June 9, 2023

Second Luxury Tax Apron Will Be Phased In Over Two Years

The NBA is phasing in its new second luxury tax apron over a two-year period, sources tell John Bollinger of The Athletic.

The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors are both about $40 million above the line currently and are locked into payrolls around the same level for next season. Both teams would struggle to lower their payroll much without substantially making their roster worse.

The penalties for teams who go into this tax will be so draconian that it will essentially act as a “soft hard cap.” Teams will rarely if ever go beyond it.

The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are all over the $17.5 million line this season, but each of them could fairly easily get below it. Only the Bucks and Suns face any possibility of issues with the line next season.

Teams above the second apron will have no midlevel exception, not even the taxpayer MLE.

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