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Maybe losing LeBron James for one game isn't the worst thing for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team will reportedly save over $500,000 thanks to James' suspension, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN.
How will that work? James will lose out just over $284,000 for missing one game. The Lakers will be credited half that amount, which amounts to $142,002.
The suspension will cost LeBron James $284,004 and Isaiah Stewart $45,201 ($22,601 per game).
In addition, the Lakers will receive a $142,002 credit toward the luxury that that projects to save them $532,508. https://t.co/sL3KEzTtua
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 22, 2021
How does that $142,002 figure magically turn into over $500,000 in savings? It has to do with the NBA luxury tax. Teams that exceed the luxury tax have to pay additional fees to the league for overspending. Those fees are dependent on how much a team exceeded the luxury tax.
Teams that exceed the luxury tax by $1 to $4.9 million have to pay $1.50 on every dollar they spent over the tax. Teams that exceed the luxury tax by $5 million to $9.9 million get taxed $1.75 on every dollar spent. It's a progressive tax, so the penalty per dollar keeps rising based on how much a team exceeds the luxury tax.
Those penalties are the reason James' $140,002 salary will actually result in the Lakers saving over $500,000. The team receives a credit on that $140,002 figure, but it also won't have to pay the tax penalty on that amount. Since the Lakers' luxury tax fee is high, the move actually saves them $532,508. It's not a significant number considering the Lakers are projected to pay over $45 million in luxury tax fees, but every bit helps, right?
LeBron James suspended one game for hitting Isaiah Stewart
James received a one-game suspension for "recklessly hitting" Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart in the face during Sunday's game. The incident occurred in the third quarter of the Lakers' 121-116 win. The two players got tangled up after a free throw, and James threw an elbow that connected with Stewart's face and drew blood.
Players and officials quickly jumped in to try and separate the players. Stewart repeatedly tried to evade teammates and officials to go after James. The NBA suspended Stewart for two games for escalating the situation.
The incident marked James' second career ejection, and led to his first-ever suspension by the league.