The salary cap for the 2010-11 season was just over $58 million. But the Los Angeles Lakers spent $91.6 million on player salaries, the Dallas Mavericks $90.7 million, and the Orlando Magic $89.1 million. Only six of the NBA's 30 teams - the Thunder, Bulls, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Clippers and Kings - spent less than $59 million on player payroll.
Salary Cap ExceptionsThere are quite a few ways NBA teams can exceed the salary cap, but most of them have to do with signing free agents. Some of the most common exceptions include:
- The "Larry Bird" exception, which allows teams to exceed the cap to re-sign their own players
- The "Mid-Level" exception, allowing teams to exceed the cap in the amount of the NBA's average player salary for that year. The mid-level exception can be given to one player or split between several.
- The rookie exception, which allows teams to sign their draft picks even if doing so would exceed the salary cap.
- The minimum-salary exception, which allows teams to sign players to two-year contracts at the league minimum salary even when over the cap.