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NBA

Boston Celtics: what is the salary cap and the highest paid players?

As the Boston Celtics try to find room within an already-squeezed salary cap to pick up top talent, and how that affects their current payroll

Update:
Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives for the basket during the fourth quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff HanischUSA TODAY Sports

It is a matter of idealogical dichotomy that the majority of American professional sports leagues have salary caps. Almost unheard-of internationally, it is an uncontested seed of socialism at the beating heart of the American capitalist dream. And, perhaps uncomfortably, it is generally agreed that it tends to work. Large market teams are routinely brought to book for their deep pockets and the smaller, often poorer markets remain basically competitive in a game that is being played on a tilted table.

Unlike the NFL and NHL, who have hard caps, the NBA has opted for a soft salary cap. A hard salary cap forbids teams from going above a preset number in salaries. Soft caps will allow a team to go above this limit, but will apply a set of fines, fees, or reduced privileges in free agency as a penalty. The NBA has another limit, called the Luxury Tax, and teams that go above this limit are subject to a tax on every dollar spent over it.

The Boston Celtics made some room last June when they traded their top-paid player Kemba Walker and his $37 million salary to Oklahoma City. They still have Jayson Tatum on $30 million a year and while this barely squeaks into the top 40 of NBA salaries, it is part of a Boston wage packet that sees them sitting at a total of $167.4 million for the team. With a league salary cap of $119 million, this places a financial strain on the team to find money for new signings. Moreover, with the Luxury Tax threshold at $136.6 million, the Celtics are looking to have a luxury tax bill of $9.8 million to the league this season.

Boston Celtics 2021/22 salaries

PLAYERSPOSITIONBASE SALARY
Jayson TatumPF$28,103,500
Al HorfordC$27,000,000
Jaylen BrownSG$24,830,357
Marcus SmartPG$13,839,285
Josh RichardsonSG$11,615,328
Juan HernangomezPF$6,175,440
Dennis SchröderPG$5,890,000
Romeo LangfordSG$3,804,360
Robert Williams IIIC$3,661,976
Aaron NesmithSF$3,631,200
Grant WilliamsPF$2,617,800
Payton PritchardPG$2,137,440
Bruno FernandoPF$1,782,621
Enes Kanter FreedomC$2,641,691
Jabari ParkerPF$2,239,544
Al-Farouq AminuPF$151,821
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