LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title in franchise history last season, but despite becoming champions, the team lost a lot of money.
In fact, the Cavs lost an NBA-high $40 million last season, according to Forbes — the second most in league history, behind only the Brooklyn Nets’ $205 million 2013-14 season, which resulted in a $90.6 million luxury tax. The Nets didn’t even make the Finals, but instead, were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
Despite the title, LeBron isn’t happy this season, especially after the team’s recent skid, losing six of their past eight games — including a home loss to a below-.500 Sacramento Kings team. Word is, his issues are over team spending.
“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization,” he said last week.
Despite how LeBron feels, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has put his money where his mouth is. When Lebron first considered returning to Cleveland in 2014, he demanded that Gilbert be willing to spend unconditionally on improving the team… and he did.
Last season, the Cavs paid a $115 million payroll, resulting in a $54 million luxury tax bill. If you add in other costs, Gilbert spent roughly $185 million on his roster. And this season, the Cavs owner is on track to spend even more, with a payroll of nearly $130 million, including James’ $31 million salary — the NBA’s highest-paid player.