The Los Angeles Lakers have assembled a 'dream team' of sorts for the 2012-2013 NBA season. They have arguably the best center, best off-guard, top-5 power forward, top-10 point guard, and a couple of former All-Stars filling the 3. On paper, this is one of the most dominant teams assembled in years. Unfortunately, that type of talent doesn’t come without a price tag.
The Lakers payroll for the upcoming season is $100 million. I understand Kobe gobbles up $27 million and Pau (unjustifiably) grabs $19 million, but the additions of superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, make the LA payroll out of this world. Dwight grabs another $19 million, Steve Nash gets $8.9 million, Metta World Peace is still getting $7 million (not bad for a football player), and even Steve Blake gets $4 million.
Wait, Steve Blake gets $4 million? Yup, that’s right. The thirty-two year old point guard out of Maryland must have Ari Gold as his agent for him to sneak off with that much loot, but it’s true.
The problem with the Lakers extravagant spending spree is that under the new CBA they are going to get clobbered for going over the salary cap. In the 2012-2013 NBA season the salary cap is a paltry $58.044 million. I know what New York and LA fans are saying, “How on earth can you put a team together for under $90 million?” This would only pay for two and a half of the Lakers’ starting five. The tax level is set at $70 million and the penalty is a $1 tax per $1 over the established $70 million line.
This may seem severe, but the new 2012-2013 CBA tax structure is much worse and does not maintain the same linear dollar for dollar penalty clause, but is instead a scaled approach. Taxes will be assessed at different levels based on the amount that team is over the luxury tax. This ends up increasing portions of the overall tax on badly offending teams like the Lakers by as much as 3 and 4 times.
This means if the Lakers keep their 2012 payroll relatively unchanged for next year, they’ll be looking at paying roughly $94.5 million in luxury tax penalties and this would only get worse the following year. This means the Lakers will likely only have the nucleus of this mega team for one season. They better put another banner up at the Staple Center for all the money they’re shoveling out because this group of players isn’t likely to stay together long.
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