,000
2016 Danny Willett $1,800,000
2015 Jordan Spieth $1,800,000
2014 Bubba Watson $1,620,000
2013 Adam Scott $1,440,000
2012 Bubba Watson $1,440,000

 

Career Earnings

#1 Tiger Woods $9,544,736
#2 Phil Michelson $8,164,317
#3 Jordan Spieth $5,261,828
#4 Dustin Johnson $4,226,475
#5 Justin Rose $4,122,765

Related: Full Career Earnings at the Masters

 

Since 2017 - Last 5 Years

#1 Dustin Johnson $3,214,667
#2 Hideki Matsuyama $2,740,867
#3 Patrick Reed $2,667,988
#4 Tiger Woods $2,184,263
#5 Sergio Garcia $1,980,000

 

Since 2012 - Last 10 Years

#1 Jordan Spieth $5,261,828
#2 Dustin Johnson $4,108,600
#3 Bubba Watson $3,887,880
#4 Justin Rose $3,465,790
#5 Hideki Matsuyama $3,452,534

 

PGA Masters Tournament

World Series Odds vs. Opening Day Payrolls

The Dodgers are basically 1-2 favorites over the rest of baseball right now, while the Blue Jays, White Sox and Astros begin the year fairly even as the AL favorite. Only 3 of the Top 10 betting favorites don't possess a Top 10 payroll for 2022 currently.
Related: Current 2022 Payrolls

Top 10 Odds (FanDuel) Top 10 Cash Payrolls
Dodgers, +450 Dodgers, $279M
Blue Jays, +850  Mets, $251M
White Sox, +950 Yankees, $241M
Astros, +1000 Phillies, $221M
Braves, +1200 Padres, $208M
Brewers, +1200 Red Sox, $195M
Yankees, +1300 White Sox, $181M
Rays, +1500 Braves, $174M
Mets, +1500 Angels, $169M
Padres, +1700 Blue Jays, $166M

 

Masters Odds vs. 2020-21 Cash Rankings

Jon Rahm finished last season as the PGA money king, and he’ll enter Augusta as the favorite this week. The #2 money man, Patrick Cantlay, holds the 11th best Masters’ odds, while the 3rd highest earner, Bryson DeChambeau, sits 14th currently.
Related: 20-21 PGA Cash Rankings

Top 10 Odds (FanDuel) Top 10 20-21 Earners
Jon Rahm, +1300 Jon Rahm, $7.7M
Cam Smith, +1400 Patrick Cantlay, $7.6M
Justin Thomas, +1400 Bryson DeChambeau, $7.4M
Scottie Scheffler, +1600 Collin Morikawa, $7M
Dustin Johnson, +1600 Justin Thomas, $6.5M
Jordan Spieth, +1700 Jordan Spieth, $6.4M
Collin Morikawa, +2000 Louis Oosthuizen, $6.3M
Brooks Koepka, +2000 Harris English, $6.2M
Rory McIlroy, +2000 Cam Smith, $5.8M
Viktor Hovland, +2000 Abraham Ancer, $5.8M

 

Super Bowl LVII Odds vs. 2022 Cash Payrolls

Here’s how the last 5 top cash spenders have fared in that respective season:
2017: Carolina, 11-5 regular season, Wild Card loss
2018: Chicago, 12-4 regular season, Wild Card loss
2019: Atlanta, 7-9 regular season
2020: Houston, 4-12 regular season
2021: Tampa Bay, 13-4 regular season, Divisional loss

Related: 2022 NFL Cash Payrolls

Top 10 Odds (FanDuel) Top 10 2022 Cash Payroll
Bills, +650 Browns, $250M
Buccaneers, +700 Bills, $241M
Chiefs, +950 Rams, $235M
Rams, +1100 Dolphins, $233M
Packers, +1100 Saints, $229M
Chargers, +1500 Jaguars, $226M
49ers, +1500 Raiders, $225M
Broncos, +1500 Jets, $225M
Cowboys, +1500 Chargers, $223M
Browns, +1800 Titans, $220M

 

NBA MVP Odds vs. Season Pay Rank

Here’s how the last 5 MVPs have ranked financially in that respective season:
2016-17: Westbrook, $26.5M (5th)
2017-18: Harden, $28.2M (9th)
2018-19: Antetokounmpo, $24.1M (28th)
2019-20: Antetokounmpo, $25.8M (41st)
2020-21: Jokic, $29.5M (25th)

Related: 2021-22 NBA Salary Rankings

Top 10 Odds (DraftKings) Top 10 21-22 Salaries
Jokic, -280 Curry, $45.7M
Embiid, +230 Wall, $44.3M
Antetokounmpo, +600 Harden, $44.3M
Booker, +3500 Westbrook, $44.2M
Doncic, +8000 Durant, $42M
Morant, +10000 James, $41.1M
Tatum, +25000 George, $39.3M
DeRozan, +25000 Leonard, $39.3M
Durant, +25000 Lillard, $39.3M
Paul, +30000 Antetokounmpo, $39.3M

A look at the estimated Top 51 cap space needed for each team to sign its draft class during the offseason. These figures consist of the projected 2022 cap figure for each slotted draft pick in next month's draft.

Related
2022 NFL Cap Tracker
NFL Draft Tracker

 

Team Top 51 Draft Pool
NY Jets $18,337,714
NY Giants $16,190,511
Houston $14,750,912
Detroit $13,427,922
Jacksonville $12,711,766
Philadelphia $12,472,018
Green Bay $10,528,499
Kansas City $10,314,691
Atlanta $10,142,209
Baltimore $9,074,441
Seattle $8,803,884
Tampa Bay $6,286,227
Minnesota $6,232,046
New Orleans $6,206,815
Dallas $6,055,564
Carolina $5,989,492
Buffalo $5,865,324
Cincinnati $5,376,199
Pittsburgh $5,287,658
LA Chargers $5,089,968
Denver $5,063,866
Arizona $5,019,984
Tennessee $4,752,126
New England $4,633,357
Cleveland $4,515,508
San Francisco $4,372,860
Chicago $4,362,598
Indianapolis $3,754,090
Washington $2,479,427
LA Rams $2,025,081
Las Vegas $1,369,344
Miami $586,474

Quarterback

Andy Dalton (QB, 34)
Dalton began 2021 as the starter in Chicago, but quickly gave way to Justin Fields after just 6 starts. There still remain a few solid backup homes for Dalton in 2022, but the Houston Texans seem like the best fit overall. Davis Mills will get every chance to be the QB1 again this season, but having a player of Dalton’s experience either to mentor and/or take over as needed makes too much sense.

Also: Blaine Gabbert, Josh Rosen, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, ALL

 

Running Back

Melvin Gordon (RB, 28)
After two solid seasons, and $16M earned, in Denver, Gordon is still looking for his next home in 2022. While a return to Denver makes sense, teams like Atlanta, Tampa, Kansas City, or even Buffalo could be in the conversation as well. Gordon may have to drop his asking price into the $4M range this time around.

Also: Sony Michel, Phillip Lindsay, Darrel Williams, David Johnson, ALL

 

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones (WR, 33)
Recently released from Tennessee, Jones has yet to resurface as an option for many WR-needy teams. Indy, Philly, & Cleveland seem like early logical fits, but Jones’ inability to stay healthy for a full season makes him a difficult sign, despite the obvious talent. He might be a better fit in an offense already flush with help at the wideout spot (Tampa, LA Chargers, etc…) where he can be used a bit more specifically and sparingly to maximize production. $2M of his 2022 salary in Tennessee is his, so a new contract should be relatively cheap.

Also: Jarvis Landry, Will Fuller, Cole Beasley, Odell Beckham, Jr., ALL

 

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski (TE, 32)
Gronk put together a much more productive 2021 than 2020, despite 4 less games played. With O.J. Howard now in Buffalo, Gronk would seemingly be welcome back to Tampa Bay with open arms if he still has a desire to lace them up. His 1 year, $8M contract from last year should do the trick once again.

Also: Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, Blake Jarwin, ALL

 

Offensive Line

Duane Brown (OT, 36)
Russell Wilson’s former left tackle is still seeking work for the 2022 season, with links to Indy, Panthers, & Seahawks all obvious choices. Brown has been earning around $11M per year since 2018, and it stands to reason that with multiple suitors, he’ll remain in the $9M-$11M mark for his next contract.

Also: J.C. Tretter, Eric Fisher, Ereck Flowers, Daryl Williams, Trey Hopkins, ALL

 

Defensive Tackle

Sheldon Richardson (DT, 31)
Richardson has posted 700 snaps in 4 straight seasons, with 3-5 sacks, 40-60 tackles and a few forced fumbles annually over that span. He’s a strong plug and play option for a contending team, and shouldn’t command more than the $3.6M deal he played on in 2021.

Also: Ndamukong Suh, Eddie Goldman, Brandon Williams, Star Lotulelei, Linval Joseph, ALL

 

Edge Defenders

Jadeveon Clowney (DE, 29)
A return to Cleveland has been widely rumored for Clowney, who finished 2021 with 9 sacks, 38 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles for the Browns. It stands to reason that Clowney and his camp will be seeking more than the 1 year, $8M deal he completed last season, though the Browns, with plenty of mouths to feed, may not be in the market to offer that. A version of Hasaan Reddick’s 3 year, $45M deal in Philly makes sense for Clowney, and the Dolphins & Rams may join the conversation at some point soon.

Also: Akiem Hicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jerry Hughes, Melvin Ingram, Calais Campbell, ALL

 

Linebackers

Bobby Wagner (LB, 31)
The long-time Seahawk has been making the rounds (Dallas, LA, Baltimore), and should soon make a decision. Wagner was released out of a $16M+ salary this March, and carries a valuation around $10M on the open market, but it’s obvious that a move to a legitimate contender is in his plans. Baltimore probably has the most need here, but the Rams seem like a match made in heaven.

Also: Nick Kwiatkoski, Danny Trevathan, Dont'a Hightower, Anthony Hitchens, ALL

 

Cornerbacks

Stephon Gilmore (CB, 31)
There’s not a solid financial track record for 31+ cornerbacks, though Gilmore, Joe Haden, & Patrick Peterson all offer intriguing opportunities for teams despite their age. Gilmore has been linked to the Chiefs, & Eagles, though the Colts & 49ers should also be largely in the veteran CB conversation right now. With a 2 year, $24M contract do the trick? A massive jump in WR pay signals that the CB market could be soaring again very shortly.

Also: Trae Waynes, Joe Haden, Tavon Young, Patrick Peterson, Chris Harris, ALL

 

Safeties

Tyrann Mathieu (S, 29)
Mathieu joins Tyreek Hill as another big name to depart the Chiefs in 2022, and is still making the rounds to secure his next home. Tyrann has been linked to at least a half dozen teams publicly, but the Steelers, Cowboys, & Broncos seem to make the most sense here. Pittsburgh needs a bevy of help in their secondary, and Mathieu’s versatility can cover plenty of that, while Dallas’ defensive backs were wildly exposed over the second half of 2021. Denver getting in the mix is on brand for how the franchise is currently operating: All-In. Mathieu is likely seeking $16M per year on the market.

Also: Landon Collins, Keanu Neal, Kareem Jackson, Rodney McLeod, ALL

 

Kickers

Michael Badgley (K, 26)
Badgley played 13 games for the Colts in 2021, hitting 18 of 22 fieldgoals, and 98% of his point-afters. He’s been inconsistent for sure, but he’ll still find a roster by camp.

Also: Chase McLaughlin, Sam Ficken, ALL

 

Punters

Kevin Huber (P, 36)
After 13 seasons in Cincy, Huber has yet to be retained for 2022. The Dolphins, Browns, & Falcons also have needs at the position, making it likely that Huber finds a gig to latch onto if he desires.

Also: Thomas Morstead, Corey Bojorquez, Riley Dixon, ALL

Forbes released their annual MLB Valuations for 2022.

