The NBA's free agency moratorium ended Tuesday night, allowing teams to officially make the transactions and free agent signings they have talked about since Draft night and July 1.
The NBA has set the salary cap at $58.679 million and the luxury tax at $71.748 million.
Action happened immediately Tuesday night as Chris Paul and J.J. Redick inked their deals with the Clippers. Josh Smith is set to be introduced to the media in Detroit later Wednesday. And the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade to Brooklyn was completed as well.
It is also brings up the very real tax bills for the heavy spenders in the NBA. They have until June 30, 2014 to get below the tax line or pay the dollar-for-dollar tax or super tax, as the case may be, owed for being over that amount.
According to ShamSports.com, the Lakers led the league in tax payments last year, paying $29.3 million for their roster that finished seventh in the West. After losing Dwight Howard, the Lakers likely will pay a little bit less next year. They should still be in the tax for the seventh consecutive year, the longest such streak in the NBA.
The Nets paid $12.9 million in taxes last year and should pay even more this year. They have $100.5 million committed for next season's team. That is more than $40 million over the salary cap and more than $25 million over the luxury tax line. The Nets will pay more than double the amount in luxury tax this year as they did last year, assuming they hold on to the players on their roster through June 2014.
And that does not even get into the more punitive luxury tax payments they will be required to pay under the league's new collective bargaining agreement.
Nets general manager Billy King though told Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld that the Nets have no intention of ceasing the spending. They recognize their championship window is open and they will worry about working around the repeater tax in the future.
I think it’s great for our fans and for our organization that we have an owner who is willing to spend the money and spend it wisely,” said King. “We didn’t just spend the money to spend it, we feel like we’ve advanced our common goal to win a championship. He believes in what we’re doing, we talk about it and map it out going forward as far as our strategy for the next couple of years and what we want to get to for the next couple of years."
That repeater tax is way out in the future. The championship is the goal now, as it is for most tax-paying teams. That tax bill just seems ridiculous.
One thing is clear, the NBA is back in business.