Celtics need to shed salary to avoid the Luxury Tax

Darren McCollester

As it stands now, they are over the tax.

Forgive me if I sound like a broken record, but the Celtics really need to reduce their payroll to get under the luxury tax line. After the Pressey and Faverani signings, the salaries add up to $73.6M (according to Hoopsworld). The Luxury Tax line is $71.5M. They are still under the Hard Cap of $75.5M but that just means that they are not allowed over that amount at any point this season. The Luxury Tax matters even more this year because they were over the tax line last year and stand to face higher penalties this year.

Luxury tax in focus - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston

As the Celtics endure a makeover process, it could benefit the team to try to shimmy below the tax line this year, especially with incremental tax rates looming this season (for instance, teams will now pay $1.50 for every $1 over the tax line for the first $4.99 million over the tax line, and rates scale up from there based on how much a team spends.) Earlier this month, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge noted on the tax, "We don’t want to get into that repeater tax mode. But the good news about our team, and our owners in particular, they have proven a willingness to pay tax. But you don’t want to pay tax just to pay tax. But our ownership will pay tax if needed."

Translation: The owners aren't paying tax for a rebuilding team.

The Celtics could waive Randolph by Aug.1st to save $1.1M and technically it sounds like Pressey's deal is non-guaranteed so they could shave off another half million or so by cutting him loose in camp, but that would still leave them slightly above the tax line this season.

This is why I keep banging the "trades are coming" drum. So stay tuned.

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