Lakers News: Tight Cap Situation Increases Pressure on LA to Succeed Next Season

The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a year in which they faced heavy scrutiny for falling short of massive, championship expectations. After getting swept in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs, the organization finds itself in a precarious position, which is compounded by the team's tight cap situation.

As reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, this is the first offseason since the new collective bargaining agreement was struck in 2011.

Under the new CBA, teams above the "tax apron" are prohibited from acquiring sign-and-trade players, though are able to ship sign-and-trade players to other teams.

The luxury tax that teams are hit with is extremely penal if the franchise is above the tax apron. Pincus notes that the tax threshold is expected to be at $71.5 million, but there is an allowance of an additional $4 million, which constitutes the tax apron.

Thus, the Lakers can have a maximum of $75.5 million in player salaries for 2013-14 to avoid the luxury tax.

Unfortunately, unless the squad amnesties the contract of Kobe Bryant, there is no feasible way to avoid the massive luxury tax if the Lakers want to re-sign superstar center Dwight Howard.

So what does all this mean, exactly?

Basically, if Howard is brought back into the fold for an expected $20.5 million and the Lakers don't shock the world by letting Bryant go, LA is looking at approximately $100 million in salaries for next season.

Not only do the Lakers have to pay those $100 million in salaries, but they are taxed for every dollar over the projected cap they go, and would have to dish out an additional $80 million in luxury tax expenses.

With the careers of both Bryant and Nash winding down, and the colossal disappointment of last season, this upcoming year could be the last shot the Lakers have in quite some time at raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

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