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Cap assuming a better past - would there be enough space under the tax?

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Not really an opinion post but couldn't see where to put something like this. I'm just messing around here re-imagining the Kings past with a few glaring errors removed. This topic is probably for cap nerds, but if you don't care too much about the cap, just let me know if you think the final amount the Kings would have to work with would be enough to contend. 

Here's a re-imagined salary cap with just the biggest contracts and ignoring any veterans with salary that could have been traded for.

Year 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26 2026-27 2027-28
Salary Cap $112,414,000 $119,000,000 $125,971,854 $133,352,168 $141,164,873    
Tax Level $136,606,000 $144,609,337 $153,081,565 $162,050,157 $171,544,190    
Non-Tax MLE $9,536,000 $10,094,686 $10,686,103 $11,312,170 $11,974,916    
2017 #5 draft pick - 25% max $28,103,500 $30,351,780 $32,600,060 $34,848,340 $37,096,620    
2018 #2 draft pick - 30% max $11,312,114 $35,700,000 $38,556,000 $41,640,480 $44,971,718 $48,569,456  
2019 #12 draft pick - 20% max $3,512,600 $4,840,363 $25,194,371 $27,209,920 $29,386,714 $31,737,651  
2020 #23 draft pick - 15% max $1,999,300 $2,094,200 $3,553,857 $20,002,825 $21,603,051 $23,331,295 $25,197,799
2021-22 Non-Tax MLE $9,536,000 $10,012,800 $10,513,440 $11,039,112      
2022-23 Non-Tax MLE   $10,094,686 $10,599,420 $11,129,391 $11,685,861    
2023-24 Non-Tax MLE     $10,686,103 $11,220,408 $11,781,429 $12,370,500  
Salaries above
$131,703,251 $157,090,477      
Tax Level minus salaries above
$21,378,314 $4,959,679      


  • Estimated salary cap for 2022-23 I got from Spotrac. That is 105.85% of 2021-22. So I applied that percentage to all future years. That could be too much. Or too little if a new TV deal garners many more billions. 
  • The 2021-22 tax is 121.52% of the salary cap. I applied that to all other years. It's really based on basketball related income and other factors that can't be determined definitively right now.
  • Non-tax Mid-Level Exception percentage increases are based on the increase in the salary cap. 
  • And that's it for notes. 

So basically the Kings draft Fox in 2017 and eventually sign him to the deal they did in fact sign him to. They picked Luka in 2018. Fox and Luka work well together, and Luka is All-NBA as well so he gets the 30% max as in real life. The Kings never traded their 2019 pick in this fantasy land. For 2019 and 2020, the drafted player is not the actual player drafted at that slot. I'm just projecting their pick selection downward as their record improves. The salaries are what they would be for those picks though. 

In 2021-22, 2022-23, and 2023-24, the Kings successfully use their Non-tax MLE on one player each year or multiple players for that amount each year that contribute to winning.

So in 2023-2024, with just these salaries, they $21.38M in room below the tax. Using that room would be tricky. You can always sign minimum salary players. You also get an exception for rookies though they cannot be expected to contribute much. But do you think they could contend with 7 or more (if the MLE is split) successful players (2 of whom are stars) and being $21.38M under the tax? 

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New Member
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I was going to respond to your fantasy until I got to the part about Luka and Fox playing well together and I threw up in my mouth and stopped reading.

Eminent Member
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@bluejohn okay. Thank you for your contribution.

You are probably correct that they wouldn't function to their best together. In that case, in line with the theme of this fantasy (build through the draft and the NTMLE), I would trade Fox for a high pick owned by a buying team (the traded for pick of a bad team) or just a bad team that wanted to build around Fox immediately. Preferably the former. That would net another draft pick in the 2021 draft and maybe one in the 2023 draft. I'm not going to pencil that out because it would be somewhat similar. Just more time for the players to become good. Probably into the 2024-25 season.