NBA's worst salary-cap teams

The Bulls, Heat and Lakers have ignored the cap to go for a championship

Updated: March 20, 2012, 4:24 PM ET
By Larry Coon | ESPN Insider
Kobe BryantNoah Graham/Getty ImagesKobe Bryant's long-term health could dictate how the Lakers use their amnesty.

We ran through the best salary-cap teams in the NBA, dividing them into three groups: Teams with money to spend, teams with an amnesty in their back pocket and teams that don't have much to spend but can contend immediately.

Now we will look at the teams in the worst salary-cap situations in the NBA, also dividing them into three groups.

Group 1: Houston, we have a problem

Ironically, the Rockets aren't on this list, which consists of teams whose cap situation isn't too bad but still have things to worry about.

New York Knicks, $4 million over the cap: They have Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler locked up, but they still have a lot of holes to fill and don't have the means to make another significant move. The team will likely need to use its midlevel exception to keep Jeremy Lin and can probably hold on to Landry Fields as well. But J.R. Smith's tenure as a Knick will likely prove to be a short one.

Larry Coon is the author of the NBA Salary Cap FAQ.