NBA sets salary cap for next season at $58.68 million

Knowing what they can spend, teams can now begin dealing in earnest.

The NBA announced on Tuesday that the salary cap for the 2008-09 season will be $58.68 million.

The figure was arrived at after daylong consultations between lawyers for the NBA and the players' union.

The luxury tax threshold will be $71.15 million, and the value of the mid-level exception will be $5.585 million. Over-the-cap teams can only offer the mid-level exception to free agents.

For comparison sake, last year's cap was $55.63 million. It was $53.135 million in 2006-07 and $49.5 million ($37.125 million for the Charlotte Bobcats) in 2005-06.

The league's moratorium on trades and free-agent signings expired at midnight on Tuesday, and three teams -- the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers -- had been waiting on the exact cap figure to determine the size of the offers they can make to Elton Brand, who had become the No. 1 free-agent target of all three teams. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Tuesday evening that Brand has given a verbal commitment to the 76ers.

Senior writer Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.