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NBA salary cap to increase next year. Which sadly means a lockout is more likely.

Jul 7, 2010, 9:28 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for stern_Hunter.jpgBusiness is good in the NBA. No. Seriously.

The NBA released the salary cap numbers for next season and after all the reports of doom and gloom the numbers are going up for next season.

The salary cap will be $58.044 million next season, making the luxury tax threshold $70.307 million (for every $1 in salary over the luxury tax line, teams pay $1 in tax). That is well above the $50 million cap figure some teams feared for about a year ago.

The mid-level exception will be $5.765 million. By my estimation, the max contract for a Bird-rights player in the league seven years or more (a team keeping a player, like Joe Johnson in Atlanta) will be $127 million for six years. Non Bird-rights players (like Amare Stoudemire in New York) will work out to about $99 million for five years. The max deal for younger players (like Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City) is $87.7 million for five years.

Those numbers are all up from last year — because basketball revenue was up slightly last year from the year before. The salary cap is based on the “basketball related income” for the teams and league.

So we are seeing teams come out of a recession, it’s all good, right? The teams are spending like that right now, it seems. So all those lockout fears are overblown, right?

Wrong. It’s worse.

The owners still want to change the economic structure of the game. They do not like the soft cap and its seemingly endless parade of exceptions.

Why? Well, I’d argue it’s because they can’t restrain themselves from overspending. They have no self-control, look at this off-season. Only a few owners show discipline. And when only a few do, they get outspent and their teams lose out on players, then they lose on the court. Right now Oklahoma City gets credit for doing it all right, but they are not a huge market, and they just gave a max deal to Durant. What happens when they need to pay Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the team bigger money, too. And everyone is telling them to get the one free agent that puts them over the top. Then are they disciplined?

But back to the point at hand, the owners are going to push hard for a new system. Maybe a hard salary cap, certainly more punitive measures for teams that keep spending well above the cap (sliding luxury tax scale?). And they will want to negotiate salaries down, shorten contract lengths and make deals non-guaranteed (again, to cover their own mistakes of bad deals).

The players now have ammunition to call them on this. The economic system must be just fine if the teams’ income rose last year despite the national recession. And by looking at the way they are spending. The players are not going to buy the economic hardship the owners are selling.

And that, my friends, means a lockout is more likely, not less.

And that is good for nobody.

  1. Zack - Jul 7, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    “What happens when they need to pay Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the team bigger money, too. And everyone is telling them to get the one free agent that puts them over the top. Then are they disciplined?”
    Yes. They drafted well, and would add the missing pieces via FA- that’s how you’re suppose to build a team.

  2. Kevin - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    Good. Hope they get locked out. If LeBron leaves Cleveland, I’m officially done with pro basketball anyway… Bunch of overpaid drama queens.

  3. Frank T - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    The lockout is coming according to Danny Ainge’s dad. Yesterday on the radio (San Francisco station KNBR 680) he claimed that his son was going to resign the Big 3 even though they’re pretty long in the tooth. Because with the lockout Allen, Garnett and Pierce will have to only play about 40 games giving the Celtics hope for one more ring.

  4. Frank T - Jul 8, 2010 at 2:45 AM

    The lockout is coming according to Danny Ainge’s dad. Yesterday on the radio (San Francisco station KNBR 680) he claimed that his son was going to resign the Big 3 even though they’re pretty long in the tooth. Because with the lockout Allen, Garnett and Pierce will have to only play about 40 games giving the Celtics hope for one more ring.

  5. luffy - Jul 8, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    Good for the players then, less play more pay…
    Boston-LA next season, LA wins in 6 games…
    Sorry Wade, Bosh, and LBJ aka King…
    Btw, does the monicker “King” for LBJ means some kinda ruler or just KingKong for short?

  6. Larry - Jul 8, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Hocus pocus books by Stern.
    At the start of the season ticket sales were off so much Stern feared a cap of 50-53 M. 6 weeks ago it was all of sudden 56.1 M and now it’s 58 M. I wasn’t aware the country’s economy was so good.
    The cap was conveintly raised to 58 M yesterday to make it more possible for Miami to sign all 3 all-stars to near max deals.
    Wade says he would take a cut. Why. If he signs for 14 M for 6 years he gets 109 M for the 6 years. Some pay cut. Hope he can keep his lights on. That will basically allow Bosh and Lebron to get 16 M a piece for 5 years firt year with 8% raises or about 92 Million if my figures are right. I suspect those two will have trouble feeding their families.
    Hopefully in the new CBA owners will allow only one extra max deal per team for players who were drafted by other teams. If a team drafts players, those players can all get max deals if they are willing to pay the tax. No more than one other max player who was signed from another team on its roster. No more than 2 more players at 75% of with one max deal. Just a suggestion you moron owners! Have some balance of strength in the league.

  7. Anonymous - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:20 AM

    Hey took less money you moron.

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