Part of the fight during the lockout was about the luxury tax — small market owners wanted to rein in the teams they saw as buying a title by just paying the luxury tax every year. They wanted a more punitive tax, and they got it, things get a lot steeper in 2014 (for example, the Lakers $16 million luxury tax bill this year would be $52 million in a couple years).
That talk leads to good questions: What teams are paying all that tax? Who has paid the most tax all-time?
Mark Deeks — the man behind the best NBA salary site on the Web, Shamsports.com — has your answer (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie). He put together a spreadsheet looking at which teams have paid the most tax since its inception and… well, thanks again Isiah Thomas.
1. New York Knicks — $195,288,145
2. Dallas Mavericks — $150,530,433
3. Portland Trail Blazers — $89,052,474
4. Los Angeles Lakers — $84,417,253
5. Boston Celtics — $46,094,213
• So you can buy a title? The top three teams on that list have one in the luxury tax era. Yes, four and five won a bunch, but it shows that you have to spend smart, not just spend. This isn’t baseball.
• From BDL: Of the Blazers $89 million in tax, nearly $80 million of that came in the first two years of the tax. Paul Allen doesn’t spend like that anymore.
• Which teams have never paid the tax? The Chicago Bulls, for one. They will by a couple million next year for the first time, but not yet. And if you are a Bulls fans worried about management’s commitment to do what it takes to win, your concerns start right there.
Also on the no pay list: Charlotte, Golden State, the L.A.Clippers, New Orleans, Oklahoma City/Seattle, and Washington. For the Clippers and OKC that is going to change soon, well that or they will not win with these cores.