Economics suggest the Lakers will look to move Gasol sooner than later.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) put into place before this season did not change the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax rate immediately. It remains the same for the year to come.
Itís during the 2013/14 NBA season that the finances get very messy and then, the following year, they go completely off the rails.
In approximate numbers, the Lakers paid $86 million in payroll this past season with $16 million in luxury taxes, for a total of $102 million.
For the sake of argument, bump that number up to about $92 million for the coming year, accounting for raises and the teamís Mini-MLE ($3.1 million). With tax, thatís roughly $114 million. A lot, but a number the Lakers have paid in the past for what they believed was a championship contender.
Itís the following year where the math starts to break down.
If the team is still on the Kobe Bryant/Andrew Bynum/Gasol core by 2013/14 and the threshold remains at $70 million (which may climb and subsequently lower taxes, but then the Lakers canít know today where that line will be tomorrow), the graduated tax rate would push a $92 million payroll to $144.5 million (with $52.5 million in tax).
Thatís BEFORE the repeater tax kicks in.
If the Lakers were somehow to remain at $92 million for 2014/15, with the repeater tax finally a factor, the tax climbs to $74.5 million.
Thereís no way the Lakers are going to pay $166.5 million for a roster. Donít forget the league is taking about $50 million from the Bussí coffers on top of that via revenue sharing.