The NBA salary cap is somewhat malleable, with various exceptions allowing every team to surpass the $123,655,000 threshold once their cap room is used up. In some cases, teams blow past not only the cap limit, but the luxury tax line of $150,267,000 as well — the Clippers and Warriors are among the clubs that project to have massive tax bills this season as a result of their spending.
The NBA doesn’t have a “hard cap” by default, which allows clubs like L.A. and Golden State to build a significant payroll without violating CBA rules. However, there are certain scenarios in which teams can be hard-capped, as we explain in a glossary entry.
When a club uses the bi-annual exception, acquires a player via sign-and-trade, or uses more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception (up to three years and/or $6,479,000), that club will face a hard cap for the remainder of the league year.
When a team becomes hard-capped, it cannot exceed the “tax apron” at any point during the rest of the league year. The tax apron for 2022/23 was set at $156,983,000.
So far, a third of the NBA’s teams have been willing to hard-cap themselves this offseason. Some teams will have to be aware of that hard cap when they consider any roster move for the rest of the season, but for others it’s just a technicality that won’t affect their plans in any meaningful way.
Listed below are the hard-capped teams for the 2022/23 league year, along with how they created a hard cap.
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Kennedy Chandler.
- Used bi-annual exception on Kevin Love.
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Jaylin Williams.
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Caleb Houstan.
Portland Trail Blazers
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Gary Payton II.
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Malik Monk.
- Acquired Collin Sexton via sign-and-trade.
- Used non-taxpayer mid-level exception on Delon Wright.
This list, which could continue to grow, will continue to be updated throughout the 2022/23 league year as necessary. It can be found anytime in the “Hoops Rumors Features” menu on the right-hand sidebar of our desktop site, or in the “Features” menu on our mobile site.