Congratulations, Los Angeles Lakers. Not only were you not very good last season, but you also paid a whole lot to do it.
The Lakers watched Dwight Howard bolt for Houston, cut ties with Metta World Peace (much to Kobe Bryant‘s chagrin) and might still deal permanent trade block resident Pau Gasol this summer. Yet they are still slated to be above the luxury tax level in 2013-14, as they were in 2012-13, when they paid out more in taxes than four of the other five taxpaying teams combined. In case the Lakers forgot about that cost or the harsher penalties that begin this coming season, they will receive a strong reminder when their hefty tax bill arrives next week.
The NBA will send the Lakers an invoice for $29.259 million on Monday, ESPN reports, by far the largest in the league. The Heat, Nets, Knicks, Bulls and Celtics will also receive bills, but none of them are within $15 million of what the Lakers owe. When the tax is added to the Lakers’ payroll of about $100 million, Los Angeles paid almost $3 million for each of its 45 wins in 2012-13. Contrast that to teams like the Pacers, who spent about $1.3 million per win, and the Thunder, who spent roughly $1.1 million per win.
On the bright side, the Lakers aren’t this year’s Nets, who will be shelling out a ton of dough after acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in a draft-night trade. The Nets, who are projected to have a similar payroll to what the Lakers carried last season, could pay about $75 million in taxes alone for the 2013-14 season.
The Celtics, who hope to keep costs in check during the coming rebuilding process, received a relatively modest tax invoice of $1.182 million.