By Luke Adams
In the wake of 2016’s salary cap spike, the luxury tax line was higher than ever in 2016/17, and only two teams finished the season above it. The Clippers barely crossed over into taxpayer territory, while the Cavaliers blew past that threshold and were on the hook for a big tax bill.
In 2017/18, the salary cap increase was far more modest, and as a result, it appears that several more teams will finish the season as taxpayers, surpassing this year’s $119.266MM tax line. Teams have until the end of the ’17/18 regular season to adjust team salary in an effort to get back under the tax line, but most of those clubs will have little leverage if they try to dump salary, so it won’t be easy to cut costs.
Here’s an early look at the teams likely to finish 2017/18 as taxpayers:
Current guaranteed team salary (approximate): $139.73MM
No team is further over the tax line than the Cavaliers, and Cleveland will also qualify as a repeat taxpayer for the first time this year, making the penalties levied against the franchise more punitive. Currently, the Cavs’ projected tax bill is approaching $70MM, which explains why the team is interested …read more