The Hard Cap


As mentioned in the main section, the ‘Hard Cap’ is the upmost maximum amount of money your team can spend on payroll. It’s a hard line that can’t be exceeded even by the littlest, tiniest amount (more on this below) that has been determined for you based off of previous year’s numbers and/or historical spending. If you’re number is on the lower end, it means that we don’t like you, and we’re taking out our personal distaste by reducing your ability to spend fake money in our fake league.

Obviously you don’t have to use all of your hard cap, nor even approach it (though you can’t roll over unused money), you just can’t exceed it. Am I clear? Do I need to say you can’t exceed it again? No? Cool.

Let’s dive into it a little further

List of Hard Caps

Note: Teams in red have had their hard cap base lifted based on a history of spending above the luxury tax line. 

Hard Cap Glossary

Now, there is a process being put in place that’ll allow a team to increase it’s hard cap. That’s new to the 14/15′ season. But before we get into that, let’s define a few things.

  • Your ‘Hard Cap’ number is the maximum amount you can spend this year
  • Your ‘Potential Hard Cap Ceiling’ is the absolute maximum amount your owner is going to budge up to. Each year, you’ll be given the option to appeal for an increase – the ‘Potential Hard Cap Ceiling’ is where he comes in and say ‘Listen, I’m a let you finish – but no matter how long you’ve been successful, how much more successful spending could make us – I’m not spending over this amount no matter what.’
  • Your ‘Potential Hard Cap Ceiling (Repeat Tax)’ is the maximum amount you can spend if you’ve finished the season above the luxury tax line for 3 straight years. Most of you aren’t eligible to do that, because well, again we don’t like you. We didn’t take a look at historical spending of your owners and make an assessment form there. No, we took a look at you and said ‘Hey, Do I like this person?’ And to be frank, ore often than not the answer we came to was ‘no.’
  • ‘Thrifty Potential Hard Cap Ceiling’ is set for a small amount of teams whose owners are, well, cheap. That was determined by a clear willingness to spend into the luxury tax despite success (appearing in a Conference Championship in the past 10 years)

Editor’s Note: We are working on a system for luxury tax penalties. It is not ready at this time, nor anywhere near even presentable. 

Increasing Your Hard Cap

New to this coming season is the ability to increase your Hard Cap. And, while we’re doing our best to put all rules in a consolidated fashion, this one’s going to need it’s own post.

Exceptions to Hard Cap

Remember when we said that you can’t exceed the hard cap no matter what? Well, that was kind of a lie. Here’s a list of exceptions that can be made to allow you to exceed that number.

Beyond Hard-Cap Exception (BHC Exception)
-A team may exceed its hard cap to sign a player to a minimum contract if a player currently signed to guaranteed money goes more than 1 week without being under contract to any Real Life NBA team.

-If they do so, they must waive the player in question (currently under contract in the DKC who is not in the NBA), and if any money is owed beyond the current year, the team will be responsible for 50% of that cap number (see rule below). The new player is signed to a rest of year minimum contract, with no rights afforded the team at the end of the year. This may be done once a month, up to 3 times during the year. The cap number used to calculate next years’ hard cap will be the previous years’ hard cap. No player signed using this exception can be traded. A team cannot use this exception without waiving a player first.

-Does not apply to rookies drafted whose rights are being retained (that’s a whole ‘nother thing, see below).

The Injury Exception

-If a player is going to miss 20 games or 1 month of play, a team can petition for a 1 year minimum rest of season contract, even if it exceeds the hard cap. The player signed cannot be traded, and no rights are afforded the signing team in the next off-season. A team may do this twice during the season. The team may exceed the maximum roster size while the player they’re using to claim the Injury Exception is still inactive, but as soon as they play a real NBA game, they must waive a player. A team must state they are pursuing the Injury Exception before using it, it cannot be applied retroactively.

Wash-out Exception
-Any player who was released or waived in RL (not to be confused with being sent down to the D-League, but someone who was actually waived) and not resigned within 1 week can be ‘bought out’ for 75% of their cap number for the year they were waived. All future years (assuming there were any) are 50% guaranteed. You may claim this twice per season.

Rookie Stash Exception
-Any player drafted in the 1st round of the DKC who was actually drafted in the second round of the NBA draft or went undrafted who fails to sign an NBA contract can be retained as ‘rights’ regardless of if they’re actually under contract in the NBA (with only a cap hold during the off-season to pay). This applies only to players who fail to sign any RL NBA contract. Does not include training camp cuts.

-Any player drafted who stays overseas without ever signing a NBA contract can have their rights retained, either for the cost of their first round cap hold  (during the offseason only) or nothing, if they were drafted in the second round.


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