Report: NBA salary cap expected to increase to $63.2 million, luxury tax to $77 million

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The NBA won’t officially compute next season’s salary cap and luxury-tax line until July, but estimates are always helpful in projecting what options teams will have this offseason.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com that all 30 teams were informed this week via league memorandum that an increase in the cap from this season’s $58.6 million to $63.2 million in 2014-15 — thanks to increased revenues — is now expected. A corresponding rise in the luxury-tax threshold from $71.7 million to $77 million is also projected, sources said.

This will affect every NBA team, but any with cap space this offseason will be happy with the large rise, as will any facing a luxury-tax bill. Here are few examples of how this projection affect teams:

  • If the Bulls amnesty Carlos Boozer, they’d have $13,193,727 in cap room. If they further traded Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy with no salary returning, the Bulls would have enough cap room to sign Carmelo Anthony outright to his full max contract. That would leave them Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler under contract while keeping the No. 19 pick.
  • The Rockets could still strip their roster to only Dwight Howard and James Harden and not have room to offer Carmelo Anthony his full max. Though they’d be just $496,877 shy of his potential first-year salary in cap room, that would mean losing valuable players like Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley. As with previous projections, Houston would almost certainly need a sign-and-trade to land Melo.
  • The Heat might avoid the luxury tax now. Assuming they keep all five players with guaranteed contracts next season – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh,Udonis Haslem (player option),Chris Andersen (player option) andNorris Cole – sign their No. 26 pick to a standard 120 percent contract, sign their second-round pick to a minimum contract and fill their roster with five minimum-salary players on one-year contracts, they’d be below the tax line with $1,316,033 in wiggle room. That would probably mean losing Mario Chalmers, though. But with LeBron, Wade and Bosh each holding early termination options, a lot can change.

LeBron James hits go-ahead shot in All-Star win (video)

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LOS ANGELES – LeBron James‘ team trailed by 13 midway through the fourth quarter of the All-Star game, but he led a competitive comeback.

This shot put his team up 146-145 over Stephen Curry‘s team, and Team LeBron held on for a 148-145 win:

Great penetration by Russell Westbrook, and he and Kyrie Irving moved the ball well. LeBron made it count.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.