Maximum Salaries For Select 2015 Free Agents

The NBA’s maximum salary isn’t just a single number. It’s an individualized figure that depends on a player’s years of experience and prior salary. That’s why it’s quite conceivable that Greg Monroe will receive a maximum-salary contract this summer that gives him less money for next season than what DeAndre Jordan gets for a starting salary on his new deal, even if Jordan signs for less than the max. Monroe will enter the offseason with five years of experience against seven years of experience for Jordan.

That seventh year is the key. The NBA’s maximum salary jumps from a figure of about 25% of the cap to one that’s approximately 30% for players who have between seven and nine years of experience. It goes up even farther, to about 35%, for those with 10 or more years in the league. Depending on league revenues from this season, which determine the maximum for next season, LeBron James could make even more than the 35% max. A player can sign a new contract with a starting salary of up to 105% of what he made in the final season of his previous deal, regardless of experience. So, James’ maximum salary will be at least $21,676,200, regardless of where the league’s maximum for players with his years of experience comes in.

The maximum salaries, like the salary cap, are tied to league revenues, but the NBA uses a formula for determining the maxes that’s different from the one that produces the cap. So, that’s why the 25%, 30% and 35% figures don’t line up precisely with those corresponding percentages of the cap. In most cases, the maxes are less than the true percentages of the cap. For instance, 35% of this season’s cap is close to $22.073MM, but the 35% maximum salary is just slightly more than $20.644MM.

We’ve put together a list of some of the top free agents for next season, categorized by the maximum salary bands in which they’ll fall. The following players are eligible for the 25% max next season, which was $14,746,000 in 2014/15. If the maxes go up by the same percentage that the cap is expected to escalate for next season, when the league projects a $67.4MM cap, the maximum salary for these players will be approximately $15.76MM. All are due for restricted free agency, except those marked with asterisks.

This next group of players are some of those eligible for the 30% max, which was $17,695,200 in 2014/15. If the maxes go up by the same percentage that the cap is expected to escalate for next season, when the league projects a $67.4MM cap, the maximum salary for these players will be approximately $18.912MM. All are set for unrestricted free agency. Those who have player options are noted.

This next group of players are some of those eligible for the 35% max, which was $20,644,400 in 2014/15. If the maxes go up by the same percentage that the cap is expected to escalate for next season, when the league projects a $67.4MM cap, the maximum salary for these players will be approximately $22.063MM. All are set for unrestricted free agency. Those who have player options are noted.

Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ was used in the creation of this post.

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