Here are a few notable items:

  • New York Yankees are the first MLB team to surpass $6 billion
  • 5 teams are not over $3 billion (NYY, LAD, BOS, CHC, SF)
  • Texas Rangers valuation increased the most year-over-year at 15%
  • Baltimore Orioles were the only team to have their valuation decreased by -4%
  • Miami Marlins are the only team not to reach the $1 billion mark ($990 million) AND their valuation stayed static at 0% change
  • Cleveland Guardians valuation increased by 12%, the most of any team in the bottom half of the valuations

 

#1 New York Yankees

Valuation : $6 billion

1-Yr Change: 14%

 

#2 Los Angeles Dodgers

Valuation : $4.075 billion

1-Yr Change: 14%

 

#3 Boston Red Sox

Valuation : $3.9 billion

1-Yr Change: 13%

 

#4 Chicago Cubs

Valuation : $3.8 billion

1-Yr Change: 13%

 

#5 San Francisco Giants

Valuation : $3.5 billion

1-Yr Change: 10%

 

#6 New York Mets

Valuation : $2.65 billion

1-Yr Change: 8%

 

#7 St. Louis Cardinals

Valuation : $2.45 billion

1-Yr Change: 9%

 

#8 Philadelphia Phillies

Valuation : $2.3 billion

1-Yr Change: 12%

 

#9 Los Angeles Angels

Valuation : $2.2 billion

1-Yr Change: 9%

 

#10 Atlanta Braves

Valuation : $2.1 billion

1-Yr Change: 12%

 

#11 Texas Rangers

Valuation : $2.05 billion

1-Yr Change: 15%

 

#12 Washington Nationals

Valuation : $2 billion

1-Yr Change: 4%

 

#13 Houston Astros

Valuation : $1.98 billion

1-Yr Change: 6%

 

#14 Toronto Blue Jays

Valuation : $1.78 billion

1-Yr Change: 6%

 

#15 Chicago White Sox

Valuation : $1.76 billion

1-Yr Change: 4%

 

#16 Seattle Mariners

Valuation : $1.7 billion

1-Yr Change: 4%

 

#17 San Diego Padres

Valuation : $1.575 billion

1-Yr Change: 4%

 

#18 Detroit Tigers

Valuation : $1.4 billion

1-Yr Change: 11%

 

#19 Minnesota Twins

Valuation : $1.39 billion

1-Yr Change: 5%

 

#20 Colorado Rockies

Valuation : $1.385 billion

1-Yr Change: 7%

 

#21 Arizona Diamondbacks

Valuation : $1.38 billion

1-Yr Change: 5%

 

#22 Baltimore Orioles

Valuation : $1.375 billion

1-Yr Change: -4%

 

#23 Pittsburgh Pirates

Valuation : $1.32 billion

1-Yr Change: 3%

 

#24 Cleveland Guardians

Valuation : $1.3 billion

1-Yr Change: 12%

 

#25 Milwaukee Brewers

Valuation : $1.28 billion

1-Yr Change: 5%

 

#26 Cincinnati Reds

Valuation : $1.19 billion

1-Yr Change: 10%

 

#27 Oakland Athletics

Valuation : $1.18 billion

1-Yr Change: 5%

 

#28 Kansas City Royals

Valuation : $1.11 billion

1-Yr Change: 5%

 

#29 Tampa Bay Rays

Valuation : $1.1 billion

1-Yr Change: 4%

 

#30 Miami Marlins

Valuation : $990 million

1-Yr Change: 0%

Forbes MLB

A list of active NBA players and their career earnings with respect to the NCAA Sweet 16 teams.

 

#1 Gonzaga

Kelly Olynyk, $70,356,906

Domantas Sabonis, $62,573,326

Zach Collins, $23,067,603

Rui Hachimura, $13,798,838

Brandon Clarke, $7,808,640

Jalen Suggs, $6,592,920

Corey Kispert, $3,383,640

Killian Tillie, $1,901,625

 

#1 Arizona

Andre Iguodala, $182,314,035

Aaron Gordon, $92,777,983

Deandre Ayton, $39,781,548

Lauri Markkanen, $35,749,302

Stanley Johnson, $21,419,703

T.J. McConnell, $18,752,881

Josh Green, $5,774,280

Zeke Nnaji, $4,878,600

Brandon Williams, $53,176

 

#1 Kansas

Andrew Wiggins, $137,224,484

Joel Embiid, $132,355,267

Marcus Morris Sr., $72,877,547

Kelly Oubre Jr., $50,251,988

Markieff Morris, $50,169,716

Ben McLemore, $30,891,878

Josh Jackson, $27,522,173

Devonte' Graham, $14,980,624

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, $6,209,071

Udoka Azubuike, $4,052,880

 

#2 Villanova

Kyle Lowry, $217,032,826

Josh Hart, $20,354,114

Mikal Bridges, $17,370,623

Donte DiVincenzo, $12,925,178

Ryan Arcidiacono, $8,028,681

Jalen Brunson, $6,024,217

Saddiq Bey, $5,514,240

Eric Paschall, $4,142,768

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, $2,000,000


#2 Duke

Kyrie Irving, $194,017,299

Brandon Ingram, $80,122,392

Mason Plumlee, $64,325,952

Jayson Tatum, $57,687,445

Austin Rivers, $54,453,395

Justise Winslow, $40,319,065

Marvin Bagley III, $35,602,717

Seth Curry, $33,050,810

Tyus Jones, $32,409,999

Zion Williamson, $30,126,480

Luke Kennard $27,623,622

Rodney Hood $27,552,690

R.J. Barrett $24,695,640

Wendell Carter Jr., $21,686,380

Gary Trent Jr., $19,830,624

Cam Reddish, $13,373,880

Grayson Allen, $10,951,898

Frank Jackson , $6,961,220

Vernon Carey Jr., $2,867,981

Jalen Johnson , $2,659,680

Tre Jones, $2,416,291

 

#3 Purdue

No active players

 

#3 Texas Tech

Jarrett Culver, $18,313,080

 

#4 Arkansas

Bobby Portis, $28,888,606

Daniel Gafford, $4,142,768

Moses Moody, $3,562,200

Isaiah Joe, $2,416,291

Mason Jones, $61,528

 

#4 Providence

David Duke Jr., $0 / Two-Way

 

#4 UCLA

Russell Westbrook, $288,581,670

Kevin Love, $235,261,434

Jrue Holiday, $186,069,405

Trevor Ariza, $116,874,668

Zach LaVine, $86,428,548

Lonzo Ball, $51,531,316

Norman Powell, $48,230,702

Kyle Anderson, $42,169,578

Kevon Looney, $19,538,458

Aaron Holiday, $10,477,351

Moses Brown, $3,143,453

Chris Smith, $0 / Two-Way



#5 Houston

Quentin Grimes, $2,168,640

Armoni Brooks, $1,660,221

 

#8 North Carolina

Harrison Barnes, $147,806,228

Danny Green, $91,692,990

Wayne Ellington, $47,587,347

Ed Davis, $46,486,744

Reggie Bullock, $28,343,804

Coby White, $16,385,865

Cameron Johnson, $12,453,510

Tony Bradley, $10,265,469

Cole Anthony, $6,734,520

Nassir Little, $6,500,805

Day'Ron Sharpe, $2,009,160

Theo Pinson, $1,558,838

 

#10 Miami

Lonnie Walker IV, $12,285,006

Bruce Brown Jr., $8,566,726

Davon Reed, $2,480,021

 

#11 Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr., $100,906,220

Caris LeVert, $41,062,875

Trey Burke, $22,019,147

Duncan Robinson, $18,651,634

Nik Stauskas, $15,043,243

Moritz Wagner, $7,809,762

Jordan Poole, $6,189,480

Franz Wagner, $5,00,7840

Ignas Brazdeikis, $2,508,677

Isaiah Livers, $1,057,260

 

#11 Iowa State

Monte Morris, $13,411,128

Talen Horton-Tucker, $11,860,147

Georges Niang, $8,920,084

Tyrese Haliburto, $7,855,440

Matt Thomas, $4,029,325

Lindell Wiggington, $0 / Two-Way



#15 Saint Peters

No active players




NBA NCAA

A look at the few dozen MLB players who couldn't come to an agreement before the March 22nd deadline, and the numbers exchanged going forward.

(Player's Filing/Team's Filing)

 

Atlanta Braves

Dansby Swanson ($10M/$9.2M)

Luke Jackson ($4M/$3.6M)

Adam Duvall ($10.2M/$9.2M)

Max Fried ($6.8M/$6.6M)

Austin Riley ($4.2M/$3.9M)

Baltimore Orioles

Trey Mancini ($8M/$7.3M)

John Means ($3.1M/$2.7M)

 

Chicago Cubs

Willson Contreras ($10.2M/$9M)

 

Chicago White Sox

Lucas Giolito ($7.5M/$7.3M)

 

Cincinnati Reds

Lucas Sims ($1.6M/$1.2M)

 

Colorado Rockies

Kyle Freeland ($7.8M/$6.4M)

 

Detroit Tigers

Spencer Turnbull ($2.1M/$1.3M)

 

Kansas City Royals

Andrew Benintendi ($8.5M/$7.3M)

Nicholas Lopez ($2.9M/$2.5M)

 

Miami Marlins

Jesus Aguilar ($7.7M/$7M)

Joe Wendle ($4.9M/$4.3M)

Jacob Stallings ($3.1M/$2.4M)

Pablo Lopez ($3M/$2.4M)

 

Milwaukee Brewers

Adrian Houser ($3M/$2.4M)

 

Minnesota Twins

Gary Sanchez ($9.5M/$8.5M)

Luis Arraez ($2.4M/$1.85M)

 

New York Mets
Chris Bassitt ($9M/$8.6M)

 

New York Yankees

Aaron Judge ($21M/$17M)

 

Philadelphia Phillies

Zach Eflin ($6.9M/$5.15M)

 

Pittsburgh Pirates

Bryan Reynolds ($4.9M/$4.25M)

 

Seattle Mariners

Adam Frazier ($8M/$6.7M)

Mitch Haniger ($8M/$6.7M)

Jesse Winker($7M/$5.4M)

 

St. Louis Cardinals

Harrison Bader ($4.8M/$3.8M)

Tyler O'Neill ($4.15M/$3.4M)

 

Washington Nationals

Victor Robles ($2.1M/$1.6M)

Freddie Freeman (1B, 32)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $27,135,000

It’s long been assumed that Freeman would return to Atlanta but minds will wander the longer he remains unsigned. If the player side has an internal number around Average Salary and simply wants the team to match, it’s likely a matter of time before this gets done. But if Freeman is truly available and intends on maximizing this next contract, it wouldn’t shock us to see a contender (Dodgers, Mets, Padres) make a huge offer to pull him away.

 

Anthony Rizzo (1B, 32)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $21,700,000

Rizzo didn’t light it up as much as some anticipated he would in a lefty friendly Yankee Stadium, but a longer stint that would have to benefit him one would think. With that said, the Yankees are targeting Freddie Freeman as well, which may push Rizzo out to the open market for a new home. He may struggle to get to the $20M per year mark with this expedited free agency.

 

Carlos Correa (SS, 27)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary: $26,600,000

The perfect blend of age, talent, production and experience - Correa was the consensus top position player available entering November. While Corey Seager and Marcus Semien inked contracts first, it’s reported Correa rejected a 10 year/$275m offer from the Tigers ahead of the lockout. He has since switched agents - now represented by Scott Boras who brokered both the Seager ($325M) and Semien ($175M) mega deals. If he’s open to joining a rebuild as some have suggested, it’s likely at least one team makes an offer that exceeds $30m annually. If not, expect a deal littered with early player opt outs.

 

Trevor Story (SS, 29)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $29,800,000

Another premier talent at the position that gets lost in the strength of this free agent class, it’s possible Story doesn’t find the salary + term he might command during a different offseason. Perhaps teams hesitate to commit long term if there are concerns about removing him from Coors, or how the skills will translate with age. If his market deteriorates, Story could target a short term deal and look to reenter the market in future years with weaker options at the position.

