Report: Lakers, Celtics, Heat Lead NBA, Among ‘Smartest Spenders’ In Sports

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In most cases in the NBA, it appears you do get what you pay for.

And if you spend wisely, according to a study, you should find yourself in elite company in the standings. The top three NBA teams in’s second annual Smartest Spenders in Sports poll are the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and reigning world champion Miami Heat.

They used a complex matrix of data to rank all 122 teams in the four major pro sports (NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB) in terms of how they spend their money:

We’ve used payroll data (from USA Today,, NBC Sports, and to calculate how much teams spent per win over the last five seasons. (For baseball, we also include the first half of the current season.) We then compared every team against league average, producing a total score we call the efficiency index. The median score for every league is zero. The lower the score, the less a team spent for its wins.

This year, we’ve added bonuses for the victories that matter most: wins above .500, playoff wins, and championships. Our scale counts regular season wins once, with a half-win bonus for every win over .500. Playoff wins count for 10 percent of a season; championships for half a season. In their Super Bowl winning season in 2011, for instance, the New York Giants got credit for 9 regular season wins, plus a .5 game bonus for their ninth win—the one that put them above .500. Their 4 playoff wins earned them 6.4 more wins. And the Super Bowl victory 8 more, for a total of 23.9 “weighted” wins.

You’ll have to play around with the chart and unclick a few boxes to narrow it down to just the NBA teams. The NBA’s top three teams rank among the top 13 overall, with the Lakers at No. 5, the Celtics at No. 7 and the Heat at No. 13. The Magic (15), Spurs (16) and Thunder (19) also ranked among the top 20 overall.

But you should check it out for yourself, (click here) it’s worth the time to find out exactly where your favorite team fits on this list.

Seeing the elite teams at the top of the index wasn’t terribly surprising; the Magic, Spurs, Thunder, Mavericks, Hawks, Nuggets and Bulls — all playoff teams last season — round out the top 10. Like we said, you tend to get what you pay for in professional sports.

What was a bit surprising was the lottery teams — Cavaliers, Suns, Hornets, Rockets, Trail Blazers and Pistons — that landed in the second group of 10. This might not be the clearest indicator of teams that could be on the rise in coming seasons, but it could certainly be a good place to start.


  1. King James says:

    Lalala Lakers are the best team in the World? (Of Console!) This I agree! We have to see some chemistry first on this team before the LAKFANS keep on bragging about winning. Dont Forget as that Miami Heat is the reigning NBA Champ with Lebron,DWade & Bosh! Kobe and the rest of his gangs must proved it first that they are capable of winning or they will be doomed this season!

  2. juzray says:

    Damn Best comment of the year!!!!! hahahahaha

  3. planetk2 says:

    Lakers GOING DOWN!! Their Starting Lineup

  4. bball_fan822 says:

    “This might not be the clearest indicator of teams that could be on the rise in coming seasons, but it could certainly be a good place to start.”

    Uhh…pretty sure a big part of why the Cavs are 11th is because of the years they had LeBron; the rankings are based on averages over the past 5 years, and the Cavs had LBJ for 3 out of the last 5 years, which is why their average “Wins over 500” and “Playoff Wins” are higher than most teams.

    Also, if this were based on averages over the last, say, 2 years, I’d expect OKC to be number 1. The fact that the Lakers have won 2 championships in the last 5 years vaults them to the top spot, but again, if this were looking at only the last 2 years, I don’t think they’d even make the top 3 (not trying to be a Laker hater, just throwing it out there).

  5. perkele says:

    In what world are the Spurs not #1 on this list? 4 NBA Championships since ’99, whilst being a much smaller market than the other most successful teams in and around the same period and consistently winning their division with 50+ win seasons.

    Genuinely baffles me as to how they aren’t top.

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      remember the complex matrix weighted geometric rectum filling wins formula that clearly means sweet F A in the real world.

  6. jcb381 says:


  7. I am a HUGE Boston Celtics fan, so I definitely agree that my team spends wisely!!! I was ticked about Ray Allen leaving and going to the stupid Heat, but am very happy that they got Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to replace him!!! Since the Lakers are my Celtics’ rivals, I cannot stand them, so I hate seeing Dwight Howard, and especially Steve Nash, joining them!!! I am confident in my Celtics and believe they have a great chance to win this year!!! GO CELTICS!!!

  8. Pedro says:

    PPL should check the data before write nonsense. OKC is the smartest spender, 20mil below the Lakers payroll and a WCF championship last year. The lakers make top of the list mainly because of 09′ and 10′.

  9. Bermir says:

    The Miami Heat are not the reigning world champions. They are the reigning champions of the US (and Toronto).

  10. esbp says:

    “complex matrix of data”

    Complex doesn’t mean reliable or does it ?

  11. Liam says:

    The problems with Boston is that they aren’t a high market team which makes their feat even more impressive

  12. Heix says:

    How can you say that the Lakers spent wisely? If you pay 20-30 million more to your players than your closest competitors, how’s that smart. If Heat, Celtics, Spurs or Thunder (and there are more) add players worth that difference, they would beat the Lakers. Talk about smart spending again…

  13. Coach Dee says:

    I still can’t believe a franchise is on top for spending wisely for THE MOST OVERRATED PLAYER ALL-TIME. -And could only get HALF-A-RING.

