With the NBA Draft taking place today, much of the focus is on which young players each team will be adding to their roster. But only a week from now free agency will begin.
The salary cap was expected to be around $101 million, but according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it’s no longer expected to be that high:
The NBA notified teams in a memo Wednesday that the projected salary cap will come in at $99 million, about $2 million less than estimates in April.
In addition, the luxury tax has been lowered from $121 million to a projection of $119 million.
This will squeeze some teams looking to create space to sign free agents when the negotiating period begins July 1.
Two years ago when the original salary cap projections were revealed, it was believed that the cap for this season would be $109 million so a $10 million drop is a huge deal. Even more recent projections were higher than this new number.
Teams looking to clear out salary cap room now suddenly have less room to work with for upcoming free agents. One major reason for the drop apparently, is the lack of playoff games this season.
The salary cap is based on percentage of overall revenue, and with multiple series ending in four or five games, there weren’t as many playoff games as a normal year.
The Lakers aren’t expected to be major players in free agency this year as they are more focused on the star-studded 2018 free agency class. Nonetheless, Nick Young declining his player option cleared out some room this summer.
Next year’s projection is likely to be altered by this as well however, so it will be something worth keeping an eye on for the foseeable future.