The Los Angeles Lakers spent lavishly last season, and all it got them was a first-round exit from the playoffs, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Now it's truly time for the Lakers to pay. According to an ESPN.com report Tuesday night, the Lakers were hit with the largest luxury-tax bill in the league, and it wasn't even close. The website reported that the Lakers must pay $29,259,739 in luxury tax, more than the combined total of the next two teams on the list. Second was the Miami Heat with a $13,346,242 bill, though at least that helped buy the team a second consecutive NBA championship. The third-highest bill went to another first-round playoff loser, the Brooklyn Nets, who reportedly owe $12,883,647. The only other teams reportedly owing luxury tax are the New York Knicks ($9,962,406), Chicago Bulls ($3,932,336) and Boston Celtics ($1,181,640). The Lakers' salary-cap situation is projected to improve greatly following the defection of free-agent center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets, plus the expected amnesty-related release of Metta World Peace. The Orange County Register reported that waiving World Peace will result in a savings of about $30 million, more than half of that in luxury-tax payments. The NBA released its salary-cap figures for the 2013-14 season Tuesday. The cap is set at $58,679,000, with the luxury tax kicking in above $71,784,000. In a change, the luxury-tax rates will rise incrementally depending how far above the salary cap teams go. The minimum salary level for the upcoming season will be $52,811,000, 90 percent of the regular cap level.
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