Salary cap management has become a very important value in order to better abide by the new CBA agreed upon and signed in 2011. Among other reasons, exceeding the luxury tax line multiple years now produces stiff repercussions.
According to this piece posted on ESPN Insider, the Atlanta Hawks are one of four teams remaining under the salary cap. The other three are Phoenix, Utah, and Milwaukee, while Philadelphia is almost sure to join that quartet.
Below I have created a color-coded spreadsheet of the breakdown of the salaries on the books for this and future seasons, using information compiled from Hoopshype and ShamSports. (It does not take account of cap holds for future free roster spots).
Why is being under the salary cap, currently set at $58.679 million, meaningful? For one, a team under the cap can accept a more expensive piece a capped-out team is trying to trade away without having to match incoming salary with outcome salary. Houston was in this position just a season ago, and they were able to stumble upon former Kings Francisco Garcia and former #5 overall pick Thomas Robinson midseason.
Gone are the days of selling second round draft picks for cap relief to squeak under the luxury tax line.
Just this offseason, the Utah Jazz were able to grab multiple first and second rounders from Golden State by agreeing to take on the costly contract seasons of Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. The ever increasing value of draft picks has been well recorded, even second-rounders who can be signed to very cheap contracts. The Hawks can now be the ones buying second round picks off of teams in need of financial relief.
This is not a matter of management being miserly but rather setting up an organization with improved flexibility, as opposed to having a capped out core. The value of cost-controlled hand selected players, especially in this new Hawks regime which has foreshadowed increased international scouting, cannot be overstated. Bottom line, the future is set up for Danny Ferry to more easily mold a very successful franchise.