NEW YORK, DEC. 29 -- Eight of the 27 NBA teams are over this season's salary cap of $11,871,000, according to a published report. Teams are allowed to surpass the salary cap in order to sign their own free agents, as stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Players Association.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the league's highest payroll at $14,291,000, according to a report in the New York Times. During the offseason, they matched a $27 million contract offer to John "Hot Rod" Williams and restructured the contracts of Mark Price and others.
The other teams over the cap are: New York ($13,713,000); Boston ($13,121,000); Detroit ($12,754,000); Philadelphia ($12,517,000); Los Angeles Lakers ($12,136,000); Atlanta ($11,991,000); Houston ($11,961,000).
Seven other teams -- Portland, Dallas, Milwaukee, Golden State, Sacramento, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers -- are under the cap by less than $500,000. That gives them little flexibility to make trades or sign free agents other than their own.
The Washington Bullets have the lowest payroll in the league ($9,745,000) except for three recent expansion teams: Orlando ($7,858,000); Minnesota ($8,253,000); Miami ($8,928,000).
The report said the first 10 draft choices in 1990 signed contracts for four to six years at an annual average of $1.9 million.