In the last week we've seen a number of teams essentially give away valuable players in an attempt to clear more cap space to sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and/or Chris Bosh.
On Thursday, the Chicago Bulls agreed to trade Kirk Hinrich, the 17th pick in the draft and cash to the Washington Wizards to reduce to clear an extra $9.5 million off their books.
The Miami Heat traded away Daequan Cook and the 18th pick in the draft to Oklahoma City to clear an extra $3 million in room. Then, on Tuesday, the Heat bought out James Jones' contract, reducing his cap number from 4.65 million down to $1.5 million.
The New Jersey Nets responded on Tuesday by trading Yi Jianlian and cash to the Wizards for Quinton Ross. The trade gives the Nets another $3 million in cap space to play with this summer.
The Nets and Bulls are trying to get enough cap space to lure two "max" free agents to their team this summer. The Heat are trying for the magic trifecta, three "max" free agents. Currently only the New York Knicks have enough space to bring in two max free agents.
The Heat, Bulls and Nets will have to clear even more cap space, however, to achieve their goals. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others are projected to earn $16.6 million in first-year salaries. So a team would need $33.14 million under the cap to sign two max-contract free agents. The Heat would need a little more than $49 million to sign three max free agents. The Nets, Heat and Bulls are close, but they aren't there yet.
Here's the latest projection of what each team will have in salary cap space per a source in the NBA who is working off the NBA's projected data, included a $56.1 million cap. NBA teams won't know the actual cap figure until July 7th.
Note: The Heat's projected space assumes that they re-sign Dwyane Wade to a maximum contract
New York Knicks: $34.17 million
New Jersey Nets: $29.99 million
Chicago Bulls: $29.17 million
Miami Heat: $27.13 million
Los Angeles Clippers: $16.83 million
Boston Celtics: $15.4 million
Sacramento Kings: $15.35 million
Minnesota Timberwolves: $13.44 million
Washington Wizards: $7.18 million
Oklahoma City Thunder: $6.13 million