The NBA’s salary cap for 2015/16 has been set at $70MM, which is an 11% increase from last season, and the luxury tax line is fixed at $84.74MM. The last cap projection from the league prior to the official numbers being announced had been $67.1MM, and the projection for the tax line had been $81.6MM. Many league executives and agents believe that the salary cap will escalate to a whopping $95MM for 2016/17, a higher figure than the league’s last projection of $89MM. This significant bump is a result of the league’s new $24 billion TV deal that kicks in just in time for next season.
The increase in the salary cap will almost assuredly set off a flurry of activity in the free agent market next summer, and it will also make it easier than ever for teams to deal away their higher-priced stars. Prudent executives are acutely aware of exactly how much cap room they have to play with, not just for the current campaign, but for next season and beyond as well. While the exact amount of 2016/17’s salary cap won’t be announced until next summer, it always pays to know just how much salary is on the books for each franchise. With this in mind, we at Hoops Rumors will be breaking down the projected 2016/17 financial commitments for each franchise, and we’ll continue onward with a look at the Oklahoma City Thunder:
- Fully Guaranteed Salary Commitments: $65,906,301
- Partially Guaranteed Salary Commitments: $0
- Non Guaranteed Salary Commitments: $3,488,000
- Total Projected Salary Cap Commitments: $69,394,301
If the salary cap were to fall in line with the projection of $89MM, Oklahoma City would have approximately $19,605,699 in cap space, or $25,605,699 if the cap were to be set at the higher mark of $95MM. Again, these are merely predictions until the exact cap amounts are announced, and they are not meant to illustrate the exact amount that the team will have available to spend this coming offseason.
Oklahoma City will also need to make a decision regarding Dion Waiters, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer. If the Thunder wish to retain the right to match any offer sheet the player were to receive the team would need to submit a qualifying offer worth $6,777,589. That number would merely be a placeholder until Waiters either inked a new deal or signed his qualifying offer, which would then set him up for unrestricted free agency the following offseason.
Trades and long-term free agent signings made during the season will also have a significant impact on the figures above, and we’ll be updating these posts to reflect the new numbers after any signings and trades have been made official.
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.