Editor's note (Jan. 31): This piece has been updated following the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
The recent Kristaps Porzingis trade to the Dallas Mavericks accelerated the buildup to what NBA executives are calling one of the most talent-rich free-agent classes in recent years. Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Khris Middleton, Kristaps Porzingis, Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler headline the group of a projected 200 players who could hit free agency on July 1.
Despite the star-studded field and the salary cap projected to increase to $109 million (from $101.8 million), teams are still feeling the ripple effect from the summer of 2016 when spending was at an all-time high. ESPN is projecting only 12 teams with cap space this offseason, an increase from nine in 2018. In 2016, there were 27 teams with room and a year later there were 16.
While the big names, such as Leonard and Durant, will see max offers either from their respective teams or new destinations, possibly the Clippers or the Knicks, expect 2018's same pattern of short-term contracts to repeat itself.
Keep in mind also that if either Kawhi or KD leaves, the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors will not open up cap space to sign a replacement. The same holds true with players such as Irving in Boston and Walker in Charlotte.
Here is an early look at the teams that are projected to have cap space, including three wild-card teams that could enter the mix in July.