NBA salary cap set, Wizards just below luxury tax line

July 10, 2013
Bravo! (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Bravo! (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

About 90 minutes before the league moratorium on free agent signings and trades ended at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the NBA announced the salary cap and luxury tax figures for the 2013-14 season – and the numbers were slightly higher than expected.

The salary cap will be $58.68 million, which is more than $600,000 than the figure that NBA teams were operating under in the first two seasons of the new collective bargaining agreement. The luxury tax is also up to $71.75 million. Figures are determined based on projected basketball related income, from broadcast rights and merchandise sales.

In previous seasons, teams that topped the luxury tax line were subjected to a dollar-for-dollar tax for every dollar over the line, but now teams are subject to stiffer, escalating penalties. Teams will have to pay $1.50 for every dollar over the tax if they are less than $5 million over the cap; $1.75, if they are less than $10 million over the cap; $2.50, if they are less than $15 million over the cap; and $3.25, if they are less than $20 million over the cap. Any payrolls that exceed those totals will have to pay an additional $.50 for every $5 million of team salary above the tax line.

The Wizards are currently below the luxury tax line, with nearly $70 million in salaries committed to 14 players. More than half of the payroll is reserved for four players, with Emeka Okafor ($14.5 million), Nene ($13 million), Trevor Ariza ($7.7 million) and John Wall ($7.5 million) set to earn more than $42 million combined next season.

This offseason, the Wizards were able to retain Martell Webster to a four-year deal worth $22 million; Eric Maynor agreed to a two-year deal worth about $4 million; and Garrett Temple accepted a one-year deal worth about $900,000. Otto Porter signed his rookie scale contract, which will pay him $4.28 million in his first season, while second-round pick Glen Rice Jr. signed for the rookie minimum worth about $400,000. The team would potentially sign another minimum salaried player and remain just under the luxury tax line.

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis won’t have to pay the luxury tax, but he will have to shell out an extra $7 million in salary to Andray Blatche, who was waived using the amnesty clause last summer but has agreed to terms with the Brooklyn Nets for a one-year deal worth $1.4 million that will only provide minimal savings for his former team.

Wall is eligible for a maximum salary extension, which wouldn’t go into effect until the start of the 2014-15 season. Based on the current salary cap figures, Wall would earn $13.7 million in the first season with 7.5 percent annual raises. As a designated player under the new collective bargaining agreement, Wall’s deal would work out to being a five-year contract worth about $79.5 million.

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Michael Lee | July 9, 2013