Updated NBA Maximum Salary Projections For 2022/23

The maximum salaries for a given NBA season aren’t determined until the salary cap for that league year has been set, which typically happens just before free agency begins. So even though several players have already signed maximum-salary contract extensions that will begin in 2022/23, we won’t know the exact amount of those contracts until the summer.

[RELATED: 2021/22 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

However, we can ballpark next season’s maximum salaries based on the NBA’s salary cap projections. Last August, we provided maximum salary projections for 2022/23 based on an estimated $119MM cap, but the NBA has since updated its cap projection for ’22/23 to $123,655,000. We’re updating our maximum salary projections today based on that new cap estimate.

Listed below are the maximum salary projections for 2022/23. The first chart shows the maximum salaries for a player re-signing with his own team — a player’s previous club can offer five years instead of four, and 8% annual raises instead of 5% raises. The second chart shows the maximum salaries for a player signing with a new team.

A player’s maximum salary is generally determined by his years of NBA experience, so there’s a wide gap between potential earnings for younger and older players. Unless they qualify for a more lucrative extension by meeting certain performance criteria, players with no more than six years of NBA experience are limited to a starting salary worth up to 25% of the cap. For players with seven to nine years of experience, that number is 30%. For players with 10 or more years of experience, it’s 35%.

Here are the the maximum salary projections for 2022/23:

A player re-signing with his own team (8% annual raises, up to five years):

Year 6 years or less 7-9 years 10+ years
2022/23 $30,913,750 $37,096,500 $43,279,250
2023/24 $33,386,850 $40,064,220 $46,741,590
2024/25 $35,859,950  $43,031,940 $50,203,930
2025/26 $38,333,050  $45,999,660 $53,666,270
2026/27 $40,806,150 $48,967,380 $57,128,610
Total $179,299,750 $215,159,700 $251,019,650

The “6 years or less” column here is what the new extension for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will look like in 2022. This is also the maximum amount that a free-agent-to-be like Deandre Ayton would be eligible for this offseason.

Players like Luka Doncic and Trae Young met the Rose Rule criteria, so the 30% max column reflects the projected value of their new extensions.

The third column (35%) represents the projected salaries a veteran star like Bradley Beal would receive if he signs a new maximum-salary contract as a free agent this summer. Beal has a 2022/23 player option on his current contract, but would have to decline that option to have a shot at $251MM+ over the next five years.

A player signing with a new team (5% annual raises, up to four years):

Year 6 years or less 7-9 years 10+ years
2022/23 $30,913,750 $37,096,500 $43,279,250
2023/24 $32,459,438 $38,951,325 $45,443,213
2024/25 $34,005,126 $40,806,150 $47,607,176
2025/26 $35,550,814 $42,660,975 $49,771,139
Total $132,929,128 $159,514,950 $186,100,778

If a player changes teams as a free agent, he doesn’t have access to a fifth year or 8% raises. So if Ayton were to sign an offer sheet with a new team this summer, he’d be limited to a four-year deal projected to be worth nearly $133MM.

If Zach LaVine – or another veteran with between seven and nine years of NBA experience – wants to change teams this offseason, he would be able to sign a four-year contract worth up to a projected $159.5MM.

Beal or another veteran with 10+ years of experience would be limited to about $186.1MM across four years if he changes teams as a free agent in 2022.

One exception in this last group is James Harden — he’s already earning more than the maximum salary, since the raises on his current contract have outpaced the NBA’s annual salary cap increases. If Harden becomes a free agent this summer, he’d be eligible for a 5% raise on his current $44.3MM salary, rather than having to take a pay cut to the league-wide maximum.

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