Lakers paying almost $130 million for 12th-place team

Lakers power forward Pau Gasol has his shot challenged by Raptors center Amir Johnson and forward Landy Fields in the second half.
(Nathan Denette / Associated Press)

As detailed by, the Lakers currently have $99,893,231 in payroll this season.

With a record of 17-22 (12th place in the Western Conference), the Lakers will pay $29,586,231 in luxury taxes. All told, the Lakers’ $129,479,462 payroll is easily the highest in the league.

No other team is at $100 million. The Miami Heat is just under the $97-million mark (including tax), but they’re coming off an NBA championship.


The Lakers pay three players (Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol) a total of $66.4 million, more than 15 teams pay for their entire rosters.

Next season, the Lakers have “just” $68.1 million in payroll, but if the team re-signs Howard at $20.5 million, that number jumps quickly to $88.6 million. That’s based on six players under contract; the payroll would still need to climb with the salary of at least seven more players.

Complicating matters, the league institutes a “graduated tax” next season. A $100-million payroll would trigger in the neighborhood of $73 million in taxes for a total of $173 million.

The Lakers are at nearly $130 million and they’re not a playoff team. Are they going to be appreciably better next year at $173 million?


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