Right now, as you are reading this, the Lakers have a payroll of $91,906,072 for next season (thank you Sham Sports).
That is more than $500,000 higher than the Lakers payroll last season, which was already higher than any other team in the Association. And we are underestimating Shannon Brown’s salary by roughly $500,000. Plus the Lakers have yet to sign second-round picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, which will push the Lakers payroll for next season to the $93 million range.
So all that talk about the Lakers cutting corners, Jerry Buss laughs at it. As he told Scott Howard Cooper at NBA.com.
“I don’t know where that came from really. We didn’t ever have a meeting and say, ‘OK, let’s slash payroll.’ We sat down and said, ‘How can we improve this team?’ And basically we came up with (Steve) Blake and (Matt) Barnes. We were really exceptionally happy and thrilled to get both of them at a decent price.”
Did anybody really expect the Lakers to cut player payroll? Nobody sane. Buss likes to win, is too competitive to cut a team off at the knees in the middle of a championship window.
But make cuts other places to help? Now that’s a different matter.
Phil Jackson admitted that he was going to have to take a paycut to return as Lakers coach, and he did. We don’t know (yet) what his salary for next season will be, but Buss is saving some money there.
There are other places in any business where costs can be cut. Moves on the business operations side that fans would never really see or notice.
But the Lakers are not looking to slash payroll. Well, unless they can trade Sasha Vujacic for a couple picks.