The NBA will have – by far – the highest salary cap in league history next season.
The only question: How high?
New national TV contracts provide a huge influx of money, and basketball’s popularity has grown steadily. The cap is based on revenue, so the income trickles down to players.
A year ago, the NBA projected an $89 million salary cap. That number keeps rising.
Looking ahead to the 2016-17 season, the NBA now projects the salary cap will climb to $92 million, with a luxury tax threshold of $111 million.
The league also projects a $107 million salary cap for the 2017-18 season, with a $127 million luxury tax threshold, although both the owners and players can opt out of the current CBA after this coming season.
If neither party opts out, the salary cap could dip slightly to $105 million for 2018-19.
A higher-than-expected cap would mean more more flexibility for teams, though max salaries – also tied to revenue – would rise, too.
Though the players union rejected formal cap smoothing, the salary-cap outlook for the next three years looks flatter than it did last year:
- Was: $89 million, $108 million, $100 million
- Is: $92 million, $107 million, $105 million
Of course, that third mark for 2017-18 could change if either side opts out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement next year. The NBA could have a whole new system for determining the cap.
But for now, we have an idea about the next couple years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2016-17 cap lands even higher than $92 million. The league tends to be slightly conservative in its early estimates.