As we detailed on Friday, NBA teams have until August 31 to waive players and stretch their 2018-19 cap hits over multiple years. If a player is released after August 31, his current cap hit will remain unchanged, and only the subsequent years of his contract can be stretched.
Three factors are working against Singler and making him a prime release candidate. For one, he fell out of Oklahoma City’s rotation entirely in 2017/18, appearing in just 12 games and playing only 59 total minutes for the season. Secondly, he’s essentially on an expiring contract, since his $5.3MM+ salary for 2019/20 is non-guaranteed. And finally, the Thunder currently have the largest projected tax bill in the NBA, meaning waiving Singler could create substantial immediate savings for the franchise.
Currently, the Thunder have a total team salary of $149.58MM, with a projected tax bill of $93.19MM. If they were to waive Singler, who has a $4,996,000 salary, they could stretch his cap hit across five seasons due to his non-guaranteed second year, reducing this season’s cap charge to just $999,200. That would bring the Thunder’s team salary down to $145.58MM and their projected tax bill to about $73.79MM, creating $23MM+ in total savings.
Outside of Singler, there aren’t many obvious stretch candidates around the NBA. Other projected taxpayers could consider similar moves to save some money, but many of those clubs don’t have players on expiring contracts that they’d want to release. The Wizards, with Jason Smith and his expiring $5.45MM salary, may be one team to watch.
Another motive for a team to stretch a player’s 2018/19 salary would be to open up more cap room. However, there aren’t many clubs that can create meaningful cap space at this point in the offseason, and there’s little incentive to do so anyway, given the lack of players worth spending it on. The Kings (Iman Shumpert or others) and Suns (Darrell Arthur or Tyson Chandler) could open up a chunk of cap room by stretching well-paid veterans, but I’d be surprised if they cut into their projected space for 2019 and/or 2020 by doing so.