Tucked away in Peter May's column today on John Kuester is an item on just how many teams are paying the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax this year. 12 teams have payrolls higher than $72 million. The Lakers have the highest payroll at $91.3 million. Utah is next at $84.6 million and then it's the C's at $82.2 million.
Some interesting notes on salaries:
- The Celtics have 3 of the top 13 salaries on the league: Paul Pierce (#6, $19,795,712), Ray Allen (#8, $19,766,860) and Kevin Garnett (#13, $16,400,000).
- Andrei Kirlilenko makes slightly more than KG this year ($16,451,250).
- Tracy McGrady is the highest paid player this year ($23,239,561)… just ahead of Kobe Bryant ($23,034,375).
- Utah is ahead of the Celtics because after their top 3 salaries (combined $55,962,572), the Celtics average salary is $2,709,391. After the Jazz top 3 salaries (combined $42,628,983), the Jazz average salary is $4,202,523. Two different approaches. The C's are paying their top guys huge money, and piecing together the rest. The Jazz are paying not quite as big at the top… but also paying their top role players good money too.
Quotes from the Peter May Piece:
“We won the championship paying a heavy tax,’’ principal owner Wyc Grousbeck said.
“We had reached the stage where that investment made sense and we are
still there today.’’ So, too, are the Spurs. “Everyone trying to win a
championship is spending. You have no choice,’’ said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“The way it is now, if you’re going to compete, you have to spend the
big bucks. It’s amazing how it has all changed in the last few years.’’
Winning a title must bring in some serious cash because that's the only way so many teams would be willing to spend. And before we start getting into big market/small market arguments, just note that Utah is #2, Cleveland is #4, Orlando is #5, San Antonio is #6, and New Orleans is #10. So 5 of the 12 teams paying luxury tax are in "small" TV markets.