The NBA salary cap is going to explode in the coming years, from $70 million this past season to potentially $94 million next season to potentially $107 million the year after that. That means higher salaries for players – even the ones who don’t necessarily deserve them.

“We’re going to see a lot of sticker shock on people’s faces when we start seeing some of these deals reported in the next few days,” The Vertical’s Bobby Marks said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Outside of the big names – James, Durant, Horford, Batum, Conley, DeRozan – there’s going to be middle-of-the-road guys that, in past years, is a $5- or $6 million dollar player, and in this new day and age is probably about a $12 million player. We’re going to see some pretty high numbers in the next few days here.”

Especially since so many teams have so much money to spend.

“There’s over 20 or 25 teams with a significant amount of room, and it’s not a great free-gent class,” Marks said. “I think your depth is probably at the center position. Your point guard is very weak. We don’t know next summer what kind of rules we’re going to have. We could potentially have a new collective bargaining agreement, so some of the rules could be changed here. It’s almost like the housing market. There’s so much money out there that eventually this thing could burst. The deals this summer could really backfire on you possibly next year.”

With LeBron James almost assuredly staying in Cleveland, Kevin Durant becomes far and away the most coveted free agent this offseason. But if any team hopes to lure Durant away from Oklahoma City, it better have a darn good pitch.

“I’m selling not just this year, I’m selling 2017,” Marks said. “I’m having a long-term plan on what we can do. The interesting thing with Durant is if he did do the one-year contract outside of Oklahoma City, teams are going to be logistically trying to scramble next summer because they’re trying to carve out $35 million in room. If I’m the Clippers or Miami or Golden State or San Antonio, teams that are financially in some issues right now, I need to lay out the plan. If I’m Kevin Durant, I want to know who I’m playing with. I don’t want to sign on and then all of a sudden we’ve got to gut the team. That’s why I’ve always said Oklahoma City was the best (option), at least for the short term. They don’t need to do that. They made the trade last week with Oladipo, you got Westbrook. Oklahoma City, they can sell Westbrook. I know Golden State can sell Curry and everything, but you’ve got that team intact that was one game away from reaching the Finals.”

There’s also, of course, Dwight Howard, who has built a not-so-lofty reputation as a guy who is soft, not team-oriented and a bit of a coach-killer. Marks, though, said he would consider signing Howard – for the right price.

“He opted out of $23 million,” Marks said. “I don’t see him making that on the market here. If I’m a team, would I go with a two-year deal, maybe $16-, $17 million? I would seriously consider that. It seems with Dwight the stigma with what happened in Orlando four or five years ago has really carried with him. It carried with him to Los Angeles, and it didn’t end well. It didn’t end well in Houston. It will be interesting with him to see if he’s looking for a big pay day and (will) maybe play with a mediocre team or maybe see if he’s looking to sacrifice to try to win a championship. I think that’s kind of where the direction with Dwight Howard is going to be here.”


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