 

Kris Bryant (3B/OF, 30)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $23,500,000

The market for Bryant might not be as big as once expected, as his short tenure in San Francisco didn’t exactly jump off the page. He’s still a versatile defender, and has batting title type discipline at the plate when he’s right. This seems like an Angels overpay if I’ve ever seen one.

 

Nick Castellanos (OF, 30)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $21,300,000

Castellanos is perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the National League DH. While his quietly consistent offensive production would add value to any lineup, there are legitimate defensive concerns that previously limited interest. Expect there to be more suitors this time around.

 

Kyle Schwarber (OF, 29)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  12,900,000

Schwarber declined an $11M option for 2022 with Boston, as he seeks a multi-year guarantee on the open market. The Red Sox should be in consideration to bring him back, but likely not with any kind of impactful contract. He feels like a 3 year, $40M player right now.

 

Michael Conforto (OF, 29)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $19,100,000

The market for Conforto seems stronger than anticipated, as many wondered if he would simply sign the one year qualifying offer with the Mets a few months ago. Contenders like the Yankees and Padres have already shown interest, so a $20M+ per year multi-year deal seems likely at this point.

 

Yusei Kikuchi (SP, 30)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:   $12,000,000

The Cubs have been linked with Kikuchi for some time now, and it's tough to see them not get to the finish line here. His walks are too high right now, but there's reason to believe he can settle into a nice role. The Mets & Blue Jays may also have him on the radar for depth.

 

Zack Greinke (SP, 38)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary: $10,000,000

Greinke has expressed interest in returning to the mound in 2022, but it's possible he remains unsigned for a few months to best target his next destination. A full year of work may not be in his best interest, but he carries a ton of value down the stretch. A 1 year, $9M-$10M contract with incentives to go higher makes sense for a contender.

 

Kenley Jansen (RP, 34)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $10,000,000

Jansen has regressed, but he’s still a viable option out of the back of a bullpen. A return to the Dodgers for a bit of a hometown discount seems the right play here.

 

Seiya Suzuki (OF, 27)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary: $12,000,000

The Red Sox have long been focused here and this likely remains their top priority. Financially speaking he’s probably inline with the likes of a Schwarber or Castellanos, but the unknown ceiling and potential 5-tool capabilities will have the big teams favoring Suzuki in the end. 5 years, $60M?

 

Nelson Cruz (DH, 41)

Spotrac Projected Average Salary:  $14,000,000

Cruz is the bat that keeps on giving. Despite his age, Cruz pumped in 32 homers, 21 doubles, and an .831 OPS in 2021, putting him back in line for another contract. He earned $13M for his services last year, so a simple raise (especially with an expanded CBT), makes some sense.

Matt Olson (1B, OAK, 27)

Olson projects to a $12M salary in his second year of arbitration, with free agency not currently scheduled until 2024. This is generally the time the A’s begin to deal away their position players, and with major power & outstanding defense on his resume, Olson should bring back a nice package. If the Braves let Freddie Freeman get away, this is a slam dunk replacement. Olson projects to a 6 year, $136M extension in our system.

 

Dominic Smith (1B/OF, NYM, 26)

Smith’s role has been reduced more and more each season, and the infrequent hitting has led to inconsistent production. There’s a world where an everyday role elsewhere reignites his abilities, and this spring could be the time for us to find that out. Smith is under team control through 2024. Cleveland has long seemed a strong fit.

 

Matt Chapman (3B, OAK, 28)

Like Olson, Chapman is headed into his Arbitration 2 year, projected at around $9.5M for the upcoming season. The Gold Glove defender has consistently provided near 5 WAR production on average, and could have his sights set on one of the NY teams for the foreseeable future. Chapman projects to a 6 year, $138M extension in our system.

 

J.D. Davis (3B/OF, NYM)

Davis’ bat was always touted as his strong point, while defensively (especially at 3rd base) he was considered a liability. The power at the plate was evident in 2019, but hasn’t been back since, though a part-time role is certainly a factor in that conversation. Davis will be seeking a more full-time opportunity in 2022, and a change of scenery probably makes sense for both sides. Contractually he projects to a $2.5M arbitration salary for 2022, with two more years of arbitration eligibility still remaining.

 

Jose Ramirez (INF, CLE)

Cleveland is probably ready to move on from their long-time All-Star, but they won’t do it on the cheap. Ramirez holds a $12M salary for 2022, then a $14M club option 2023 - ideally friendly salaries for any team looking to take on the 29 year old’s services. The Blue Jays had plenty of interest in this move last year.

 

Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TB, 31)

Kiermaier missed 40 games in 2021, but still posted decent production, and a 3.4 WAR across the season. His contract carries a $12M salary in 2022, & a $13M club option for 2023, numbers that generally scream “get out” based on Tampa Bay’s financial limits. 

 

Sean Manaea (SP, OAK, 30)

The Athletics could be in store for a very busy spring with (at least) three notable trade candidates. Manaea will be entering the final year of team control, set to earn an estimated $10M in the final year of arbitration. He’s a more traditional pitcher in that his advanced metrics don’t exactly jump off the page, but he’s a perfect middle of the rotation add for some of the better teams in the game, if even for just one year. He aligns well with the 4 year, $44M contract Steven Matz just scored in St. Louis.

 

Sonny Gray (SP, CIN, 32)

While the home runs against are up, Gray made the most of his time in Cincinnati - after a tumultuous tenure with the Yankees. There's middle of the rotation value here, and with a $10.3M salary for 2022, plus a $12M club option in 2023, there's very little risk involved as well.

 

Craig Kimbrel (RP, CWS, 33)

The White Sox overpaid for Kimbrel last summer, and they’ll look to get some of that compensation back via a trade this spring. He’s on the books for $16M this season, but it probably takes Chicago eating a few million of that to get him out the door. The Rangers and Blue Jays seem to be in serious “all-in” mode this offseason for a move like this.

 

Josh Hader (RP, MIL, 27)

Hader’s been rumored in trades for the better part of two seasons now. He’s still under team control through 2023, headed for an arbitration 3 salary in the $8M range for 2022. Milwaukee will want a mix of top prospects and MLB ready talent back in a Hader move, and the Mets currently seem best positioned to offer that. Hader projects to a 4 year, $70M extension in our system.

A first round pick, a third round pick and a 6th round pick, for a second round pick, a seventh round pick, and the rights to pay Khalil Mack. That’s the move that brought the now 31 year old edge rusher from the Raiders to the Bears. Chicago in turn signed him to a 6 year, $141M contract extension, of which $91M has been paid out.

Mack offered up 36 sacks in 3.5 years, and until last season was largely available, consistent, and productive across the board. Was this the right time to move on? Much of the Bears current roster construction says yes, especially as much of the team’s focus will be on protecting, and offering weapons for their next attempt at a franchise QB.

 

Terms of the Trade

The Chargers send the Bears a 2022 2nd round pick (#48), & a 2023 6th round pick for the rights to Khalil Mack. The #48 pick projects to carry a cap hit of $1.4M in 2022, so LAC will free up a bit of space in that regard.

 

The Traded Contract

2022: $17.75M ($12.05M salary, $5.5M roster bonus, $200k workout bonus)
2023: $22.9M ($17.2M salary, $5.5M roster bonus, $200k workout bonus)
2024: $23.25M ($17.55M salary, $5.5M roster bonus, $200k workout bonus)



The Chargers agreed to take on all of Mack’s remaining contract, to the tune of 3 years, $63.9M. But - as with almost every NFL contract - not everything is as it first seems.

While a $5.5M roster bonus is due next Friday, the remaining contract offers no other “upfront” guarantees from here out. Even his $12.05M base salary for 2022 won’t fully lock in until Week 1. So theoretically speaking, the Chargers could walk away from this contract after 2022 with no financial impact.

 

Cap Flexibility

Not only does a Joey Bosa Khalil Mack combo on the field offer flexibility in terms of defensive rush scheming, but there’s plenty of wiggle room in each of their contracts for cap clearing as needed.

With Mack specifically, the acquired contract brings on zero dead cap with it. His roster bonus will vest next week, but it probably makes sense for the Chargers to restructure this a bit in the next few days to free up additional cap space for what seems like a major push this March.

Is it required? No, the Chargers currently rank 13th in terms of Top 51 cap space with just under $25M to work with, but if the plan is to add another piece to their secondary, or a notable TE for Herbert to utilize, more room will be required (not to mention Derwin James needs a top of the market extension).

Converting the $5.5M roster bonus into a signing bonus, spread out over the final 4 years of the contract frees up over $4M of cap space this year. That might be all the Chargers opt to do with this contract to keep the dead cap at a minimum.

However, a full restructure of all 2022 compensation, with another void year added, can drop his 2022 cap hit all the way down to $4.44M, freeing up over $13M of cap space for the Chargers to utilize.

 

Positional Spending

The benefit of a great QB on a rookie contract is of course the ability to overspend a bit elsewhere. Keenan Allen & Mike Williams now represent $33.2M of combined 2022 cap dollars. Joey Bosa & Khalil Mack now represent a whopping $46M of combined 2022 cap dollars.

And the Chargers aren’t yet done.

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Minimum Salaries

The minimum salary in MLB for the 2021 season was $570,500, by far the lowest in all of the big four American sports. The new CBA addresses this undervaluation:

2022: $700,000
2023: $720,000
2024: $740,000
2025: $760,000
2026: $780,000

Not only have the salaries increased, but the annual increase in each year of this CBA has grown as well. From 2017-2021, the minimum salary went from $535,000 to $570,500, a 6.6% increase versus what will now be north of 11%.

Note: The $700,000 minimum salary still ranks last among the Big 4 for 2022
NBA: $925,000; NHL: $750,000; NFL: $705,000; MLB: $700,000

Minor Leaguers with major league contracts also see a strong increase in their base pay. First year players saw a minimum salary of $43,000 last year, with all other minor leaguers on a $93,000 pay grade. That now increases to:

2022: $57,200; $114,100
2023: $58,800; $117,400
2024: $60,300; $120,600
2025: $62,000; $123,900
2026: $63,600; $127,100

 

The Competitive Balance Tax

New Thresholds (Maximums)
The 2021 season held a $210,000,000 threshold for team tax salaries. This was one of the biggest battles throughout the negotiation process, but the final numbers ended up at:

2022: $230M
2023: $233M
2024: $237M
2025: $241M
2026: $244M

The tax threshold jumps up 9.5% immediately per the new CBA, but offers just 1.3%-1.4% increases annually from there (despite the minimum salary increasing at nearly 3%, like any normal working wage should).

Tax Tiers & Payer Rates
Teams that go over the tax threshold are now subject to four tiers (previously three) that dictate how they’ll be billed accordingly. Simply, every $20M a team goes over, the more they’ll be billed. And going over in subsequent years will mean even more pain (despite the fact that only 2-3 teams per year have been going over the threshold at any capacity).

Tier 2022 amount 1st-time payor 2nd-time payor 3rd-time payor
1st threshold (x) $230M 20.0% 30.0% 50.0%
2nd threshold (x + $20m) $250M 32.0% 42.0% 62.0%
3rd threshold (x + $40m) $270M 62.5% 75.0% 95.0%
4th threshold (x + $60m) $290M 80.0% 90.0% 110.0%

 

The $50M Pre-Arbitration Bonus Pool

This was one of the bigger new asks from the MLBPA, and the resulting plan is both well thought out, and effective for the game’s current model.

In short, Pre-Arbitration represents a player’s first three seasons of service time in MLB. For the most part these players are earning, or slightly above, the league’s minimum salary. With this pool, players who well outperform these salaries will now be compensated via bonuses after the season (throwing a bit of a wrench into some of these team’s CBT calculations I imagine).

