Knicks' 2015 cap space could increase to $27 million

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Earlier this month, we took a look at the New York Knicks' projected cap space this summer.

Now that New York has the No. 4 pick in the draft, the numbers have changed slightly.

Here’s why:

Our earlier projections were based on the Knicks owning the No. 2 pick in the draft, who will be paid $4.2 million in the first year of his contract.

The No. 4 pick will be paid $3.4 million in the first year of his contract. This gives the Knicks an extra $800,000 to work with this summer.

Right now, New York has four players with guaranteed contracts for 2015-16: Carmelo Anthony ($22.88 million), Jose Calderon ($7.4 million), Tim Hardaway Jr. ($1.3 million) and Cleanthony Early ($845,000).

Langston Galloway’s contract of $845,000 becomes partially guaranteed on July 1. Ricky Ledo's contract of $947,276 becomes partially guaranteed in August.

When calculating the Knicks’ salary, you also need to factor in cap holds for open roster spots. (Click here for more details on those calculations.)

When you add up the cap holds, guaranteed salaries and the salaries for Galloway and Ledo, the Knicks have $40.2 million in committed salary.

That would leave them with $26.8 million to spend in free agency in this scenario, assuming that the projected cap of $67.1 million is correct.

If the Knicks were to waive Ledo, they would have $27.2 million in cap space. Let’s say they decide to sign Greg Monroe to a max contract worth $15.7 million in Year 1. That would leave them with $11.5 million to spend on other free agents.

If they were to waive both Galloway and Ledo, which is unlikely, they would have $27.5 million to spend this summer.

There's also a scenario where the Knicks could have $31.08 million in cap space this summer. They can achieve this by waiving and stretching Jose Calderon's remaining contract. If they waived and stretched Calderon and signed Monroe to a max contract, they'd still have $15.9 million to spend.

Of course, the math for all of this changes if the Knicks decide to trade their pick.

If they deal the pick in return for a 2015 pick later in the first round and a 2016 pick, they would open up some more cap space. Let’s say they traded down to the ninth pick. That pick is scheduled to make $2.2 million in Year 1.

That would give the Knicks $1.2 million more to spend this summer.

But if the Knicks trade the pick for a package that includes a player under contract for 2015-16, that would eat

into their 2015 cap space.

New York has four trade exceptions worth between $5.9 million and $1.8 million ($5.9 million from the J.R. Smith trade; $3.6 million from the Raymond Felton trade; $2.6 million from the Iman Shumpert trade; $1.8 million from the Travis Outlaw trade).

Those exceptions can be used in a trade to obtain a player with a commensurate salary. So the Knicks could potentially take back a player making as much as $5.9 million in a trade (worth noting: you can’t combine trade exceptions). This type of transaction, though, would take away nearly $6 million from their 2015 cap space.

It’s also worth noting that the Knicks would need to hold on to some of their cap space this summer if they want to sign a max player in the summer of 2016. More on that here.

Knicks struggle since departure of longtime scout: It hasn’t been a good week for those Knicks fans who like to look back at the franchise’s transactions.

J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are thriving in Cleveland, which looks primed to reach the NBA Finals. And Pablo Prigioni has played a small but important role in Houston advancing to the Western Conference finals. Phil Jackson acknowledged that trio in a series of tweets on Sunday.

The Knicks struggled by design after the Prigioni and Smith/Shumpert trades, winning a franchise-low 17 games.

You can argue that this is the right course for the Knicks, who are hoping to rebuild this summer through the draft and free agency.

But no one thought New York would be this awful just two years after its 54-win season.

Late in the 2012-13 regular season, the Knicks decided not to renew the contract of scout Scott McGuire, a 25-year employee and the son of Hall of Fame Knicks guard Dick McGuire. Not much has gone right since.

The Knicks have won a total of 54 games (37 in 2013-14 and 17 this season) and fell to fourth in the draft lottery. It would be misguided to draw a strong correlation between the two, but it’s certainly worth noting.

McGuire holds no ill will toward the Knicks. He remains positive about the team’s outlook and wishes the best for the franchise.

“I just want to see them do well,” he says.