Financially, just looking at the numbers of the salary cap and the near future, bringing over Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic isn’t exactly a fantastic deal. He’ll be costing the Los Angeles Lakers $19.5 million next season, which of course translates into much more when it comes to taxes, and we haven’t even begun talking about further into the future.
For the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers will be on the books for just under $100 million, more than any other team in the NBA by far. That means around $30 million in taxes because of being over the salary tax, so the actual wages price, along with the tax numbers will be $130 million. The salary cap, for those who forgot $58 million. The Lakers will be paying over twice the amount that 20 other teams in the NBA will be paying in salaries. So much for the achievements of the lockout and the new CBA.
How about the future, the 2013-2014 season? Right now, with 8 players signed at the moment, the Lakers are about to pay $80 million, already over the tax. That is without Dwight Howard’s extension, if he ever signs one. Tax penalties are turning into more severe ones after next season. Before Howard, before adding players, the Lakers are signed on for $96.25 million, including the tax. Assuming it’s around $15 million, that means nearly $50 million with tax. Howard alone will cost the Lakers $62.5 million in 2013-2014, and if he signs the max contract he adds a cost of $88.75 million a year.
How much will the Lakers be paying to players in the 2013-2014 season? Get this – $185 million in salaries. The next season, if they keep the same kind of paying level? $215 million. The Lakers did recently sign a $5 billion TV contract, giving them about $200 million a season. Profitability isn’t the question here.
Again, this season the Lakers will be paying around $30 million in tax – more than anyone in the league, and more than all the other taxpayers in the league combined. Kobe Bryant is a big piece of all these salary numbers. He’s due $27.7 million in 2012-2013, $30 million in 2013-2014 before it runs out. On his own, Bryant is worth half the salary cap.
But for the Lakers, it was never and will never be about cap space and building for the future. Quick fixes, getting the stars, going for the title. Dwight Howard is just another piece in that formula, which was never about keeping in check with the rest of the league and bending to the limitations the NBA tries to put on teams so that they don’t overreach. The Lakers are all about overreaching, with the titles and success to prove it works.