Entering this offseason it looked like the Brooklyn Nets would be limited in the moves they were able to make because, with three big players already in the mix, they were already over the luxury tax which limited their options. That’s what made the deal with the Celtics so stunning, nobody predicted it and most thought it wasn’t even possible.
As a result, the Nets are going into next season with a luxury tax that is more than any other team’s entire payroll. It could end up putting owner Mikhail Prokhorov $50 million in the red and it has created jealously around the league. After all, it was just two seasons ago when the NBA was mired in a lockout that was designed to prevent exactly this sort of thing.
So how does Adam Silver, the NBA’s next commissioner and essentially the architect of the current collective bargaining agreement, feel about this? Well, if he’s mad, he’s saying all of the right things.
“I think before, even as someone who was and is a proponent of a harder tax, I don’t want to declare the sky is falling yet because they are doing what is permissible under the rules,” Silver told Tim Bontemps of the NY Post. “There were only certain players they were able to spend that money on.
“Does it give a team a competitive advantage when they have the ability to spend far more than other teams?” Silver asked. “Absolutely… And it’s something we pointed out to the union in bargaining.”
“There’s a correlation between the ability to spend and success on the court,” he continued. “It’s far from a perfect correlation, however, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
My expectation is that that most people will be fine with this as long as the Nets are the only team breaking the rules so egregiously. However, if the Nets manage to win a championship this year, or even if they don’t, and it creates copycats, then it will become a much bigger deal. As it is, the NBA is likely to have another lockout in 2017. Hopefully the Nets aren’t the main cause of it. Or at the very least, for our sake, the Nets win at least one championship before it happens.