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What luxury tax? Nets new payroll massive because owner not concerned.

Jul 17, 2012, 4:53 PM EDT

Mikhail Prokhorov Introductory Press Conference Getty Images

Let’s run through the Nets starting five and their salaries for next season:

Point guard Deron Williams, $17.2 million; shooting guard Joe Johnson $19.8 million; Gerald Wallace $9 million; Kris Humphries $12 million; Brook Lopez $13.7 million.

That is $71.7 million, not counting incentives some players may hit. That is with a salary cap of $58 million and a luxury tax threshold of $70.3 million. That’s not counting Mirza Teletovic at $3 million, Reggie Evans at $1.6 million, MarShon Brooks at $1.2 million or any salary from the other six or so guys needed to fill out the roster.

And every one of those starters will make more next season.

There is a new luxury tax looming in a couple years, a punitive one that has teams scared. The more over the tax line you are, the higher the tax rate. If you’re over the tax line three years in a row, you pay fines on top of the tax. Look at it this way, the Lakers $16 million dollar-for-dollar tax this season would have cost them $52 million in 2015.

Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov doesn’t care. The Russian billionaire made more money in interest since you started reading this article than you will all year. Plus for him, owning the Nets is part of a larger real estate deal around the arena — the Brooklyn Yards project — that will make him a lot more money. If the Nets are a draw but a loss-leader in that equation, so what?

Prokhorov knew he needed a better team to open the Barclay’s center and told GM Billy King to go out and buy one.

You can justify each an every one of these signings individually. Williams is one of the best point guards in the league and the team’s franchise player. Johnson is still an All-Star point guard and his level of talent was needed to make sure Williams didn’t bolt for Dallas. Gerald Wallace is pretty good at both ends of the floor. The Nets needed a big man and Lopez had other teams ready to step in and give him a max deal, so to keep him that was the price.

As for Humphries, yes he is overpaid at $12 million a year but with a short two-year deal he is still a trade chip the Nets can try to use to get Dwight Howard after Jan. 15 (the soonest they can move any of the players they re-signed this summer).

But man, together that is one healthy tax bill coming due. That new, harsher CBA and luxury tax really only matter if an owner is concerned about the bottom line of that team by itself. Prokhorov is in it for a bigger picture.

  1. mikey1977 - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    All that money and this is a 6th seed team at best.

    • buffalowned - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

      very solid starting lineup with 2 all stars and marshon brooks off the bench…they will be a top 5 seed

      • saint1997 - Jul 18, 2012 at 2:40 AM

        I’m hoping 4 seed and then Knicks at 5 with Indy, Mia and Bos above them. Bulls can go 6. That playoff game with NYK and BKN will be awesome

  2. echech88 - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Probably worth mentioning that getting the team off to a good start in Brooklyn with a big fan base increases the franchise value as a whole if he were to sell.

    I don’t bet on him shooting past the tax line every season. This seems like a short term loss aimed at making him more down the road when he eventually sells.

  3. heathater4lifeson - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    As jay-z would say “money ain’t a thang”

  4. veinsofgod - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    “Johnson is still an All-Star point guard…”. Last time I checked Joe Johnson was a 2. Unless they plan on having the most expensive point guard rotation in history.

  5. cordae - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Joe Johnson is soooooooooooo…

    A shooting guard -_-.

  6. blueblood86 - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    He is going to be The best in all of sports!
    He’s already better than anyone in NY.
    Mets are cheap
    Yankees are starting to become cheap
    Jets are cheap
    Knicks are cheap on Lin’s tax
    Islanders and devils are also cheap

    • comeonnowguys - Jul 18, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      Yankees? Hooo boy here we go…

  7. knightrider1755 - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Prokhorov is the George Steinbrenner of the NBA.

    • rooney24 - Jul 18, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      Spending-wise, I would agree. But, he seems to keep his fingers out of the day to day operations. So, more like a kinder, gentler, quieter George? Have we seen a free spending owner before that keeps his mouth shut, in any sport? All of the ones I can think of need to hear themselves talk (Steinbrenner, Cuban, Snyder, etc.).

  8. philly803 - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Joe Johnson is a point guard??? When did this happen? Is Williams playing the 2 now???

  9. dal24la - Jul 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    “If you having money problems I feel bad for you son, I got 99 problems but cash ain’t one.”

  10. dgforreal - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    The Russian billionaire made more money in interest since you started reading this article than you will all year.


  11. cantonbound13 - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    The only thing Knick fans would trade is the owner. We are happy with our players.

  12. proballerslounge - Jul 17, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Battle for NY: Knicks and Nets

  13. pellypell - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I tend to trust the money management skills of a billionaire unless his name is Frank McCourt.

    • danfrommv - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      Frank McCourt didn’t become a billionaire until he sold the Dodgers. Up until then, he was a highly leveraged thousandaire. So, he actually did quite well in business, ruining the Dodgers to force the league to buy him out. Sure, he is an a-hole, but now he is a rich one.

  14. BigBeachBall - Jul 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    all the teams under the salary cap aren’t complaining… free russian money for them.

  15. danfrommv - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    And from what I read, Russian Businessman = Russian Mafia. So he has made more money from graft since you started reading the article too.

  16. canehouse - Jul 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    so it is… the cold war shall begin!

  17. thetooloftools - Jul 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Russian thief buys off NBA talent.
    Why keep it to ourselves?

  18. xjokerz - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Did someone say the Yankees are cheap?! Are you effin high?

  19. canuckinamerica - Jul 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Looking at these numbers, especially for journeymen, why the H would someone earning a “normal” salary continue to pay for tickets, merchandise, etc. so that these “college grads” can buy another Bentley or two? People with no medical insurance…….foreclosures running rampant……schools not able to hire teachers nor provide lunches to kids…..our society is indeed one of misplaced priorities and values.

  20. freeagentsignee - Jul 19, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Johnson is a shooting guard, not a point guard.

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