NBA Landscape Guidelines

Here's a few keys for using the NBA Landscape.

Due to the excess of information on the main NBA Landscape page, I've decided to create this post, a separate location to read the notes I prepared for users.  It's just a basic guide for using the Landscape, and you might not even need it.  Here's a few things to remember:


  • First and foremost, I am human! It's highly likely that there are some mistakes in the Landscape, although I have painstakingly pored through it to correct everything I can find wrong with it. If you notice something that isn't right, let me know so I can fix it! If I fail to explain something properly, please e-mail me or comment so I can clarify.
  • The Landscape will be constantly updated throughout the summer, and to maintain the accuracy of information, I ask that rather than copying or screenshotting the Landscape, you simply link to it if you wish to share it. Additionally, this post and the NBA Landscape are owned by SBNation. This is a resource that I want people to use, and I've put a lot of time and effort into something that is completely free. All I ask is that you please credit SBNation, Clips Nation, the NBA Landscape, or myself when using the information provided so that others can access it as well. Thank you.
  • For the sake of the Landscape, knowing the following abbreviations may be useful:
  1. ETO- early termination option
  2. QO- qualifying offer
  3. RFA- restricted free agent/agency
  4. MLE- non-taxpayer mid-level exception
  5. rMLE- room mid-level exception
  6. mMLE- taxpayer mid-level exception (or "mini" MLE)
  7. BAE- Bi-Annual Exception.
  • Salaries that are in cells where the background is filled with grey are conditional: in most cases, this means that there is either a partial or full unguarantee, team option, player option, or early termination option. In some cases, this number represents a qualifying offer that has not yet been formally extended by a team. It's worth noting that should these contracts be cancelled, in some cases the player's salary would be replaced in the cap figure by a cap hold. If a player declines his player option or exercises an ETO, this is the case. Similarly, if a team opts to not extend a QO, a cap hold applies for that player. In cases of unguaranteed contracts, a team actually has to waive that player, meaning there would be no cap hold. In the "details" column you can find any information regarding guarantees, options, ETOs, and QOs that apply to that player.
  • For the sake of uniformity, I have assumed that every player will opt in to their player option, every qualifying offer will be extended, and every unguaranteed contract will be kept. Once players officially opt out and teams officially don't extend QOs or do officially cut players, that will be reflected in the Landscape.
  • The cap holds of draft picks do not officially apply to team cap figures until after a player is picked, but since no moves can be made until the draft I put them in the Landscape now. It's worth nothing that until a player is actually drafted, the pick has a $0 cap hit for trade purposes. Also, second round picks have no cap holds.
  • Many teams' cap figures are weighted down by excessive cap holds. These can be, and frequently are, easily renounced by teams in order to clear space, but until they officially are, they apply to the team's cap figure and can also be relevant for S&T purposes and will therefore remain in the Landscape.
  • In the cases of the guarantee terms of several minimum contracts signed near the end of the 2014 season, as well as the terms of Glen Davis' (LAC) buyout, terms are not yet known according to ShamSports.com, and I could not find further information when researching.
  • Team salary in regards to the apron is calculated differently than the cap hit. For specifics on the differences between the calculations, see Larry Coon's CBA FAQ Question #14, but as far as the Landscape is concerned, the "Total" calculation for each team represents cap figure, not team salary in regards to the apron. The apron is set $4M above the luxury tax line (this year, the apron is projected to be $81M) and acts as a hard cap for any team that: receives a player in a S&T deal, uses the non-taxpayer MLE, or uses the BAE.
  • Contrary to common perception, teams do have cap holds for their Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions, but only if they are under the salary cap. This means that if a team is only $5M below the salary cap, they do not have any "room", unless they renounce their exceptions. Instead, they use the MLE and/or BAE. If a team is still under the cap even including the cap holds for their MLE and BAE, they lose both exceptions and instead have "room". After a team uses their "room", they cannot get their MLE and BAE back, but instead get the rMLE.
  • Here's a simpler breakdown of "who gets what" in regards to the various Mid-Level Exceptions and the Bi-Annual Exception:
  1. Teams with more cap space than MLE+BAE: cap room, then rMLE
  2. Teams with less cap space than MLE+BAE: MLE+BAE (apron becomes hard cap if MLE or BAE is used)
  3. Team over cap/under tax: MLE+BAE (apron becomes hard cap if MLE or BAE is used)
  4. Team over tax/under apron: mMLE OR BAE (apron becomes hard cap if BAE is used)
  5. Team over apron: mMLE
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