Little movement expected in 2005

Updated: August 23, 2004, 10:40 AM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
Wait until next year.

That's the mantra being pushed in Atlanta, Portland, Golden State and Seattle now that all of the top free agents have found homes and all four teams have little to show for their efforts this summer. What they do have, along with several other teams, is a boat load of cap space with which to work next year.

Assuming the cap stays at around $44 million, a number of teams will be looking at huge cap room next summer. The Bobcats ($30 million), Hawks ($25 million), Blazers ($22 million), Sonics ($19 million), Cavs ($18 million), Warriors ($14 million), Clippers ($14 million) and Bulls ($12 million) have more than $10 million in cap space at their disposal.

Will they really want or be able to use it? A number of the teams, including the Blazers, Sonics, Cavs, Warriors and Bulls, have big free agents they'll want to re-sign, eating up most of their cap room.

The rest will be battling it out for a solid, but aging group of unrestricted free agents led by Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Theo Ratliff. Of that group, Allen and Abdur-Rahim are the most likely to bolt for a new team.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer