Which NBA Teams Finished With The Most Dead Money?

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The NBA regular season is long over.  Four teams remain in the playoffs, fighting for the chance to represent their conference in the NBA Finals.

Building a playoff team isn’t an exact science.  Some players are sacrificed along the way.

The Golden State Warriors spent $72.6 million to field their roster, including $609,000 to players who are no longer with the squad.

Their opponent, the Houston Rockets, have a payroll of $74 million, not including $6.2 million paid out to their amnesty cut (Luis Scola of the Indiana Pacers).

Part of Houston’s budget went to five waived players ($3 million), including Robert Covington and Ish Smith – both taking on big roles with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are a heavy spender, shelling out $81.4 million in salary and about $7 million in luxury taxes.  The team also paid out $566,000 to former players, primarily to waived guard A.J. Price.

Their Eastern Conference Finals foe is on the opposite end of the spectrum.  The Atlanta Hawks are still under the $63.1 million salary cap at $57.8 million.

The following is a list of team salary, luxury tax (if applicable) and dead money paid out to waived players and/or expired 10-day contracts:

Brooklyn Nets: $88.4 million, $20.6 million tax, $4 million in amnesty (Travis Outlaw), $351,000 in waived salary (Brandon Davies).

Cleveland Cavaliers: $81.4 million, $7 luxury tax, $566,000 waived (A.J. Price, Will Cherry and Chris Crawford).

New York Knicks: $80.6 million, $6.9 million luxury tax, $24.8 million waived salary (Amar’e Stoudemire, Samuel Dalembert, Arnett Moultrie, Metta World Peace, Alex Kirk, Jordan Vandenberg).

Los Angeles Clippers: $80 million, $4.8 million in tax, $1 million in expired salary (Carlos Delfino, Miroslav Raduljica and Nate Robinson).  Delfino was stretched for $650,000 per year over the next four seasons – Raduljica was as well at $252,000.

Oklahoma City Thunder: $78.8 million, $2.9 million luxury tax, $915,000 waived (Sebastian Telfair).

Toronto Raptors: $76.1 million, $4.6 million amnesty (Linas Kleiza), $672,000 waived salary (Marcus Camby and Will Cherry).

Miami HEAT: $76 million, $6.6 million amnesty (Mike Miller) and $532,000 in waived salary (Shannon Brown, Andre Dawkins, Khem Birch and Larry Drew II).

Dallas Mavericks: $75 million, $7.7 million amnesty (Brendan Haywood), $1.8 million waived (Ricky Ledo, Gal Mekel, Eric Griffin and Ivan Johnson).  Mekel is also stretched for $316,000 a year for the next three seasons.

Indiana Pacers: $74.8 million, no tax or dead salary on the Pacers’ books.

Memphis Grizzlies: $74.8 million, $712,000 in dead salary (Fab Melo, Jamaal Franklin, Tyrus Thomas, Kalin Lucas and Hassan Whiteside).  Melo has one more year of stretched money at $437,000 while Franklin has four more seasons at $163,000 each.

Sacramento Kings: $74.2 million, $1.1 million dead salary (Wayne Ellington, Quincy Miller, Sim Bhullar and David Wear).  Ellington will also get $882,630 for each of the next two seasons.

Houston Rockets: $74 million, $6.2 million amnesty (Luis Scola), $3 million waived (Ish Smith, Jeff Adrien, Francisco Garcia, Akil Mitchell and Robert Covington).

Washington Wizards: $73.5 million, $8.5 million via amnesty (Andray Blatche), $496,000 in dead salary (Glen Rice and Toure’ Murry).

Golden State Warriors: $72.6 million, $609,000 waived (Aaron Craft, Mitchell Watt and Sean Kilpatrick).

Portland Trail Blazers: $72.1 million, $19.3 million amnesty (Brandon Roy), $30,000 waived salary (Diante Garrett).

San Antonio Spurs: $70.4 million, $1.2 million in dead money (Austin Daye, JaMychal Green, Bryce Cotton, Josh Davis and John Holland).

Los Angeles Lakers: $70.4 million, $10.8 million in dead salary (Steve Nash, Xavier Henry and Dwight Buycks).

New Orleans Pelicans: $69.2 million, $798,000 in dead money (Darius Miller, Patric Young, Gal Mekel, Elliot Williams and Nate Wolters).

Minnesota Timberwolves: $67.9 million, $1.8 million amnesty (Darko Milicic), $3.6 million in dead salary (J.J. Barea, Jeff Adrien, Miroslav Raduljica and Sean Kilpatrick).

Chicago Bulls: $67.4 million, $13.6 million amnesty (Carlos Boozer), $333,000 in stretch salary in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 (Richard Hamilton).

Charlotte Hornets: $65.7 million, $9.4 million amnesty (Tyrus Thomas), $975,000 in dead money (Jannero Pargo, Elliot Williams and Dallas Lauderdale).

Boston Celtics: $60.4 million, $7.5 million in dead money (Will Bynum, Nate Robinson, Vitor Faverani, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Erik Murphy and Andre Dawkins).

Phoenix Suns: $60.2 million, $7.3 million amnesty (Josh Childress), $4.6 million dead money (John Salmons, Kendall Marshall, Tony Mitchell, Michael Beasley, A.J. Price and Seth Curry).  Beasley is stretched out for another $778,000 each for the next two seasons.

Utah Jazz: $58.9 million, $10.7 million dead money (Kendrick Perkins, Carrick Felix, Toure’ Murry, Patrick Christopher, Jordan Hamilton, Dee Bost, Kevin Murphy, Elliot Williams and Jerrelle Benimon).

Atlanta Hawks: $58.8 million payroll, $438,000 in waived salary (John Salmons and Eddie Jarell).

Philadelphia 76ers: $56.9 million, $24 million dead salary (JaVale McGee, Travis Outlaw, Andrei Kirilenko, Eric Maynor, Ronny Turiaf, Marquis Teague, Malcolm Thomas, Pierre Jackson, Jared Cunningham, Jorge Gutierrez, Chris Johnson, Drew Gordon, Jarvis Varnado, Malcolm Lee, Ronald Roberts, Larry Drew II, Tim Frazier and Elliot Williams).  The Sixers will pay McGee $12 million for the 2015-16 season as well.

Denver Nuggets: $56.3 million, $2.8 million waived (Victor Claver, Shavlik Randolph, Quincy Miller and Jerrelle Benimon).  Denver finished approximately $436,000 under the minimum team salary.  They’ll need to make up that difference to their players in a cash distribution.

Milwaukee Bucks: $55.2 million, $6.7 million amnesty (Drew Gooden) and $10.5 million in dead money (Larry Sanders, Nate Wolters, Kenyon Martin, Chris Johnson and Michael Eric).  Sanders is stretched at $1.9 million a year over the next five seasons.  While the Bucks are under the team salary floor, Gooden’s amnesty obligation absolved Milwaukee from owing its players additional funds.

Orlando Magic: $54.8 million, $13.5 million (Glen Davis, Al Harrington, Jameer Nelson, Anthony Randolph, Seth Curry, Kadeem Batts, Peyton Siva and Drew Crawford).  Below the floor, the Magic will need to pay an additional $1.9 million in total to their roster.

Note: Some players were paid in starts and stops, like Utah’s Jack Cooley who was cut before the season with $65,000 guaranteed, then inked for a pair of 10-day contracts at $30,000 apiece.  None of that is considered dead money, but an additional $125,000 to round out his salary to $188,000 for the year.