Mark Cuban was speaking the truth when he asked whether the Los Angeles Lakers should give serious thought to using the amnesty clause on Kobe Bryant next season.
Not that the Lakers would ever do it, but there is some sound financial reasoning behind Cuban’s statement.
First, you need to know two things:
- The amnesty provision is part of the 2012 collective bargaining agreement and allows each team to “amnesty” one player who was on its roster during the lockout. Half of the league’s 30 teams have used it. The Lakers have not.
- The new, more punitive luxury tax hasn’t kicked in yet. It begins with next season, rising from a straight dollar-for-dollar tax to a 1.5-to-1 tax on the first $4,999,999 of salary that exceeds the luxury tax line (which will be about $72 million next season), then jumps to 1.75-to-1, 2.5-to-1,, 3.25-to-1, 3.75-to-1, 4.25-to-1, etc, for each additional $5 million.
OK, there are three things you need to know …
- Kobe Bryant makes $30 million next season, Pau Gasol makes $19.2, Steve Nash makes $9.3 million, Metta World Peace has a player option for $7.7 million, and Jordan Hill, Chris Duhon and Steve Blake are on the books for an additional $11.4 million. If the Lakers keep Dwight Howard on a max salary, they will be at $100,000,000. So their tax bill is going to be monumental, and don’t forget that they also must contribute heavily to the league’s new revenue sharing plan. In 2015-16, the Lakers will have to stay under the luxury tax line, or they will face the draconian repeater penalties that begin at 2.5-to-1 for the first $4,999,999 million and go north from there. You qualify for the repeater tax if you exceed the luxury tax in 3 seasons — last year, this year and next year, as the Lakers will have done.
Also, remember that Cuban is going after Howard this summer when the center becomes a free agent. It behooves him to make everyone aware of the financial ramifications for the Buss children (aside from the estate taxes they will owe on their recent inheritances) if they re-sign Howard.
That discussion, plus the return of Danny Granger and the Game of the Week (Mon. through Wed.) in this video with CineSport’s Noah Coslov.