For the first time in his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban will not pay a single penny in luxury tax at the end of the 2012-13 season.
Since the luxury tax was first applied in the 2000-01 season, only the New York Knicks have paid more in luxury tax than Cuban’s Mavs.
Top five luxury tax payers
In the 11 seasons of the tax, it has been applicable in nine seasons, and Cuban has paid up in all of them. Exhaustive, league-wide research of payrolls since the implementation of the tax by Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com reveals that the Mavs have surrendered more than $150 million in luxury tax payments.
The Knicks are the runaway leaders, having shelled out more than $195 million. Both franchises dwarf the other 28 teams. The Portland Trail Blazers rank third at $89 million in luxury tax payments and the Los Angeles Lakers are fourth at $84 million.
The luxury tax has been a dollar-for-dollar penalty on salary that exceeds the tax threshold, which has stood at about $70 million the last few seasons.
Cuban has never minded escalating his payroll by taking back salary in trades to acquire the player or players he deemed necessary to maintain annual success, and it did, resulting in 11 consecutive 50-win seasons, a playoff streak that stands at 12 and a championship in 2011.
However, the new CBA, implemented prior to last season, has changed the rules. Taking on luxury tax starting with the 2013-14 season will result in stiffer tax penalties and will also significantly restricts how a team can alter its roster. The latter more than the former convinced Cuban to move forward with a roster-building strategy based on cap space instead of luxury tax.
The Mavs are expected to have a payroll of about $61 million next season, about $3 million over the salary cap, but $9 million under the luxury tax. The Lakers, with Kobe Bryant due $27.8 million this season and $30 million in 2013-14, take over as the West’s kings of the luxury tax.
Overall, the Knicks will be holding onto the league title for a few more years — at least.
A breakdown of the Mavs’ massive luxury tax bills:
* Dallas has twice paid more than $23 million in luxury tax (2003-04, $25 million; 2008-09, $23.6 million)
* In seven of nine years, Dallas has paid at least $17 million in luxury tax
* In 2011-12, the Mavs paid a franchise-low $2.7 million in luxury tax. The only other season the Mavs paid less than $17.3 million in tax was 2006-07 when they paid $7.2 million
* Dallas paid $18.9 million in luxury tax in its 2010-11 championship season
* Dallas paid $19.6 million in luxury tax in 2007-08, the season the Mavs traded for Jason Kidd
* Among the Mavs’ Southwest Division rivals, the Spurs are second in luxury tax payments at $12.6 million over five seasons. Memphis has paid $11.3 million in two seasons. Houston has paid $757,000 in one season. New Orleans is one of seven teams to never pay luxury tax
* The Mavs’ Southwest Division rivals have totaled $24.65 million in luxury tax payments, or less than the Mavs’ 2003-04 tax bill.