Chicago Bulls Salary Cap and Roster outlook

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

let's start the offseason.

With the Bulls bowing out of the postseason earlier than expected, we have quite a bit of time to kill before the offseason hits. Carmelo Anthony talk is sure to dominate the conversation, but before we get into anything more specific about those possibilities, we'd like to just take a general look at the roster heading into the offseason.

Under Contract

Derrick Rose

2014-15 salary: $18,862,876

Total salary remaining on contract: three years, $60,279,192

Not much really to say about Rose. He has a bad contract until he proves he can stay healthy and play at a high level. And no, he can't be amnestied.

Carlos Boozer

2014-15 salary: $16,800,000 expiring contract

Boozer is coming off the worst season of his career and was dreadful against the Wizards. He's a ripe candidate for amnesty, but the Bulls will likely try and find a taker in a trade first. Could also possibly be used as a major trade piece in a deal for a signed-and-traded Anthony.

Joakim Noah

2014-15 salary: $12,200,000

Total salary remaining on contract: two years, $25,600,000

Noah was the Bulls' MVP this season and figures to be a part of the core for years to come. There are some concerns about Noah, as he'll turn 30 next year, hasn't finished a season healthy in several years and just had arthroscopic surgery to clean up his injured knee. Also, $500,000 will be added to Noah's cap number for next year if he gets voted to the All-NBA First Team.

Taj Gibson

2014-15 salary: $8,000,000

Total salary remaining on contract: three years, $25,450,000

Gibson took major strides this year and turned into one of the better two-way power forwards in the NBA. In line to take over the starting job with Boozer on the way out. Could be dealt to clear cap space for Anthony, but doesn't seem like the Bulls are all that interested in taking that route. $250,000 will be added to cap number if voted to the All-Defensive Second Team.

Mike Dunleavy

2014-15 salary: $3,326,235 expiring contract

Dunleavy was forced into a much larger role than expected thanks to the Rose injury and Luol Deng trade. Still was a very solid piece and should be a valuable veteran shooter off the bench next season if he's not dealt to clear cap space.

Jimmy Butler

2014-15 salary: 2,008,748

2015-16 qualifying offer: $3,013,123

Butler battled a turf toe injury and played over 41 minutes per game after the Deng trade. While still a monster on the defensive end, Butler didn't take the desired steps offensively, instead regressing a bit. The injury and minutes load certainly may have played a part in the regression, and perhaps he'll be more effective when healthy next year. Eligible to receive a contract extension prior to the season, and maybe his struggles will be a blessing in disguise in terms of how much the Bulls pay him.

Tony Snell

2014-15 salary: $1,472,400

Total salary remaining on contract: $1,535,880 team option in 2015-16, $2,368,327 team option in 2016-17, $3,393,813 qualifying offer in 2017-18

Snell was a mixed bag. He showed some flashes when forced to play big minutes, but his playing time tailed off at the end of the year and he was generally inconsistent. Will be around unless he's dealt for cap space or is a throw-in as part of a bigger trade.

Greg Smith

2014-15 salary: $948,163 expiring contract

Was signed at the end of the season and was given a guaranteed contract for next year. He's recovering from knee surgery, but if healthy, could battle for the backup center job.

Free Agents

Kirk Hinrich

Unrestricted free agent: $5,276,700 cap hold for 2014-15

Hinrich came on strong at the end of the year after a dreadful start, but his limitations were exposed in the playoffs. The Bulls would like him back (because GRIT!), however, it depends on the price. I think I'd be fine with Hinrich back at the minimum in a much smaller role [note: Jay has since been fired from BaB -yfbb], but he may command more. If Bulls want to open up as much cap space as possible, his cap hold will have to be renounced.

Nazr Mohammed

Unrestricted free agent: $915,243 cap hold for 2014-15

Mohammed can't really play anymore, but apparently he's not ready to hang 'em up just yet. Mohammed might be a decent fifth or sixth big just for his locker room presence. Could be renounced to expunge cap hold and then re-signed later at the minimum.

