Excerpt from Brian Windhorst's column:
Gilbert doesn't speak with the media often, but he did before Sunday's game to explain his thinking about giving the green light to expand his payroll and luxury tax bill to bring aboard the four new players, including Wally Szczerbiak and Ben Wallace, who make a combined $27 million this season.
''I thought it was pretty important to do something,'' Gilbert said. ''We got to the Finals with this team, but the competition got harder and it was going to be a bigger challenge than last year.''
Gilbert said that he's not spending as much as people think. Because the Cavs are just responsible for paying the new players for the final 27 games of the season, he's only actually paying about $1.2 million more in the prorated salaries than he would have before the trade.
However, the Cavs will have to pay luxury tax on the entire additional $4.7 million added to their total payroll and that is a dollar-for-dollar penalty. The Cavs payroll is currently about $80.85 million — third in the NBA. The NBA's ''soft'' salary cap is $57.63 million and the luxury tax threshold is $67.865 million. That puts the current tax bill, the first-ever in franchise history, at a shade under $13 million.
''We are trying to build something here,'' Gilbert said. ''You pay $375 million for a franchise and then break even for a couple years. You can't start getting cheap now. It's a big commitment, but before we even look at money, we look at what is right basketball-wise first. If you do it money first, you may start getting (the front office) gun-shy even thinking of ideas.''