I have an understanding of the cap rules that differs from Kblack's --
In early July the League informed the NBA teams that it projected the 2010 Salary Cap, which is a function of revenue, to be somewhere between $50.4M and $53.6M. The mid-point between those two numbers is $52M.
Recently Walsh announced that in 2010 the Knicks would be about $21M under the Cap. Since the Cap has yet to be set definitively, I am not sure what Cap number he was projecting.
The 2010 committed contract amounts for Curry, Jefferies, Gallinari, Chandler, Hill and Douglas add up to about $27.33M. Barring trades, these contracts will all be included in 2010 "Team Salary." Because free agent contracts, i.e,, Lee, Nate, Harrington, etc., are also included in the "Team Salary" and in amounts exceeding their 2009 contracts, we can assume that the Knicks will renounce their Bird or other rights to avoid inclusion in the "Team Salary." As I understand it, unused mid-level and bi-annual exceptions are also included unless renounced. I believe last year's mid-level was about $5.8M. I am not sure, but I believe the bi-annual was about $1.9M.
Lets assume the Knicks renounce both the Bird rights to their free agents and the two otherwise included exceptions. That would leave us with only six players. The roster for "Team Salary" purposes must be at least 12. The other six positions, for Team Salary purposes must be filled up with assumed minimum salary players. The minimum player salary for 2010 is $473,604. For six minimum salary players the "Team Salary" will be increased by $2,841,624. If we add that to $27.33M, we will have a minimum 2010 Team Salary of about $30,171M. If the League Cap projections prove to be accurate, that will give us between $20M and $23M in 2010 Cap space.
A max contract is 30% of the salary cap. On the League projections, a max contract will cost between $15M and $16M.
Without trades of both Curry and Jefferies, it will be impossible to get two max contract free agents. Without a trade of at least Jefferies, we will only be able to sign one of our free agents.
If we can trade Jefferies and avoid a contract extending into 2010, we can sign perhaps two of our free agents and one max contract. But if our 2010 team includes a max free agent and two of our current free agents, our "Team Salary" in 2011 even without Curry's contract is not likely to leave room for a max free agent in 2011.
But then again, in 2011 there may be a new, and more favorable for Cap purposes, Collective Bargaining Agreement.