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76ers expect to pay luxury tax next season

Philadelphia 76ers Unveil Charles Barkley Sculpture

CAMDEN, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Joshua Harris, speaks at the podium prior to the team unveiling a sculpture to honor Charles Barkley at their practice facility on September 13, 2019 in Camden, New Jersey. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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The Process always afforded an opportunity. The 76ers loaded up on young, relatively cheap players. That allowed Philadelphia room to sign more expensive veterans. The 76ers could then keep those expensive veterans and leverage Bird Rights to keep the young players due for raises.

The catch: That plan would shoot Philadelphia’s payroll into the stratosphere.

The 76ers executed it anyway. Just before Ben Simmons’ max contract will kick in next season, they signed Tobias Harris and Al Horford to big contracts and acquired Josh Richardson and his above-average salary.

Will Philadelphia pay the luxury tax next season?

76ers owner managing partner Josh Harris, via Rich Hofmann of The Athletic:

Yeah, there are definitely issues that come with that but I think if that’s what it takes to win, we’re going to do it.
Just different restrictions that come. It all depends on how you configure your team. But my guess is that’s where we’ll end up.

The luxury-tax line projected to be about $141 million next season. Philadelphia $146,019,658 committed to 10 players for next season:

  • Tobias Harris ($34,358,850)
  • Al Horford ($27,500,000)
  • Joel Embiid ($29,542,010)
  • Josh Richardson ($10,865,952)
  • Ben Simmons ($29,000,000)
  • Mike Scott ($5,005,350)
  • Zhaire Smith ($3,204,600)
  • Matisse Thybulle ($2,711,280)
  • James Ennis ($2,130,023 player option)
  • Shake Milton( $1,701,593)

Filling the rest of the roster with minimum-salary free agents would put the 76ers about $14 million over the tax line and trigger about $25 million of tax payments.

Philadelphia could push its payroll even higher by using the mid-level exception. Of course, that’d trigger exponentially higher luxury-tax payments, too.

We’ll see just how much the 76ers are willing to pay. Maybe they’ll dump depth to keep costs more modest. It’s too early to determine the exact cost-befit of such moves.

Lost revenue from China could lower the luxury-tax line. Though that’d also reduce Simmons’ max salary, everyone else’s salary is locked in. Philadelphia would be on the hook for far more in tax payments.

But, if he follows through, credit Harris for spending. It gives his team a better chance of winning.