The Lakers are on the hook for about 30 million in luxury tax this season. Compared with what they may pay next season, that's almost nothing.
The league's new collective bargaining agreement includes a graduated tax that kicks in for the 2013-14 season. For every additional 5 million the team is over the tax threshold, the rate increases.
Naturally the team has every hope and intention of re-signing free agent Dwight Howard. Assuming he does, the Lakers can pay him up to 20.5 million for next season.
Exactly how much the team will spend on payroll is impossible to say, but a reasonable estimate, with Howard re-signing and the Lakers keeping most of the existing roster together, is 103 million.
The current tax threshold is 70.3 million. If it climbs by 5 to 73.8 million, the Lakers would owe approximately 81.5 million in tax.
That's an increase of more than 50 million from what the team is currently paying.
The Lakers might be able to find ways to reduce payroll. The team still...