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The Cleveland Cavaliers have seen their season-ending bill in luxury tax rise to a projected $6.7m after a busy week in the trade market.
Cleveland added JR Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks on Monday before dealing for Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov on Wednesday.
In contrast, the Knicks reduced their projected luxury-tax bill all the way down to $5.8m, only the league’s third highest after shedding Smith and Shumpert as well as Samuel Dalembert’s contract.
There are only five teams currently on course to pay luxury tax at season’s end, and they are the Brooklyn Nets ($26.1m), the Cavs and Knicks in second and third, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers ($3.44m) and the Oklahoma City Thunder ($3.4m).
Official luxury-tax calculations will be computed by the league offices on June 30 while the above calculations were made by the ESPN NBA staff based on the widely circulated salary numbers of each respective team.
Five teams are risking falling into tax territory and they are the Raptors, Rockets, Wizards, Grizzlies and Pacers.
Nevertheless, it is clear from the moves this week that the Cavaliers are in ‘win now mode’ as they make the necessary adjustments to their roster that they believe will allow them to compete for a championship this season.
Although they lost Dion Waiters in the same trade deal, Shumpert adds much needed wing defense while Smith will add depth and a potentially dangerous Sixth Man option off the bench.
Meanwhile, particularly after the loss of Anderson Varejao for the season with a torn Achilles, the Cavs have desperately needed rim protection and they will hope that Mozgov’s arrival addresses that problem.