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NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) – It’s becoming more and more lucrative to be an NBA player.

The NBA salary cap was set Wednesday for next season at $70 million, a higher-than-expected number that paves the way for free agent contracts to be signed.

The league said the cap increased by 11 percent from last season’s $63.1 million and the 2015-16 cap will be the highest ever – though it will be shattered next summer. It had been projected to come in closer to $67 million until recently.

With the cap set, the league’s moratorium will be lifted at midnight, and deals and trades that were agreed to since free agency opened on July 1 can become official beginning Thursday at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

Also, the tax level increased 10.3 percent to $84.7 million. Teams whose payrolls exceed it will be subjected to penalties.

The salary cap is derived in part on league revenues. It is expected to vault to about $90 million for the 2016-17 season, when the league’s new national TV contracts begin.

In the meantime, there’s plenty of money for teams and players next season. Maximum salaries will rise, because they are based on a percentage of the cap, depending on a player’s years of service.

LeBron James, should he sign for the max, would make $23 million next season with more than 10 years in the league.

There will be three spending exceptions available to teams. The non-taxpayer mid-level for this season is $5.5 million, the taxpayer mid-level is $3.4 million and the mid-level for a team with room under the salary cap is $2.8 million.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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