Well, this is some interesting news that may brighten the days of the Los Angeles Lakers in the near future. According to reports from ESPN staffers, Larry Coon, who works for ESPN, is projecting a $5M increase in the salary cap in 2014-15.
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 19, 2014
A hike in salary cap would suggest that the basketball business is doing quite well and will be doing even better when the league negotiates its new television contracts this offseason. Reports have suggested that the league will “easily” double it’s annual television revenue with these new deals. That could explain why the NBA is projected to raise the salary cap by 8.5% this offseason. This “jump” would be unprecedented under the new CBA, which so clearly favors the owners. Here are the salary caps for every season under the new CBA.
2011-2012 Salary Cap: $58.044M
2012-2013 Salary Cap: $58.044M (0% increase)
2013-2014 Salary Cap: $58.679M (1% increase)
2014-2015 Projected Salary Cap: $63.679M (8.5% increase)
So, what does this mean for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers? Well, the team that will be helped the most by the increase cap space is obviously the Lakers. Why? The Lakers are desperately in need of some top tier talent. While it would make sense for the Lakers to hold off on a spending spree until the summer of 2015, due to their increase cap space and a talented free agent class, the Lakers do need to improve their team this summer in order to appease fans.
An additional $5M in cap space means that if the Lakers didn’t re-sign any of their free agents and used the stretch provision on Steve Nash, they would have $28.5M in space this summer. If they traded their first round pick (after June 1st) in any sort of deal, they would have $30.5M in space this summer. That amount is enough to sign a max-level player and add another near max-level player. While it is unlikely that the Lakers would spend so irrationally this summer, it is possible. What this additional money does give the Lakers, in reality, is more breathing room to be creative over the next two seasons and to try and improve this roster as quickly as possible.
As for the Clippers, they are, for the first time, a luxury tax team and will be penalized as such this offseason. They are paying Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan a ton of money over the next couple of seasons. An additional $5M will alleviate some of the luxury tax costs associated with having a roster being paid like superstars. However, it will not be helping them attract max-level free agents any time in the near future. Somehow I don’t think the Clippers are too concerned about any of this. They’re concentrated on trying to win a championship.