Team Salaries On The Rise In 2014/15

The NBA salary cap usually goes up with each passing year, and with it, so goes the money that teams spend against that cap. This year, the cap rose relatively sharply, from $58.679MM to $63.065MM. Similar bumps occurred for maximum salaries, and the value of exceptions like the mid-level and biannual rose slightly, as called for when the owners and players ratified the existing collective bargaining agreement in 2011.

Thus, it’s no surprise that 24 of the league’s 30 teams have more money that counts against the cap this year than they did at the end of 2013/14. The leader of that group is the Kings, who are shelling out close to $8.6MM more thanks in large measure to the max extension that kicked in this season for DeMarcus Cousins. A max extension for Paul George is also largely at the root of a similar rise in the Pacers payroll, while the unbalanced Arron Afflalo trade was chiefly behind the surge for the Nuggets, the other team with in excess of $8MM more against the cap than they had last year.

The Sixers stand out among the half dozen teams with less money against the cap. They dropped about $14.5MM in large measure because of the hit that was left over from Danny Granger, whom the Sixers waived in a buyout deal shortly after acquiring him at the deadline. Philadelphia has plenty of capacity to bring in another high-salaried expiring contract via trade to up its 2014/15 payroll before the season is through, but for now, the Sixers are spending less than any other team in the league. The Nets are spending more than anybody, but still not nearly as much as they did last year. The departure of Paul Pierce is the primary reason why Brooklyn’s team salary is off by more than $9MM, a figure compounded by luxury tax savings, as Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov appears to be sticking to his promise to take a more austere approach. It’s no surprise to see the Heat among the teams with less money against counting against the cap this season, given the absence of LeBron James and a reduced salary for Dwyane Wade.

Teams are listed below and categorized by those with more money against the cap compared to the end of last season, and those with less. They’re listed in descending order of year-to-year discrepancy. Note that these figures take non-guaranteed salary into account, and the final numbers are rounded to the nearest $1K.

Teams spending more

  1. Kings ($8.579MM)
  2. Nuggets ($8.313MM)
  3. Pacers ($8.265MM)
  4. Clippers ($7.38MM)
  5. Blazers ($6.653MM)
  6. Cavaliers ($6.619MM)
  7. Spurs ($6.518MM)
  8. Raptors ($6.461MM)
  9. Wizards ($5.944MM)
  10. Suns ($5.274MM)
  11. Thunder ($5.255MM)
  12. Celtics ($4.106MM)
  13. Grizzlies ($3.789MM)
  14. Rockets ($3.157MM)
  15. Magic ($2.5MM)
  16. Mavericks ($2.314MM)
  17. Pelicans ($2.068MM)
  18. Hawks ($1.67MM)
  19. Bucks ($1.538MM)
  20. Knicks ($1.482MM)
  21. Hornets ($1.318MM)
  22. Jazz ($1.181MM)
  23. Warriors ($887K)
  24. Timberwolves ($882K)

Teams spending less

  1. Sixers ($14.574MM)
  2. Nets ($9.087MM)
  3. Heat ($8.303MM)
  4. Lakers ($7.390MM)
  5. Bulls ($3.624MM)
  6. Pistons ($1.046MM)

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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