NBA Salary Cap, Luxury Tax Levels To Remain The Same In 2012-13

The salary-cap for the 2012-13 NBA season will be set at $58.044 million, while the luxury tax will be set at $70.307 million, the league announced on Tuesday. Both are the exact same as last season. This was expected by most, so it's not a big surprise.

It's now becoming more clear just where the Wizards stand against that number. According to my calculations, the Wizards are currently paying $60,239,472 to 12 players, including first-round draft pick Bradley Beal. They also currently have cap holds worth $854,389 to five free agents: Brian Cook, Cartier Martin, Roger Mason, James Singleton and Morris Almond. The Wizards can release any of those cap holds to change their salary-cap number, but doing so would remove all Bird Rights they'd have to the player, meaning they could only re-sign them using exceptions such as the mid-level and bi-annual.

Of course, that salary-cap number could change if the Wizards choose to use the amnesty clause on Andray Blatche. The latest, from Michael Lee of the Washington Post, suggests the Wizards are "seriously considering" doing so. There is obviously lots of non-cap reasons for using the clause to remove Blatche from the roster that will probably outweigh any cap reasons, but the immediate salary-cap space gained is negligible. The Wizards could get down to $53,120,970 without cap holds and $57,392,915 with them by letting Blatche go, but while that would technically put them under the cap, it would be for less than the value of the mid-level exception. Teams must choose to gain either cap space OR the exception, not both, and since the value of the mid-level exception is larger than the amount of cap space the Wizards would have, the Wizards would likely choose the mid-level, unless they had some sort of unbalanced trade for a small salary in place.

(Ironically, had the Wizards been able to amnesty Blatche and released all cap holds, they could have traded future considerations straight up for Dorell Wright like the 76ers did. Alas, the timeline doesn't work that way. I'm still mad about Wright, you guys. He was my guy in 2010).

I think this is why you see some reluctance to immediately using the amnesty clause on Blatche. For all the very relevant non-cap reasons to let him go, it's not like the Wizards could use his $7.2-million salary on someone else.

UPDATE: I neglected to note that, if the Wizards use the amnesty clause on Andray Blatche, they could also gain the "room" exception for $2.575 million, due to them going back under the salary cap.

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