Next time you think you have tax problems, just think of Gotham’s basketball teams, and you’ll feel better. The Knickerbockers and the Netropolitans already are well over the luxury tax threshold for 2014-15, and both have mediocre teams. But at least they have teams. Atlantic Division rivals Philadelphia and Boston have mangled rosters. Only Toronto is on a solid path.
Today with the Atlantic, we continue our series on how each team, division by division, is impacted by contract status. A few items to remember: the luxury tax threshold for 2014-15 is expected to be $77 million, so teams will try to stay under that amount. Also, the terms for contracts can be confusing. Player option means a player can end the contract. Team option means the franchise can end the contract. Qualifying offer means a team must make that offer to a player by June 30, in which case he can accept the offer for a one-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent the next year or reject the offer and become a restricted free agent. Teams can retain their restricted free agents by matching the offer of any other team.
The salaries listed below are from hoopshype.com:
Under contract: Rajon Rondo $13M, Gerald Wallace $10.1M, Jeff Green $9.2M, Brandon Bass $6.95M, Joel Anthony: $3.8, Kelly Olynyk $2.1M, Jared Sullinger $1.4M.
Team option: Chris Babb $0.9M, Chris Johnson $0.9M.
Qualifying offer: Avery Bradley $3.6M.
Free agent: Kris Humphries *$12M, Keith Bogans *$5.15M, Jerryd Bayless *$3.15M, Vitor Faverani *$2M, Phil Pressey *$0.5M.
2014-15 Salary commitment: $46.6M.
Outlook: No real team in which to build around. The Celtics need another Kevin Garnett/Ray Allen summer.
Under contract: Joe Johnson $23.2M, Deron Williams $19.75M, Brook Lopez $15.7M, Kevin Garnett $12M, Marcus Thornton $8.7M, Mirza Teletovic $3.4M, Mason Plumlee $1.4M, Marquis Teague $1.1M.
Player option: Andrei Kirilenko $3.2M, Andray Blatch $1.4M.
Team option: Jorge Gutierrez $0.8M.
Free agent: Paul Pierce *$15.3M, Shaun Livingston *$1.3M, Alan Anderson *$0.95M, Jason Collins *$0.4M.
2014-15 Salary commitment: $90M, including play option; $85.1M not including player option.
Outlook: Well, the Nets have their team, and it’s a heck of a team if it’s 2008. Alas, they are deep into the luxury tax.
NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS
Under contract: Tyson Chandler $14.6M, Andrea Bargnani $12M, J.R. Smith $6M, Raymond Felton $4.4M, Iman Shumpert $2.8M, Pablo Prigoni $1.7M, Tim Hardaway Jr. $1.25M.
Team option: Jeremy Tyler $0.95M.
Player option: Amare Stoudemire $23.4M, Carmelo Anthony $23.5M.
Free agent: Kenyon Martin *$1.4M, Cole Aldrich *$0.9M, Toure Murry *$0.5M, Shannon Brown *$0.3M, Lamar Odom *$0.1M.
2014-15 Salary commitments: $91.2M, including team options; $44.3M not including team options.
Outlook: Let’s see. The Knicks could have some money to spend, or they could $14M over the luxury tax. They could have Carmelo Anthony or they could be without him. It’s a mess. What do you expect from a franchise that during the 2013-14 season wrote checks to J.R. Smith, Metta World Chaos, Kenyon Martin and Lamar Odom?
Under contract: Thaddeus Young $9.2M, Jason Richardson $6.6M, Nerlens Noel $3.3M, Michael Carter-Williams $2.3M, Tony Wroten $1.2M, Arnett Moultrie $1.1M
Player option: Byron Mullens $1.1M.
Team option: Elliot Williams $1M,
Jarvis Varnado $0.9M.
Free agent: James Anderson *$0.9M, Henry Sims *$0.8M, Brandon Davies *$0.5M, Hollis Thompson *$0.5M, Casper Ware *$0.1M, Adonis Thomas *$0.1M.
2014-15 Salary commitments: $26.9M, including player option; $25.8M not including player option.
Outlook: Here’s a stat for you. In 2015-16, the Sixers have just $9.7M committed. And that is all a player option for Thaddeus Young. The Sixers literally have no one assured under contract for October 2015. Which is 16 months away. The Nets have $62.7M.
Under contract: DeMar DeRozan $9.5M, Landry Fields $8.5M, Chuck Hayes $5.95M, Jonas Valanciunas $3.7M, Steve Novak $3.45M, Tyler Hansbrough $3.3M, Terrence Ross $2.8M.
Team option: John Salmons $7M, Amir Johnson $7M, Dwight Buycks $0.8M.
Qualifying offer: Patrick Patterson $3.2M, Greivis Vasquez $3.2M.
Free agent: Kyle Lowry *$6.2M, Nando De Colo *$1.5M, Julyan Stone *$0.9M.
2014-15 Salary commitments: $41.4M.
Outlook: Not bad. Toronto needs to re-sign Lowry or find an equally fine point guard, but the Raptors have a decent team with a manageable payroll in a bad conference. There are worse situations.