Potential tax apron teams and players the Pistons could steal from them

Golden State Warriors v Detroit Pistons
Golden State Warriors v Detroit Pistons / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages
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As the team with the most cap space, the Detroit Pistons have positioned themselves to take advantage of teams with tax problems this summer.

How do the salary, luxury and tax aprons work in the NBA?

For a quick understanding of how the salary tax, luxury tax, and apron taxes work, here’s a breakdown. Each team is allowed a set salary to pay their roster, called the salary cap. Owners, however, are easily able to surpass this set number if they are willing to pay a luxury tax. This essentially allows big market teams to afford a more expensive roster by simply paying a fee.

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Beyond that, however, is where it gets confusing. Once your roster salary exceeds a certain threshold, the apron taxes are triggered. The first apron tax is once you blow past the luxury tax, and you then see some punishments such as teams cannot acquire a player in a sign-and-trade if that player keeps them above the apron, teams cannot sign a player waived during the regular season whose salary was over the $12.2 million midlevel exception, etc. Finally, the last and most punished threshold is the second apron in which the same punishments from the first apron are enforced, and then some. 

So how do the apron taxes affect the Pistons? Teams that are not quite able to win it all, yet are still within the first or second apron tax will essentially be forced to ship out talent to shed salary. Detroit is in a perfect position to take advantage of this and get themselves a star. So, within the first and second Apron teams, who could Detroit try and steal? Let’s take a look. 

For reference, the Timberwolves, Grizzlies, Lakers, Heat, Nuggets, Celtics, Warriors, Suns, and Bucks are expected to be over. However, the Nuggets, Celtics and possibly Bucks will likely deal with their punishments as they are firmly in a position to win it all.