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The Wizards' cap situation for 2016 and how it affects Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

[NOTE: This is an updated version of a post we ran last summer detailing the Wizards' cap situation. The post now reflects their decisions to waive Martell Webster, trade for Markieff Morris, and the new report that the salary cap for 2016-17 projects to be $94 million, up from the initial $89 million projection last summer.

In this version, we'll start with the all-important numbers based on Wizards' salary numbers from Basketball Insiders. The explanations of how all the numbers work are below. Keep in mind these numbers are rounded to the nearest tenth of a million, and these numbers are subject to change as new information becomes available.]

Wizards current cap situation

PLAYER 2016-17 SALARY NOTES
John Wall $17 million
Marcin Gortat $12 million
Otto Porter $5.9 million* Team option
Markieff Morris $7.4 million
Kelly Oubre $2.0 million
Martell Webster $833,000 This is the fully guaranteed portion of Martell Webster's salary that the Wizards have to carry on their books for 2016-17. They will carry the same amount for the next two seasons as well.
Cap holds for open roster spots $3.3 million* Teams must carry a $544,000 cap hold for each open roster spot under 12 player minimum.
Bradley Beal cap hold $14.2 million
Bradley Beal projected max deal $22 million The team will likely wait to sign Beal's deal until all other free agent moves are complete, because the Wizards can go over the cap to retain Beal this summer.
TOTAL $62.6 million

NOTE: These figures do not include Drew Gooden's $3.5 million team option and Jarell Eddie's $980,000 team option for 2016-17.

Cap space projections based on different scenarios

TOTALS CAP SPACE
REMAINING CAP ROOM BEFORE SIGNING ANYONE $31.4 million
REMAINING CAP ROOM IF WIZ SIGN KD TO MAX DEAL $5.0 million

How far under the cap do the Wizards have to be to sign Kevin Durant?

As a nine-year veteran, Kevin Durant is eligible for a Tier 2 max deal worth $26.4 million in the first year of his new deal, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

What is a cap hold?

We'll let CBA FAQ explain:

Cap holds are "placeholders" for players the team is expected to sign in the future. For example, a team is expected to sign its unsigned first round draft pick, so an amount is reserved for this signing in the form of a cap hold. A team $10 million below the cap with $4 million in cap holds therefore has $6 million in room. A team $5 million under the cap with $6 million in cap holds is not considered to be under the cap at all, and must use exceptions to sign players.

Cap holds also apply to players hitting free agency. So all the Wizards' upcoming unrestricted free agents -- Nene, Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson, Ramon Sessions, Gary Neal and Garrett Temple -- have cap holds that count against the Wizards' cap room. In most cases, cap holds count for more against the cap than their salary from the previous season.

The only way to clear a cap hold is to wait until the player signs a new deal or renounce their rights. Once you renounce a player's rights you can't sign them for a deal that exceeds the salary cap limit, so typically teams don't renounce these rights until they know for sure the player isn't returning, or if they know they need the cap room.

For the sake of creating as much cap room as possible, we'll assume the Wizards renounce their rights to all six players. This opens up significant cap room, but the Wizards still can't completely rid themselves of cap holds. TTeams must carry cap holds equal to a rookie minimum salary ($544,000) for each open roster spot under the 12 player roster minimum. If you assume the Wizards decline all team options except Porter, and renounce all their unrestricted free agents, they would have six open roster spots. In that scenario, the Wizards would have a combined cap hold of $3.3 million for their six open roster spots.

How does Beal's restricted free agency/possible extension factor into this?

Like all of the Wizards' unrestricted free agents, Beal will have a cap hold if he hits restricted free agency next summer. As a restricted free agent, his cap hold is a bit higher. His cap hold would be 250 percent of his $5.7 million salary for the 2015-16 season. That puts his cap hold at $14.2 million.

The Wizards could renounce Beal to clear his cap hold, but then they would lose his Bird rights. Without his Bird rights, another team could swoop in to offer Beal a big deal and the Wizards would have the right to match or go over the cap to keep him.

TL;DR version

  • Do the Wizards have enough cap room for Durant? Yes.
  • Do the Wizards have enough room for Durant and Beal? Yes.
  • How much wiggle room will the Wizards have left to make other moves if they got both? Not a lot, Bob.