Cavs Starting Five Set to Make More Money Than Entire Roster of 18 Different Teams

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The price to win a championship can be high for some teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose starting five will be making more during the 2016-17 season than the entire roster of 18 different teams, including their main rival Golden State Warriors.

That unique statistic comes courtesy of John Buccigross of ESPN, with the numbers updated to include the Cavaliers’ Friday-night signing of J.R. Smith to a $57 million, four-year contract.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has been willing to pay the price in the past, having paid out a $54 million luxury tax penalty last season. Despite the hit to his estimated $4.5 billion net worth, the investment proved to be a success when the Cavaliers won the franchise’s first ever championship.

That starting five is, not surprisingly, topped by forward LeBron James, who will be making $30.96 million this upcoming season as part of a three-year, $100 million deal. Below him is fellow forward Kevin Love, who will be getting a raise of approximately $1.5 million this season, with a yearly salary of $21.17 million. That’s the second year of a five-year deal.

Kyrie Irving will also see his paycheck increase, though only by $1.2 million, with his salary set at just under $17.64 million. Irving has three more years on his contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-20 campaign.

Smith will actually see his salary drop with each succeeding year of his deal, yet he should be able to get by on the $15.69 million he’s set to make this season. In the final year, he’s scheduled to make $12.8 million.

Like Smith, center Tristan Thompson also held out during his contract negotiations and ended up getting most of the money he had asked for over the course of four years. This season, Thompson will make $15.33 million as he reaches the halfway point of his contract.

The numbers above are courtesy of the and total right around $101 million. The Warriors are currently scheduled to pay their players $99.3 million in the upcoming season, a number that will jump significantly next year when starting point guard Stephen Curry negotiates a new deal.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.