Roos, but you can't ignore that the Lakers are most profitable when bringing in namers.
It explains the premature Kobe extension....it explains why they wanted CP3, then Nash and Dwight while retaining Pau, right before the channel became available (recall the "Demand your Lakers" campaign in TWC inaugural season?)
First of all, with the Lakers clearing cap this summer, they're going to be essentially low tax payers from here on out, unless they use their own free agents to balloon over the tax apron. Signing other teams' free agents is obviously going to be our primary means of attack moving forward. So I'm sorry, but I don't see the Stephenson and Monroe route....I'm thinking LA wants those names. If Melo and Bron are off this summer, then they're looking at 2015, then 2016 and so on just to bring marquee names in.
They are more profitable the longer that cable deal sticks around. I'm not sure if TWC has an out in that contract, but in order for LA to make sure that contract remains intact, they'll do whatever it takes to increase the ratings...and seeing how they dealt with Kobe earlier this season, I'm sure that's the route they will pursue.
If that means a 30-40M tax hit...so be it. They know that is worth the trade off when those Neilsen ratings come in.
As for the estate tax:
Buss was never afraid to spend money to attract stars. The Lakers have the NBA’s highest payroll this season, $99 million, for the fourth straight year. Buss could afford it. The Lakers operating profit averaged $37 million a year the past 10 years, which is second best in the NBA behind the Bulls.
The Lakers are in a huge transition period with Buss’ death. Buss was the longest-tenured NBA owner (a post now held by Clippers owner Donald Sterling). Buss was a regular at Lakers games, but he did not attend a game this year as his health deteriorated. Two of his kids, Jeanie and Jim, have been running the franchises with Jim focused on the player side and Jeanie concentrating on business. AEG, which owns a 27% stake in the Lakers, put itself up for sale last year.
Buss’ estate faces a massive tax bill with the soaring value of the Lakers, as he owned two-thirds of the billion-dollar franchise. The Lakers are expected to stay in the family thanks to its massive $3.6 billion television deal with Time Warner Cable, which kicked off this season. The 20-year deal includes a 5-year option that is expected to bring the total value to $5 billion.
If the Buss family needs to raise money to pay estate taxes, they have a benefactor in their backyard. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the richest man in L.A., bought a 5% stake in the Lakers from Magic Johnson in 2010 and could easily afford a bigger stake if the Buss family wants to raise any cash.
Choosing a successor for a business is an important step, but there are many more steps that may be necessary to help keep a large family business in the family. One of the main obstacles is to avoid estate taxes upon the death of the principle owner that could be as much as 40% after the first $5,250,000 in 2013, the year that Buss died. Without planning, a large tax bill could force a sale of a business or a sports franchise to make sure that it is paid. Strategies such as trusts and insurance to cover estate taxes could prevent the need to sell the business and make sure that it remains in the family. You do not have to be the owner of an NBA team to have a business as part of a taxable estate as many successful small businesses can cross the ever changing threshold of estate taxes. it is important to come up with a business succession plan with an estate planning attorney and possibly a CPA to make sure that a goal such as Jerry Buss had to keep the team in the family can become a reality.