I want to identity heavy top salary teams, defined by me as teams with 2 max (or real close) salary guys and at least one more guy over $16 million / yr to see how common this was last season, next season, maybe beyond. I am mainly focused on contenders. If I forget an also-ran. so be it.

First I'll note that the Warriors were one of these teams in 2017-18. A near 3-2 or 2-3. I won't catalog other teams from that year at this time.

In 2018-19, the Raptors qualified for the list, with 3 old maxes and 1 more guy well over $16 mil / yr. Celtics had two old maxes and one newer one. Sixers had 2 maxes plus one sidekick. Thunder had 2 plus 2. Rockets 2 plus 2. Warriors 2 plus 2. I guess the Wiz ended up 2 plus 1, Pistons 2 plus 1.

Next season, the Sixers will have 2 plus 2 and are headed after that to 3 plus 1 and that one is also pretty high. Raptors will be at 2 plus 1. Celtics fall off the list at 2 plus zero for now. Thunder still at 2 plus 2 for now. Rockets 2 plus 2.Warriors 3 plus 1. Nuggets at 2 plus 1 (I think) and will stay at least that high in 2020-21. TWolves go to 2 plus 2. I guess the Spurs will be 2 plus 1. The Wiz still 2 plus 1, Pistons still 2 plus 1. Jazz will be 2 plus 1. Bucks will 2 plus 1, declining to be higher.

Blazers will go to 2 plus 1 in a few years. Nets will get there too eventually. Maybe Pacers. Presumably the Lakers and Clippers will get there. Others are likely to also.

'

Who, of consequence, did I miss?

Will the next champion come from this group (like the previous 2 seasons, not checking back beyond that yet) or not? There were 8 such teams last season on my list and 12 this coming season.

I may have more comments to add later. This is just the initial set-up.

Old maxes are not as high as new maxes and years of service level matters too. What is the ideal design if you can pull it off? What are the lesser designs in the abstract and who has them?

Right now the variations are 2-1, 2-2 and 3-1. Will we see 4-0, 1 or 2? or 3-2? What about 2-3 or 2-4?

Can a 1-3, 4 or 5 win a title?

## Heavy top salary teams

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

To test various configurations, you'd want to have the contract data, performance level & age curves and info on the luxury tax and a sense of how much a particular team is willing to endure.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

There are probably no absolutes. It depends on individual and context.

But... 2 level 3 (10 years in) maxes does not seem to make a lot of sense or have much durability. 1 may be good. Level 2 maxes seem best. If you have level 1 maxes, you probably really need good vet role players.

But... 2 level 3 (10 years in) maxes does not seem to make a lot of sense or have much durability. 1 may be good. Level 2 maxes seem best. If you have level 1 maxes, you probably really need good vet role players.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

How much should teams save to spend on their team outside the top 4?

Warriors spent about $45 million outside their top 4 last season. Raptors about $36 million. Rockets around that (including the waived players). Bucks, $54 million. Sixers about $38 mil. Blazers, $51 mil. Nuggets, $31 mil. There might be cases where I should pro-rate salaries. But big picture, it looks like contender tend to spend around $40 million on rest of team. So decide how much you are willing to spend in total, subtract $40 mil (and whatever taxes) from that and you have your heavy top salary budget. For most teams that will be up to $85 million. A few teams will take it over $100 million.

Warriors spent about $45 million outside their top 4 last season. Raptors about $36 million. Rockets around that (including the waived players). Bucks, $54 million. Sixers about $38 mil. Blazers, $51 mil. Nuggets, $31 mil. There might be cases where I should pro-rate salaries. But big picture, it looks like contender tend to spend around $40 million on rest of team. So decide how much you are willing to spend in total, subtract $40 mil (and whatever taxes) from that and you have your heavy top salary budget. For most teams that will be up to $85 million. A few teams will take it over $100 million.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

Warriors will stay 3-1 long-term unless Russell dealt for smaller pieces. I guess they have a trade exception and might go to 3-2.

Cut salary but then spent again.

Cut salary but then spent again.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

I forgot about Iggy. Warriors were at 3-2 last season.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

A 2-1 will cost at least $70 million if everyone is at the every start of contracts and all at the very lowest levels. A 2-1 could go above $100 million if the players are at higher levels.

A 3-1 will be over $100 million minimum. Likely more. I assume this will stay rare.

A level 2 max and 3 sidekicks at or above $16 mil / yr would cost at least $81 million.

What is best? Might be able to find general guiding answer based on averages but the real answer will be based on specific players.

A 3-1 will be over $100 million minimum. Likely more. I assume this will stay rare.

A level 2 max and 3 sidekicks at or above $16 mil / yr would cost at least $81 million.

What is best? Might be able to find general guiding answer based on averages but the real answer will be based on specific players.

### Re: Heavy top salary teams

In 2016-17 Warriors were essentially a 1-3. In 2015-16 the Cavs were 3-1, almost 4-0. In 2014-15 the Warriors were 1-3 or maybe 0-4. In 2013-14 the Spurs were 1-2 or 0-3. I didn't look up the maxes from prior years and tried to guess.

The trend though seems to be to using maxes more often in last few years. Over last 4 years the champ averaged about 2.5 - 1.75. In prior 2 years it was no more than 1 - 2.5. The number of top salaries is growing too from 3.5 to 4.25. Will it go higher?depends on a owner willing to pay more tax. It obviously helps if one or more of your top guys aren't getting the big money. Mostly by being on rookie scale.

There are going to be 20 guys making $30 million and over this season. 45 total over $25 mil.

There are 22 guys at or over plus 4 on RPM estimate. 52 total over plus 2.

These lists overlap but not in all cases.

But it could be argues that based on market figures 4 plus guys "deserve" over $30 million and over 2 guys should make $25 mil. The 4 plus guys are generally going to be the better values.

Putting aside the trade valuation, the 2 level 2 maxes the Clippers acquired is about as good as you can get on performance / salary. Lakers only a bit behind. Then Rockets, Nets, Sixers.

The trend though seems to be to using maxes more often in last few years. Over last 4 years the champ averaged about 2.5 - 1.75. In prior 2 years it was no more than 1 - 2.5. The number of top salaries is growing too from 3.5 to 4.25. Will it go higher?depends on a owner willing to pay more tax. It obviously helps if one or more of your top guys aren't getting the big money. Mostly by being on rookie scale.

There are going to be 20 guys making $30 million and over this season. 45 total over $25 mil.

There are 22 guys at or over plus 4 on RPM estimate. 52 total over plus 2.

These lists overlap but not in all cases.

But it could be argues that based on market figures 4 plus guys "deserve" over $30 million and over 2 guys should make $25 mil. The 4 plus guys are generally going to be the better values.

Putting aside the trade valuation, the 2 level 2 maxes the Clippers acquired is about as good as you can get on performance / salary. Lakers only a bit behind. Then Rockets, Nets, Sixers.