NBA sets 2013-14 salary cap, luxury tax numbers

LOS ANGELES – With the moratorium on free agent signings over as of 9:01 p.m. PT Tuesday, the NBA has released its salary cap and luxury tax information for 2013-14.

The league raised its salary cap just slightly, from $58.044 million last season to $58.679 next. The luxury tax threshold jumped from $70.307 to $71.748. Both numbers had remained constant from 2011-12 to 2012-13.

What’s most interesting about Tuesday’s announcements is the luxury tax portion of the information. In addition to calculating next season’s threshold, the league also confirmed teams’ bills from 2012-13. To no one’s surprise, the Lakers topped the list of the highest tax bills; according to data obtained by ESPN, the team owes $29,259,739. To put that in perspective, it’s almost $2 million more than the $27.8 million Kobe Bryant made last year.

However punitive that tax sounds, it will only get worse. Starting in 2013-14, luxury tax penalties will become ever harsher, and teams who repeat as taxpayers year after year will be penalized astronomically. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the 2013-14 Nets as they stand will have essentially the same payroll as the 2012-13 Lakers, and yet their expected luxury tax bill this time next year will be in the neighborhood of $70 million.

Both the Lakers and Clippers are poised to pay the luxury tax in 2013-14. It will be the first time in Clippers history that the team will do so.