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Which team has paid the most luxury tax ever? Thanks Isiah.

Jul 26, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

New York Knicks v New Jersey Nets Getty Images

Part of the fight during the lockout was about the luxury tax — small market owners wanted to rein in the teams they saw as buying a title by just paying the luxury tax every year. They wanted a more punitive tax, and they got it, things get a lot steeper in 2014 (for example, the Lakers $16 million luxury tax bill this year would be $52 million in a couple years).

That talk leads to good questions: What teams are paying all that tax? Who has paid the most tax all-time?

Mark Deeks — the man behind the best NBA salary site on the Web, — has your answer (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie). He put together a spreadsheet looking at which teams have paid the most tax since its inception and… well, thanks again Isiah Thomas.

1. New York Knicks — $195,288,145
2. Dallas Mavericks — $150,530,433
3. Portland Trail Blazers — $89,052,474
4. Los Angeles Lakers — $84,417,253
5. Boston Celtics — $46,094,213

Some thoughts:

• So you can buy a title? The top three teams on that list have one in the luxury tax era. Yes, four and five won a bunch, but it shows that you have to spend smart, not just spend. This isn’t baseball.

From BDL: Of the Blazers $89 million in tax, nearly $80 million of that came in the first two years of the tax. Paul Allen doesn’t spend like that anymore.

• Which teams have never paid the tax? The Chicago Bulls, for one. They will by a couple million next year for the first time, but not yet. And if you are a Bulls fans worried about management’s commitment to do what it takes to win, your concerns start right there.

Also on the no pay list: Charlotte, Golden State, the L.A.Clippers, New Orleans, Oklahoma City/Seattle, and Washington. For the Clippers and OKC that is going to change soon, well that or they will not win with these cores.

  1. knightrider1755 - Jul 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    It figures that a team that hasn’t won jack in 40 years would be at the top of the list. Just proves that players go to the Knicks to get rich, not to win a title.

  2. dysraw1 - Jul 26, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    the media is a mother. they never stop trying to make people look bad sure its undeniable that Isaih made some poor moves regarding the team but look at the roster and where we were going before Zeke took over.those were some of the worst season’s in the history of the team yet no one has a comment about that. how was he to know E.Curry would be a 1 year wonder or that bringing in Zebo would not pan out or that Marbury would be a little girl about things and who’s to say that he would not have cleared all of that up by 2010. because he did make an effort to bring some excitement to the garden he just didn’t get over the hump. he drafted well he hired high profile coaches an i believe that his heart was in it. and Dolan was cool with his spending

    • hoops45 - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:53 PM

      The media wants to blame Isaiah but guess what media, some of us remember his predecessor Scott Layden, he was the true genius behind the all time worst contracts in Knicks history. Isaiah came in w/one hand tied behind his back because he had to clean up the roster built to lose as many games as possible. The ONLY reason isaiah keeps getting mentioned is so everyone will forget about their golden boy, Layden. And let’s not forget the mess Rod Thorn left in NJ, presiding over the worst record of any team in NBA history. Hes another golden boy that seems to evade the medias wrath, but if u look at what he did there’s no way he should be in charge of anything! TRUTH!

      • dysraw1 - Jul 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM

        dude you know

      • borderline1988 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

        I’m sorry, Eddy Curry was the worst contract in NBA history. 6 years, at $60 million, uninsured (!!!), with a life-threatening heart condition and one of the worst work ethics known to mankind. He was also a poor defender and rebounder (averaged about 5 rebounds per game over his career…this was as a legit 7 footer, weighing in at close to 300 pounds with a huge wingspan…)
        He couldn’t block shots (averaged 0.5 BPG over his career), was a bad FT shooter, and often got in foul-trouble.
        He could score in the low post for a few seasons, but that was about all he could do.

        It’s a well known phenomenon that many NBA and NFL players go broke after a few years being out of the league, even if they made tens of millions. But Curry took it to a new level. He went broke even during the course of his $60 million contract. Imagine that!!

        Ultimately, it comes down to signing high-quality guys. Isaiah Thomas was never known as a solid locker-room guy. He was divisive and known as a bit of a jerk. So it’s no wonder that he signed such poor character players. I’m not even going to touch upon Jerome James, Jared Jeffries, Zach Randolph, Stephon Marbury, Maurice Taylor, Jamal Crawford, Steve Francis. Many of these guys are punks who just don’t understand team basketball or basic professionalism (admittedly, some of them matured in later years, but at the time, they had poor characters and judgement).

        We could also have a long discussion about what happened to so many of those draft picks that Isaiah traded away for aging losers. Many of them are stars in the NBA today.

        Isaiah Thomas was so bad, it took years and years for the Knicks to recover (after he was gone). And we’re not even talking about the off-the-court issues, like the Larry Brown signing or the sexual harassment case.

        No one can ever excuse Isaiah Thomas. The guy practically didn’t make a single good decision once in his stint as GM.
        For Knicks fans, it hurts to even think about it.

  3. fm31970 - Jul 26, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    “The top three teams on that list have one in the luxury tax era”

    When did the Knicks last win a title? ’72 The Blazers in ’76?

    I think that should read “three of the top five teams have won titles”.

    • knightrider1755 - Jul 26, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      fm31970. Can you read? The writer clearly states that since the “inception” (i.e. the beginning) of the luxury tax era in the NBA, which began in 1984, only one of the top 3 teams on the list have won an NBA title. Obviously, that would be Dallas because both NY and Portland won titles before 1984. There was a luxury tax in the NBA in the 1940s but it was soonafter abolished and wasn’t re-instituted until the 1984-1985 season. This article is not about how many teams have won an NBA title.

  4. itsthemelman82 - Jul 26, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Can we move on from blaming Zeke for the Knicks, the economy, world hunger, etc. I get it, he sucked running the show in NY but, they sucked before then as well.

    If you can buy a championship then I don’t think San Antonio would’ve as good as they’ve been all of this time. I don’t think Bulls management can be criticized for a lack of spending. SA & OKC are examples of using the draft and a scouting department that actually does a good job. I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend but, it’s. Not the ONLY way

  5. stlducks - Jul 26, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    You can’t compare spending in baseball to basketball. Basketball you can buy a title because you only need 3 stars like the heat did.
    Baseball you actually need a whole team

  6. badintent - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Baseball= See Stennbrenner
    Football=See Dan synder
    Soccer = See Real Madrid
    Hockey=see Detroit Red Wings
    Kardashians=see Bruce Jenner and OJ
    $$$$$$ doesn’t matter sometimes. sometimes it does………………. Pass the Captain Morgan please.

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