The Cavaliers face a record-smashing, $300 million future

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

The Cleveland Cavaliers may have a $300 million roster next season if LeBron James remains with the franchise.

When the dust settled following their sweeping trades last week, the Cavs put themselves in position to break records if they elect to keep their new core together. And, most importantly, if James elects to re-sign in Cleveland or simply pick up his $35.6 million player option for 2018-19.

Team owner Dan Gilbert has never put his front office on a budget, and so the team continues to spend.

For several uncomfortable months -- and a couple of unbearable weeks -- James was sending a message to the Cavs' front office that he wanted the team's roster upgraded.

The team did some hedging on the future with or without James, starting with the Kyrie Irving trade last summer. In the first rounds of trade talks approaching last week's deadline, the Cavs took a position in some discussions that they did not want to add future salary, multiple league executives said.

Ultimately, however, the Cavs furthered their commitment to the team around James. In the short term by trading for George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr., the Cavs added about $10 million in salary and luxury tax to their books this season. That will boost their tax payment to about $50 million and their overall payroll to nearly $190 million, the second highest in league history after the Brooklyn Nets' $193 million in 2013-14.

The Cavs still have two open roster spots they will likely eventually fill that could add a few million more to that total.

As a quick aside here, the Cavs have paid a combined total of $86 million in luxury tax over the previous three seasons. Add in this season -- as the team is now in the more penal repeater luxury tax zone -- and the total tax payments since James returned in 2014 will approach $140 million.


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