The NBA has estimated the 2010-11 salary cap to be $56.1 million and the luxury tax threshold will be approximately $68 million.
The Hawks have seven players under contract for next season for a total of $45,130,214:
|Name||2010-11 Salary (millions)|
Maurice Evans has a player option for $2.5 million next season. It has been reported that Evans is leaning toward declining the option and becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Because of cap holds, this does not mean the Hawks will have $11 million ($8.5 million if Evans exercises his option) in cap space this summer.
Until Joe Johnson re-signs with the Hawks or signs with another team, the Hawks will have a cap hold of approximately $16.2 million for Johnson. As Larry Coon explains, this is to prevent a loophole regarding Bird rights.
The hold for Johnson brings Atlanta's cap number to approximately $63.1 million.
There is also a cap hold for the Hawks' first-round pick. Last year, the cap hold (and first-year compensation) for the 24th pick was $933,500.
That brings Atlanta's cap number to approximately $64 million.
The Hawks also have cap holds for two potential restricted free agents: Josh Childress ($10.894 million) and Mario West ($1.06 million). In order to retain the right to match any offer, the Hawks must submit a qualifying offer to Childress and West by June 30th.
That brings Atlanta's cap number to approximately $76 million.
If the Hawks do not submit a qualifying offer to Childress or West, the will still have a cap hold of $854,389 for every empty roster spot if they have "fewer than 12 players (players under contract, free agents included in team salary, players given offer sheets, and first round draft picks)." The seven players under contract, plus Johnson (until he signs a contract with another team), plus the first-round draft pick, plus Childress and West, brings the Hawks to 11 players so we add $854,389 for one empty roster spot, bringing the total of salaries and cap holds to just under $77 million. As explained above, the Hawks can reduce that number by not submitting a qualifying offer to Childress and/or West but declining to submit the qualifying offers would not appreciably change the team's cap space.
This is why the Atlanta Hawks cannot pursue other team's free agents for anything other than the Mid-Level or Bi-Annual Exceptions. This is also why the Hawks may aggressively pursue sign-and-trade deals involving Joe Johnson and Josh Childress should the former sign with another team and/or should the latter opt out of his contract with Olympiacos and return to the NBA but not the Hawks.