NBA Trade Rumors: Contenders Who Are Looking to Clear Cap for Free Agency

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2013

Dwight Howard's free agency is forcing teams to clear cap space.
Dwight Howard's free agency is forcing teams to clear cap space.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA draft is officially over and the Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams that are forced to find ways to afford premier free agents.

Free agency is only days away and the pressure is on several teams to get rid of certain players to try to sign high-profile free agents.

Los Angeles is a city to watch out for in free agency. Both the Clippers and the Lakers are looking to re-sign big-name players, but there's a chance at least one of the teams will be disappointed.

The draft was a way for teams to try to dump salaries for future draft picks, but there are teams that are still trying to figure out their payroll.

Let's take a look at the teams that need to clear some space to afford free agents.


Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers made a big move by hiring Doc Rivers to take over as coach. That move was made to try to convince superstar Chris Paul to stay with the team.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Clippers had talked to the Portland Trail Blazers about a trade for DeAndre Jordan

Los Angeles could keep Jordan and still afford Paul, but it could be better if the team tries to shed his salary and get cheaper pieces. Jordan is due over $10 million in each of the next two seasons.

Paul is going to get a max contract. He deserves it, but it would raise the team's payroll significantly. By trading Jordan, the team could add more role players who could help this team get to the next level.

Rivers would use Jordan very well, so trade talks are now probably off. However, Paul would be the only significant player the team could afford. The Clippers would be forced to use the Miami Heat's strategy and try to get veterans to come play for cheap.

The cap situation wouldn't necessarily be an issue for this upcoming season, although Blake Griffin's salary is going to double this season.

Jordan's contract expires after the 2014-2015 season, so the Clippers may pull the trigger on a deal as Paul and Griffin start to see their salaries hit $20 million or more.


Dallas Mavericks 

According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavericks are in on Dwight Howard this offseason.

Dallas made it clear that it wasn't looking to add salary in the draft. The team traded two different first-round picks before landing Shane Larkin with the No. 18 selection. However, Sefko wonders if the Mavericks are going to keep Larkin.

Sefko estimates Larkin's salary at around $1.4 million this season, which is affordable in the NBA. That shows just how much salary the Mavericks are looking to clear before free agency starts.

Dirk Nowitzki is nearing the end of his career. The Mavericks are looking for someone to come in and be the future of the team. Howard would certainly be a great option, so the Mavericks are getting rid of as much salary as they can.

Nowitzki is the only player under contract who will make eight figures next season. Nearly half of the team's salary is committed to him. The rest of the roster needs to be upgraded if the Mavericks are going to return to the postseason next year.


Houston Rockets

The Rockets are another team trying to make room for Howard. is reporting that they have been shopping Thomas Robinson, but it's unclear if they can move him now that the draft is over.

Like the Mavericks, the Rockets have some room this upcoming season. However, the 2014-2015 campaign could get tough for them if they sign Howard.

James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are all due to make over $14 million in two seasons. Lin and Asik will each be making just over $5 million next season. 

Adding Howard would put the team in a tough spot unless it could move Lin or Asik before they get their raises. Keeping all four wouldn't be an option, as they would be due over $60 million combined.

Houston could try to deal Robinson for a future draft pick. That would clear some salary, but Houston would still be in a tough spot in two seasons.


All salary figures courtesy of