Contract watch: Players who could become cap casualties

Contract watch: Players who could become cap casualties

NBA Salaries

Contract watch: Players who could become cap casualties

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There are a handful of young players set to earn significant raises on their next contracts. We used ProFitX to view what these players should be earning based on their level of play, and evaluate if these players are in a position to earn such a raise with their current team.

However, some of these teams could have financial situations preventing them from being the ones that give their players such raises. Some teams are already set to have expensive teams deep in the luxury tax in the near future which could hinder their ability to add more long-term salary. At the same time, some players have very limited Bird rights with their current teams and could easily get properly paid elsewhere.

Here are several players with upcoming contract situations whose future with their current team could be impacted by salary cap complications.

Tyler Herro (Miami)

Tyler Herro is looking like the runaway Sixth Man of the Year candidate this season. The third-year guard is averaging 20.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game and is playing with a Real-Time Contract of $24.3 million. Herro will become extension-eligible this offseason and should have one of the more fascinating negotiations of his draft class.

Tyler Herro 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Tyler Herro 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

The Heat will likely become taxpayers possibly starting as soon as next season and throughout the length of Jimmy Butler’s recently signed extension. A contract for Herro in the $25 million annual range in addition to the rest of the roster’s long-term salaries could put Miami’s luxury tax payments in the $80-100 million range. Such a commitment would likely come with confidence that Herro will transcend from his bench role.

Cameron Johnson (Phoenix)

Cam Johnson

Cameron Johnson has quietly improved to being one of the better two-way forwards in the league, as well as one of the league’s best three-point shooters. He is currently shooting 43.1 percent from three which is the fourth-best rate in the league and only half a percent lower than the second-best rate. Like with Herro and Miami, negotiations for Johnson will be worth keeping an eye on since it could put Phoenix in a similarly high luxury tax territory.

Cameron Johnson 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Cameron Johnson 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

The Suns will be in the luxury tax starting next season once they presumably re-sign DeAndre Ayton. Johnson will be the next player up for a new contract when he becomes extension-eligible this offseason. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to command at least something in the ballpark of four-year, $65 million, which is what Kevin Hurter got. An annual rate in the high-teens, as well as a potential supermax for Devin Booker if he meets the criteria this or next season, could force the Suns to eventually make a tough decision or break the bank for a very expensive team several years from now.

Dillon Brooks (Memphis)

Dillon Brooks elevated himself from a role player to a great starter who can raise his play when needed. He played a vital role in the Grizzlies’ survival of the 2021 play-in tournament and averaged 26 points per game in his first playoff series against Utah. He is having another strong season on both ends and played a big part in instilling Memphis’ culture. Brooks will become eligible for a four-year, $61.3 million extension this offseason, but his Real-Time Contract blows past that extension’s $15 million annual salary.

Dillon Brooks 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Dillon Brooks 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

While moving on from a player like Brooks seems unlikely, it wouldn’t be the first time they moved on from a player due for a raise. Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen are recent examples of players who thrived in Memphis but were moved with a year left on their deals. Desmond Bane has solidified his spot in the team’s future plans, and the wing rotation can get even more crowded if Ziaire Williams pans out. Brooks’ contract situation will be fascinating to keep an eye on if his market becomes greater than the Grizzlies are comfortable paying.

Dorian Finney-Smith (Dallas)

Dorian Finney-Smith has quietly become one of the more sought-after wing players ahead of the trade deadline. Like Cameron Johnson, his box score numbers don’t jump out but he’s been an invaluable part of the Mavericks’ success. Dallas has had the league’s top defense in January and Finney-Smith played a big role in it guarding their opponent’s best players. He is currently eligible for a four-year extension worth up to $55.6 million but could earn more if he becomes a free agent this offseason.

Dorian Finney-Smith 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Dorian Finney-Smith 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

The Mavericks are going to have a luxury tax crunch to address heading into the 2022-23 offseason with Luka Doncic’s maximum extension kicking in. They will have a full roster already right at the projected luxury tax with Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson set to become unrestricted free agents. It’s possible that the Mavericks move on from one of them ahead of the trade deadline, or look to move on from other players on the roster currently under contract for next season. This could allow them to bring back Finney-Smith whose two-way ability is heavily relied upon.

Malik Monk (LA Lakers)

Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers

Malik Monk is one of the few bright spots of the Lakers season. The fifth-year guard is averaging career highs in scoring, three-pointers, and efficiency. He’s been on a scoring tear since Christmas averaging 17.2 points and 3.2 three per game in the last 17 games and is currently playing with a Real-Time Contract of $14 million.

Malik Monk 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Malik Monk 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

The Lakers will be able to re-sign Monk this offseason for up to the taxpayer mid-level exception projected to start at $6.3 million. Otherwise, the most they can give him next season is his minimum salary amount projected at $2.05 million, or his non-Bird amount at $2.46 million. It’s possible Monk returns to the Lakers at a one-year deal at any of these salary amounts and tests the market in 2023. The Lakers would hold his Early Bird rights then which would make it much easier for them to pay him something closer to his Real-Time Contract.

Otto Porter (Golden State)

Otto Porter, Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are getting production out of all their veteran minimum signings from last offseason. Otto Porter was surprisingly one of them and has been their most important wing player off their bench. He is playing with a Real-Time Contract of $9.8 million which is an amount very close to this year’s mid-level exception. A deep playoff run could lead to a lucrative long-term deal on his next contract this offseason.

Otto Porter 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Otto Porter 2021-22 ProFitX Contract Analysis

Like with Monk and the Lakers, keeping Porter will be challenging but not impossible for the Warriors. His minimum salary is projected at $2.5 million and his non-Bird amount at $3 million. If the market for Porter is robust, the Warriors could offer up to the $6.3 million taxpayer mid-level exception. They’re already projected to have a luxury tax bill exceeding $100 million next season with just nine players on their roster, including their 2022 first-round pick. They still need to add at least five more players on top of that. They could decide to take their chances on striking gold on minimum signings again to find another gem like Porter.

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