View Full Version : The Tax Payers

07-05-2008, 01:08 PM
Boston Celtics
The NBA Champions are poised to have a team payroll somewhere in the neighborhood of $75-million after they spend some money this summer, presumably on keeping James Posey or potentially signing Corey Maggette with the Mid-Level Exception. With just over $60-million committed to the "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett ($24.8-million), Paul Pierce ($18.0-million), and Ray Allen ($17.4-million), the team's payroll is filled with relatively lower-cost players to fill the roster up.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Owner Dan Gilbert said that he's willing to spend the money to build a winner around LeBron James and he's certainly put his money where his mouth is, with an expected payroll of just over $80-million next season. The Cavs pulled off a blockbuster trade at the deadline last year, bringing in the high salaries of Ben Wallace ($14.5-million) and Wally Szczerbiak ($13-million) in addition to LeBron's contract extension salary ($14.4-million) which kicked in last year. The high salaries of Zydrunas Ilgauskas ($10.8-million) and Eric Snow ($7.3-million) also contribute to the Cavs' high payroll, which has likely handcuffed the team from any spending this offseason.

Dallas Mavericks
Another team with a payroll well over $80-million, the Mavericks haven't been deterred by their tax payments this offseason, already coming to terms with JJ Barea and DeSagana Diop (for the full MLE). With Josh Howard's extension salary ($9.9-million) kicking in this past season in addition to the high amounts of money due to superstars Jason Kidd ($21.3-million) and Dirk Nowitzki ($17.1-million). The high payroll, though, is really due to high salaries owed to role players like Erick Dampier ($9.9-million), Jason Terry ($9.6-million), and Jerry Stackhouse ($7-million). The Mavs' payroll is expected to go up even higher, as the team is hoping to re-sign Devean George as well.

Denver Nuggets
With two superstars in Carmelo Anthony ($14.4-million, kicked in last year) and Allen Iverson ($20.8-million), the Nuggets have been in the luxury tax stratosphere for a while now. When trading for Iverson, the team committed to his remaining contract and certain tax payments, but simply felt he was a player worth the risk. The Nuggets' payroll is augmented by the monster contract of Kenyon Martin ($14.4-million), who was acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the New Jersey Nets in 2004, and further increased by money owed to Marcus Camby ($11.3-million) and Nene ($9.7-million). The team is taking a wait-and-see approach in free agency this year, as any spending goes towards the tax, which could lead to the loss of Eduardo Najera.

Houston Rockets
With Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming eating up about $46-million in payroll, the Rockets will be slightly over the luxury tax threshold next season. Should the team re-sign Carl Landry and bring in another free agent (they have been in contact with Brent Barry), the payroll will top off around $75-million. Other than Yao and T-Mac, most of the team's payroll is balanced for role players like Shane Battier ($6.3-million), Bobby Jackson ($6.9-million), and Rafer Alston ($5.3-million).

Indiana Pacers
Depending on where the luxury tax threshold is set, the Pacers may or may not be spending money on the tax. Getting out of Jermaine O'Neal's $21.3-million salary in exchange for TJ Ford and Rasho Nesterovic will save the Pacers about $5-million, which could be enough to fall below the new tax mark.

LA Lakers
With a Finals appearance under their belt, the Lakers paid the luxury tax last year and are poised to do so again next season, as basically the entire team is coming back for another run. The payroll for the team will likely be close to $80-million, as the team hopes to re-sign Sasha Vujacic and Ronny Turiaf. Most of the team's salary is committed to Kobe Bryant ($21.2-million), Pau Gasol ($15.1-million), and Lamar Odom ($14.2-million), but the team's payroll increased with free agent spending on Vladimir Radmanovic ($6.0-million), and Derek Fisher ($4.6-million). With Andrew Bynum wanting a max extension, the Lakers are set to go even further above the tax in 2009-10.

New York Knicks
Ah, the Knicks, with basketball's highest payroll and lowest team cohesiveness. The Knicks certainly didn't get the best bang for their buck with Isiah Thomas at the helm managing payroll, but there is talent on the team that new coach Mike D'Antoni may be able to exploit. Unfortunately, that talent comes at a hefty price, with Stephon Marbury ($20.8-milion), Zach Randolph ($14.6-million), Eddy Curry ($9.7-million), Quentin Richardson ($8.6-million), and Jamal Crawford ($8.6-million). The Knicks have such a high payroll because of Thomas' willingness to give the full MLE every year, dishing out large contracts to both Jared Jeffries and Jerome James, both of whom contribute much on the court. With Chris Duhon ready to join the team for a short-term (but full MLE deal), the Knicks payroll should approach $100-million next season.

Phoenix Suns
With $20-million committed to Shaquille O'Neal next season in addition to the $15-million owed to Amare Stoudemire and the $12.2-million for Steve Nash, the Suns are just over the luxury tax mark, which is why the team sold off its first-round pick in the draft for the past few seasons. The team is looking at a few free agents this summer, but isn't expected to pay too much for anyone in an attempt to keep the tax payments low.