It’s no secret that the Brooklyn Nets are spending a ton next year. They’re so far into luxury tax territory that their newest signee, Alan Anderson, who is set to make less than $1 million next season, will cost the Nets over $4 million in luxury tax fees alone.
The Nets payroll is currently at $101,263,102, according to ShamSports.com. That’s a whopping $30.5 million over the tax threshold which means they will be paying a tax of $87.2 million, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. That’s a total payroll hit of $188,462,395. The next highest payroll (not counting luxury tax fees) is the Knicks at $84.8 million followed by the Heat at $81.7 million, the Bulls at $79.0 million, and Lakers at $76.5 million.
How has it gotten this way? Well it wasn’t easy. Let’s take a look:
THE BIG TICKET ITEMS ($82.4 million)
Johnson signed his deal, a six-year, $123.66 million max-value deal, while he was with the Hawks. He came to the Nets during a July 11, 2012 trade that sent five players, a 2013 first round pick, and a 2017 second round pick to Atlanta. His contract expires after the 2015-16 season, a year before D-Will’s, which is why he’s guaranteed less ($69.5 million), but will make the most ($21.5 million) next year.
The Nets originally landed D-Will in a Feb. 2011 trade with the Utah Jazz for two players, cash, a 2011 first round pick, and a 2013 first round pick. The Nets then re-signed him in July 2012 to a five-year, $98.8 million max value contract. His contract is the longest guaranteed deal on the Nets and doesn’t expire until after the 2016-17 season. That’s why at $18.5 million he technically makes less money than Johnson next season, but is still guaranteed to most at $81.6 million.
Next up is Brook Lopez, who was originally drafted by the Nets 10th overall in 2008. He was re-signed to a four-year, $60.8 million max value contract in July 2012. He has the third highest guaranteed total on the team at $47.2 million and will make the fourth most on the team (behind Paul Pierce) next season at $14.7 million.
Finally we have Pierce and Kevin Garnett, two players who were acquired in a recent trade with the Celtics. Pierce, who re-signed with the Celtics at four-years and $61.3 million back in July 2010, has just one year and $15.3 million left on his deal. Garnett still has $24.4 million coming to him over the next two years and will make the least of any starter on the Nets at $12.4 million this season.
BENCH MOB ($15.99 million)
Jason Terry makes the most of any of the bench players, now you see why Boston insisted on including him in the trade, and is guaranteed $11.5 million over the next two years with $5.6 million of that due in 2013-14. His deal was originally a three-year, $15.675 million deal that included a 7.5 percent kicker that increased the annual value of his deal by $400K and went into effect after the trade.
Andrei Kirilenko signed a fully guaranteed two-year $6.5 million deal earlier this offseason that is worth $3.2 million this season with the second year being a player option. Andray Blatche‘s deal is similar, a two-year, $2.8 million deal with the second year being a player option. Blatche is owed $1.375 million this year. He originally signed with the Nets after he was amnestied by the Washington Wizards after the lockout. He has bird rights and cannot be traded without his permission as a result.
Mirza Teletovic was signed as a free agent by the Nets in July 2012 for three-years $9.7 million using the taxpayer mid-level exception. He will make $3.2 million this year and is guaranteed $6.6 million over two years. The Nets would retain his rights in 2015-16 as long as they make him a qualifying offer of at least $4.2 million.
Shaun Livingston was signed last month to a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum. It’s slightly tricky because he is a two-year veteran on a one year veteran deal. That means he’s actually being paid $1.3 million, but the Nets only pay $884K of that with the NBA picking up the rest.
Reggie Evans has a straightforward contract. He signed a three-year, $5.1 million deal in July of 2012. He’s still owed $3.5 million of that and will make $1.7 million this year.
THE GUYS WHO WON’T PLAY MUCH ($2.9 million)
Plumlee was drafted 22nd overall this season and signed for 120-percent of the rookie salary scale which means he’ll make $1.3 million this season. He’s also guaranteed another $1.4 million in 2014-15, the Nets have a pair of team options over the next two years and finally he has a player option worth $3.4 million in 2017-18 if both team options are picked up.
Shengelia and Taylor are both in pretty much the same situation. Both were in the 2012 draft, got drafted by other teams, traded to the Nets immediately after and then signed two-year, minimum salary contracts. Both are guaranteed $788K this season and then can be retained by the Nets next year with qualifying offers of at least $1.1 million.
The Nets are paying a ton in salary, but owner Mikhail Prokhorov is bent on winning a NBA championship and doesn’t care that he could lose as much as $50 million this year to do it. It’s a good thing Prokhorov is willing to spend big too because they will essentially have the same roster next year as well with Pierce being the only major expiring contract (although both Blatche and Kirilenko can opt-out of their deals). It’s only after two years where the Nets will really be able to shake things up in the offseason again, but even then they will still have the contracts of Johnson and D-Will on the books (Lopez has a player option too).