A cap increase of more than $24MM+ this offseason has led to unprecedented spending around the NBA. However, that spending spree has contributed to lowering the league’s salary cap projection for the 2017/18 season. According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, the ’17/18 cap, previously projected to be in the $107MM range, is now expected to be closer to $102MM.
As Pincus explains, the cap had originally been projected to reach $107MM due to an expectation that the league would fall short of its required obligation to the players next year by about $375MM. However, after a week-long free agency frenzy, that projected shortfall has been reduced to $200MM. Because the league is no longer expected to owe the players so much money, the projected salary cap figure has been reduced along with the projected shortfall.
Plenty can change between now and next summer, so that $102MM projection is hardly set in stone. At this time a year ago, the NBA didn’t anticipate a $94MM+ salary cap for 2016/17. Still, it’s a somewhat worrisome development for teams hoping to create maximum-salary slots next summer, and players hoping to land huge deals.
Here are the NBA’s current salary cap projections for the next several seasons, via Pincus:
- Cap: $102MM
- Tax: $122MM
- Cap: $108MM
- Tax: $130MM
- Cap: $109MM
- Tax: $132MM
- Cap: $114MM
- Tax: $139MM
As Pincus outlines, the starting maximum salaries on a $102MM cap would work out to about $24MM for players with less than seven years of experience, $28.8MM for players with seven to nine years of experience, and $33.5MM for those with 10+ years of experience.
Of course, the opt-out date for the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement is looming — either the league or the players’ union can opt out of the agreement by December 15. If the CBA is renegotiated significantly before the summer of 2017, it’s possible the ’17/18 cap will look quite different than what today’s projections suggest.