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Sep 26 2013

The Sixers are over the salary cap

Not that it matters.

Stack Of Cash

The Sixers – and their $47 million payroll – are over the $58.7 million salary cap.1

You read that correctly. Thanks to some technicalities in the CBA, the same team that’s going to start the season below the (inconsequential) $52.65 million salary floor, is flirting with the salary cap, too.

It’s counterintuitive, but with assistance from Larry Coon’s CBA bible and NBA capologist/ShamSports owner Mark Deeks, I’ll attempt to explain.

Mostly, you can thank exceptions (trade, mid-level and bi-annual) for inflating Philadelphia’s cap figure. As noted in Coon’s CBA FAQ, “If a team is below the cap, then its … exceptions are added to their team salary, and the league treats the team as though they are over the cap.”

The Sixers have $12,294,993 in exceptions between the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,150,000), the bi-annual exception ($2,016,000), and the Jrue Holiday traded player exception ($5,128,993, after using $1.1 million on Tony Wroten). Add that to Charles Jenkins’ $884K (veteran’s minimum) cap hold and the $46,923,438 million payroll, and their cap figure rises to $60,102,724.2

So, yes. The Sixers, after dumping their most expensive asset (missin’ you, Jrue) and picking up a bunch of scraps in free agency, are over the cap.

Not that this has any implications. As explained in the CBA FAQ, being over cap in this manner won’t put the Sixers in the luxury tax. And while it temporarily prevents them from signing an expensive free agent, they can get back below the cap simply by renouncing the exceptions.

That’s unlikely to happen since Sam Hinkie isn’t in the market for an $11 million free agent. Nonetheless, the option is on the table.

This send-off from Deeks should provide additional clarity:

“If they renounce the exceptions, do they have cap room? Yes. If they don’t renounce them, do they have no cap room, but do have the exceptions? Yes. Can they have both? No, because that’s not what exceptions are – they are exceptions to the salary cap, not additions to it.”

The bottom line: the Sixers have plenty of cap room available, but right now, they’re over the cap.

1. This exercise excludes Khalif Wyatt, Vander Blue and Arsalan Kazemi — players reportedly signed to training camp deals and players with contract figures that have not yet been announced.

2. The same concept can be applied to other teams with large exceptions or cap holds for unsigned players, too. For example, the Thunder have about $71.2 million committed to 15 players. But with their MLE, BAE and three TPEs (Cole Aldrich, Kevin Martin and Eric Maynor), their cap number is actually $87.6 million.

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