Warriors Top List Of NBA’s 2023/24 Taxpayers

While the official numbers from the NBA aren’t yet in, Bobby Marks of ESPN estimates (via Twitter) that the Warriors led all teams in 2023/24 with a luxury tax bill in the neighborhood of $176.9MM.

Golden State was subject once again to the “repeater” tax penalties this season, meaning that every dollar spent above the luxury tax line cost them more than a first-time taxpayer. The Warriors paid roughly $206MM in player salaries, meaning their roster as a whole cost more than $380MM. They didn’t make the playoffs, having been eliminated in the first play-in game by Sacramento.

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The Warriors weren’t alone among teams that are on the hook for tax payments without a playoff series win to show for it. Of the eight taxpayers, only two (the Celtics and Nuggets) made it beyond the first round of the postseason, with only one Boston advancing past the second round. Unlike Golden State, the Clippers, Suns, Bucks, Heat, and Lakers all made the playoffs, but they were each eliminated in the conference quarterfinals.

Here are the estimated tax penalties for 2023/24, according to Marks:

  1. Golden State Warriors: $176.9MM
  2. Los Angeles Clippers: $142.4MM
  3. Phoenix Suns: $68.2MM
  4. Milwaukee Bucks: $52.5MM
  5. Boston Celtics: $43.8MM
  6. Denver Nuggets: $20.2MM
  7. Miami Heat: $15.7MM
  8. Los Angeles Lakers: $6.9MM

Half of those tax payments get distributed among non-taxpaying teams, so those 22 clubs should each receive a little less than $12MM, Marks observes.

That payout for non-taxpayers serves to highlight why some teams who were hovering around the luxury tax line earlier in the season made a concerted effort to duck below – or stay below – that threshold. For instance, the Pelicans finished the season below the tax line by less than $400K after initially moving out of tax territory by salary-dumping Kira Lewis’ expiring contract back in January. That cost-cutting move didn’t just save Pels ownership a tax payment — it also ensured that the team will receive that extra $12MM.

The tax line for 2024/25 is projected to be just north of $171MM, and while many of the teams listed above project to once again be taxpayers next spring, at least a couple of them could be in position to avoid the tax next season, including the Warriors.

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