Originally Posted by xplode
What is Apron?
The tax apron is a new mechanism in the new CBA. There are now 4 tiers of teams - teams with cap space (salary below the cap), teams that are capped out (above the cap, below the tax threshold), tax teams (above the tax threshold and below the apron) and tax apron teams (salary above the tax apron).
The apron is basically a buffer for teams entering the tax - if you enter the tax, not only do you have to pay a bunch of money, but theoretically, you also lose a bunch of flexibility - the full MLE is supposed to be for non-tax teams, same for the bi-annual exception, same for sign-and-trades. But this places a lot at that cliff where teams can go from 1 dollar under the tax to one dollar over and lose all of that at once. So a buffer of 4 million dollars above the tax threshold was put in place to allow teams to venture into the tax without losing all those other abilities.
So if a team stays below the apron (about 76 M this year), they are free to use the full MLE, and the bi-annual exception, and sign-and-trades. If they at any point go over the apron, they cannot use those things, and are stuck with only the tax-payer's MLE (shorter and smaller contract). Similarly, if a team uses one of these capabilities, such as the full MLE, they are effectively hard-capped at the apron; they cannot go over it until the next off-season.