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Study calls Lakers, Celtics, Heat smartest spenders in NBA

Aug 31, 2012, 7:30 AM EST

NBA Finals Game 3: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It’s a favorite little game of some to play — divide the wins by the payroll and see how much a team pays per win. It’s not always terribly reflective of reality, but it’s interesting. For example, do that for last season in the NBA and the Thunder look really good (their bills are just coming due).

Bloomberg’s businessweek.com decided to do that kind of study (for all four major sports) but tried to take a big picture view — they looked at the last five years and they gave bonuses for finishing over .500 and winning playoff games and championships.

So how did the NBA shake out? Here is their top 10:

1. Lakers
2. Celtics
3. Heat
4. Magic
5. Spurs
6. Thunder
7. Mavericks
8. Hawks
9. Nuggets
10. Bulls

Looks to me that by adding weight to playoff wins you basically made this a “win and you’re at the top” contest. The Lakers have been one of the biggest spenders (because they have the revenue to do it) but to be fair have been smart about it and won titles. Boston and Miami much the same, and Dallas has been the biggest spender of them all up until last season.

To me, it’s teams like the Spurs and Thunder that have been the smartest, getting wins while being fiscally responsible. But both of those teams were able to do that with a lucky draw in the lottery of an elite player who wanted to stay in a smaller market (Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan).

By the way, the bottom five are:

26. Raptors
27. Kings
28. Nets
29. Knicks
30. Timberwolves

  1. kvanhorn87 - Aug 31, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    The magic at 4. Ha

  2. deadeyedesign23 - Aug 31, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Why do people keep insisting Kevin Durant was someone who chose to stay in a smaller market. Talk to me when he’s an unrestricted FA.

    • money2long - Aug 31, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      he did choose to stay.

      even though he was restricted at the time, he didn’t have any conversations with other teams, he made the signing quick because he wanted to stay. he could have signed a tender with bigger market teams (which would have undoubtedly been matched), and had he done that, he still technically, in that case, would have chose a big market.

      the fact that ur saying he did not ‘choose’ a big market because he was a restricted free agent is short sighted thinking.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Aug 31, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        But you admit he and everyone knew anything would be matched. What would have been the benefit of seeking free agent tenders knowing you were going to have to return to Oklahoma? If I’m not misteken neither Dwight nor LeBron sought tenders from other teams either.

        You say it’s shortsighted of me to think his mind might change when he’s an unrestricted free agent. I think it’s short sighted for you to think his willingness to leave OKC has even been tested yet.

      • money2long - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

        it’s common that restricted free agents sign offer sheets from other teams. the fact that it would be matched is besides the point. the point is if they CHOOSE to sign those offers with other teams.

        look at it this way…if durant HAD signed an offer sheet hypothetically in New York, and it was matched by OKC, in that instance, he wouldnt have chose a small market. He would have been forced to stay in OKC. In this case he chose to stay. Ignoring all outsiders, and sticking with his team. the small market team, which he CHOSE to stay with.

      • yanivvinay - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        He also signed for the full amount of years. If he wanted out he could have cut down the years to open an opportunity to hit the open market earlier.

      • money2long - Aug 31, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        ^ ala kevin love

    • eugenesaxe - Aug 31, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      He could have demanded a shorter contract, chose the longest possible.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Sep 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        Because that’s more money. Like I said Dwight and LeBron did the EXACT same thing. So did Carmelo. I’m not saying he’s def going to leave I’m saying it’s really premature to act like he chose to stay in a small market long term.

  3. lucaslatronico - Aug 31, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    NY Knicks at the 29 is a surprise!

  4. bozosforall - Aug 31, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Lakers with FIVE rings this millenium are far and away the best team on this list. The distance between them and the second team on this list is immense.

  5. chadinkc30 - Aug 31, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    For anyone who believes Durant will be with the Thunder for his whole career youre completely naive, just as much as the people who think money isn’t important to these athletes. Tens & hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake with the market you play in.

    • money2long - Aug 31, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      Do you realize NO ONE knows what will happen with a player. Just like you may believe he’ll bolt, others believe he’ll stay. Who knows if injuries will riddle his team? Who knows if OKC will fire their coach and Durant starts to hate the environment? What if Westbrook becomes a superstar and Ibaka becomes the next Mutumbo and Durant decides to stay again? No one thought Lebron would leave Cleveland, until all the disappointing losses. Who knew Kobe would ever demand a trade? Who knew KG would stay loyal to Minnessotta all those yrs when they weren’t having much success in the post season? You are not all-knowing, neither am I. All we do know is how the situation looks now, and at the moment, Durant is very happy to be in OKC, he loves his teammates, they ended their season in the finals, something only two teams do every year and as it looks now, he has one of the best teams in the NBA.

  6. chadinkc30 - Aug 31, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Like I said, completely naive…

    • money2long - Aug 31, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      great rebuttal. sounds like a cop out. o well. i don’t like to entertain ignoramuses anyway. have a great weekend.

  7. franktown8 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    When you look @ durant, just think timmy (Duncan). If OKC wins a championship, I believe he stays, if coming close, like labron, and not winning, he bolts. All I’m going on is the history of prior players.

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