When the NBA season ends, Detroit Pistons will be rolling in money

General manager Troy Weaver of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
General manager Troy Weaver of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons have a bad record, and no salary cap space to do much about it, at the moment. However, once the season ends, the Pistons are projected to have more cap space than any other team in the NBA.

As the Jeezy song says: ‘Scared money makes no money.’ and Detroit general manager Troy Weaver is going to have so much money to work with this off-season, it’s a bit scary.

The NBA office recently announced they project the 2022-23 salary cap to be $121 million, a two million increase from its previous projection.

Despite the additional money, most NBA teams will still be capped out, ether due to paying superstars big money, or paying mediocre players big money. However, one team will be swimming in salary cap money available.

A couple of caveats about Detroit being the team with the most cap space in the NBA:

  • This is based on salaries and contracts of all teams right now. With the February 10 trade deadline looming, plus the ‘buyout’ season that follows, cap-strapped clubs will have a chance to lower their salary number for next year.
  • These are, remember, all projections. The NBA is guessing the revenue coming in for this season, which will set next year’s salary cap. And people are projecting who the Pistons will keep, and cut loose, from this year’s roster.

When looking at Detroit Pistons salary cap, you see many ‘dead’ people. light. Related Story

But let’s get to the fun stuff. It looks like when the summer commences, the Pistons will have more dollars to throw at any player they want then anyone else.

How did Detroit get in this envious position? Basically, their cap space has risen from the dead.

The Pistons have $45 million in dead money this year, that is money going to players not on the team. The biggest ‘death’ is the last year of Blake Griffin’s contract  but it also includes Deividas Sirvydis’ $1.5 million contract (even though he plays on the Piston’s G-League team). Also factored in are DeAndre Jordan, Dewayne Dedmon and Zhaire Smith, who were traded for and immediately released.

The Pistons ‘dead’ money owed goes from $45 down to 11 million next season.

The other part of clearing cap space is that a lot of players are either on  team or player options for next year. According to Spotrac, Detroit is only contractually obligated to pay $77 million dollars for 2022-2023.

And part of that $77 is $20 million to Jerami Grant and $13 million to Kelly Olynyk. Grant has been the subject of trade rumors and Olynyk will be getting interest as well. If both are traded for players with expiring contracts, their $33 million is added to the cap space.

In theory, if Weaver declined everyone’s options and cap holds, even with Grant and Olynyk still on the roster, Detroit would have $49,396,458 in cap space to work with.

Related Story. Did Kelly Olynyk suddenly become a valuable trade chip for Pistons?. light

The projected cap is lower because there are some key Pistons players, one would assume, that Detroit would like to come back. Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson have played well, they both should return. Trey Lyles has also played better than expected,. With a very reasonable contract, no reason not to pick up Lyles’ option.

Cory Joseph has a player option for next year. He could decline it and go elsewhere (which would please a certain portion of Pistons fans), which would clear $5 million more in cap space.

However, Joseph is having a good season and getting a lot of playing time. Also, it is not guaranteed another team would pay him $5 million or more if he did become a free agent. Joseph probably will want to come back next year. It’s entirely his call.

Of course, all that cap space could be used up quickly if the Pistons make a trade for someone with a big contract (Ben Simmons?) or sign a high priced free agent (Miles Bridges comes home?)

Next. Detroit Pistons salary cap haunted by ghost of Blake Griffin’s contract. dark

But the good news is, the Pistons will be able to maneuver in the off-season without the constraint of worrying about the salary cap. It will give them a leg up on most of the league, when is the last time that occured?