The salary cap for the 2014-15 season will increase to an all-time high $63.065 million, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The tax level has been set at $76.829 million.
Both go into effect Thursday, the day the league’s moratorium period ends and teams can begin signing free agents and making trades.
The Thunder’s payroll next season is roughly $70.9 million, which leaves Oklahoma City approximately $5.8 million shy of surpassing the tax threshold. That means the Thunder can sign a free agent with the full mid-level exception ($5.305 million) and remain under the tax.
Oklahoma City also has a $6.6 million trade exception that expires Friday. The Thunder can use all of the exception to acquire a player via trade without having to match salaries, or a portion of it. But the team is believed to allow the exception to expire.
BROOKS ARRIVES IN ORLANDO ON HEELS OF MEETING WITH GASOL
After missing the first four days of the Orlando Pro Summer League, Thunder coach Scott Brooks arrived Wednesday to watch his team’s 94-71 loss to Indiana from a seat at the scorer’s table.
Brooks traveled to Los Angeles to meet with free-agent center Pau Gasol on Tuesday, becoming the latest member of the Thunder to pitch Gasol on signing with OKC. Brooks declined to comment on the meeting when asked following the game Wednesday.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant had a face-to-face meeting with Gasol last Wednesday in Los Angeles, and it is believed that Thunder general manager Sam Presti also has met with Gasol.
The Thunder has been described as a frontrunner to land Gasol, and the team could be on the verge of overcoming one hurdle with New York forward Carmelo Anthony reportedly set to announce Thursday that he’ll re-sign with the Knicks. But the next challenge for the Thunder is luring Gasol away from Chicago, one of several teams that had interest in Anthony but would have to move to a plan B should Anthony remain with the Knicks.
The Bulls, who reportedly have informed Carlos Boozer that he will be amnestied, can offer Gasol more money and the allure of the third largest market.
Barring an unexpected sign-and-trade with the Lakers that would send Kendrick Perkins to Los Angeles, the most the Thunder could sign Gasol for is $5.3 million.
SECOND QUARTER DOOMS OKC
A nightmarish second quarter Wednesday was the Thunder’s downfall.
OKC took a 23-22 lead after the opening period but got outscored 34-13 in the second quarter and went into halftime trailing, 56-36. The Pacers went on to lead by as many as 31 before cruising to a 23-point victory.
The Thunder fell to 1-3.
Mitch McGary scored a team-high 15 points off the bench. Jeremy Lamb scored 12 points but missed 13 of 17 shots, and Steven Adams scored 10 points with eight rebounds.
The Thunder shot 37.5 percent. The Pacers, who were led by 19 points and six assists from Donald Sloan and 15 points and 12 rebounds from Kevin Jones, shot 52.9 percent.
ROBERSON SHOWS VERSATILITY
Andre Roberson continued to impress with his defense and rebounding Wednesday.
The second-year Thunder forward was one of the lone bright spots in the Thunder’s loss to the Pacers. He scored nine points on 3-for-6 shooting and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, four of them coming on the offensive end.
“Andre had a very good game, a very positive game,” said Thunder assistant/summer league coach Darko Rajakovic. “He was very good on the boards. He did a very good job defensively. We like his aggressiveness on offense. That’s something that we’re taking away from this game.”
Roberson showed his versatility from the opening tip when he started the game defending the point guard position.
Grant Jerrett underwent surgery on his left ankle and will be sidelined four to six months. Jerrett is a restricted free agent, but the Thunder remains interested in Jerrett long term. ... Perry Jones scored five points with three rebounds and four turnovers in 22 minutes. He made 2 of 9 shots. … Josh Huestis scored seven points with three rebounds and one assist in 18 minutes off the bench. … The Thunder shot 42 free throws Wednesday. … Oklahoma City has a day off from games Thursday. The Thunder will resume play Friday in the final day of summer league. The start time is dependent on Thursday’s games.