2007_04_knicks2.jpgFilling the "It's so ridiculous," "It's true" and "You certainly didn't get what you paid for" categories is news that the combined salary for the New York Knickerbockers for the 2006-07 season was a whopping $139,381,526. While the astronomical payroll of the Knicks isn't new news, it's always fun to look at the payrolls of teams that didn't make the NBA Playoffs.

Problem number 1 is right at the top of the list - Allan Houston at $20,718,750. Ahh, nothing like signing players to maximum contracts that you can't unload and having them retire midway though. Thankfully for Knicks fans, Houston's no longer on the team's payroll next year. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they still have Isiah Thomas as the general manager.

Thomas' bad habit of acquiring expensive players in their twilight means you can never know when he'll pull the trigger to further add to the payroll. Previous such acquisitions include Jalen Rose ($16,901,500 for 06-07), Maurice Taylor ($9,750,000 for 06-07), and Shandon Anderson ($8,500,000 for 06-07). Thankfully, Rose, Taylor, and Anderson's contracts are over now. Too bad Thomas also saddled the Knicks with Steve Francis, who is guaranteed over $33 million for the next two years. At this point, the Knicks will save over $60 million next year, but they are still well over next season's salary cap. And they don't have the lottery pick they earned in the NBA Draft with their craptastic record.

Looking at some of the teams still in the NBA Playoffs, you can see that salaries don't have to be insanely high to be a winner. Just across the river, the Nets spend under $65 million. In Detroit, the Pistons are just over $58 million and the spendy Dallas Mavericks have a payroll short of $93 million. Jim Dolan's $139 million netted him 33 wins. Feel free to do the math on the cost per win.

Photograph of Steve Francis in a scramble with Bobcat Gerald Wallace by Rick Havner/AP