If the $55 million figure holds true, nine teams will be tax payers this year. Who are they? The Knicks will have the highest tax bill, an estimated $32.2 million. The Mavericks ($25.8 million), Blazers ($25.3 million) and Timberwolves ($16.4 million) also have enormous tax bills. The Pacers ($2 million), Lakers ($7.3 million), Nets ($6.3 million), Sixers ($4.3 million) and Kings ($8.5 million) were the other taxpayers.
Now these teams will have to pay money out to teams like the Celtics. Thanks Zeke!
The Celtics are running at about $52M (Walter McCarty earns over a million a year). This could put the team in a position where it has to chose between signing a free agent with their MLE, or re-signing Mihm. Letting Mihm walk to another team shaves $4M off that number and frees up enough room to offer $5M or so (the full MLE) to a free agent. Despite the new owners promise to pay for a winning team, I don't think they are eager to not only pay the tax, but lose out on the kickback that is paid out from the tax to the non-taxed teams.
We'll see how this shifts the landscape. Free agents sign starting tonight at 12:01 AM. We'll see how fast Danny and the other GM's can react to this info.