OKC’s Raymond Felton signing gives team the fattest bill in NBA history
With the Oklahoma City Thunder way above the salary cap, the team is unable to partake in the splashy moves that define free agency and have no choice but to improve internally and worry about their own free agents. Still, the team has agreed to keep backup point guard Raymond Felton to a one-year deal.
And just when the former Tar Heel thought the fat jokes were over, it’s simply unavoidable. With the deal, the Thunder’s payroll ballooned to $300 million (a first in league history) and so did their luxury tax bill which is now at $150 million.
To most pundits, it’s a lot of coin for a team that fizzled out in the first round.
Oklahoma City crosses an historic threshold as the first $300M team in salary and projected luxury tax with the Raymond Felton signing. The Thunder now have a tax bill of $150M.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 4, 2018
Heading into the offseason, the Thunder only had nine players under contract but with a combined total of $117 million, just a few million short of the luxury tax threshold. Clearly, that wouldn’t last long.
Shortly after free agency started, the team quickly re-upped their number one priority in Paul George to a $137 million, four-year pact. A huge sigh of relief given the rampant rumors that suggest the Los Angeles native was skipping town to form a super team on his home city.
Not long after taking care of the PG problem, the team locked up their second priority in forward Jerami Grant — on an eyebrow-raising $27 million contract, sending the payroll hurtling towards the top.
It has been suggested that the Thunder could smoothen their tax hits by using the stretch provision on Carmelo Anthony’s gargantuan $28 million salary, saving them about $100 million – and it is no doubt on the franchise radar.
OKC is certainly hoping Raymond Felton makes fans not care about the current cap-space situation.