While the Pistons are close to the luxury tax this season ($67.2 million in salary, the tax is $71 million), they’re one of the few teams who haven’t gone into the tax since its implementation around a decade ago.
The championship bonuses in every player’s individual contract of the 2004 season actually slightly brought them above the tax threshold, some $756,627 over. (Shout-out to cbssports’ Ken Berger for pointing out this chart, when talking about the Mavericks)
Mark Deeks of shamsports.com (an invaluable site concerning salaries) put together a comprehensive chart of every team’s year-by-year tax penalties, where fans can see where the Pistons stand in relation to other ballclubs.
The teams that haven’t paid the tax: Chicago, Charlotte, Golden State, the L.A. Clippers, New Orleans, OKC/Seattle and Washington.
I’ll let you all figure out the common denominator amongst those teams. The Celtics, whose 2008-2012 run compares similarly to the Pistons, spent nearly $50 million in the tax. The Lakers, Spurs, Heat and Mavericks, the recent champions since the Pistons, all have spent…and spent…and spent.
Smart spending is surely necessary, because no one wants to be the Knicks, who’ve spent nearly $200 million in the tax and have a whopping one playoff win to show for it, but money wins in this league.