Pre-Arbitration Bonus Allocations


League MVP or Cy Young

  • 1st: $2.5M
  • 2nd: $1.75M
  • 3rd: $1.5M
  • 4th-5th: $1M


Rookie of the Year

  • 1st: $750,000
  • 2nd: $500,000


All-MLB Selection

  • 1st Team: $1M
  • 2nd Team: $500,000


WAR
The rest of the bonus pool will be allocated to the Top 100 WAR players in a given season (actual allocation breakdown to be confirmed by 7/1/22).

Note: If a player qualifies for two of these bonuses, he will only be awarded the highest possible payout. So Vlad Guerrero JR. winning rookie of the year ($750k), but also being selected to 1st-team All-MLB ($1M), would negate his ROY payment.

 

Arbitration

Contracts for all arbitration-eligible players will now be guaranteed, perhaps putting a bit more onus on extended these players to a multi-year contract versus just the one year tender.

 

Service Time Adjustments

While the 6 year requirement before free agency wasn’t addressed, a few small tweaks were built in to help a small percentage of players progress toward a payday.

  • Pre-arbitration players who finish 1st or 2nd in Rookie of the year voting will automatically receive a full year of service (1.0), regardless of when those players were called up during that season.
  • Teams who promote their top prospects for Opening Day (Pete Alonso with the Mets) will be rewarded with additional compensatory draft picks for their gesture.

 

Minor League Option Limits

Prior to this new CBA, MLB players were offered three seasons with “options”, essentially allowing a team to move to and from the minor leagues an unlimited amount of times within those three years.

While the three option seasons remain, there’s now a 5-move limit on how many times a player can be sent down. After 5 demotions, a player will need to pass through waivers in order to be sent down for the remainder of that season.

 

MLB Amatuer Draft Lottery

Essentially the only change implemented to improve “competitive imbalance”, the MLB Draft will no longer be ordered solely based on a team’s record from the previous season.

The first 6 selections in each draft will be determined by a lottery (essentially ping pong balls), allowing all 18 non-playoff teams a chance to vie for these picks. The percentage at which these 18 teams will be weighted (more ping pong balls) will be based on their previous year winning percentage.

1: 16.5% 7: 5.5% 13: .9%
2: 16.5% 8: 3.9% 14: .7%
3: 16.5% 9: 2.7% 15: .62%
4: 13.25% 10: 1.8% 16: .48%
5: 10% 11: 1.4% 17: .36%
6: 7.5% 12: 1.1% 18: .23%

Once the 6 picks are chosen via lottery, the remaining draft order will be set based on previous year winning percentage.

Also of note, the amateur draft will revert back to 20 rounds, and slot values (signing bonuses) will have annual increases after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.

 

Expanded Playoffs

The MLB Postseason is expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams, effective immediately. A few notable takeaways:

  • 163rd Game Tiebreakers are dead. Playoff spot tiebreakers will be decided based on a “system”, likely pulling from strength of schedule, divisional wins, run differential, etc…
  • Wild Card Games are now a Wild Card Series. The Top 2 overall teams in each League get a Wild Card bye. From there, the 3rd seed plays 6, 4th seed plays 5 in a Best-of-Three series. The higher seed will host every game in this round.
  • There will be no re-seeding when we get to the Divisional Round. The 1st seed will play the winner of the 4 / 5 matchup, and the 2nd seed the winner of the 3 / 6 series.

 

Roster/Schedule Changes

Universal DH
As expected, the Designated Hitter is now in place in both leagues, which should not only help NL batting averages rise, but also elongate a few more careers per year.

Roster Sizes
Roster sizes will remain at 26 players until September, at which time an extra two players will be added. Note: It should be assumed that for 2022, roster sizes may be adjusted to accommodate the expedited schedule.

Rule Changes
Though items like the pitch clock, banning shifts, etc…have not been immediately implemented, the opportunity for them to be has been expedited. Starting in 2023, a committee of active players, MLB execs, and an umpire will be tasked with considering gameplay alterations. Any change can be made effective within 45 days of notice to the MLBPA.

Doubleheaders & Extra Innings
Doubleheaders will be 9-inning games again, and extra inning games will no longer start with a runner at second base.

Games Schedule
Starting in 2023, the schedule will feature fewer divisional games, and every team will play at least one series against every other opponent, including in the other league. The exact format is still being determined.

 

The International Draft

This issue has been tabled for now, with a July 25th, 2022 deadline in place to negotiate its future. The negotiation will be VERY important from the player’s perspective for a few reasons:

  • International players do not want this at all. The opportunity for dozens of players to receive a bonus and at least get a shot to make a camp tryout will be extinguished, as the draft will likely only offer this opportunity to a select few. There’s also a major concern that international communities simply do not have a structure in place to prepare for this type of formal process.
  • If the MLBPA does not agree to implement the International Draft, then the current draft pick compensation tied to qualifying offers will remain in place, further jettisoning star player’s chances are getting the best deal possible in free agency.

Last week the PGA announced the results for the inaugural Player Impact Program for 2021.

For the 2021 calendar year (Jan 1, 2021 - Dec 31, 2021) there was a $40 million bonus pool that would be split up amongst the top 10 finishers.

The Player Impact Program Score as defined by the PGA Tour:

  1. Internet Searches: Number of times a player’s name is searched on the internet;
  2. Earned Media: Number of unique news articles that include a player’s name;
  3. Social Media: Social media score that considers a player’s reach, conversation and engagement metrics;
  4. TV Sponsor Exposure: Duration (time) that a player’s sponsor logo(s) appears on screen during Saturday and Sunday PGA TOUR telecasts;
  5. Awareness: A player’s general awareness score among broad U.S. population.

 

2021 Top-10 Finishers / Payouts

  1. Tiger Woods, $8 million
  2. Phil Michelson, $6 million
  3. Rory McIlroy, $3.5 million
  4. Jordan Spieth, $3.5 million
  5. Bryson DeChambeau, $3.5 million
  6. Justin Thomas, $3.5 million
  7. Dustin Johnson, $3 million
  8. Brooks Koepka, $3 million
  9. Jon Rahm, $3 million
  10. Bubba Watson, $3 million

 

Note: The 2022 bonus pool will increase from $40 million to $50 million.

PGA Player Impact Program

Starting with the 2018 draft, 5th year options for all 1st round selections took on a very different calculation process. The big deciding factor now? Pro Bowls. The valuation process for the 5th year option is broken down into 4 tiers:

Tier 1: A player is selected to 2+ Pro Bowls in his first three seasons (original ballot placement only)
Tier 2: A player is selected to 1 Pro Bowl in his first three seasons (original ballot placement only)
Tier 3: A player does not garner a Pro Bowl berth, but plays in either 75% of snaps in 2 of 3 seasons, or an average of 50% over all 3
Tier 4: A player does not garner a Pro Bowl berth, nor does he meet the necessary playing time criteria

 

1 ARI Kyler Murray QB $29,703,000
2 SF Nick Bosa DE $17,859,000
3 NYJ Quinnen Williams DT $11,500,000
4 LV Clelin Ferrell DE $11,500,000
5 TB Devin White ILB $11,706,000
6 NYG Daniel Jones QB $22,384,000
7 JAC Josh Allen OLB $11,500,000
8 DET T.J. Hockenson TE $9,392,000
9 BUF Ed Oliver DT $10,753,000
10 PIT Devin Bush ILB $10,892,000
11 CIN Jonah Williams T $12,604,000
12 GB Rashan Gary OLB $10,892,000
13 MIA Christian Wilkins DT $10,753,000
14 ATL Chris Lindstrom G $13,202,000
15 WAS Dwayne Haskins QB N/A (released)
16 CAR Brian Burns DE $16,012,000
17 NYG Dexter Lawrence DT $10,753,000
18 MIN Garrett Bradbury C $13,202,000
19 TEN Jeffery Simmons DT $10,753,000
20 DEN Noah Fant TE $6,850,000
21 GB Darnell Savage S $7,901,000
22 PHI Andre Dillard T $12,604,000
23 HOU Tytus Howard T $13,202,000
24 LV Josh Jacobs RB $8,034,000
25 BAL Marquise Brown WR $13,413,000
26 WAS Montez Sweat DE $11,500,000
27 LV Johnathan Abram S $7,901,000
28 LAC Jerry Tillery DT $11,500,000
29 SEA L.J. Collier DE $11,500,000
30 NYG Deandre Baker CB N/A (released)
31 ATL Kaleb McGary T $13,202,000
32 NE N'Keal Harry WR $12,425,000

March 8th is the deadline for teams to designate a franchise or transition tag.
Related: Projected 2022 Tag Values

Orlando Brown Jr. (OT, KC)

  • Has been offered a $16.5M tag by the Chiefs
  • Was acquired for a 1st, 3rd, & 4th (while also getting a 2nd & 6th)
  • Projects to a 5 year, $116.5M historic extension

 

Davante Adams (WR, GB)

  • Should be offered a $20.145M franchise tag (120% of his 2021 cap hit)
  • Packers are trying to avoid the tag, as they simply do not have the cap space to take it on
  • Aaron Rodgers’ March 8th deadline isn’t an accident, it’s the end of the tag window. He goes I go situation
  • Projects to a 5 year, $129M extension in our system, easily the largest total value for any WR in history (Calvin Johnson, $113.45M)
  • Adams is looking to surpass Julio Jones’ $64M of fully guarantee at signing

 

Chris Godwin (WR, TB)

  • May be offered a 2nd tag at $19.18M
  • Won’t be available all offseason, projects to return right at Week 1 (torn ACL/MCL)
  • Bucs smelling blood in a weak division? Band-aid QB with tons of weapons?
  • Projects to a 5 year, $103M extension (but might need to prove health?)

 

Mike Williams (WR, LAC)

  • Should be offered an $18.5M tag by the Chargers
  • Likely to play on it? (Feels Godwin-y)
  • Projects to a 5 year, $90M extension
  • LAC has the cap space to structure this as a “double-tag” extension with value in years 3-5 if they so choose.

 

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

  • Will be offered an $11M tag by the Dolphins
  • Could argue that he’s a WR based on his formation numbers, but not likely ($7.5M difference)
  • Miami probably extends him, I would not. I believe the $11M tender is both fair and good business for a team with a lack of identity right now.
  • Projects to 4 years, $44M (same value as the tag)

 

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

  • Should be offered an $11M tag by the Cowboys
  • Blake Jarwin’s injury status secures his spot
  • Projects to a 4 yr, $50M+ extension

 

Harold Landry (LB, TEN)

  • Should be offered an $18.5M tag by the Titans
  • TEN will need to restructure a few contracts to fit this in
  • Strong candidate to play on the tag
  • Projects to a 4 year, $68M contract (Shaq Barrett-y)

 

Jessie Bates (S, CIN)

  • Will be offered a $13M tag by the Bengals
  • Bengals possess around $49M of cap space
  • Projects to a 5 year, $74M+ extension
  • Probably plays on the tag, while Cincy focuses cash on the OL?

 

James Conner/Chase Edmonds (RB, ARI)

  • Arizona wants to keep both RBs, Transition Tag for one?
  • Keim has shown he’ll do this with Kenyan Drake
  • Is keeping one at $8.5M(ish) too expensive from a cap perspective?
  • I’d rather see them sign both at $5M-$6M multi-year extensions, with cap flexibility built in.

Major League Soccer is about begin its 27th season. We take a look at the top spending teams, highest paid players and top earning players over the last 10 seasons. Furthermore, Major League Soccer continues to grow with new investors/owners with the sale/purchase of current franchises, expansion of new teams and invest money into new training facilities and stadiums

 

Top Spending Teams

A list of the top spending MLS teams over the last five (5) seasons (2017 - 2021).

