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Heat's Kelly Olynyk finds himself in middle of taxing situation

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

OAKLAND, Calif. -- No, this is not where Kelly Olynyk wanted to be, at the intersection of playing time, playoff hopes ... and the NBA's luxury tax.

And yet it is where the outside-shooting 7-footer stands as the Miami Heat head into the final two months of the regular season.

If Olynyk achieves his contract bonus for playing at least 1,700 minutes or the Heat make the playoffs, which is another Olynyk bonus clause, then the Heat are essentially locked into paying the luxury tax and being on the clock for the onerous repeater tax.

Should Olynyk not clock the targeted minutes and the Heat miss the playoffs, then there are contract machinations that could get the Heat under the tax, an NBA source with knowledge of the Heat situation confirmed to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

With the Heat still over the 2018-19 tax even in the wake of the trades of Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington at last week's deadline, the most feasible path to avoid the tax would be Olynyk missing out on his $1 million bonus for playing 1,700 minutes as well as his $400,000 bonus for the Heat making the playoffs.

"I didn't even know anything about that," Olynyk said. "But I guess I would be a part of it."

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Olynyk, who played a career-high 1,779 minutes last season, his first with the Heat, stood at 1,006 going into Sunday's game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. In order to reach the 1,700-minute bonus, it would require an average of 23.9 minutes if he appears in each of the season's remaining games.

"When you're not playing, you just want to play," Olynyk said of considering neither the financial impact to himself or the Heat, but rather the desire to contribute. "I guess when you're closer to it you start thinking about it.

"I don't even know where I'm at, honestly. So maybe when you're closer to it, you start thinking about it. But right now I'm just trying to play and get wins and keep in this playoff picture and try to solidify a spot."

Teams in the luxury tax four years in any five-year period have to pay an additional dollar in tax to the league for every dollar above the team tax payroll threshold, beyond the tax tiers already in place. The Heat, for example, currently are at a tier that requires a $1.50 additional payment for each dollar above the luxury tax.

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