The NBA’s ‘second apron’ seems bad, to me

A new threshold of punishment for spending has arrived in the NBA, and it’s not great.

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It’s not that Major League Baseball’s rules regarding the luxury tax and penalties are great. Let’s just get that out of the way now. The luxury tax has effectively been a salary cap for the league, albeit a soft and unofficial one, and new restrictions like the “Cohen tax” meant to discourage the wealthiest teams from truly and continuously flexing their financial muscle already makes that much more apparent. When teams like the Yankees can lie about their available resources and you can also kind of squint and get why they’d want to lie, that’s a problem.

All of that sounds pretty good in comparison to what the NBA has going for it starting with this upcoming season, however. A “second apron” has been introduced that makes the NBA’s actual soft salary cap more like a hard one. In short, you can basically spend and spend to retain players already on your roster, within the existing rules of what max contracts look like in that capped system, but if you’re over this second apron — it’s a threshold, just like with MLB’s system — and need to acquire more players. Well. You basically can’t. Per The Ringer’s explanation:

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