  1. Toronto FC: $108,084,199
  2. LA Galaxy: $86,459,201
  3. Chicago Fire: $70,462,404
  4. New York City FC: $70,342,221
  5. Atlanta United FC: $66,263,215
  6. Seattle Sounders FC: $65,429,082
  7. Orlando City: $58,667,789
  8. Portland Timbers: $58,159,350
  9. Los Angeles FC: $57,585,374 (since 2018)
  10. Sporting Kansas City: $56,899,623
  11. CF Montreal: $54,462,383
  12. Columbus Crew: $53,717,015
  13. Real Salt Lake: $50,356,616
  14. FC Dallas: $47,931,823
  15. New England Revolution: $47,587,639
  16. DC United: $47,325,453
  17. Minnesota United FC: $46,986,049
  18. San Jose Earthquakes: $46,363,499
  19. Colorado Rapids: $46,099,675
  20. Philadelphia Union: $44,860,472
  21. Vancouver Whitecaps FC: $43,758,670
  22. New York Red Bulls: $42,311,364
  23. FC Cincinnati: $41,937,683 (since 2019)
  24. Houston Dynamo: $41,471,442
  25. Inter Miami FC: $32,199,907 (since 2020)
  26. Nashville SC: $21,387,511 (since 2020)
  27. Austin FC: $12,652,387 (since 2021)

 

Top Earning Positions

The top earnings positions over the last five (5) seasons.

  1. Midfielders, $601,659,240
  2. Forwards, $450,423,060
  3. Defenders, $293,242,674
  4. Goalkeepers, $74,437,072

 

Top Earning Players

Players who have earned the most guaranteed cash over the last ten (10) seasons.

  1. Michael Bradley, $41,928,571
  2. Jozy Altidore, $32,986,750
  3. Kaká, $28,670,000
  4. Sebastian Giovinco, $28,462,224
  5. Clint Dempsey,  $26,488,574
  6. Carlos Vela, $25,192,500
  7. David Villa, $22,500,000
  8. Robbie Keane, $20,250,575
  9. Giovani Dos Santos, $19,850,008
  10. Bastian Schweinsteiger, $17,100,000

 

Top One-Year Salaries 

Players who have earned the highest one-year salaries over the last five (5) seasons.

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA, 2019), $7,200,000
  2. Kaká (ORL, 2017), $7,167,500
  3. Sebastian Giovinco (TOR, 2017 & 2018), $7,115,556
  4. Michael Bradley (TOR, 2017 & 2018), $6,500,000
  5. Michael Bradley (TOR, 2019), $6,428,571
  6. Jozy Altidore (TOR, 2019), $6,332,250
  7. Carlos Vela (LAFC, 2019, 2020 & 2021), $6,300,000
  8. Carlos Vela (LAFC, 2018), $6,292,500
  9. Bastian Schweinsteiger, (CHI, 2018), $6,100,000
  10. Javier Hernandez (LA, 2020 & 2021), Giovani Dos Santos (LA, 2018): $6,000,000

 

Expansion

Major League Soccer continues to grow and has added six (6) teams in the last five seasons. Charlotte FC will begin the MLS journey with the start of the 2022 season and St. Louis City SC is set to join for the 2023 season.

  • Atlanta United & Minnesota United, 2017
  • Los Angeles FC, 2018
  • Inter Miami CF & Nashville SC, 2020
  • Austin FC, 2021
  • Charlotte FC, 2022
  • St. Louis City SC, 2023

 

Related MLS Article

Recent MLS and NWSL Investment Prices and Stadium Costs

MLS

All-Star Game Roster

A financial breakdown of the 2022 NBA All-Star Teams drafted by LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Team LeBron 2021-22 Cap Hit   2021-22 Cap Hit

Team DURANT

  $183,885,800 Starters $109,192,111  
LeBron James, LAL $41,180,544   $31,579,390 Joel Embiid, PHI
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL $39,344,900   $9,603,360 Ja Morant, MEM
Stephen Curry, GSW $45,780,966   $28,103,500 Jayson Tatum, BOS
DeMar DeRozan, CHI $26,000,000   $31,579,390 Andrew Wiggins, GSW
Nikola Jokic, DEN $31,579,390   $8,326,471 Trae Young, ATL
  $196,121,737 Reserves $201,333,380  
Jarrett Allen, CLE $20,000,000   $8,231,760 LaMelo Ball, CHA
Jimmy Butler, MIA $36,016,200   $31,650,600 Devin Booker, PHX
Luka Doncic, DAL $10,174,391   $35,344,828 Rudy Gobert, UTH
Darius Garland, CLE $7,040,880   $19,500,000 Zach LaVine, CHI
James Harden, PHI $44,310,840   $35,500,000 Khris Middleton, MIL
Donovan Mitchell, UTH $28,103,500   $15,428,880 Dejounte Murray, SAS
Chris Paul, PHX $30,800,000   $31,650,600 Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN
Fre VanVleet, TOR $19,675,926   $24,026,712 Draymond Green, GSW
  $380,007,537 Totals $310,525,491  
  $29,231,349 Average $23,886,576  

 

The following amounts are the payouts for each participation of game or skills competition:

All-Star Game

Winning Team: $50,000 per player

Losing Team: $25,000 per player

 

Rookie-Sophomore Game

Winning Team: $25,000 per player

Losing Team: $10,000 per player

 

Shooting Stars

Winning Team: $60,000 per player

2nd Place Team: $45,000 per player

3rd Place Team: $24,000 per player

4th Place Team: $24,000 per player

 

Slam Dunk

1st Place: $100,000

2nd Place: $50,000

3rd Place: $20,000

4th Place: $20,000

 

Three-Point Shootout

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $25,000

4th Place: $10,000

5th Place: $10,000

6th Place: $10,000

 

Skills

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $15,000

4th Place: $15,000

 

Related NBA Links

NBA 2021-22 Cap Hit Rankings

NBA NBA All-Star

At the trade deadline, there’s a rush to grade trades or to decide who won or lost deals. Sometimes, this happens before all the details are even out. “The Celtics are getting Derrick White? Winners! Oh, they gave up Josh Richardson? Still Winners! Wait…a first and a potential swap too? Losers!” And then you see it play out on the floor and all of a sudden, your opinion may completely flip again.

With the benefit of a week to clear our heads, gather all the details and even see some games with new faces in new places, it’s time to start evaluating who won and lost at the trade deadline.

But…it’s not really that simple. For some of these deals, it will take months or even years to see how they fully play out. With that, there’s a pretty big caveat to all this “winners and losers” talk. This is how we judge things today, in mid-February 2022. There’s lots of room and time to be wrong. But it’s up those teams to prove us so.

All that said, here’s who won, lost and sat out the 2022 NBA trade deadline. (Note: This will encompass trades in the weeks leading up to the deadline, not just trades near or on deadline day.)

 

Winners

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks didn’t do much. They essentially swapped Cam Reddish for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick. Knox has little value to Atlanta, and he’s hardly played for them, and the pick is fairly heavily-protected. The part where the Hawks won is that it removed a potentially extension negotiation from their trade of Reddish. For a team that’s already expensive and flirting with the luxury tax, that’s notable.

Boston Celtics

Boston was pretty active. They moved a couple of rotation players, plus shed enough salary to put themselves in position to avoid the luxury tax. Most importantly, the players they got back are better fits for this roster than the ones the Celtics gave up. Derrick White’s defensive versatility and skill, along with his quick-processing offensive game is a perfect fit for what Boston needs out of a backup guard. Daniel Theis is the ideal fourth-big in the rotation, because he can execute the same scheme as the other three bigs Ime Udoka uses regularly. Yes, the Celtics gave up a first-round pick and a potential pick swap. And, yes, they took on long-term money. But that long-term money gives them flexibility to match salary in almost any possible trade construction Brad Stevens can dream up moving forward.

Brooklyn Nets

We’ll get to the Philadelphia 76ers later, but this seems like it could be the most blockbustery of win-win trades in NBA history. The Nets side just may take a little longer to play out than the Sixers side. It could take Ben Simmons a while to find his form and to fit in, but, lest we forget, he’s really good at basketball! Simmons might be a non-shooter, but he’s an elite passer and the most versatile defender in the NBA. And Brooklyn is getting a couple of picks out of this deal too. Also, don’t overlook Seth Curry. He’ll feast on open jumpers created by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. And the more shooting around Simmons, the better.

Charlotte Hornets

We can keep this one simple. The Hornets got Montrezl Harrell for two non-rotation players. Backup center has been an issue all season long. P.J. Washington does his best, but he’s a four masquerading as a five. Harrell will give Charlotte energy and scoring off the bench, and the cost was essentially nothing.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs did well to snag Caris LeVert for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract. They also picked up Rajon Rondo for nothing a few weeks earlier. Those are rotation-stabilizing moves for a team that is in the mix for homecourt advantage in the East. And they have LeVert for next year, while nothing prevents Cleveland from re-signing Rubio as a free agent. Good stuff all-around.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets got Bryn Forbes for two injured players. Considering they needed another shooter while Jamal Murray works his way back, that’s great work. But really, Murray, and potentially Michael Porter Jr., will be the big “additions” for Denver. The Nuggets are a team no higher-seeded team is going to want to see in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets

Houston got off long-term money for Daniel Theis, without taking any long-term money on. Sure, that’s an admission of guilt that they blew the Theis’ signing in the first place. But there’s no saving that by throwing good money after bad. Getting off that deal is a win for the Rockets. Now, about a John Wall buyout…

Indiana Pacers

Indiana reset themselves at the deadline as much as any team outside of Portland did. But getting back Tyrese Haliburton as a cost-controlled rookie scale guy that has All-Star potential is huge. The Pacers also got themselves a first-round pick for Caris LeVert, and they get to take a flier on Jalen Smith. But really, this is all about Haliburton, who has a chance to lead the next set of Pacers playoffs teams for years to come.

LA Clippers

The Clippers took on a good chunk of money, both this season and moving forward, but they did so for good players. Norman Powell got hurt, but that acquisition was only sort of about this year anyway. If everyone is healthy to begin next season, LA has the deepest team in the NBA and it’s not particularly close. And they’ve set themselves up with some good trade options if a third star wants to team up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. When your owner makes millions per second, spending his money is never a bad thing.

Milwaukee Bucks

The trade of Donte DiVincenzo looks a little rough with the hindsight of Pat Connaughton getting hurt, but as long as Connaughton is back to himself by the playoffs, all is good. Milwaukee needed another big to ease the burden on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Serge Ibaka can do that. He’s a reasonable facsimile for Brook Lopez, in that he can protect the rim on defense and space the floor on offense. And DiVincenzo likely wasn’t getting re-signed, given the presence of Connaughton and Grayson Allen already on the roster. For a team that’s trying to repeat as champs, it’s perfectly acceptable to make win-now moves like DiVincenzo for Ibaka.

New Orleans Pelicans

This one is a little tricky and you have to be bought in that C.J. McCollum has at least a few good years left. And he should. That’s probably enough to give up a first-round pick and rotation player in Josh Hart. But add in Larry Nance Jr. (if he gets healthy!) and you’ve really got something working. New Orleans has chance to be eight or nine-deep in quality rotation players at the start of next season. That’s huge for battling their way through the Western Conference. But if Zion Williamson isn’t healthy, a whole new set of questions will start being asked in the bayou.

Philadelphia 76ers

As stated above, this could be a win-win blockbuster deal. James Harden is a massive upgrade over the exactly zero the Sixers were getting from Ben Simmons. MASSIVE. That’s all that really matters here. If Harden is healthy, he and Joel Embiid can parade their way to the free throw line on a nightly basis all the way into a deep playoff run. That alone is worth giving up on Simmons (who was never playing for Philly again), Seth Curry and a couple of picks.