  14. Jeffrey says:

    Aquiring Steve Nash, Dwight Howard. and you have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, i think thats enough to prove they spend more wiser. Allstar they have. now they are a championship competitor. The Heat, also wise, they have 3pointers (a LOT) but lack of Center and Forward. still they can secure their championship ring. We will know all the result when the game started. go LAKERS! 🙂

    • Belizeboy says:

      This data was based on the past five seasons so it has nothing to do with aquiring Nash and Howard. Besides if they don’t work out then it won’t look so good right?

    • vinheat says:

      What? Heat luck of center??????,want ask you dude? who got the championship ring last season?

  15. @The Facts says:

    dream on bandwagoner LOL

  16. Alessio says:

    Lakers babe!!!

    2013 Champions!

  17. Yeah, you would be a smart spender if you have Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Kobe and Nash on your team….the heat…not so much…they dont have a center so I dont think id call that smart, the only reason they won a championship is because LeCrab carried his team

    • tyrone says:

      Yeah its because Pat Riley is doing is whole ‘preparation’ trick the method he used to get Lebron, Wade and Bosh back. He’s saving cash right now. Lakers are smart and most sucessful, but Boston could compete by making quick replacements when Allen left by signing JET, and Lee. That’s smart.

      • FUTURE says:

        yeah but LeBron is the best player in the world he can make anything happen.

        L.A, well… I dunno on paper very scary but I feel like its to good to be true and the play will reflect. Kobe Still gonna take atleast 20 shots a game.

        lets wait n see

      • tom says:

        LBJ can make anything happen? hahahahaha
        wat happen to the 2010-2011 season? yea i know he play well last year but u cant just forget what happen before.
        the Lakers line up look like an allstar lineup except mwp but who know wat they will do or what will happen next year. all i want to see is LA vs Miami in the final. Kobe/Nash/DH12/Gasol vs Wade/James/Bosh look like it gonna be a good finals. of course LA have to go through OKC and Spurs. and Miami have to go through Boston, phili and Maybe Nets/Knick/Indi those team can give Miami a lot of challenge. Especially Boston phili and pacer, they all have good center which Miami lacking of. But hey who know anything can happen let just wait and see. Let go LA. Let the show began.

      • Belizeboy says:

        Tom you’re talking about what happened last year with Miami, but don’t want to talk about what happened the last time the Lakers had All-Star lineup like this.

        The LBJ can make anything happen is a bit overzealous though.

  18. Will says:

    The Spurs should be number one when discussing the NBA’s smartest spenders. They can never compete with Los Angeles, Miami or Boston on a financial scale, yet continue to find quality players via draft picks, free agency and trades. Other then the Lakers, San Antonio is the most successful NBA franchise of the last decade.

  19. Peter says:

    The Magic at 15?

    Rashard Lewis, Gilbet Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu…?

    Perhaps “smartest spenders” is not the best title for this statistic!

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      Remember Its over the last 5 years… 09 Finals counts for a few complex matrix weighted geometric rectum filling wins

  20. Laker Nation says:

    Welcome to the Lakers Steve and Dwight!

    Big 5

    Pg: Steve Nash

    Sg: Kobe Bryant

    Sf: Metta World Peace

    Pf: Pau Gasol

    C: Dwight Howard

    Bench: Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison, Chris Duhon, Jodie Meeks, Devin Ebanks, and Earl Clark

    2012-2014 NBA CHAMPIONS #BeatTheHEAT #BeatOKC

    • Laker Nation says:

      First comment

    • One of the king's subjects says:

      Laker Nation, you can keep posting the same lineup until the end of this season. It won’t change the fact that Nash is old and can’t play defense. World Peace is washed up. Gasol is soft. Howard and Kobe are great players, but in order for them to win, they have to push aside their egos, which will be hard for Howard, and Kobe is not going to want any of it. Plus their bench are just a bunch of scrubs, who are past their prime or they can’t playthe level of championship basketball.

      Miami has the best player today: Lebron James , I doubt the Lakers are a threat to the king and company.

      Miami Heat are going to repeat this year.

  21. bobby z says:

    Kupchek got the booby prize.

  22. Regular fan says:

    Why does everyone predicts what happens before it happen? I know you can be a fan and want your team to win but how do any of you guarantee what is going to happen. The heat might repeat, the lakers might win it, the thunder will take, maybe a team will go ’04 pistons we will never know. Just watch the season unfold and then make a prediction.

  23. The facts says:

    I am going to keep it short and to the point. Lebron will win his 2nd ring, no one can guard him at all. I don’t know about MVP, but the king will get his 2nd ring.

    • uwa says:

      I do agree that lebron plays much better now. however, I am not so sure they can win over lakers. miami has, wade, lebron and not so efficient bosh, I think Lakers are a better team now. we have to wait and see though..

      • YoYo says:

        How are they a better team? They never played along side each others as a team, you could say they have more talents but better team they are NOT, unlike them Miami have been thru it all and won a championship together so idk how you can call the Lakers a better team then the NBA champion…

    • G-money says:

      I’d be willing to take that bet. I’ll be laughing all the way to the bank on that one.

  24. AK says:

    what? bobcats are 23rd in nba?