Bookmark this page for a constantly updated view of the Knicks salary cap situation in 2018 and beyond.
Updated as of July 9, 2018.
How much cap space do the Knicks have this summer?
The Knicks are currently operating over the cap.
They have $110.6 million obligated in team salary if you include the maximum first year salary of Kevin Knox (120% of his rookie scale) and the non-guaranteed deals of Trey Burke and Troy Williams.
By signing Hezonja using a portion of their non-tax MLE ($6.5M) that is larger than the tax MLE ($5.3M), the Knicks are now hard capped through next season at the apron ($129.8M).
New York now has 16 players under NBA contract, one more than the limit. They are allowed to carry 20 players (including two-ways) during the offseason, so you might see them stay above the 15 number for a while, and then get back down to 15 before the season starts via waiving a player or trading a player.
How much do the Knicks have to spend by using their cap exceptions?
As far as what has been publicly reported, the Knicks have still not renounced Michael Beasley (non-Bird rights) or Jarrett Jack (non-Bird rights). The Knicks can exceed the salary cap to sign these players up to the hard cap amount ($129.8M).
They can also exceed the cap using the following mechanisms.
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Salary Cap Notes
Trey Burke and Troy Williams are on non-guaranteed contracts, so technically their full 2018-19 contract amounts do not count against the cap. However, since I anticipate the Knicks to keep both players on the roster, I included their respective salaries in calculating cap space.
I also took some liberties in renouncing all of the Knicks’ free agents in 2019—other than Kristaps Porzingis and Trey Burke. I did this to better demonstrate the maximum amount of cap space they can realistically create given their current roster. I include the cap hold of their projected first-round pick next season and in 2020. Higher draft picks carry higher cap holds, so I used a baseline of the fifth pick.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has a 15 percent trade kicker in his contract. The trade kicker applies to the remaining value of his contract, excluding option years. For example, Hardaway’s trade kicker dollar amount will decrease in value as he progresses through his contract.
Lance Thomas’ contract is only guaranteed for $1 million in 2019–20. If the Knicks are looking to maximize their cap space next summer, they can waive Thomas and only carry a cap hit of $1 million.
Kristaps Porzingis is eligible for a rookie extension this summer. However, if the Knicks wait to sign him, they can gain approximately $10 million in cap space by carrying his cap hold amount rather than his maximum contract amount (25 percent of the cap). Porzingis’ cap hold in 2019 is 300 percent of his 2018–19 salary since he will be coming off his rookie scale contract, earning below league average.
Latest transactions and salary cap implications
Knicks sign Mitchell Robinson to multi-year contract (7/8/18)
Since there are no salary cap exceptions for signing second round picks, the Knicks used a remaining portion of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Mitchell Robinson to a four-year, $6.5 million deal, with the first two years guaranteed and the final two years non-guaranteed and team options.
Knicks sign Kevin Knox to his rookie scale contract (7/5/18)
While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, we know, per CBA rules, that Knox is allowed to earn between 80-120 percent of his rookie scale amount as the 9th overall pick in the draft. It is pretty standard for teams to sign their lottery picks for the full 120% amount, which would put Knox’s 2018-19 salary at $3.7 million. The Knicks were allowed to sign him, even though they are over the cap, by using the rookie exception.
Knicks sign Mario Hezonja to one-year, $6.5 million deal (7/1/18)
After much discussion and a faulty Woj bomb, the Knicks inked the former Magic swingman to a one-year deal. The Knicks used a portion of the mid-level exception to sign him, so they’ll have about $2.1 million remaining that they can potentially use to sign Mitchell Robinson. New York now has 15 roster spots filled, and are hard capped at the apron, which is $129.7 million.
Knicks sign Luke Kornet to one-year, $1.6 million deal (7/1/18)
With other teams potentially interested in signing Luke Kornet to an NBA contract, the Knicks secured the big man to a one-year, $1.6 million contract using his non-Bird rights which allows them to exceed the cap to sign him for 120 percent of his previous salary. Kornet will technically have a no-trade clause since he is on a one-year contract and will have Early Bird rights at the end of the season, per CBA rules.
Enes Kanter exercises his $18.6 million player option (6/29/18)
In the least surprising news of the summer, Enes Kanter will remain a Knick for $18.6 million next season. With Kanter opting-in, the Knicks will enter free agency operating over the cap.
Next summer, in order to create max cap space, an obvious first move will be to renounce Kanter’s mega $27.9 million cap hold (150 percent of his previous salary since he will be earning more than league average as a Bird free agent). This means that if Kanter wants to stay with the Knicks beyond next season, the Knicks would need to sign him using cap space, which limits their ability to make an attractive offer since they will likely save that cap space for a star player.
Knicks tender qualifying offers to Isaiah Hicks and Luke Kornet (6/22/18)
Since both Isaiah Hicks and Luke Kornet are coming off two-way contracts and played at least 15 days in the NBA last season, they are restricted free agents this summer.
A qualifying offer allows the Knicks the right of first refusal against any other team who tries to sign either player. The qualifying offer is another two-way contract with $50,000 guaranteed. Since the Knicks are reportedly signing Allonzo Trier to a two-way contract, and the league only allows a maximum of two two-way contracts at a time, the Knicks are simply reserving the right to keep both Hicks and Kornet until they decide if they want to keep one on another two-way contract or sign one to a regular NBA contract.
Two-way contracts do not count against the salary cap.
Knicks will sign Allonzo Trier to two-way contract (6/21/18)
A two-way player is essentially a G League player who earns a pro-rated NBA salary for days spent in the NBA—without that salary counting against the cap.
Allonzo Trier will be able to play up to 45 days with the Knicks next season. His salary will be pro-rated X number of days against the 177 days in a season.
Knicks draft Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson (6/21/18)
First-round picks carry an immediate cap hold of 120 percent of their rookie scale amount, which is set based on where they were drafted.
As the ninth overall selection, Kevin Knox’s cap hold is 120 percent of the ninth overall pick’s rookie scale amount. He will negotiate over the summer with the Knicks to sign anywhere between 80–120 percent of his rookie scale amount. Once he officially signs his contract, the actual amount will replace the cap hold in calculating team salary.
Second-round picks do not carry a cap hold. They must be signed following normal salary cap rules, so if the Knicks remain over the cap, they can sign Mitchell Robinson using either the minimum salary exception or a portion of one of their exceptions (e.g. non-taxpayer mid-level).
Kyle O’Quinn declines player option (6/20/18)
Kyle O’Quinn declined his $4.3 million player option. This does not necessarily mean he has played his last game as a Knick. The Knicks can re-sign him using his Bird Rights or one of their salary cap exceptions.
The Knicks will carry an $8.1 million cap hold until they renounce O’Quinn’s Bird Rights or re-sign him using his Bird Rights. If they renounce his Bird Rights, the cap hold goes away, but they are limited to re-signing him by using one of their remaining salary cap exceptions. The $8.1 million cap hold is calculated per CBA rules as 300 percent of his previous salary, since he is a Bird Free Agent who made below league average last season.