Russell Westbrook is on the huge Oklahoma City Thunder payroll.
Russell Westbrook is on the huge Oklahoma City Thunder payroll.

NBA’s most expensive team ever

IT turns out $300 million doesn't stretch too far these days.

In the case of the 2018-19 Oklahoma City Thunder, that preposterous sum can't even buy you a spot in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

The Thunder's agreed to terms with Raymond Felton on Thursday morning to return to Oklahoma on a one-year, $2.4 million deal that reportedly has pushed their luxury tax bill (for player payments made above the soft cap) above the $150 million mark - unprecedented in the history of the league.

Including the $150 million NBA salary ceiling, the OKC will walk out for the start of the season with a combined value of $300m in an unmitigated disaster.

OKC were already the most expensive roster in the league before heading into this off-season, despite being knocked out in the first round of the western conference playoffs by Utah, in a series where Aussie Joe Ingles dominated his star-studded rivals.

The OKC earlier this week celebrated the news star Paul George had agreed to stay with the team on a four-year deal reportedly worth $137 million.

The news created widespread comedy relief for rival NBA teams in the middle of free agency madness. The 2018-19 OKC roster is the precautionary tale no team wants to find itself in.

News of the tax bill bungle resulted in widespread speculation the Thunder will have to jettison at least one star to try and remain viable this season.

Many commentators looked straight at former New York star Carmelo Anthony's $27.9 million annual salary as the solution to the crisis.

Anthony earlier this season activated the final year on his multi-season deal with the Thunder, but he remains the best option for any salary sacrifice initiatives the Thunder undertake.

According to reports, the OKC can save $116 million in luxury tax payments by buying out Anthony's deal and then stretching the rest of his $2018-19 salary across multiple years, by allowing him to leave.

Anthony is well within his rights to reject the move unless he is able to find a new home on his terms.

Despite the team's historically bad salary cap situation, the Thunder appear to be healthy-ish on the court.

Healthy enough, at least, for George to reportedly knock back the opportunity of joining superstar LeBron James at the Los Angeles Lakers.

George was captured on video at a party at teammate Russell Westbrook's home last week saying he would stay in Oklahoma City

"I'm here to stay," George said in the posting by a reporter for "The Franchise" radio station.

George later posted a photo of himself with Westbook on Instagram with the caption "Unfinished Business" and the Thunder tweeted that general manager Sam Presti "intends" to sign George.

- with AFP