Salary-Matching Rules For Trades During 2023/24 Season

The NBA’s latest Collective Bargaining Agreement includes new rules governing the amount of salary a team can take back in a trade. However, those new rules won’t take full effect until after the 2023/24 season.

For now – and until the 2024 trade deadline – there are transitional rules in place. The salary-matching rules in effect this season aren’t quite the same as the ones in the previous CBA, but they also look a little different than the ones that will apply in 2024/25 and beyond.

Here are the salary-matching restrictions for teams between now and the 2024 trade deadline:

Teams whose salaries are below the first tax apron ($172,346,000) can take back the following amounts:

  • 200% of the outgoing salary (plus $250K), for any amount up to $7,500,000.
  • The outgoing salary plus $7.5MM, for any amount between $7,500,001 and $29,000,000.
  • 125% of the outgoing salary (plus $250K), for any amount above $29,000,000.

These rules are more lenient than the salary-matching guidelines for non-taxpayers under the previous CBA. The cutoff point is more lenient too — instead of applying to a team whose salary is above the luxury tax line after the trade, these rules apply to a team whose salary is below the first apron, even if that team’s salary is over the tax line ($165,294,000).

Here are a couple examples of how these salary-matching rules work: Let’s say the Thunder want to trade Tre Mann, whose 2023/24 salary is $3,191,400. They’d be able to take back up to $6,632,800 in exchange for Mann (200% of his salary, plus $250K). If Oklahoma City wanted to trade Victor Oladipo, whose cap hit is $9,450,000, they’d be able to take back up to $16,950,000 (his salary, plus $7.5MM).

The Cavaliers are among the teams that have taken advantage of these new rules so far this offseason. They sent out Cedi Osman ($6,718,842) and Lamar Stevens ($400K partial guarantee) in their sign-and-trade for Max Strus. The Cavs were able to take back 200% of that outgoing salary, plus $250K, which worked out to $14,487,684. Not coincidentally, that’s the first-year salary on Strus’ new contract.

These rules are a permanent part of the new CBA and will continue to apply to teams whose salaries are below both tax aprons in 2024/25 and beyond.

Teams whose salaries are above the first tax apron ($172,346,000) can take back the following amount:

  • 110% of the outgoing salary, for any amount.

For the 2023/24 season only, teams above either apron are permitted to take back up to 110% of their outgoing salary in a trade.

For example, if the Suns want to trade Deandre Ayton at the 2024 deadline, they could take back $35,705,382. That amount is 110% of Ayton’s $32,459,438 salary.

It’s worth noting that a team below both tax aprons which takes back more than 110% of its outgoing salary in a trade prior to the 2024 trade deadline will effectively hard-cap itself at the first tax apron during the 2023/24 season. The Thunder took this route when they acquired more than 110% of Patty Mills‘ salary in a trade with Atlanta, so they’re prohibited from having their team salary exceed the first tax apron this season.

Beginning in the 2024 offseason, the salary-matching rules for teams above either tax apron will become far more restrictive. A team whose salary is above the first apron and below the second apron won’t be able to take back more salary than it sends out in a trade. For instance, a team trading a player with a $10MM salary wouldn’t be able to take back a player earning $10.1MM.

Teams above the second tax apron in 2024/25 and beyond, meanwhile, will face the same restriction when trading a single player, unable to take back more salary than they send out. They’ll also be prohibited from aggregating two or more players in a trade, even if those two players have a higher total outgoing salary than the player(s) the team would be acquiring.

Teams above the second apron also won’t be permitted to send out cash in trades beginning in the 2024 offseason, but can still do so up until the 2024 deadline.

View Comments (1)