The Celtics generate a lot of revenue. As a big market team with a massive following, they make a bunch of money… and they will spend it on their roster if they have to.
Mark Deeks at ShamSports.com put together a very comprehensive listing of every dollar every team paid in the luxury tax in the nine years it’s been in use. Here are the relevant highlights:
- The Celtics have paid $46,094,213 in luxury taxes. All but one of those taxpaying years came in the Big 3 era. The Celtics have paid $44,500,147 in the new Big 3 era.
- The New York Knicks are BY FAR the biggest taxpayers, having paid more than $195 million in luxury taxes. What did they get in that amount of time for that amount of money? Two wining seasons and ONE playoff win. Not one series. ONE GAME.
- Dallas is second with about $150 million, but at least they’ve been competitive for a while and they won a title. There’s at least some justification there.
- Portland sneaks in there at third, but that was just because they paid a TON in the first couple of years.
- The Lakers are fourth. At $84 million in luxury taxes, they’ve spent nearly double what the Celtics have over that the same amount of time. About $54 million of that was paid over the past three years.
Seven teams have not paid the luxury tax: Washington, OKC, New Orleans, the Clippers, Golden State, Charlotte and…. Chicago.
The Bulls are a stingy group, but they really shouldn’t be. Chicago is in the third largest television market in the US. Michael Jordan has earned them a following for life, and now with Derrick Rose, they have a new batch of crazed fans. And while the Knicks make it clear just spending money doesn’t win you a thing, at some point, your team will have to spend money to get adequate enough players to be a legitimate contender.
That’s why I like what the Celtics have done. They’ve pared back salaries when the needed to, and they’ve spent when necessary. They’ve had a willing ownership group and a pretty good GM in Danny Ainge who has used limited options to build contending teams. Of course there are misfires along the way… no team makes perfect moves all the time.
I like what the Celtics have done and have been willing to do. This year, they may not may much of a tax, if they pay any tax at all. Yet they’ve built another strong team. They’ll be willing to pay again if they have to (though the CBA will prevent them from being taxpayers for very long)… and that’s all you can ask for from your team.
(h/t Ball Don’t Lie)