The Luxury tax is a dreaded word among NBA front offices, and yet there are four teams that enter this season going over the line: The Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Clippes and the Boston Celtics.
As you can see from the list, paying a lot of money to players doesn’t make them better all of a sudden, and it doesn’t bring your team anywhere near contending for a championship.
Brooklyn Nets, $17.3 million over: The most wasteful team in the NBA, but with an owner who doesn’t care. Spending all this money on max contracts hasn’t really helped the Nets, making it to the conference semifinals this season and the first round of the playoffs last year. Looking at who left and who is signed, it seems like that is a peak for the next few years, as Kevin Garnett gets paid $12 million, Brook Lopez gets $15 million, Deron Williams is paid $19.7 million and Joe Johnson will be paid an incredible $23.1 million next season.
New York Knicks, $14.5 million over: The Carmelo Anthony contract brings them way over the luxury tax line as usual, as the Knicks are waiting for the summer of 2015 to arrive. Meanwhile, they’ll be trying hopelessly to get rid of contracts like the $23.4 million they’re paying Amare Stoudemire or the $12 million they’ll be paying Andrea Bargnani next season.
Los Angeles Clippers, $2.8 million over: If you’re worth $2 billion, it’s probably not too surprising to see the team “overpaying” players. They have two max extensions on the list with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin while DeAndre Jordan will be paid $11 million next season. They also have nine more players who are making at least $1.2 million a season, including five of them with at least $3 million in annual salary.
Boston Celtics, $2.1 million over: They’re going to be one of the worst teams in basketball for a second straight season, but the price they paid for Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce bolting wasn’t just the team’s quality dropping, but the bad contracts that came along. Gerald Wallace is paid $10 million a season. Keith Bogans, although not guaranteed, will be paid $5 million. The Celtics don’t have more than 1.5 players that other teams would like, and yet they seem to be capped for another season from making any meaningful moves.