The new NBA salary cap numbers are in, and they are even bigger than expected. Here are those numbers, reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
The NBA salary cap has risen to $70M for the 2015-'16 season, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2015
The cap was expected to be in the range of $67 million to $69 million, but it came in ever higher than projected. This is a good thing for teams like the Nuggets, with limited cap room. The Nuggets are currently around $62 million with Emmanuel Mudiay aboard. However, the team still needs to sign rookie Nikola Jokic and restricted free agent Will Barton. Add to that the Nuggets interest in retaining Jameer Nelson and Darrell Arthur, and you start to see why the team has been sitting out free agency.
The new luxury tax level has also been set.
The NBA's team tax level will be $84.7M, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2015
And because of where the cap numbers came in, the Nuggets and Magic now owe their players a little dough.
Sources: Because Denver and Orlando turned out under minimum salary threshold, payout of $773K and $1.9M to those players, respectively.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2015
Nuggets and Magic were under minimum team salary for 2014-15 and players on Nuggets and Magic will be paid $773,884 and $1,919,341.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 9, 2015
Zillgitt's tweet perfectly summed up Woj's, somewhat, confusing tweet about Denver and Orlando.
And NBA.com's David Aldridge goes over salary information for players and teams:
$70M cap for '15-'16 even bigger than $69M number teams were working off of at start of the week. Means slightly bigger max deals for FAs.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2015
New numbers for 15-16: MLE: $5.464M; Taxpayer MLE: $3.376M; Room MLE: $2.814M; avg. salary: $5.739M; Biannual: $2.139M.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2015
And: max salaries for '15-'16: 0-6 years of service: $16,407,500 7-10 years: $19,689,000 10+ years: $22,970,500— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 9, 2015
Here's what that means for players:
With new cap, LaMarcus Aldridge maximum contract with Spurs: Four-years, $84.1M.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 9, 2015
Aldridge's deal was believed to be for 4-years, $80 million, and with the new cap numbers - he'll get an additional $4.1 million over the life of the deal. More money in the league is a good thing, as the sport is gaining popularity, and is more watchable than ever.
For the Nuggets, these numbers mean a few things:
1.) Denver now knows how much money they have available for Jokic and Barton (their agents know too), and whatever has been holding those deals up, should now get done. Jokic is supposed to play in Las Vegas with Denver on Friday, it would be nice to have him out there practicing with the team. If Tim Connelly wants to walk away with an asset from the Arron Afflalo trade, he better re-sign Barton. That 1st Round pick Portland sent to Denver is in serious jeopardy of becoming two second round picks in 2018. That pick from the Blazers is lotto protected (1-14) over the next two drafts, (they've lost LMA, Wes Matthews, Nic Batum (trade), Afflalo, and Robin Lopez this offseason - of their key rotation guys), and turns into the seconds in '18.
2.) If Denver is looking for a starter level or backup level point guard, like Jameer Nelson, then they need to really get moving. With teams looking to round out their rosters, guys like Aaron Brooks are going off the board, and Nelson's interest, league wide, has to be drawing near.
3.) Arthur is in the same boat as Nelson. He may want to return, but his hand may be forced as teams look to spend the remaining amounts of money they have available. And with a ton of power forwards off the board now (Kevin Love, Aldridge, Greg Monroe, David West, Jason Smith and on and on...), Arthur may need to make a decision soon.
The money is known, the Nuggets need to get moving.