It’s a pretty slow time right now for Nuggets news so I thought I would look into where our Powder Blue boys sit with regard to their salary situation with a little bit of analysis.
The salaries for the upcoming 2014-2015 season and the cap hit attached to those salaries have been released by the teams and the Denver Nuggets rank 10th with a total salary cap hit of $71,715,135.00 this season. This is significant because they exceed the new 2014-2015 salary cap of 63.065 million by a little over 9 million but fall under the luxury tax threshold of 76.8 million by just over 5 million. The Nuggets highest paid player for 2014-2015 is Point Guard Ty Lawson with a cap hit of approximately 11.6 million. Underachieving Center JaVale McGee comes in 2nd at 11.3 million and Danilo Gallinari, who is returning from knee surgery is 3rd at 10.9 million. Newly acquired Shooting Guard Arron Afflalo is set to make 7.5 million this year after his trade to the Nuggets from the Orlando Magic. Power Forward Kenneth Faried is slated to take in only 2.25 million this year and is currently involved in contract extension negotiations with the team.
Faried’s situation is interesting because the Nuggets would have the ability to start the extension and higher wage next year as they will only have $59,257,088.00 in dedicated salaries for next season. This means that they have the room to sign Faried to an extension that begins with higher salaries for the 2015-2016 season and not have to sacrifice the luxury tax or lose any of the players they currently have locked up for next season which includes Gallinari, Lawson and McGee. Afflalo is locked up for next season as well at the same 7.5 million salary but becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent after the 2015-2016 season. McGee is the wild card in all of this. He is slated to get a raise to 12 million next season and if he does not show the improvement expected or continues to be an injury risk, the Nuggets may have to find a way to unload him and his salary after the season. Some of the bargains on the Nuggets roster, in my opinion, are Randy Foye, who is slated to make 3 million, Nate Robinson who has a 2.1 million salary for this season and of course Faried at 2.25 million. J.J. Hickson falls just out of the bargain category at 5.4 million.
The top 10 in salary cap hits for the 2014-2015 NBA season are:
Brooklyn Nets $102,647,637.00
Los Angeles Lakers $93,118,179.00
Boston Celtics $92,723,520.00
New York Knicks $90,977,721.00
Memphis Grizzlies $82,499,789.00
Miami Heat $81,530,213.00
Chicago Bulls $75,701,200.00
San Antonio Spurs $74,677,468.00
Los Angeles Clippers $72,460,813.00
Denver Nuggets $71,715,135.00
With all of this being said, I mostly like the Nuggets roster and think everyone on the team is in the right salary category except maybe McGee. It looks like they will have some flexibility in the next couple of seasons to add pieces to the roster as some of these contracts expire but signing Faried to a Contract extension appears to be the most important thing for the Nuggets on the salary and roster front.
* Nuggets Salaries courtesy of NBA.com/Nuggets
* Salary Cap Numbers courtesy of altiusdirectory.com/sports