The NBA salary cap for the 2022-23 season has been set at $123.6 million.
This comes in at $2.4 million higher than previous projections. The NBA luxury tax number is $2 million more than original projections, too.
There’s three teams who will be most impacted by the latter figure. That list includes the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors — all of whom are expected to pay a ton of cash into the luxury tax next season.
From a practical standpoint, the NBA salary cap increasing won’t have a major impact given very few teams have actual cap space to add NBA free agents outright.
Related: Top 2022 NBA free agents
What is the NBA salary cap?
It’s pretty much a soft cap unlike the NFL. That is to say, teams can go over the cap in order to retain their own free agents or sign bird-right players to contract extensions.
Those who are over the cap are limited in trades. The salaries have to pretty much match in said trade. They are also limited to signing players with mid-level or bi-annual cap exceptions.
As noted above, the NBA has this thing called the luxury tax. Once a team reaches that point, it must pay into said tax. Check out the NBA’s own FAQ when it comes to that.
Let’s start with the teams that are projected to be under the cap and then move on to those who will have no real cash to spend this summer.
- Note: Numbers provided by Spotrac, cap figures will not be updated until transactions are made official in early July.
2022 NBA salary cap: Teams with room to spend
- NBA salary cap space: $29.40 million
Detroit is in an interesting situation in that Jerami Grant was the subject of rumors leading up to the February 10 NBA trade deadline. Grant was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers immediately leading up to the draft. Portland absorbed his entire contract with its trade exception brought on by the C.J. McCollum deal back in February. This left Detroit with a ton of cap room to spend.
The Pistons than absorbed the contracts of Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks in separate trades with the New York Knicks — acquiring multiple draft picks in the process. Walker is expected to be bought out with Noel and Burks likely to be members of the rotation next season. Detroit still has the financial freedom to add a big-time free agent to the mix, such as Phoenix Suns star Deandre Ayton.
- NBA salary cap space: $26.56 million
Orlando has a total of 10 players under contract for next season. Orlando’s top salary cap figures go to Jonathan Isaac ($17.4 million) and Markelle Fultz ($16.5 million) — both of whom have been injured plagued in their careers.
Boasting the worst record in the Eastern Conference, there’s a chance that Magic general manager Jeff Weltman will look to move off these contracts. With a talented young core group, we’re not necessarily expecting the Magic to use this cap room on an over-priced veteran. That’s not their MO right now. Mo Bamba’s status as a free agent is the biggest storyline in Orlando right now.
Related: 2023 NBA mock draft
- NBA salary cap space: $21.08 million
Indiana’s decision to trade All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis to the Sacramento Kings for a package surrounding Tyrese Haliburton will have long-term ramifications for the team. However, we’re expecting more moves from the team’s front office after yet another disappointing season.
It would not be a surprise if the Pacers traded both Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner this summer. They might also look to add Buddy Hield’s contract ($21.18 million cap hit in 2022-23) to any deal. Given the teams without cap room, contracts would likely have to match.
Related: Top 50 players in the NBA right now
San Antonio Spurs
- NBA salary cap space: $18.23 million
The Spurs moved off both Thaddeus Young and Derrick White at the February 10 NBA trade deadline. In addition to acquiring two first-round picks in the 2022 NBA Draft, this gave them more cap flexibility this summer.
Right now, stud guard Dejounte Murray is the team’s highest-paid player with a cap hit of $16.57 million and could be on the move. Veterans Doug McDermott ($13.75 million) and Josh Richardson ($12.20 million) don’t necessarily fit into the Spurs’ long-term plans and could be flipped this summer.
20 highest paid NBA players
Portland Trail Blazers
- NBA salary cap space: $8.72 million
Like San Antonio, the Blazers made cost-cutting moves ahead of the deadline. That included trading high-priced guard C.J. McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Primarily, the acquisition of Eric Bledsoe as a salary fill-in was interesting. Only $3.9 million of his $19.4 million cap hit for next season is guaranteed. Josh Hart’s $12.64 million cap figure is also non-guaranteed. Portland’s acquisition of Jerami Grant does nothing to impact its cap situation given his salary was brought in via a trade exception. This gives new full-time general manager Joe Cronin a lot to work with as the summer progresses.
2022-23 NBA salary cap: Where the rest of the league stands
The NBA is different than other leagues in that there player options which will play a big role in the finances.
Someone like struggling Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook just picked up his $47.06 million option for next season. Houston Rockets guard John Wall did, too, before being bought out.
On the other hand, the expectation is that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will decline his option and potentially re-sign with the team. All of this is taken into account below.
- New York Knicks -$2.05 million
- Houston Rockets: -$8.28 million
- Oklahoma City Thunder: -$8.57 million
- Miami Heat: -$11.44 million
- Washington Wizards: -$18.10 million
- Memphis Grizzlies: -$19.10 million
- Charlotte Hornets: -$23.55 million
- Boston Celtics: -$25.08 million
- Sacramento Kings: -$25.86 million
- Toronto Raptors: -$27.70 million
- Cleveland Cavaliers: -$28.32 million
- Philadelphia 76ers: -$28.95 million
- New Orleans Pelicans: -$29.95 million
- Dallas Mavericks: -$31.71 million
- Utah Jazz: -$37.53 million
- Los Angeles Lakers: -$42.70 million
- Chicago Bulls: -$47.02 million
- Milwaukee Bucks: -$50.45 million
- Denver Nuggets: -$50.46 million
- Los Angeles Clippers: -$54.58 million
- Minnesota Timberwolves: -$58.92 million
- Phoenix Suns: -$60.23 million
- Brooklyn Nets: -$64.40 million
- Atlanta Hawks: -$84.16 million
- Golden State Warriors: -$84.46 million