Why the 2022 free agent market could be dry

The 2021 offseason went from being very hyped to a being very slow one relative to the past few years. Barring a trade or two involving a couple of all-stars, Kyle Lowry may have been the biggest name to change teams this offseason. Despite there being more projected cap space this offseason than in 2020, several teams like Dallas, Miami, Toronto, and New Orleans all opted to operate over the salary cap at the last minute. The lack of marquee names led teams to decrease their spending power which overall depressed the market.

Can we expect a more robust market in 2022? It seems as the opposite is happening with many veterans are rushing to lock down their money now through extensions to avoid free agency. This was an expected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of revenue it caused. The rate that the salary cap rose prior to 2020 made potential earnings in the free agency market significantly exceed what players can get through their maximum veteran extension amounts. Now players are incentivized to stay with their teams and earn more with them, especially maximum players.

Where does this leave the amount of potential cap space teams? As of now, only four teams are projected to generate maximum cap space, and it’s possible most of these teams eliminate theirs if they extend certain key players on their roster.

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