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The Sixers And The Salary Cap

Several weeks ago, I took an in-depth look at how the Sixers may attempt to reach the NBA's minimum required payroll this season, ultimately concluding that the team didn't necessarily have to do anything, since there are no real penalties for falling short of the salary floor. However, while Philadelphia's guaranteed player salaries only currently total about $41.48MM, a variety of cap holds and exceptions ensure that the team is still technically an over-the-cap club.

At no point this summer have the Sixers fallen below the cap threshold. When they traded Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans, they created a trade exception worth his 2013/14 salary ($9,713,484), and have since used that exception to absorb Royce White and Tony Wroten (via trades), as well as Tim Ohlbrecht and James Anderson (via waiver claims), making cap space unnecessary so far.

At some point, the Sixers will likely renounce their outstanding cap holds and exceptions in order to use cap room, but for now, there's no real benefit to doing so. By staying above the cap, Philadelphia hangs onto its full mid-level exception, its bi-annual exception, and the rest of that Holiday TPE, all of which would be lost if the team used any cap space.

Let's back up for a second though and examine how exactly the team remains over the cap, despite its lack of guaranteed salary. Here's a breakdown of the current charges on the cap, including guaranteed contracts (black), non-guaranteed deals (blue), cap holds (red), and exceptions (green):


The cap this season is set at $58,679,000, so the Sixers currently sit just a little above that line. That may not last much longer though, since both Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins have reached agreements to join the Hawks for training camp. Once they officially sign with Atlanta, their cap holds will come off the Sixers' books, which would reduce Philadelphia's total team salary to $58,199,455.

If the Sixers value the flexibility that comes with being above the cap – and based on their offseason so far, it seems as if they do – they'll want to find a way to avoid dipping below that $58,679,000 cut-off. Officially signing Michael Carter-Williams won't help, since even inking him to a deal worth the maximum 120% of his cap hold would still see the club fall just short of the cap line. Instead, the Sixers will likely finalize at least one of their own free agent signings before Ivey and Wilkins officially sign with the Hawks.

Philadelphia is reportedly set to bring Rodney Williams, Khalif Wyatt, and Darius Morris to camp, so my guess is that, at least one of those players will formally sign a partially guaranteed, minimum-salary contract with the team very soon, if they haven't already, which would ensure that team salary remains above the cap threshold.

As mentioned above, if an opportunity arises where the Sixers need to use cap room to acquire an asset or two, I'm sure the club won't hesitate to renounce its exceptions and claim that space. Until then though, Philadelphia's creative use of the cap has kept a few extra doors open rather than limiting its available options.

HoopsWorld and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

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