Beginning with the introduction of Franchise Mode in NBA Live 2000, NBA Live has included a salary cap which reflects the rules and restrictions of the salary cap used by the real NBA. NBA Live's salary cap is a more simplified version however but has been revamped over the years to include Bird Rights, the Mid-Level Exception and other aspects of the NBA's cap and salary structure.
When the salary cap was introduced in NBA Live 2000's Franchise Mode, EA Sports were not allowed to use accurate player salaries thus rather than real dollar amounts, player contracts were a certain number of "points" ranging from NBA Live's version of the league minimum (30,000 points) to maximum deals (300,000 points). The default "point cap" was set at 1,000,000 points. It was possible to edit both the salary cap, salary ranges and individual player salaries through external editing to reflect real NBA data.
Changes in NBA Live 2005
NBA Live 2005 was the first game in the series to use real salaries and every game since has featured real dollar amounts though some players have incorrect data year-to-year, usually because updated salary information has not been made available by the time the game ships. The real salary cap is also reflected in the games and beginning with NBA Live 07, users have been able to choose to re-sign players for the Mid-Level Exception or League Minimum as well as making a specific offer, with Bird Rights being recognised.
Another significant change in NBA Live 2005 was the ability to set contract size independently of the contract length, whereas before it operated on a sliding scale according to the player's age. It is also now possible to front or back load contracts (ie have salaries increase or decrease yearly) to save cap space in the short term or in a few year's time.