David Stern changed the landscape of the free-agent market Friday. In a media chat after a board of governors session in New York, he revealed that the league's projection for the 2010-11 salary cap is now $56.1 million -- a robust increase from its earlier projections.
The salary-cap amount is determined by the league's revenues from the previous season. If the league had a good year, the cap goes up a lot the next season. But the league didn't expect this to be a good year. Its projections this past July, when the 2009-10 cap was announced, were more of the gloom-and-doom variety. In its annual memo to the teams, the league announced that it expected revenues to fall within a range of 2.5 percent to 5 percent -- signaling a drop in the salary cap from its current $57.7 million to a range between $50.4 million and $53.6 million.
The NBA's advice to teams at the time was both simple and ominous: Be aware of this projected decrease and plan accordingly.