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The Oklahoma City Thunder Will Reportedly Owe More Than $300 MILLION In Payroll And Luxury Tax Next Season, Which Is An NBA Record


ESPN- Free-agent guard Raymond Felton has agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million deal to return to the Oklahoma City Thunder, league sources told ESPN. Felton’s signing will push the Thunder’s payroll and luxury tax hurtling past an historic NBA threshold: $300 million. The Thunder are responsible to pay $150 million in tax on the 2018-19 season’s roster, if the roster stays intact through the end of the season.

I know I should be out soaking up some sun, eating barbecue food, and dartying until my body cannot darty anymore instead of writing basketball business blogs like that nerd Rovell on the 4th of July. But my infant son is sleeping and I’m on baby duty, which means I just scroll Twitter until he falls asleep. So as you can imagine, when I saw what the Thunder would be paying for what MIGHT be the 4th best team in the Western Conference, I spit out my ice cold Bud Light and I wasn’t even drinking any. $300 million for the Warriors or whatever team GM LeBron ends up assembling over the next year or so with the Lakers makes sense. Even the Knicks being on the hook for $300 million for a disappointing roster would be on brand. But to pay that much for a team that just lost in the first round is mind bottling. And Raymond Felton being the one that pushed the Thunder’s number past $300 million and into the NBA record books is downright hilarious.

The crazy thing about all this is that the Thunder infamously traded James Harden for Jeremy Lamb, the Steven Adams pick, and spare parts because they didn’t want to enter Luxury Tax Hell and ended up losing Kevin Durant because he wanted to play form a superteam. Those are the current reigning NBA and NBA Finals MVPs. I still have a hard time believing this actually happened.

Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day

Three MVPs that have each won a scoring title drafted by the same team in three consecutive drafts. That’s a team you invest $300+ million into in order to keep it together, not a team that lost to the Jazz in the first round.

Then again, the Thunder had to do this for Russell Westbrook, right? If you don’t want to piss off the scariest dude in the NBA, you have to do him a solid and keep last season’s team together and hope a string of bad luck not seen since Talkin’ Softball episode of The Simpsons strikes the Warriors, Rockets, and Lakers next season. Getting Paul George back was a win, no matter how much they paid him or how lame the nickname Playoff P is. The Thunder only have to #StayMe7o for one more season at $28 million. Guys like Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are perfect role players for a contender. And Victor Oladipo just may blossom into an All-NBA talent if you give him time. But the most important thing is keeping Russell Westbrook happy. Because once he leaves, OKC might as well ship the Thunder back to Seattle with a note apologizing for stealing their team.