Larry Coon, noted CBA expert and author of the extremely useful CBA FAQ, wrote on his blog yesterday that the NBA issued new salary cap and luxury tax projections for the next two seasons.
The NBA issued new projections for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds. The 2014-15 salary cap is now projected to be $63.2 million and the tax level is projected to be $77.0 million. The numbers for 2015-16 are now projected to be $66.5 million and $81.0 million, respectively.
As Coon goes on to note, these are only projections and not the actual numbers, as those numbers will only be revealed in July after the NBA conducts an audit of league finances and revenues. Still, these projections would be a big increase at 7.7% more than this season. According to Coon, the league's usual baseline is 4.5%.
Assuming these numbers hold, this should prove very beneficial to the Kings, especially if Rudy Gay decides to opt in to his $19.3 million option for next season. Currently, the Kings are projected to have a total salary of $67.2 million if Rudy opts in. That's before any signing of Isaiah Thomas or a draft pick. Under the old luxury tax, that only gave the Kings a little under $4 million of room. Now however they could have as much as $10 million. Assuming the Kings pick 7th again, that would allow the Kings to spend about $7 million on Isaiah Thomas before hitting the tax. That's also assuming the Kings don't get a buyout for players like Reggie Evans, Travis Outlaw or Jason Terry. Terry is a prime candidate for a buyout, and although he's scheduled to make $5.85 million next season, he'd likely accept a low buyout offer (the amount of the buyout remains on Sacramento's cap sheet) so that he could go to a contender.
Should Rudy Gay NOT opt in, the Kings will suddenly have about $13 million of cap space before re-signing Isaiah Thomas and/or Gay (Should Gay opt out he could still re-sign with the Kings). In 2015-16 they have even more projected space, with only $31.7 million of committed salary currently. That could change of course with re-signings of Gay and Thomas and/or further trades and signings, but it does seem like the Kings could be primed to have a ton of cap room in a big free agent market with names like Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap, Anderson Varejao, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Arron Afflalo, Thaddeus Young, Goran Dragic, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Tony Parker all as unrestricted free agents.
(As always, thank you to Mark Deeks and ShamSports for the accurate salary info.)