The NBA released its 2018-19 salary cap on Saturday evening, mere hours prior to the start of free agency. As expected, the cap has been set at $101.9 million with a luxury tax threshold of $123.7 million.
NBA has informed teams of 2018-19 season salary cap and tax: New salary cap: $101.8M; Luxury Tax: $123M. Non-Tax Mid-level: $8.6M; Tax-payers mid-level: $5.3M; Room Mid-Level: $4.4M. Bi-annual: $3.4M
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2018
It’s expected that the market this summer for non-stars is going to be relatively rough. Half the NBA is currently over the cap with only seven teams north of $20 million under the cap.
Interestingly enough, Saturday’s release by the NBA included projections for the next two summers. That’s when we’re going to see a dramatic uptick in the cap, much like what happened back in 2016 when the Warriors signed Kevin Durant.
Very important information buried in the NBA's salary cap memo sent to teams: projection for 2019-20 cap up to $109 million, and then $116 million for 2020-21. Cap is set at $101.9M for upcoming 2018-19 season.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 1, 2018
What does this all mean? We can fully expect second-tier players to sign short-term deals this summer with the anticipation of seeing a more robust market play out in 2019 and 2020. Teams will have more money to spend then, and large contracts will have come off the books.
For example, Durant himself is expected to sign a two-year deal with Golden State that enables him to opt out next summer. It’s similar to the deal LeBron James will sign once free agency starts. Both could then opt for super-max deals next summer.
It’s certainly something to think about as the free agency madness around the Association takes hold here soon.