The luxury tax in the NBA has been around for 11 years now already. According to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com, in that time, 23 of the league’s 30 franchises have paid luxury taxes. The 7 teams who have never paid luxury taxes are the Bulls, Bobcats, Warriors, Clippers, Hornets, Thunder, and Wizards.
Of possible interest to Cleveland fans is that the Cavaliers have paid the 6th highest luxury tax amount:
New York Knicks – $195 million
Dallas Mavericks – $150 million
Portland Trail Blazers – $89 million
Los Angeles Lakers – $84 million
Boston Celtics – $46 million
Cleveland Cavaliers – $43 million
In total, Dan Gilbert paid $43 million out of his own pocket to support the last 3 years of LeBron’s time in Cleveland. Unfortunately for both Gilbert and Cavalier fans, the team doesn’t have a Championship to show for it. The only teams to pay more in luxury tax and not win a title are the Knicks and Blazers.
Another interesting point revealed in these numbers is that if you’re going to win an NBA title, you should probably expect to pay a tax for it, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst points out:
Last team to win title w/o tax was Heat in ’06. Pistons paid less than $1M, made 6 straight conf finals, Spurs have paid only $12.5 total
For now, the Cavaliers remain safely under the tax threshhold, but if the Cavaliers return to playoff contention in the next couple years, Dan Gilbert has shown he is willing to pay out of his own pocket to make title contention a reality. Hopefully for both his sake and Cleveland’s, the future will yield a better return on that investment.