The NBA offseason was full of intriguing player movement, and although some teams improved dramatically on paper, they will have to shell out considerable cash to flaunt their new-look rosters.
According to CBSSports.com, the NBA has held steady with team salary cap numbers, as well as the luxury tax line, which is set at $70.307 million.
For those unfamiliar with the current luxury tax system, CBAFAQ.com has some great, simple explanations. Among the most important are:
For 2011-12 and 2012-13, teams pay $1 for every $1 their team salary exceeds the tax level. There is no repeater rate.
For 2013-14 teams pay an incremental rate based on their team salary. There is no repeater rate.
For example, if a team's payroll this season is set at $80 million, they would pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million in tax, paying one dollar for each dollar they are over the established luxury tax line.
However, in 2013-14, the tax will take on a different form. Tax rates will be imposed based on how little or how much a team spends over the luxury tax line.
According to CBAFAQ, teams that are anywhere between $0-$4,999,999 will be taxed $1.50 for every dollar over the tax, and rates escalate from there.
In short, it's a good time to be over the luxury tax. But not for long. The 2012-13 rules aren't nearly as harsh as the impending 2013-14 rules will be, and that will certainly have some teams reconsidering their plans next summer.
For now, here are the five teams with the fattest luxury tax bills heading into the 2012-13 season.
Note: All salary cap numbers have been retrieved from HoopsHype.com.
Total 2012-13 Payroll: $74,809,630
The Chicago Bulls will be an interesting team to watch in the early stages of the 2012-13 season as Derrick Rose continues to rehab from his gruesome knee injury.
Rose, of course, is the team's highest-paid player, and rightfully so. Set to collect $16,402,500 this season, fans are hoping that Rose's hefty paycheck will be earned come playoff time, when he will presumably be near full strength.
In addition to Rose, the Bulls are paying three other players eight-figure salaries. Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah have all earned their respective paychecks based on past performance, but the remaining $45,000,000-plus that Boozer is owed can't be a welcome sight for Bulls fans.
Aside from their four key contributors, the Bulls aren't shelling out too much money.
One notable steal: The Bulls are paying forward Taj Gibson just $2,155,811 this season, and he's set for a qualifying offer next season that will bump his salary up about one million dollars.
Total 2012-13 Payroll: $79,685,132
The acquisition of center Andrew Bynum has re-energized the Philadelphia fanbase. For years, the Sixers' front office was in the habit of shelling out too much money to players fading out of their prime, but it appears those days may be coming to a close.
Bynum will make over $16 million this season and is set to be an unrestricted free-agent next summer. However, given the rules of the new CBA, the Sixers will be able to offer Bynum more years and money than any other team.
Aside from Bynum, the Sixers most notable salary comes from the amnestied Elton Brand. Brand's 2012-13 salary is set at over $16,000,000, but will not count towards the Sixers' yearly cap number (just their overall payroll). Instead, they will have to pay him the remaining money, and they will have ultimately rid themselves of an unsightly contract.
Even though the financial commitment is steep, the Sixers had to take the leap and cut Brand loose.
The Sixers acquired a number of other players this summer, namely, Jason Richardson, Nick Young and Dorell Wright.
Wright and Young each have one year remaining on their respective contracts, and neither is making more than $6,000,000.
In the near future the Sixers will need to take a long, hard look at point guard Jrue Holiday, who has reportedly been making some noise about a max contract extension.
Total 2012-13 Payroll: $82,629,170
As the reigning NBA champions, you would have thought that the Miami Heat would have had trouble improving, considering the overall strength of their roster last season.
Well, Pat Riley proved everyone wrong again, signing sharpshooters Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the team's most notable offseason moves.
Allen famously took less money to sign with the Heat, accepting their offer of the mini mid-level exception which will pay him just over $3,000,000 this season.
The Heat actually have made a moderate financial commitment to the aging Mike Miller, who's set to make over $5,000,000 this season. Miller is the team's fourth-highest paid player after the big three.
Total 2012-13 Payroll: $84,486,162
They may not have been able to snag Dwight Howard, but the Brooklyn Nets did enough this summer to justify their spot as one of the Eastern Conference's six best teams.
In their biggest move of the summer, the Nets traded for Joe Johnson and his gargantuan contract. While it may have been a necessary move to bolster their backcourt, Johnson is the sixth-highest paid player in the NBA this season, and he will only be paid more as time goes on.
Johnson is set to rake in $19,752,645 this season, and combined with the $17,177,795 that the newly re-signed Deron Williams will be making, the Nets now have the NBA's highest-paid backcourt.
As if they hadn't shelled out enough money, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries will also be making eight figures this season (over $13 million and $12 million, respectively).
In one final significant move, the Nets re-signed forward Gerald Wallace to a deal that will pay him $9,682,435 this season.
It's clear that Billy King and the Nets front office overpaid in order to put a competitive roster on the floor, but it figures to pay significant dividends as they begin their inaugural season in Brooklyn.
Total 2012-13 Payroll: $99,140,731
The Los Angeles Lakers established what is arguably the NBA's most talented starting five this offseason. Kobe Bryant's hefty salary combined with those of Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol won't be saving the Lakers any money this season, but they could very well end up with a championship.
Bryant is far and away the league's highest-paid player, and will collect nearly $28 million in game checks this season.
Howard and Gasol both have comparable salaries, as the new frontcourt duo will make a combined total of just over $38,000,000 in 2012-13.
Despite being one of the league's premier point guards, Nash will make just a shade under $9,000,000 this season, with his contract numbers escalating into the $9,300,000 range in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
With a payroll that is close to $100,000,000, the Lakers will find themselves having to pay nearly $30 million in luxury tax dollars this season.
$30 million feels like a stiff fee, but if they keep this roster alive past this season, Laker fans will cringe when they see what the tax becomes in 2013-14.