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Chicago Bulls avoid the luxury tax

Jun 2, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah

The Chicago Bulls ended the regular season $791,165 below the luxury-tax line.

That’s according to my calculations using salary data from

However, that didn’t mean the Bulls would avoid the luxury tax. A few incentives hung in the balance:

That’s up to $1.25 million in performance bonuses – enough to push Chicago over the limit. But the Bulls – unless there are any unreported unlikely incentives their players have met – can now rest easy.

Noah could still make the All-NBA first team – the NBA hasn’t announced that yet – but he won’t win a championship. And Gibson won’t make an All-Defensive team.

Gibson finished 16th in All-Defensive team voting, and though he could have theoretically earned a spot at either center or forward, four bigs – DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis, Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard – finished ahead of him in the also-receiving-votes section. Gibson wasn’t really that close to landing a spot on the position-specific teams.

So, the most the Bulls will pay in incentives – again, assuming there aren’t any unreported ones – is $500,000, leaving them safely under the tax line.

The upside for Chicago could be immense.

For one, the Bulls will get any luxury-tax payments distributed to non-tax teams. Jerry Reinsdorf must appreciate that.

Chicago will also avoid a year counting toward the stiff repeater penalties for tax-paying teams. Now, if the Bulls want to dip into the tax in a future season, they’ll have more flexibility to do so.

And this summer, Noah’s and Gibson’s contracts won’t count more against the cap. If those players had the same incentive clauses listed for the 2014-15 season – which is probably the case – the amount of the performance bonuses would count against the cap until the players failed to achieve the benchmark. Since that wouldn’t be determined until this time next season, Chicago would have gone the whole offseason with a little less cap room. When you might be pursuing Carmelo Anthony and/or Kevin Love, those little details matter.

It’s possible the Bulls lose flexibility this offseason with Noah’s $500,000 All-NBA first team bonus, but considering they’re at least in the clear of the luxury tax, they shouldn’t mind too much.

  1. sumkat - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Any chance this increases their willingness to amnesty Boozer? (I know it wouldn’t effect the cap, but a notoriously cheap owner isn’t going to just ignore that he’s still paying him 15 million +, cap hit or no. Especially if they plan to replace his salary, then some, with a max FA)

    I still doubt it, I think they give away something to get someone to eat that contract. But maybe saving that extra few million bucks make them more willing to eat that money next year

  2. ranfan12 - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    Wow, having to pay multiples of money because a couple of players performed well would suck quite a bit

    • denverhoopdreams - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      I don’t know why you got thumbs down here, because ideally, you’re right. It would suck.

      Now, maybe the downs come from the fact that this is what NBA teams ask for. They take the risk of going over the luxury if their team performs very well, i.e. the championship clause in Noah’s contract. In the end, if you win a championship and all your players make NBA ALL teams then it’s probably worth going over the luxury.

  3. 00maltliquor - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    How does just Noah win a championship? You mean if the Bulls win then Noah gets the cake, correct? lol

    If Noah won that, one would have to think Noah would out of courtesy take the team out for a fancy dinner and a night out on the town.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Right, like the Bruins spending 150,000 on dinner at Foxwoods after winning their championship.

      • 00maltliquor - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        Sweet baby Jesus, how many players are on a hockey team?! Okay nevermind the fancy dinner, take these guys to Sizzler’s and no club hopping, just one club, but you get your “pre-game fade” on before the club so your not spending a ridiculous amount of money on the alcohol! $250,000 goes faster then I realized apparently!

      • jcmeyer10 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        Haha, I figure about 30 players/coaches plus wives and girlfriends. Here is a link to the receipt. They spent 100k on a bottle of ACE Midas so that did a lot of the damage.

  4. mcmystery76 - Jun 3, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    Can somebody run these numbers? Considering these guys have trouble putting a coherent sentence together most of the time.

    • denverhoopdreams - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      The numbers appear right.

  5. iowahbr - Jun 3, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    more baloney about the Bulls. Who cares about anything except wins and losses in the play-offs. the NBA plays 82 games and unless someone get injured it will be the Spurs and Heat next year as well. Boring, boring, boring.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Jun 3, 2014 at 10:12 PM

      Thanks for that fantastic insight.

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