How LA Lakers Can Get Under Luxury-Tax Line and Why It’s so Important

Any time you're out of the playoff hunt and have a chance to save $12 million, you do it, right?

For the Los Angeles Lakers, the answer to that question appears to be yes. By trading Steve Blake and his $4 million expiring contract to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, the Lakers inched a little closer to the tax line.

In a pretty confusing deal, L.A. swapped Blake for MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore. But they had to do so in three separate deals:

The teams had to get creative with this move because Brooks has already been traded this season. And since the Warriors were over the cap when they acquired him, he could not be traded in combination with another player.

The immediate benefit of this deal for the Lakers is that the combined total of Brooks' and Bazemore's salaries is just under $2 million.

Before the deal, the Los Angeles Lakers were $7,581,496 over the luxury tax line. By shipping out $4 million and only bringing in $2 million, they're now well within striking distance of that tax line.

If they can now move Jordan Hill, things will get really interesting.

And before Blake was actually dealt, Hill's name was as much a part of the rumor mill as any Laker (with the possible exception of Pau Gasol):

Out of those options, the destination which would work best for a complete salary dump for the Lakers is Brooklyn. According to Sham Sports, the Nets received a "disabled player exception" of $5.25 million because of Brook Lopez's broken foot.

If they can in fact dump Hill, the tax line would be tantalizingly close. So, how can the Lakers shed that final $2 million in salary?

ESPN's Marc Stein provided some insight:

Cap expert Larry Coon took it one step further, throwing Gasol's name into the mix:

If they shed the last $2 million by dealing Kaman and h...

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