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NBA Lowers 2017-18 Cap Projection to $102 Million

The NBA lowered the 2017-18 salary cap projection from $107 million to $102 million, Basketball Insiders learned.

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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.

Back in April, the league originally expected teams to fall below their proscribed obligation to the players of near 51 percent of Basketball Related Income (BRI) by $375 million.

For the 2015-16 season, the NBA will pay out an additional $130.9 million to players for falling below the 50.83 percent share of $2.689 billion due to the players – which, by the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), helped push the 2016-17 salary up to $94.1 million.

The NBA now expects teams to spend more this season, with the higher salary cap and luxury tax threshold ($113.3 million).  The league also didn’t expect quite as much high-level spending on free agents this July.

A reduced shortfall translates to a lower expected salary cap for 2017-18.  The league also projects a tax threshold of $122 million for next year.

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.

Note that both the NBA and the NBA Players Association can opt out of the current CBA on December 15.  Any projections beyond the 2017-18 season are based on the current rules, which could be subject to significant change in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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 current max-salary tiers are $22.1 million, $26.5 million and $31 million, respectively.

Eric Pincus is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders, with a focus on the business side of the game.

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