D.J. Augustin

Unrestricted free agent: $915,243 cap hold for 2014-15

Augustin was a godsend this season because of his quick-strike capabilities off the bench, but he floundered against the Wizards' athletic wings. Both he and Bulls management have expressed a mutual interest in working a deal out, although the market could change things. I'm hoping his poor postseason will drive down his price a bit and keep him more in the Bulls' range, because I'd like to see him back next year.

Jimmer Fredette

Unrestricted free agent: $915,243 cap hold for 2014-15

Despite much clamoring from fans, Jimmer barely played after getting picked up late in the season. I would imagine he wants to go somewhere else where he's more likely to play, but perhaps he decides to stick around depending on what happens with Hinrich and/or Augustin.

Non-Guaranteed Contracts and other Cap Holds

Mike James, Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amundson

James ($1,448,490), Brewer ($1,310,286) and Amundson ($1,310,286) were all signed at the end of the season and given non-guaranteed contracts for next year in order to potentially be used as trade chips (i.e., used to create outgoing salary flotsam, and the team that receives them would waive them). If not, could potentially be retained as end of bench guys.

Nikola Mirotic

Mirotic is no longer bound by the rookie scale and can be signed using cap space or an exception, and there has been much debate about whether it will require more than the MLE to bring him over from Europe. Will likely be the No. 1 priority if a bigger move isn't made. He does have a $1,075,300 cap hold for 2014-15, but that can be cleared to open up more cap space by him agreeing to stay overseas another year.

No. 16, No. 19 and No. 49 picks

The cap hold for the No. 16 pick is $1,468,900 and the cap hold for the No. 19 pick is $1,266,000. Bulls could use the picks as trade chips in part of a bigger trade or in order to clear cap space.

Rip Hamilton

Because Hamilton was waived using the stretch provision, $333,333 of his waived contract will count against the salary cap for each of the next two years.

Trade exceptions

The Bulls currently have two trade exceptions. One from the Deng trade worth $2,025,000 that expires on Jan. 6, and one from the Marquis Teague trade worth $1,074,720 that expires on Jan. 21. These could be renounced to clear cap space or used to acquire a player in a trade if the Bulls stay above the cap, whether it be a trade for a player under contract or a signed-and-traded free agent. They can't be combined into one larger trade exception.

Incomplete roster charges

If the Bulls go under the cap, there's a cap hold that will cut into the cap space called an "incomplete roster charge" for each player fewer than 12 on the roster. That charge is equal to the rookie minimum salary, which is $507,336 for 2014-15.

Total guaranteed contracts for 2014-15: $63,951,755

Projected salary cap for 2014-15: $63,200,000

Projected luxury tax for 2014-15: $77,000,000

General outlook: The Bulls are projected to be over the cap when the offseason begins, but obviously the amnesty of Boozer would open up a significant amount of space. If the Bulls simply amnesty Boozer, keep the remainder of their guaranteed contracts and keep both first-round draft picks, they could have about $11.8 million in cap space. If Noah and/or Gibson hit their bonuses, that number would go down a little. And obviously, there are a ton of different things the Bulls could potentially do that could change that cap space number. The Bulls will have quite a bit of flexibility this offseason, with several intriguing routes to choose from.

Finally, I want to deliver a reminder about cap exceptions, because this is something many people screw up every year. I was one of those people not long ago. If the Bulls do amnesty Boozer and go significantly under the cap, the Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions will NOT be available to use. If the Bulls use up all their cap space, the exception that COULD be used to go back over the cap is called the 'room exception', which has a first-year salary of up to $2.732 million in 2014-15. The maximum length of a room exception contract is two years.

For more on the Bulls' salary situation, check out their team page at ShamSports or Basketball Insiders. For more on the CBA, have a look at Larry Coon's superb CBA FAQ, a truly wonderful resource.

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