The largely free market loving, Republican owners of the NBA teams pushed hard in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement for something that you would think goes against their nature — an increased and very stiff tax structure that sets up a more socialist system. (They would argue the system is needed for the growth of the overall sport.)
But the tax penalty only works if an owner is afraid to pay it.
Brooklyn Nets own Mikhail Prokhorov laughs at it. Or at least isn’t going to blink writing a very large check.
With the addition of Alan Anderson on a minimum deal, the Nets will have a payroll of $102,211,009 next season (figures via Hoopsworld). The NBA’s salary cap is set at $58.7 million for next season, the luxury tax line is $71.7 million (meaning the new escalating taxes start at that figures). Marc Stein of ESPN did the math from there for TrueHoop:
Adding Anderson on a minimum deal nudges those figures to $30,463,009 (dollars over the tax line) … and a mind-numbing $87,199,293 (in taxes due)
So the signing of a player due to make just under $1 million next season will cost Brooklyn more than $4 million in additional taxes under the league’s much more punitive tax laws that go into effect this season.
The tax the Nets will pay will be based on their salary figures on the last day of the regular season, so it is possible for the Nets to make moves to lower that number.
But it doesn’t look like Mikhail Prokhorov wants to — he wants to win at any cost. So he will write a big check at the end of the season. What kind of winning he will get for that remains to be seen, but I don’t think it’s the title he is looking for.