The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t remotely close to being one of the top teams in the NBA.
Yet, the Bucks will still have one of the biggest payrolls in the 30-team league this season.
According to several sources with access to NBA players’ salaries, the Bucks’ current payroll is $120.6 million. That is the sixth-highest payroll in the league.
The only teams with larger payrolls than the Bucks are:
1) Cleveland — $142M
2) Golden State — $135M
3) Oklahoma City — $128M
4) Washington — $126M
5) Portland – $125M
Golden State defeated Cleveland in the NBA Finals last season, while Oklahoma City, Washington and Portland are expected to among the top teams in their respective conferences.
As for the Bucks, they are coming off a pedestrian 42-40 season and have done virtually nothing over the offseason to upgrade their roster. They didn’t make any trades nor did they acquire any new players via free agency.
Yet, with the recent re-signing of swingman Tony Snell, they have crossed the league’s luxury tax threshold. Snell’s four-year contract will pay him $9.8M this season and $10.6M, $11.3M and $12.1M in the ensuing three seasons. Sources said Snell can earn an additional $500,000 each season in bonuses for defensive awards.
The Bucks’ $120.6M payroll for 16 players means they are approximately $1.4M over the tax level, which is $119.266M for the 2017-2018 season.
However, if the Bucks were so inclined, they could reduce their payroll by releasing point guard Gary Payton Jr., whose $1.3M contract isn’t guaranteed, and/or buying out Spencer Hawes’ contract.
Hawes is due to earn $6.5M this season, the final year of his contract. By buying him out and stretching his payments, the Bucks could save approximately $2M this season.
Below are the Bucks’ salaries for the upcoming season – with salaries rounded off — including the final payout to former center Larry Sanders, whom the Bucks bought out in February of 2015 by using the stretch provision:
D.J. Wilson –$2.1M
Gary Payton Jr.–$1.3M
Giannis Antetokounmpo photo by BILL TENNESSEN