Latest Salary Cap Projections

The expectation of a leap in the salary cap to about $90MM for the 2016/17 is well-known and has been a matter of broad discussion since the league and its TV partners closed on a $24 billion deal this past fall. But the players union and the league also anticipate another surge for 2017/18 that would likely send the cap zooming past $100MM, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for However, that second bump would be a product of artificial inflation of sorts, a ripple effect from the injection of the new TV revenue the year prior, as Aldridge details. So, there’s a chance the cap would contract from that $100MM-plus figure, setting up a decline for the 2018/19 season, according to Aldridge. The league and the union agree that such a dip is indeed possible, as USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and Grantland Zach Lowe report (Twitter links). That could be “a recipe for disaster” for players who become free agents in 2018, as well as for teams that signed high-dollar deals the years prior, Aldridge writes.

There’s more on the changing salary cap, as we pass along:

  • The union’s final rejection of cap smoothing was no shock to the league, which had told teams to prepare for both outcomes, Aldridge notes in the same piece. Still, the league sought a gradual increase to the cap because some teams are concerned that they’ll be unable to compete for free agents in 2016 with so many opponents set up to have cap space, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes within in NBA AM piece.
  • Most executives from teams around the league estimate that the cap for next season will come in at a little more than $67MM, as Kyler reports in the same story. The league is now projecting a $67.4MM cap.
  • The low-end estimates for the 2016/17 cap are between $85MM and $86MM, and the high estimates are close to $90MM, Kyler hears. A couple of team executives told Kyler that they assume that the cap will be $87MM.
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