Mark Deeks of ShamSports, who regularly gets the best data on NBA salaries, has taken a long and comprehensive look at the history of the luxury tax - who's paid it and who hasn't; who's paid the most and what is the trend line. The analysis is relevant now because the Nets will be paying about $12 million in taxes this season, after not paying a dime since Bruce Ratner bought the team.
Deeks points out that the Nets paid taxes $5.7 million in 2003, their last visit to the NBA Finals, and $9.7 million in 2003-04, just before Ratner bought the team and began dismantling it. Since then, as losses mounted and the team prepared for Brooklyn, the Nets appeared to have a dictate from ownership: No luxury taxes. (There was a double benefit for non-tax payers: A team that didn't pay taxes would get as much as $3 million from those that did.)
What's the record of those who paid out the most: of the top five taxpayers since the tax was initiated in 2002-03. Of the five biggest cumulative taxpayers, three have won championships: the Lakers, Celtics and Mavericks. But the biggest taxpayer remains the Knicks who despite paying out nearly $200 million, have won one playoff game the last decade.
- Comprehensive History of NBA Luxury Tax Payments - Mark Deeks - Sham Sports
Which NBA teams have paid the most in luxury taxes - Kelly Dwyer - Ball Don't Lie