Cavaliers Have Paid 6th Highest Amount in Luxury Taxes

The luxury tax in the NBA has been around for 11 years now already. According to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com, in that time, 23 of the league’s 30 franchises have paid luxury taxes. The 7 teams who have never paid luxury taxes are the Bulls, Bobcats, Warriors, Clippers, Hornets, Thunder, and Wizards.

Of possible interest to Cleveland fans is that the Cavaliers have paid the 6th highest luxury tax amount:

  1. New York Knicks – $195 million
  2. Dallas Mavericks – $150 million
  3. Portland Trail Blazers – $89 million
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – $84 million
  5. Boston Celtics – $46 million
  6. Cleveland Cavaliers – $43 million

In total, Dan Gilbert paid $43 million out of his own pocket to support the last 3 years of LeBron’s time in Cleveland. Unfortunately for both Gilbert and Cavalier fans, the team doesn’t have a Championship to show for it. The only teams to pay more in luxury tax and not win a title are the Knicks and Blazers.

Another interesting point revealed in these numbers is that if you’re going to win an NBA title, you should probably expect to pay a tax for it, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst points out:

For now, the Cavaliers remain safely under the tax threshhold, but if the Cavaliers return to playoff contention in the next couple years, Dan Gilbert has shown he is willing to pay out of his own pocket to make title contention a reality. Hopefully for both his sake and Cleveland’s, the future will yield a better return on that investment.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    And the $$$$ drum just keeps on beatin’ but I feel better now. I do find it kind of ironic however that Gilbert was willing to pay and it still didn’t make a difference in the end?

  • JK

    Your article about Josh Gordon doesnt work……………………………..

  • BrownsFanSF

    Definitely a bummer we didn’t get a championship, but those 3 teams won an awful lot of basketball games (and were ridiculously fun to watch 2 of those years). I know it was championship or bust, but I don’t think we can call the “Mo Williams Era” a total flop.

  • Grif_E

    This “out of pocket” phrase is peculiar. It makes it seem like you’re implying the cap is somehow directly linked to an individual team’s books, or that the NBA only accepts personal checks for luxury tax payments. If only the Indians could somehow pull off this trick of making everyone believe they’re “spending” like NBA teams apparently can. I’m not saying Dan wasn’t pumping money into the Cavs over the last few years, but we can’t know where that threshold existed, and whether it was from the Luxury Tax or any other expenses of the team.

    I know this isn’t your own phrase, and maybe this is just part of the suspension of disbelief game we play with sports. “Ohh, they’re over the cap, so they’re super serial about this run.” It’s like believing that the Streinbrenner’s “pay out of pocket” for the Yankee’s “Competitive Balance Tax.” (Competitive Balance … MLB, they’re just so adorable).

    More pragmatically; do we really need this misleading phrase as a slang term for the Luxury Tax?

    So I can say I participated in the spirit of the article with this comment: I wish this wasn’t just something that the Dolans are Cheap and Burn Lerner at the Stake crowd will use against the team.

  • The Cavaliers are owned by Dan Gilbert. The Cavaliers paid $43 million in luxury taxes. That money was paid by Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers. Dan Gilbert is the only person with the authority to allow or deny the team to pay luxury tax. This is because the money is his money. Hence, he is paying it out of pocket.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I guess but I’m older now so having entire seasons be just for fun are getting old. When I was younger playing an entire season only to not win a championship fooling myself were okay but that’s no longer the case.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    It works for me …………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………………..

  • JK

    Yeah me too. It was a 404 error so wasn’t just me.

  • mgbode

    i have gone the opposite way as i have aged. in my younger days, when Price/Daught/Nance teams fell short I was completely crushed and it ruined a bit of the season before the playoff-exit.

    now, I understand there is joy to be had in the journey as well, and I can appreciate it more (both during and after).

    i still want a championship badly, but i also did enjoy rooting for the Cavaliers during those years.

  • Steve

    I still find the line “In total, Dan Gilbert paid $43 million out of his own pocket to support the last 3 years of LeBron’s time in Cleveland” somewhat peculiar. Mainly because we have to put words in your mouth to interpret it. While not strictly equal, we associate the term ‘out of pocket’ with taking a loss, which Gilbert was not doing.

  • SDA


  • SDA

    yeah but the current moves and direction tell me He is learning from his mistakes. at least I hope so. The Indians keep using the same formula and expecting different results. Gilbert changed his formula and because of his past we know when he needs a “right handed bat” to put him over the top he will do it

  • BrownsFanSF

    I definitely feel ya, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve gone a similar direction as ‘bode. I love my Cleveland sports teams and am along for the ride. Only one team wins every year, I still try to enjoy the ride when we come up short.

    (This is part of the reason I have loved watching the Cavs rebuilding effort so much. I admit some fatigue with the Browns and Tribe)

  • Petefranklin

    I remember attending a Crusaders game when I was a young kid, I dont have that many years left for these crappy teams. In the old days, like after I attended the Drive game, I got pissed, but knew we were due soon. Now, I’m just worried that I will never see one period.

  • pete

    I, for one, am colossally excited to see how quickly Brooklyn shoots up this list over the next two years.

  • eric grohoske

    At least Gilbert will spend the money to try to win, are the knuckleheads over at the Tribe listening, you hear me Dolan.

  • Julie

    I don’t associate out of pocket with taking a loss. I associate it with whatever money being paid as being paid by me, as opposed to being paid by someone or something else on my behalf.

  • Steve

    How has he changed his formula? What free agents has he signed that make you think he will be able to get a game changer to come to this town?

    This Gilbert narrative is incredibly weird to me. He’s done a decent job, but people treat him like he’s a godsend, but who has he signed?

  • Steve

    Hey! This tired and shallow analysis again! How insightful!

  • Steve

    I should describe it better, taking a temporary loss that may or may not be made up to you. Gilbert’ wasn’t doing that either. The Lebron James piggy bank was overflowing with cash.

  • SDA

    Whatever your point Gilbert is doing more than the Dolans that is inarguable. All the Dolans do is make excuses

  • AS

    I think that is exactly how he changed his formula. During the Lebron years, he haphazardly through money at anyone that would make the team marginally better- players like Shaq, Wallace, Mo, Hughes, etc; when they really weren’t good enough to push the team over the hump.
    Now he and Grant appear to be doing all they can to maintain cap flexibility and draft picks to be ready to acquire that true 2nd option the Lebron teams so obviously lacked.
    Eventually we will see if this plan works or not, but given the small sample size, it looks promising with players like Kyrie, TT, Dion, and Zeller.

  • You don’t have to put words in my mouth at all. I don’t think anyone interprets “out of your own pocket” to mean taking a loss. It simply means he was using his own money to pay the luxury tax.

  • BenRM

    With explinations like that, you should be in politics. :-p

  • BenRM

    Not so much ironic as it is unfortunate.

  • Steve

    Not sure what you mean. Andrew seems to be perpetuating the narrative that Dan Gilbert is willing to go broke to make the fans here happy, which is far from the truth.

  • Steve

    Only to the people who can’t understand the not so subtle difference between the leagues.

  • Tsunami

    Yet people continue to say LeBron made Gilbert rich

  • SDA

    honestly Steve I really think your related to the Dolans. There is no way you would ever convince me the Dolans and their management are trying to win If they EVER get to a world series it will be by accident