Phoenix Suns

Much like their terrific season to date, the Suns trade deadline moves seem to have gone a little under the radar. They got Torrey Craig for Jalen Smith, who had no future left in Phoenix. And they got Aaron Holiday for literally nothing. Craig was a nice add during last season’s NBA Finals run, and he’ll be the same this year. He’s good insurance on the wing behind Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Holiday is a nice upgrade on Elfrid Payton until Cameron Payne gets back. These are winning moves at basically no cost. That’s how you get back to the Finals.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers finally started the teardown. Err…umm…reset. Whatever they call it, it’s begun in Portland, and that’s a good thing. They gave it the best possible run they could with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum led rosters. Now, it’s time to rebuild around Lillard. The Trail Blazers opened up all sorts of cap flexibility, possibly as soon as this summer. Now, it’s about getting things right at the draft and in free agency, if they hope to keep Lillard in the only NBA home he’s ever known.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings got unfairly pilloried when news of their trade with the Indiana Pacers first broke. Sure, Tyrese Haliburton is a really good, young player. But you know what? Domantas Sabonis is also a really good, not-that-much-older player. The early returns are interesting for Sacramento. All of the offense creation doesn’t fall on De’Aaron Fox now. Sabonis is a hub through which they can run plays. He’s a two-time All-Star and that seems to have been forgotten a bit. Yes, the Kings are often the KANGZ, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those times.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs traded Gregg Popovich favorite Derrick White, but they got a helpful player back in Josh Richardson, along with a first-round pick and swap rights down the line. And they get a chance to see if Romeo Langford can pop, although the wing is crowded with young prospects in San Antonio. They also got a first-round pick for Thaddeus Young, which is offset a bit by giving up a nice second-round pick, but it’s still an upgrade. Overall, this is a win for the Spurs, who usually let the deadline pass with nary a peep.

 

Losers

Chicago Bulls

Usually, we won’t be too harsh on a team that sits the deadline out. But the Bulls are a legit title contender. They have a multitude of injuries, including Zach LaVine having a troublesome knee. And DeMar DeRozan is turning in a near-career-year during his age-32 season. That all screams to get someone. Yes, it would have cost them Patrick Williams and maybe Coby White. And yes, they are a little short on tradable picks. But there were deals they seemingly could have gotten in on. Standing pat could come back to bite Chicago this spring.

Dallas Mavericks

It’s understandable to want to move on from Kristaps Porzingis. He was seemingly destined to miss 30-40 games per year in Dallas. But to take back two questionable contracts in Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans offsets the shedding of Porzingis’ salary in a major way. If Dinwiddie and/or Bertans finds their previous form, we’ll eat a big helping of crow. But this doesn’t really seem like an upgrade around Luka Doncic, just as he wraps up the cheap years of his rookie scale deal.

Detroit Pistons

Putting the Pistons in the “losers” category is a little harsh. They didn’t give up anything of value in the deal to get Marvin Bagley III, but there’s no real upside there. If Bagley plays great, and finally looks something like the #2 overall pick he was in 2018, the Pistons will have no choice but to keep him and sacrifice any chance of cap space this summer. If he plays poorly, there’s nothing really lost, but there’s also nothing gained. And they didn’t deal Jerami Grant. Not making a deal is better than making a bad deal, but dragging that situation out one more trade-cycle could get a little messy for the long-term roster building.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers didn’t do anything, and that in and of itself, is a loss. It might not have been the time to shed Russell Westbrook, and that should be easier to deal with this summer, but things aren’t likely to get a whole lot better with that situation. And Los Angeles shopped the Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and a pick package to every team in the league. No one was buying, because there’s just not much value there. What you see is what you get for the rest of this year, minus a possible buyout addition or two.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota is another team that did nothing, but should have. They had the contracts to pile together to get in on some of the players who were traded. They also could have put together an offer for someone like Jerami Grant. Again, not making a deal is better than making a bad deal. But…the playoffs are in sight for a team that has seen the postseason once with Kevin Garnett left town. Some sort of upgrade should have been made to bolster those chances.

New York Knicks

Yes, the Knicks got Cam Reddish for a fairly minor outgoing package. But Reddish has struggled to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation and the coach said he’s not likely to play at all when the roster is healthy. That makes it a little hard to evaluate his fit before extension negotiations start this summer. Beyond that, the Knicks could have reset things a bit by trading away players like Alec Burks or Nerlens Noel. This season hasn’t gone how New York wanted. Not moving off some money might have been a mistake. If they don’t turn some of those contracts into better fits for next season, it definitely will have been a mistake.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The upset of the trade deadline is between the San Antonio Spurs making four trades or the Oklahoma City Thunder making just two extremely small deals to eat salary. While that’s good for the Spurs, it’s not great for the Thunder. OKC is on the tipping point of having too many draft picks. They found it impossible to move up in last year’s draft, as it was. But sitting on over $20 million cap space seems like a missed opportunity to collect more picks, or even to acquire some young talent. And the Thunder don’t project to have this sort of flexibility into this offseason.

Orlando Magic

Much like the Thunder, the Magic had a chance to be more active at the deadline. They ate a couple of small contracts, but let a large Traded Player Exception expire unused. And Orlando didn’t deal any of their veterans like Gary Harris, Terrence Ross or Robin Lopez. Not be a broken record, but not making a bad trade is more important than not making a trade. But the Magic may have missed an opportunity to collect some assets for players who aren’t likely to be a part of the next Orlando playoff team.

Toronto Raptors

It’s not that Thaddeus Young won’t help the Raptors. He might. But was that really worth sliding back 10-15 picks in the draft and giving up their best trade asset in Goran Dragic’s expiring deal? It feels like Toronto should have been able to do better than that with Dragic and a protected first-round pick. That’s what got them here as a very soft “loser”.

Utah Jazz

Much like the Bulls, the Jazz are a contender that didn’t do anything. That’s a miss. They could have gotten a piece to push them over the top. But as it stands now, Utah is firmly behind Phoenix and Golden State in the Western Conference. That’s not a great spot to be in, considering this is year umpteen of very good, but not quite great Jazz teams.

Washington Wizards

Much like the Mavericks, the Wizards sort of shuffled things around in picking up Kristaps Porzingis in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Maybe Porzingis will pop and finally stay healthy, but history says he won’t. And that means his deal will be a cap albatross for Washington for a couple more seasons. It’s also easier to move a couple of smaller contracts vs one big one. This could go really poorly for the Wizards.

 

Sat-it-out

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t have much to do. They are playing well and their roster is fairly set. Their best trade assets are their recent draftees and all are too young, too good or both, to trade now. It’s likely this roster is what it is, minus some hopefully better health down the stretch.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are way ahead of schedule. This young team is brash, scrappy and fun. They’re also very good. Maybe Memphis could have moved a couple of their expiring deals, but they had no real roster holes to fill. They’ll use this playoff run to determine what they need to take the next step from fun playoff team to title contender.

Miami Heat

The Heat largely sat out the deadline. They made one small, salary-clearing deal. That opened up a roster spot and some space under the tax. Miami converted Caleb Martin to a standard deal, after he outplayed his Two-Way deal. Now, the Heat will look to add another veteran on the buyout market.

 

NBA NBA Trade Deadline

The 2022 NBA trade deadline is now behind us. There were 10 trades made on deadline day alone, and 16 total trades made during deadline week. These deals ranged from the blockbuster James Harden-for-Ben Simmons swap to small salary-clearing trades for teams looking to dodge the luxury tax.

Now that the deadline has passed, we have a better idea of what this offseason landscape might look like.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.2 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.3 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands after the trade deadline:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $31.4 million
  2. Orlando Magic - $28.1 million
  3. Indiana Pacers - $23.8 million
  4. Portland Trail Blazers - $20.0 million
  5. San Antonio Spurs - $17.6 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. Detroit and Orlando seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, or with trades before the deadline, these three will be in position to do the spending in the offseason. The only major changes that could come to this projection is if either team decides to hang on to former high draft picks, Marvin Bagley III or Mo Bamba.

Indiana and Portland could both choose to stay over the cap via keeping free agent rights and or trade exceptions. Both made considerable changes leading up to the deadline and more big changes are likely to come this season. Neither team has said they are rebuilding, but rather “resetting” around some of the players they kept after making several trades.

The Spurs took on some money at the deadline by acquiring Romeo Langford and Josh Richardson, and by acquiring two additional first-round picks. That takes their projection to under $20 million. If San Antonio was to move on from restricted free Lonnie Walker IV, they could push the Pistons for the most space this summer.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Memphis Grizzlies
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. New York Knicks
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. Toronto Raptors
  9. Washington Wizards

This group of eight teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Cleveland, Memphis, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

After salary-dumping Daniel Theis at the deadline, the Houston Rockets are now in range of being able to use the full MLE this offseason. They’ll likely split it, as the Rockets are still more than one MLE addition away from competing for the playoffs.

New York is a bit harder to project. They could be a team that makes a major pivot after a disappointing season following their 2021 playoff appearance. Look for whatever the Knicks to do to come via trade vs clearing enough salary to get in the cap space derby.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they project to have three first-round draft picks. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC will continue to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players. Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. New Orleans Pelicans

These three teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their room under the tax line.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 13 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space.

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Miami Heat
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some may shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 13 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.3 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

 

Related NBA Links

NBA Cap Tracker

NBA Tax Tracker

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

With the recent sale of the Washington Spirit to Michelle Kang for $35 million and pending sale of Real Salt Lake for an estimated $400 million, we breakdown the recent sales, expansion fees and new stadium construction costs across Major League Soccer and the National Women's Soccer League. These United States based soccer leagues have become a hot-bed for investment from all sectors of business and with that investment comes the rise of soccer-specific stadiums. Franchises are not only investing in their players with development and training facilities, they are investing in the fan experience with building soccer-specific stadiums to create an atmosphere that larger stadiums cannot create.

 

Sale Prices

Recently known sale prices for Major League Soccer and National Women's Soccer League franchises.

 

Houston Dynamo + Houston Dash (2021): $400 million

Ted Segal, founder/president of real estate and finance companies, purchased both the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash for $400 million for controlling stake. This sale price does not include the stadium or training facility.

Orlando City SC + Orlando Pride (2021): $450 million 

Wilf family, owners of the Minnesota Vikings, purchased Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride for an estimated $450 million. This sale price includes the stadium an training facilities.

Real Salt Lake (pending, 2022): $400 million

David Blitzer and Ryan Smith are purchasing Real Salt Lake for an estimated $400 million. Smith is majority owner of the Utah Jazz, while Blitzer is a minority owner of the New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers and other international soccer franchises.

Washington Spirit (2022): $35 million

The Washington Spirit, reigning NWSL champions, were sold for $35 million to Michelle Kang to gain the controlling shares of the team. Kang initially bid $21 million for the team but then increased her amount to the $35 million in order to out bid Todd Boehly's $25 million. Boehly is co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers and Sparks.

 

Expansion Fees

Recently known expansion fees for Major League Soccer and National Women's Soccer League franchises.

 

MLS

Miami Fusion (1998): $20 million

Atlanta United FC (2004): $70 million

Inter Miami (2014): $25 million, part of David Bechham's contract with LA Galaxy with option to buy expansion franchise

Nashville SC (2017) & Austin FC (2018): $200 million

Charlotte FC (2019): $325 million

NWSL

Sacramento, now San Diego (2019): est. $2 million

Kansas City Current (2021): $5 million

 

Stadium Costs

Recently known costs for brand-new built stadiums in Major League Soccer and National Women's Soccer League.

