How the NBA’s 2020-21 cap projections impact the Detroit Pistons

NBA salary cap projections for the 2020-21 season are expected to decrease. Here’s how the Detroit Pistons could be impacted and could benefit.

Social media has caused the NBA and teams to lose millions as the NBA salary cap projections are expected to decrease for the 2020-21 season.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks report that the original projections of $116 million will drop with some front office’s believing it’ll drop to around $113 million.

A large part of the reasoning is Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeting his support for Hong Kong sovereignty, which will lead to the league losing approximately $150-$200 million. The loss of China-driven revenue could cost teams cap and luxury tax space.

It may have a greater impact over the next week before the Feb. 6 trade deadline passes as teams could lose up to $15 million in tax money. ESPN reports the Warriors, a repeating tax team, would face close to an $80 million penalty if the luxury tax drops from $141 million to $138 million.

The Detroit Pistons fit in as one of seven teams that could offer more than the $9.8 million mid-level exception in free agency this upcoming summer. Five teams — Boston, Brooklyn, Golden State, Houston and Philadelphia — are projected to be tax-paying teams in 2020-21. Denver, Milwaukee and the Clippers would join them if the salary cap and tax were to drop by $3 million.

Detroit is sputtering, having lost its last four games including two games against eighth-seeded Brooklyn over the past week. The Pistons are 4.5 games back with the toughest schedule in March. That essentially makes them sellers over the next week.

Andre Drummond‘s trade market has quieted down with teams reluctant to give up draft capitol or a young prospect. Derrick Rose has never been more valuable, Langston Galloway is a sharpshooting combo guard and Markieff Morris could be a floor-spacing forward of interest.

In addition to the trade rumors that have circulated the Pistons roster, the team could take on future salary to help teams stay under the luxury tax in exchange for much-needed assets. A player that fits could be Tyus Jones, DeAndre Jordan or George Hill — players on multi-year contracts serving in a rotational role that the Pistons could match expiring contracts for.

With only $51 million in guaranteed contracts returning for the 2020-21 season, the Pistons are well-equipped to match salaries. But the Pistons seem intent to compete next season once they get healthy. They have salary cap space for the first time in several years, however, and could re-load themselves by adding depth through quality role players.

It’s an interesting element thrown at senior advisor Ed Stefanski and Detroit’s front office with eight days until the trade deadline. But it will also impact the Pistons by losing an additional $3 million in free agency for their spending needs.

Detroit is poised to capitalize on valuable contracts. Players that would generally draw $15 million could see closer to $10 million per year instead due to decreased salary projections. Though that means players will be less likely to sign lengthier deals when they could get more money in 2021 and beyond.

That will change their timeline to go along with 19-year-old Sekou Doumbouya, whose timeline is different from veterans Blake Griffin and others. Signing players that could be considered on value deals would in turn provide additional assets if things go awry again next season or the season after.

ESPN reported the projected numbers are expected to be released to teams later Thursday so they can plan appropriately, though official numbers won’t come until the summer.

Next: What the Pistons' roster could look like in 2020-21
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