2010-11 cap $2M higher than thought

NBA teams found out Wednesday that the salary cap for next season will be nearly $2 million higher than anticipated, providing additional unforeseen cap space to several teams.

The NBA unexpectedly announced a cap of $58 million for the 2010-11 season, when most teams had budgeted for a cap of $56.1 million and after gloomy projections from the league as low as $50.4 million last July.

The exact salary cap figure, according to league sources, is $58,044,000, up from $57.7 million in the 2009-10 season.

That means teams such as Miami, New York, New Jersey, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers have more spending room than anticipated to accommodate free-agent signings.

The luxury-tax line for the coming season will be $70,307,000, up from $69.9 million.

The midlevel exception for next season is $5.765 million.

The cap went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, ending the league's moratorium period and allowing free-agent contracts to be signed.

In addition, ESPN.com has learned that 11 teams officially were notified of their luxury-tax obligations for the 2009-10 season Wednesday night, with the two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers easily topping the list of taxpayers.

The Lakers are required to cut a tax check of $21.4 million to the league office by July 23, based on figures teams received in conjunction with the NBA's announcement regarding next season's cap.

Teams with a payroll above $69.9 million last season are required to pay one tax dollar for every dollar they are over the tax threshold. The Lakers are the only team over the $20 million barrier -- $21,430,778, to be exact.

The Dallas Mavericks are next in line at $17,582,574, followed by Cleveland ($15,410,550), Boston ($14,928,662), Orlando ($11,046,595), San Antonio ($8,810,302), Denver ($5,562,942), New York ($5,199,024), Phoenix ($4,958,790), Utah ($3,105,372) and Miami ($3,039,769).

The 19 teams that do not owe any tax, in accordance with the league's collective bargaining agreement, will each receive a rebate of $3.7 million. The league also announced Wednesday night that the tax line for the 2010-11 season has risen to $70.3 million.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.