Knicks salary cap space: How Mikal Bridges affects New York’s pursuit of OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein

The Knicks made the biggest of splashes to kick off the 2024 NBA offseason, surrendering a treasure trove of draft picks to acquire the services of Nets forward Mikal Bridges, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

It was a trade that took the NBA world by storm. New York added to its growing collection of ex-Villanova stars, forming a Fab Four of Wildcats alums. The Knicks also nabbed one of the sport’s more effective wing defenders. Couple that with Bridges’ proclivity for scoring as a secondary option, and it seems New York has landed a winner, even if it did have to mortgage its future to do so.

Bridges’ arrival does cast some questions on the makeup of the rest of the Knicks roster, however. The salary cap can prove a scornful siren to the league’s biggest spenders. Bridges’ acquisition won’t come cheap, both in terms of draft capital and cap space. That could have serious implications on New York’s supporting cast, including soon-to-be free agents OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Here’s what you need to know about the Knicks’ salary cap entering the 2024 NBA offseason, one that could prove increasingly sinister as New York attempts to assemble a championship-caliber roster while abiding by the league’s cap rules.

MORE: Mikal Bridges trade grades

New York Knicks salary cap situation

The Knicks find themselves on the brink of salary cap hell in 2024, with six players already contracted on fully guaranteed deals for the 2024-25 season: Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, Julius Randle, Miles McBride, and Mitchell Robinson. Those deals account for $102.5 million of the salary cap. With the luxury cap threshold projected to sit around $172 million next season, New York has ~$70 million to work with as it attempts to negotiate new deals.

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Bridges — who inked a four-year, $90.9 million extension with the Suns before being dealt to Brooklyn in 2023 — still has two years remaining on his deal. He’ll earn $23.3 million in 2024-25, bringing New York’s total of committed salary for the 2024-25 season to about $140 million, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

That leaves about $32 million for the Knicks to spend on Anunoby, who figures to receive a contract that places his annual salary figure somewhere around $35 million.

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Wojnarowski reported that New York is still prioritizing retaining Anunoby’s services after the Bridges trade. Nevertheless, a play for him would likely end the Knicks’ pursuit of another big piece to their postseason run: Hartenstein, who is expected to field contract offers far exceeding the maximum value New York could offer him of $16.2 million per year.

In a recent poll of opposing front office officials conducted by The Athletic, Hartenstein’s projected market value ranged from $15 million to $22.5 million, according to The Athletic’s Fred Katz.

Inking Anunoby to a long-term deal would represent a great coup for Tom Thibodeau’s squad, which hopes to reaffirm its status as a rangy defensive team with ample 3-and-D talents surrounding Brunson. But it would also limit New York’s ability to reinforce its bench unit and/or its interior size. An Anunoby contract, coupled with the combined $5.6 million New York’s first-round picks (Picks No. 24 and No. 25) would take the Knicks way over the luxury cap.

The new collective bargaining agreement, which places additional “aprons” on the amount of money a team can spend during any given offseason, could help round off New York’s roster. If the Knicks stay under the first apron, estimated to be $179 million, they can use the non-taxpayer midlevel, projected to be worth $12.9 million in 2024-25 salary.

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Nevertheless, such spending would make finances tight, and perhaps more importantly, it’s unlikely New York would be able to cultivate the sort of size and bench depth that has come to define its roster during the recent Thibodeau era.

Knicks salary cap breakdown 2024-25

In trading for Bridges, the Knicks added a seventh player under contract for the 2024-25 season.

Player Salary cap hit
Julius Randle $28,939,680
Jalen Brunson $24,960,001
Mikal Bridges $23,300,000
Josh Hart $18,144,000
Mitchell Robinson $14,318,182
Donte DiVincenzo $11,445,000
Miles McBride $4,710,144

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