NBA Draft

Teams that can take on the most money

The same seven teams who were taxpayers last year are significantly over the luxury tax again this season. Six of them currently have payments ranging between $30 million and $170 million. There’s a good chance that some of these teams, which include the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Utah Jazz, could look to reduce their payroll.

* The Nets and Warriors are at the top of their respective conferences so it seems unlikely that they’ll make a trade that gives them significant savings. They were comfortable paying for some of the most expensive teams in NBA history last season, so they could stand pat for the most part.

Everyone on the Warriors roster either plays a role towards their title pursuit this season or is a building block for the future. Meanwhile, Brooklyn could look to get off one or two of their minimum players that are out of the rotation to free up roster spots for the buyout market.

* The Clippers already saved $30 million in the Eric Bledsoe trade but are still set to have a $94 million luxury tax payment. They’ve been hovering around .500 largely thanks to the absences of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. If they can’t get over the hump within the next month, they could reasonably look to shed some more salary, especially if George isn’t close to returning from his elbow injury.

* Some teams have already made several moves to reduce their luxury tax payments and create open roster spots. Milwaukee waived DeMarcus Cousins to save roughly $3 million. They could save some more money if they offload one or two of their minimum players.

* The Jazz traded Miye Oni to Oklahoma City to save $7 million. Despite those savings, they could significantly increase their payroll if they go through with trading for a defensive-minded wing. Joe Ingles could be a player the Jazz shop around for that player, as they’ve reportedly considered moving him in the offseason.

* The Lakers have already been proactive trying to offload minimum players not in the rotation such as Rajon Rondo, and they are reportedly working on moving DeAndre Jordan and Kent Bazemore.

Getting off Rondo saved the Lakers $7 million, and getting off both Jordan and Bazemore would save them another $7 million apiece. They would lose some of those savings when they sign replacements to rest-of-season deals, and those savings could be completely offset if they make a consolidation trade.

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