NBA teams are doing a great job spending money this summer.
They’re spending so much, in fact, they’ll probably have less flexibility than expected next summer.
The NBA’s salary cap projection for the 2017-18 season has dropped from $107 million to $102 million.
In a memo distributed to all 30 teams, which was obtained by Basketball Insiders, the NBA credits a “substantial increase in projected player spending for 2016-17” that will reduce the league’s projected shortfall to the players to $200 million.
The league also projects a tax threshold of $122 million for next year.
The projected maximum salaries for 2017-18, based on a $102 million cap, would near $24 million for players with less than seven years of experience, $28.8 million with seven to nine and $33.5 million for those with 10 years or more.
The salary cap projects to climb to $108 million in 2018-19, $109 million in 2019-20 and $114 million in 2020-21. The tax threshold is expected to rise to $130 million, $132 million and $139 million, respectively.
Most importantly, take these projections for what they are: Estimates based on a system that could radically change. Either the owners or players could opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement by December 15, and a new deal would govern 2017 and beyond.
Why the drop in 2017-18 projection, though? The salary cap is determined by revenue, but this isn’t Charles Barkley’s doomsday prediction that fans will tire of super teams and tune out. If teams don’t collectively pay players their negotiated share in a season, the next season’s cap is adjusted upward accordingly. The NBA didn’t expect teams to spend so much this summer.
But, as you’ve seen, teams have had little trouble doling out 2016-17 salary.