What a reduced salary cap means for the Philadelphia 76ers

Al Horford | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Al Horford | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

How does the hiatus impact the Philadelphia 76ers’ checkbooks?

As of last week, the NBA season came to a drastic halt with Adam Silver making a statement to suspend the league until further notice after All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Although this call is annoying for fans, it had to be taken in order to make sure the deadly disease wouldn’t spread and affect more people in the US. This call also comes with various short term and long term (Salary Cap) implications for teams, ranging from unexpected playoff games to a reduced salary cap space for next season.

A reduced salary cap would just add to the woes being faced by the Philadelphia 76ers, already being over the salary cap by over $21 million according to Early Bird Rights. Over the past 34 years the NBA salary cap has gradually increased from $3.6 million to $109 million, and for the first time since the 2009 season, the 2020-21 salary cap is expected to decrease rather than increase. Although the 2020-21 season’s salary cap was projected to be $115 million, it is expected to plummet by up to $8 million.

One of the main determinants of calculating the salary cap for next season is by adding up the revenue made by each home team for an entire season. For instance, an average home game would bring in about $2 million, some teams like Memphis totals about $1 million whereas larger teams like the Lakers and Clippers bring in $3 million.

With roughly nine home games remaining for each team, the NBA could potentially loose up to a grand total of $550 million. Such immense drops can be fatal to the salary cap, and have large impacts on teams which are already over the cap size.

How does this impact the Sixers?

The best case scenario for the 76ers would be for the season to resume, therefore not affecting the potential $115 million salary cap expectations for next season. In this case, the 76ers would still be close to $39 million over the salary cap with a total of four players getting over $25 million in one year. Having said that, if the salary cap does get reduced by $8 million, then the Sixers would be in a bit of trouble. They could be in excess of over $50 million above the cap.

What can Philly do?

Trade players to free up salary cap space. This is one of the most obvious and easiest paths to take. There have been various names which have been under speculation to get traded. Some big contracts who have so far proven to be a costly mistake are some undermining options the team can play around with during free agency next season.

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Trading these “big” contracts for money efficient ones, can help to free up a lot of much needed cash.