Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has no problem paying his players. His GM, on the other hand …

Dan Gilbert is trying to be thrifty in a suddenly big-spending NBA. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

The Cleveland Cavaliers spent $121 million on player salaries last season plus another $45 million on luxury taxes for exceeding the salary cap. That first number won’t change drastically in 2017-18, while the second is going to skyrocket: As noted by SB Nation’s Tom Ziller, Cleveland is almost certainly going to trigger the NBA’s repeater tax next season and in 2018-19 — in this case, a 44 percent penalty — because it will have exceeded the salary cap in three out of four seasons.

So Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is looking for ways to save pennies here and there, but the area in which he seems to be cutting corners — the team’s personnel department — is kind of important in building and maintaining a championship-caliber roster.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc J. Spears, Gilbert tried to hire Chauncey Billups on the cheap this summer, at first offering the former NBA player $1.5 million per year to be his new president of basketball operations and then $2 million when Billups balked at the first number. Billups, whom the ESPN scribes say is “considered around the league as a future front-office star,” turned

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