 

Kansas City Current, TBD name

  • est. Open 2024
  • est. $70 million
  • Soccer-specific stadium
  • First NWSL only stadium 

Columbus Crew SC, Lower.com Field

  • $314 million
  • Opened July 2021
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Austin FC, Q2 Stadium

  • $260 million
  • Opened June 2021
  • Soccer-specific stadium

FC Cincinnati, TQL Stadium

  • $250 million
  • Opened May 2021
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Inter Miami, DRV PNK Stadium

  • $60 million
  • Opened August 2020
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Minnesota United, Allianz Field

  • $200 million
  • Opened April 2019
  • Soccer-specific stadium

D.C. United, Audi Field

  • $400 million
  • Opened July 2018
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Los Angeles FC, Banc of California Stadium

  • $350 million
  • Opened April 2018
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium

  • $1.6 billion
  • Opened September 2017
  • Multi-sport venue

Orlando City SC, Exploria Stadium

  • $155 million
  • Opened March 2017
  • Soccer-specific stadium
  • First stadium to host MLS, NWSL and USL teams as same time

San Jose Earthquakes, PayPal Park

  • $100 million
  • Opened March 2015
  • Soccer-specific stadium

Houston Dynamo FC, BBVA Stadium

  • $95 million
  • Opened May 2012
  • Multi-purpose stadium

 

MLS NWSL Sale Expansion Fee Stadium Costs

THE CAP IS A MYTH. No, it really exists, it’s just extremely fluid and able to be manipulated at a moment’s notice. With that said, as quarterback contracts continue to rise at the rate they have been, any team with a well-paid player at the position will eventually need to come to a “reckoning” point with the salary cap hits of that particular contract (even if they kick the can down the road 4-5 times).At some point in the near future, a QB with an absurdly high cap hit will go on to win the Super Bowl. But until that happens, we offer you the following (visual breakdown below):

 

Percentage of League Salary Cap

One of the metrics we track is the percentage of league salary cap that each player represents based on their own cap hit in a given year. In this regard, we can compile a list of all the starting QBs to make a Super Bowl, and their respective cap percentage.

 

The Highest Cap Percentages to Reach a Super Bowl

Going back to the year 2000, the QB who reached the Super Bowl with the highest percentage of league salary cap is Peyton Manning, whose $23.2M cap hit in 2009 represented 18.8% of the league cap. The Saints beat the Colts that year.

 

Top 10 Super Bowl QB Cap Percentages

  • 2009: Peyton Manning (IND): 18.8%
  • 2016: Matt Ryan (ATL): 15.3%
  • 2013: Peyton Manning (DEN): 14.16%
  • 2021: Tom Brady (TB): 12.61%
  • 2018: Tom Brady (NE): 12.42%
  • 2015: Peyton Manning (DEN): 12.21%
  • 2011: Eli Manning (NYG): 11.71%
  • 2014: Tom Brady (NE): 11.13%
  • 2011: Tom Brady (NE): 10.76%
  • 2007: Eli Manning (NYG): 10.75%

 

What About Winning the Super Bowl?

At 12.61%, Tom Brady’s 2021 Super Bowl victory with the Buccaneers made him the highest cap-percentage quarterback to ever win the game, surpassing his 2018 victory with the Patriots, when he represented 12.42%.

 

This Metric On Average

Since 2011, the median cap percentage for a QB reaching the Super Bowl is 8.97%. The median cap percentage for a QB to win the Super Bowl is 10%.

In the past 10 Super Bowls, 5 of the winning QBs represents less than 10% of the cap (with Nick Foles at 0.96% being the outlier), and 5 were above 10% (all named Brady or Manning).

 

Where Do Matthew Stafford & Joe Burrow Stand?

This year’s final two QBs certainly fall in line with the trends, as Matthew Stafford’s $20M cap figure in LA represents 10.96% of the league cap, while Joe Burrow’s 2nd year figure calculcates to just 4.51%. If Burrow were to win the Super Bowl, the median figure for winning QBs since 2011 will drop to 8.8%, falling under the median for losing QBs (which would increase to 9.07%).

This would further enable the point that putting too many chips into one basket is risky business, even if that basket (a.k.a the Quarterback) represents one of the most important positions in all of sports.

 

BUT WAIT

We spent so much time this year discussing the Carson Wentz situation & how he left a $33M dent on the Eagles' salary cap this year, but we've glossed over how the Ram's have not only been in a similar situation - but with far bigger numbers.

If we include ALL QB cap hits for 2021 (active, reserve list, practice squad, & dead cap), the Rams hold the most Quarterback cap in the NFL by a wide margin. In fact, the $46.2M allocated to Rams' QBs in 2021 is the 2nd most of all-time, behind the 2020 Colts. ($56.5M), who were still reeling from Andrew Luck's retirement, a careless Jacoby Brissett extension, & a cup of coffee for Philip Rivers

Team 2021 QB Cap Totals
LAR $46,225,001
PHI $37,559,882
DET $36,042,071
SEA $33,773,568
MIN $33,339,536
SF $33,049,545
GB $30,175,311
PIT $29,862,266
ATL $29,488,722
CAR $29,441,484
LV $27,956,600
WAS $25,828,131
HOU $23,816,002
IND $22,992,173
NO $22,675,118
DAL $19,184,387
CLE $18,437,906
CHI $15,162,197
TB $13,885,680
BUF $13,832,497
NYJ $13,522,745
TEN $12,259,374
MIA $12,173,713
ARI $11,558,438
CIN $10,348,725
KC $9,608,709
JAC $9,118,901
NYG $8,947,584
NE $8,439,207
LAC $8,035,017
DEN $7,910,105
BAL $4,266,390

 

A Breakdown of Our Quarterback Super Bowl Cap Data

With the NFL offseason all but here, a fun look at 10 (sure to be wrong) bold trade, release, & extension predictions for a few notable players heading toward the 2022 league year.

Listen to this Segment

 

The Broncos acquire QB Aaron Rodgers & WR Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers for 2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, WR Jerry Jeudy, & QB Drew Lock

Before you scream “that’s way too much!”, remember that the Jaguars received 2 first round picks and a 4th round pick for Jalen Ramsey, and the Lions received 2 first round picks, a 3rd round pick, & Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford. It’s going to take a haul to get both of those players out of Green Bay simultaneously, but if Denver truly is all in (as their recent moves suggest), then this is the icing on that cake.

The problem? Acquiring Aaron Rodgers on his current contract, & Davante Adams on his pending franchise tag means taking on $47.6M of cap at the time of this trade. The Broncos currently possess an estimated $39M of room, so getting to this number is feasible, as long as extensions are penciled in to reduce their 2022 cap hits to much more team-friendly figures immediately following.

Jerry Jeudy holds 2 yrs, $3.5M plus a 5th year option on his rookie contract, while Drew Lock will be entering a contract year, bringing over a non-guaranteed $1.45M salary.

Also Maybe: Both stay in GB for Brinks trucks.

 

The New England Patriots acquire WR Amari Cooper & a 2nd round pick from the Dallas Cowboys for CB J.C. Jackson

There’s a world where the Patriots lose more pieces than they gain this offseason, as quite a few question marks currently hang over the offensive line and the defensive secondary. But there’s a sense that Mac Jones simply needs one more legitimate weapon to really open up the Pats’ spread passing game, and Amari Cooper’s contract & production level appear enough of a problem for Dallas to consider this move. Jackson is a pending UFA, and while New England likely wants no part of a $17.5M franchise tag, if they sniff a tag and trade scenario like this, it will certainly be worth their early March cap troubles.

Cooper’s contract contains 3 years, $60M left, but just a $20M salary in 2022 contains upfront guarantees (fully vests March 20, 2022). New England can acquire and restructure this contract as needed for cap purposes.

Also Maybe: The Patriots get Jackson back on a team friendly $12M per year deal, cuz, Patriots.

 

The San Francisco 49ers trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2nd round pick & a 3rd round pick.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s exit from SF seems inevitable, and as 2022 rosters begin to shake out, there’s a world where 4+ teams could be vying for his services soon (TB, PIT, CAR, WSH to name a few).

He carries a 1 year, $25.5M contract with him currently, but a restructured extension seems likely, if for nothing more than cap relief in the upcoming season. Ryan Tannehill’s recent contract (4 yrs, $118M) in Tennessee seems the right model for a Garoppolo extension once the two sides feel comfortable in doing so.

Also Maybe: Steelers acquire Garoppolo, but no extension (yet).

 

The New Orleans Saints move on from 2x All-Pro WR Michael Thomas, designating him a Post June 1st release.

Michael Thomas still might hold trade value, but with $15.35M set to become fully guaranteed on March 18th, New Orleans will want to make a quick decision on their former WR1. A pre-June 1st trade will mean $22.7M of dead cap in 2022, still $2M of savings, but maybe not the most ideal business move (barring a great trade return of course).

Assuming the release designation, the Saints will lower his base salary to $1.035M, remove his March 20th roster bonus, & his workout bonus, lowering his cap hit to $9.9M. They’ll carry this figure until June 2nd, at which point the release will become official, leaving behind dead cap hits of $8.9M for 2022, & another $13.8M in 2023. Thomas will be eligible to sign with a new team as soon as the Saints designate him to be released (March 16-17th).

Also Maybe: Bears offer a late-mid round pick to take a flier on Thomas.

 

The Las Vegas Raiders extend QB Derek Carr to a 4 year, $150M contract, including $90M guaranteed at signing

Derek Carr’s never going to be considered for the Top Tier of QBs in this league, but he’s done enough to warrant another contract, and a chance to turn his production into playoff wins with the new Raiders’ regime. Josh McDaniels has done wonders with players of Derek Carr’s capacity in the past, so there’s reason to believe this situation can work out nicely, barring a few major additions to the rest of the roster.

Assuming the $90M guaranteed is spread across the next three seasons, this should be a relatively low risk extension for the Raiders going forward.

Also Maybe: Josh McDaniels needs a minute to see this through.

 

The Buffalo Bills acquire RB Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers for Cole Beasley, a 3rd round pick, & a 5th round pick

The Panthers insist he’s not actually on the trade block, but it seems reasonable that the right price could peak their interest. In terms of the Bills, there are a few matches here. First, Christian McCaffrey stands to switch more into a “slot receiver” role wherever he plays in 2022, so replacing Cole Beasley with him in this move holds logic. While Devin Singletary showed he’s got RB1 production in him, his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield still remains suspect at best. Finally, the Bills just hired Joe Brady as their new QBs coach, drawing an immediate tie to McCaffrey per his time as the Panthers’ OC.

Also Maybe: McCaffrey to the Dolphins, Bills acquire a WR2 (Calvin Ridley, D.J. Moore)

 

The Baltimore Ravens acquire WR Calvin Ridley from the Atlanta Falcons for CB Marcus Peters & a 2nd round pick, & a 4th round pick

Calvin Ridley stepped away from Atlanta for personal reasons 5 weeks into the 2021 season, leaving his future there considerably unclear. If a change of scenery is what he desires, it makes sense for the Falcons to secure a Top 60 draft pick for him ASAP. Ridley carries an $11.1M fully guaranteed option salary for 2022, so an extension will be in his immediate future, though his time away last season likely pumps the brakes on that out of the gate. Enough demand for him on the trade block, despite a small risk that he might not be long for the game, could easily drive his price tag up to a 1st round pick.

Marcus Peters has 1 year, $10M (non-guaranteed) remaining on his current contract, and is recovering from a terrible ACL injury suffered just prior to the 2021 opener. Atlanta will have the opportunity to work him back on a “prove it” deal (possibly with a pay cut), with a chance to keep him long-term at a position currently in need of much improvement.

Also Maybe: Bills, Jaguars - many teams assuming Ridley shows an interest to play.

 

The Minnesota Vikings acquire CB Xavien Howard from the Miami Dolphins for two 2nd round picks

The 49ers also desperately need help in their secondary, but they probably don’t possess the draft capital to put up against many other teams, especially if this price tag soars to a first round pick level. The rage in Minnesota will likely focus around the QB position this offseason, but this was nearly a Top 10 offense living with a nearly last place defense for most of 2021. So adding a few bigtime defenders could be a quick fix for this organization.

Xavien Howard has 3 years, $39M left on his current contract, but only $6.7M is fully guaranteed right now. Any kind of movement likely means ripping that up and starting over, to the tune of 4 years, $87M - his current projection in our system.

Also Maybe: Dolphins add not subtract, forcing their hand into a major extension for Howard.

