Share “NBA Salary Cap Q&A”

Oklahoman Modified: February 13, 2009 at 4:54 am •  Published: February 13, 2009
The Seattle Sonics and Orlando Magic did this in 2007 with Rashard Lewis. The Magic weren’t over the cap but outbid the competition for Lewis by agreeing to a sign-and-trade.

→What are "Bird” rights?

It is an exception to the salary cap that allows teams to exceed the cap to sign their own free agents for up to the player’s maximum salary. Players signing under their "Bird” rights can receive contracts with 10.5 percent raises instead of 8 percent increases and can sign a contract of up to six years instead of five. Players gain "Bird” rights by playing three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. The Boston Celtics were the first team allowed to exceed the cap to retain a free agent, Larry Bird, thus the name "Bird” rights.

→Other than players, what else can be included in trades?

Teams can include draft picks, cash and sometimes what’s known as a trade exception. The draft picks can be no more than five years out, and the cash is limited to $3 million. A trade exception is a sum of money that allows a team to make a future trade without the salaries needing to come within the required 125 percent and $100,000.

→How are first-round draft picks compensated, and how do they count against the cap?

Players taken in the top 30 of the NBA Draft sign contracts according to a salary scale. A team may sign a first-round pick for as little as 80 percent of the scale or up to 120 percent. Contracts are guaranteed for two seasons, with the team holding two one-year options for seasons three and four.



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