NBA salary cap projected to rise nearly $5 million - ESPN
The NBA has informed teams that it is projecting a rise in the salary cap of nearly $5 million for next season, which could aid clubs such as Chicago and Houston in their attempts to steal free agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, according to sources familiar with the forecasts.
Sources told ESPN.com that all 30 teams were informed this week via league memorandum that an increase in the cap from this season's $58.6 million to $63.2 million in 2014-15 -- thanks to increased revenues -- is now expected. A corresponding rise in the luxury-tax threshold from $71.7 million to $77 million is also projected, sources said.
But the latest projections will undoubtedly be welcomed by numerous teams that are planning to be active in free agency this summer. If the projections hold, several clubs will find themselves with more spending money and financial flexibility than they initially planned.
The Knicks remain unquestioned favorites to re-sign Anthony after the March hiring of the decorated Phil Jackson as team president and given the fact that only New York can offer the 29-year-old a five-year deal -- one year longer than any other team -- in the $130 million range.
But sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Bulls -- even before these developments came to light Friday night via noted NBA salary-cap expert Larry Coon -- were already feeling increasingly optimistic behind the scenes about their chances of convincing Anthony to leave the Knicks in the wake of New York's failure to make the playoffs. This is the first season Anthony has failed to reach the playoffs in his 11-year career.
It's believed that the Bulls would still have to shed some veteran salary in addition to releasing former All-Star forward Carlos Boozer via the amnesty clause this summer to be able to make a competitive offer that could persuade Anthony to leave the new Jackson-led Knicks and the Madison Square Garden stage he loves so dearly. But a higher cap figure than anticipated would naturally make things easier for Chicago.
And Houston has quietly expressed confidence for months that it could make the moves necessary -- such as trading center Omer Asik and/or guard Jeremy Lin -- to thrust itself into the heart of the Anthony bidding depending on how the forthcoming playoffs play out.
The Spurs are projected at roughly $53 million in salary for next season, including Tim Duncan’s $10.4 million player option and a $1.1 million team option on Austin Daye.
The extra cash could come in handy with Boris Diaw and Patty Mills both hitting unrestricted free agency this summer after excellent seasons.
Diaw, 32, made $4.7 million this season, while the 25-year-old Mills will no doubt be seeking a substantial raise from his $1.1 million salary — and perhaps a starting role with a different team — after averaging 10.2 points in 18.9 minutes as a key member of the Spurs’ league-leading bench.
Little-used forward Matt Bonner is also coming off the books, freeing up about $4 million. Deep reserve Aron Baynes will be a restricted free agent with a $1.1 million qualifying offer.
The Spurs could instead use the extra cash to dip into a free agent pool that will include potential mid-tier targets like *Pau Gasol, Luol Deng and Avery Bradley.
Beyond next season, only Tiago Splitter ($8.5 million) is officially on the books for 2015-16.
San Antonio Spurs News, Scores, Stats & Analysis – Spurs Nation » Cap projected to jump by $5 million as Mills, Diaw hit market
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