 

WR Allen Robinson returns to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a 4 year, $75M free agent contract

The Jaguars desperately need help in the trenches on both sides of the ball, but it seems likely they’ll look to the draft for that as more of a long-term investment to align with Trevor Lawrence, but in the interim, getting the QB1 new toys to play with should be a priority, and a familiar face in Allen Robinson offers both high ceiling, and a bit of value based on his projected contract.

Also Maybe: Cleveland, Baltimore, Jets

 

The Kansas City Chiefs release both DE Frank Clark & LB Anthony Hitchens in cap casualty moves

The Chiefs are up against the cap threshold heading toward the 2022 league year, but do have multiple ways to free up space (restructures to Patrick Mahomes/Chris Jones, extending Tyreek Hill).

With 4.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, Frank Clark still made an impact in 2021, but it seems his contract is now too rich for his expected production. An early release frees up $13.4M of cap space.

With $12.7M to be saved, and a breakout season from Nick Bolton, Hitchens seems a lock to be moved on from this offseason.

Also Maybe: Clark accepts a pay cut to stick around for 2022.

Red Bull Racing is will now be known as Oracle Red Bull Racing after agreeing to a new $500 million sponsorship with Oracle over the next five years. 

This announcement comes on the heels of the championship by Max Verstappen and going into the 2022 F1 season where there will be a new cost cap of $145 million. Oracle's cloud computer will no doubt help and potentially give Red Bull a massive leg up over the competition with the real-time and internal analysis.

Current Oracle Red Bull Drivers

Max Verstappen (NLD)

Base Salary (est.): $25 million

Sergio Perez (MEX)

Base Salary (est.): $8 million

 

Formula 1 Oracle Red Bull Racing

The 2022 NBA trade deadline is closing in. We’ve already seen several big trades, including the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers kicking off major resets. On the other side, the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings have made moves that should help them now and in the future.

There’s likely more moves to come. Ben Simmons for James Harden, anyone? But the summer of 2022 landscape is already coming into focus for cap space as we approach the deadline.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.2 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.3 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands before the trade deadline passes at 3:00 Pm ET on Thursday:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $31.4 million
  2. Orlando Magic - $28.1 million
  3. San Antonio Spurs - $22.5 million
  4. Indiana Pacers - $20.8 million
  5. Portland Trail Blazers – $20.3 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. Detroit, Orlando and San Antonio all seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, or with trades before the deadline, these three will be in position to do the spending in the offseason.

Indiana and Portland could both choose to stay over the cap via keeping free agent rights and or trade exceptions. It’s not really clear if either is done dealing before the deadline either. Further moves could change this projection by a considerable amount.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Sacramento Kings
  7. Toronto Raptors
  8. Washington Wizards

This group of eight teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Cleveland, Memphis, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

New York is a bit harder to project. They could be a team that makes a major pivot after a disappointing season following their 2021 playoff appearance. Look for whatever the Knicks to do to come via trade vs clearing enough salary to get in the cap space derby.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they project to have three first-round draft picks. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC will continue to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players. Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. New Orleans Pelicans

These four teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their room under the tax line.

Houston is still carrying John Wall’s sizable contract, which has them tighter to the tax than they would like.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 13 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space.

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Miami Heat
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some may shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 13 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.3 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

 

Related NBA Links

NBA Cap Tracker

NBA Tax Tracker

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

The Kings promised that Tyrese Haliburton was untouchable for this deadline, but as everyone knows - there’s always a price. 

 

Kings Acquire…

Domantas Sabonis, PF
Sabonis is under contract through 2023-24 with cap hits of $19.8M the rest of this year, $18.5M next year, and $19.4M to finish it off. The 25 year old is averaging 19 points, 5 assists, and 9 boards in 34 minutes per game this season.

Jeremy Lamb, SG
Lamb is an expiring contract, holding a $10.5M cap hit for the rest of 2021-22. The 29-year-old is posting 5 year lows in 2021, with just 7 points, 1 assist, and 2 boards per game.

Justin Holiday, SF
Holiday brings team-friendly cap hits of $6M & $6.3M respectively over this and next year. The 32-year-old has collected 11 points, 3 boards, & 2 assists in 2021-22 thus far, hitting over 41% of his shots.

2027 2nd Round Pick

 

Pacers Acquire…

Tyrese Haliburton, PG
The #12 overall pick in 2020 was rumored to be “untouchable” for this deadline, but the Pacers found the right price. Haliburton holds cap hits of $4M, $4.2M, & $5.8M through 2023-24, after which he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency. His ceiling offers major value for the Pacers going forward.

Buddy Hield, SG
Hield is in year 2 of a 4 year, $94M extension, bringing with him cap hits of $23M, $21.1M, & $19.2M through 2023-24. Buddy is posting 5 year lows in points (14), Assists (2), & Rebounds (4) thus far this season.

Tristan Thompson, C
Thompson offers an expiring contract, with a $9.7M to boot for the rest of 2021-22. His minutes and production have been rapidly declined over the past two seasons, currently sitting at 6 points, and 5 boards per game.

 

Financial Ramifications

The Pacers promised they would find a way to rip this current roster apart and start anew next season, and they’re well on their way to that with a few days left to spare. The Caris LeVert trade plus this move allows them to free up what could be $21M of cap space for the 2022 offseason, a good start to getting another key piece in the building to pair with Haliburton. Today’s move puts the Pacers right at the luxury tax threshold for 2021-22, suggesting there’s still another move to be made to free themselves from that burden.

The Kings’ added significant salary with Sabonis’ $38M of future salary, but it’s hard not to look at his production vs. contract and see a ton of value in adding this player to an overpaid De’Aaron Fox to try to restart this process on the fly.

NBA NBA Trade Deadline Sacramento Kings Indiana Pacers

The February 10th trade deadline finally heats up with a blockbuster move between the Portland Trailblazers, & the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal included 7 players and 3 picks (for now).

 

The Portland Trailblazers Receive…

The Pelicans 2022 1st Round Pick
As long as it lands between #5 & #14. If not, the pick will push out to a future year.

Two Future 2nd Round Picks
Details TBD

Josh Hart, SG
Brings with him a $12M cap hit to finish off 21-22, then a non-guaranteed $12.96M next season, and a $12.96M player option for 2023-24. The 26 year old is averaging almost 14 points, 4 assists, and 8 rebounds this year.

Tomas Satoransky, SG
Is an expiring contract with a $10M cap figure for 21-22. Satoranksy’s production has been minimal this year, with just 2 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes per game.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG
The 23 year old #17 overall draft pick back in 2019 brings a $3.2M cap hit this year, and a $5M already exercised option for 2022-23 before restricted free agency eligibility. The youngster has posted nearly 13 points, 3 assists, and 3 boards thus far in 26 minutes per game.

Didi Louzada, SF
Louzada holds a $1.78M cap figure this year, and a guaranteed $1.8M next year before his non-guaranteed salaries kick in. He’s also amidst a 25 game suspension for a positive PED test.

 

The New Orleans Pelicans Receive…

C.J. McCollum, SG
The 30-year-old brings with him $30.8M cap figure, then fully guaranteed salaries of $33.3M, & $35.8M respectively through 2023-24. McCollum has posted 20 points, 4 assists, and 4 boards per game in around 35 minutes played. It should also be noted that he suffered a scary collapsed lung injury that kept him away for 18 Portland games. He earned $136.25M in 8.5 seasons with Portland.


Larry Nance Jr., PF
Nance holds a $10.7M cap hit for the remainder of 2021-22, then a small dip down to $9.6M for the 2022-23 season. The 29-year-old has posted 7 points, 2 assists, and 5 boards in 23 minutes per game this season.


Tony Snell, SG
The 30 year old brings a 1 year veteran minimum deal over to the Pelicans, which carries a valuable $1.6M cap hit for the remainder of the season. Snell has posted about a basket a game numbers in 14 minutes played thus far.

 

Financial Ramifications

The Trailblazers now sit with $17.3M of tax space this year, while the Pelicans are sitting with nearly $5.1M of tax space.

Portland sheds almost $80M of future cash, bringing back just $6.8M of future guarantees. This is a tale of one franchise beginning to break things down, and another (finally) pushing the gas pedal down. 

Portland gains a $21M trade exception per this move, and now has a chance to free up significant cap space this summer. If the plan is to keep Damian Lillard, they now have assets to add at least one significant (new) piece around him going forward.

NBA NBA Trade Deadline Portland Trail Blazers New Orleans Pelicans

Current Contract

Tom Brady’s contract has 1 year, $27.2M cash left, including a $20.2M cap figure for 2022. This includes an $8.925M base salary & $1.4M roster bonus, neither of which will be paid out now. It also includes $15M of signing bonus that was deferred from March 2021 to February 4th. We’ll get to this more in a moment.

 

Dead Cap Scenario

Brady’s contract carries $32M of dead cap for 2022, all of which would hit the Buccaneers cap table if the retirement is processed before June 1st. As this represents $12M of lost cap, this seems unlikely.

The most likely path forward is likely an immediate restructure to the remaining cash portion of this contract, reducing the base salary from $8.925M to $1.12M, removing the $1.4M roster bonus, and eliminating the $1.875M of likely to be earned incentives. This drops the cap figure from $20.2M, down to $9.12M. The Buccaneers will carry this cap hit on their active roster until June 1st, after which they can place Brady on the reserve/retired list.

By waiting until June, the Buccaneers will allow the $32M of dead cap to split up much more favorably across 2022 & 2023, to the tune of:
2022: $8M
2023: $24M

While the $24M dead cap hit for 2023 seems large (and it is), the NFL League Salary Cap is expected to rise immensely next season (and beyond) thanks to a huge influx of revenue from the recently agreed to Network/Streaming contracts. 

 

The Original Signing Bonus

The only real point of financial contention with Tom Brady retiring is the $20M signing bonus, of which Tampa Bay now has the option of recouping a maximum of $16M from. If the Buccaneers go this route, Brady would be required to pay back $4M in each of the next 4 seasons (2022-2025), with Tampa Bay getting $4M of cap relief in each following respective season.

However, as noted above, $15M of that $20M signing bonus has yet to be paid out, so there’s a path for Tampa Bay to simply not pay this out, and move forward from here.

My two cents? It’s a big chunk of change, but a $16M parting gift to Tom Brady for choosing their franchise and immediately taking them to the promise land seems like pretty good optics and business for the organization.

 

Career Earnings

Brady's final earnings won't be fully known until we understand how the Buccaneers will treat the signing bonus. If they recoup all $16M, the $292.9M figure currently showing on Spotrac will actually drop to $291.9M. If Tampa Bay elects to pay out the entire bonus as a gesture, his final on-field earnings will increase to $307.9M, easily the most all-time (for a minute).

The National Women's Soccer League and the NWSL Players Association have agreed upon the first-ever Collective Bargaining Agreement that run through the 2026 season with an investment of almost $100 million over the course of the CBA. The two sides had been negotiating with each other since March 2021 and the deadline to reach an agreement without having a work stoppage was Feb 1, 2022. 

A few of the key items reported include:

 

Investment in Players

  • Minimum salaries will increase to $35,000 (60% increase); all players will received salary increases
  • Compensation for housing, transportation, retirement contributions, heath/life/disability insurance
  • Average total compensation will increase to $54,000 (30% increase)
  • Revenue sharing, with 10% of net broadcast revenue (if league is profitable in years 3, 4, and 5 of the CBA)

 

Free Agency

Official free agency for players in the NWSL will begin in 2023 with a transition to Unrestricted and Restricted Free Agency in 2024.

2023

  • Players with six (6) years of service in the NWSL will receive full Unrestricted Free Agency

2024

  • Players with five (5) years of server in the NWSL will receive Unrestricted Free Agency
  • Players with three (3) years of service in the NWSL will receive Restricted Free Agency

 

Defined Season

  • Players will be give a fixed season with a specific start and end window
  • A season will have a maximum number of games in a season
  • Players are guaranteed 42 days of vacation
  • Players will receive a seven-day in-season break

 

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