SBD/September 19, 2012/Franchises

Lakers' Player Costs In '13 May Rise To Almost $200M With Stiffer Luxury Tax

Signing Dwight Howard to a maximum contract could push payroll over $100M
Keeping the core of the Lakers roster together for the '13-14 season “could cost nearly $200 million,” according to Ben Bolch of the L.A. TIMES. The team in '12-13 will spend $128M to cover the payroll and "associated luxury taxes for a roster dripping with superstars.” But this will be the “last season the Lakers will pay a dollar-for-dollar penalty for exceeding the luxury-tax threshold.” The team's league-high '12-13 payroll of $99.2M will "cost them an additional $28.9 million in taxes, because that's how far they are above the $70.3-million tax level." Starting in '13-14, the tax burden "gets significantly heavier." Teams that are $20M or more over the tax level will “accrue additional penalties, increasing by 50 cents per dollar for every $5 million.” The Lakers “already have $79.6 million committed to eight players” for the ‘13-14 season, and assuming the team re-signs C Dwight Howard “next summer to a maximum contract that calls for him to make $20.5 million in the first year, that bumps the Lakers payroll over $100 million." The increased luxury tax would put the team "on the hook for a staggering total of $199.5 million." Also, beginning with the ‘14-15 season, teams that were "taxpayers in each of the previous three seasons will activate a ‘repeater tax,’ an additional dollar-for-dollar charge tacked onto existing penalties.” Mitigating the Lakers' financial outlay “to some extent" will be the team's 25-year, $5B broadcasting rights deal with Time Warner Cable that is "set to pay the team roughly $120 million" in the '12-13 season. The Lakers also have “one untapped financial tool at their disposal. … The so-called amnesty clause” (L.A. TIMES, 9/18).

NASH BRIDGES: Lakers G Steve Nash appeared on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” last night and presented host Jay Leno with his No. 10 Lakers jersey. Leno noted, “Now, some Suns fans (are) very upset that you left.” Nash: “There's a couple.” Leno then asked, “Do you hear from them?” Nash: “You know, (they’ve) been overwhelmingly supportive actually. A lot of people have been really thrilled for me to have a great opportunity and thanked me for my eight years there recently. But there have been some people that were very angry” (“The Tonight Show,” NBC, 9/18).
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