NBA Contracts On The Rise

Mahtab Shihab By Mahtab Shihab, 19th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Basketball

This past offseason, countless players have been given lofty, seemingly undeserving contracts. These new contracts might look exorbitant today, but will be bargains as the new salary cap approaches.

Overpaid Today, Underpaid Tommorrow

A common trend throughout the NBA offseason has been the distribution of max contracts to players who seem undeserving of such money. Does Wesley Mathews, a three and D specialist, really warrant a 4 year, 70 million dollar deal from the Dallas Mavericks? Reggie Jackson, averaging a mere 9.8 points for his career, doesn't appear to be worth the 5 year, 80 million dollar deal he's getting, a contract that rivals the likes of John Wall, a proven two time all star. Nowadays, just being a valuable player in the rotation seemingly guarantees a surplus of 60 million dollars.file

In previous years, the max deals given out to players such as Paul Milsap, Draymond Green, and Deandre Jordan would seem laughable. Now as the league looks beyond the straightforward offensive statistics of points, assists, and rebounds, players such as the ones mentioned above, are valued at a much steeper price for their contributions on both ends of the floor.

With the arrival of new TV money, the salary cap is expected to grow and reach new heights in the upcoming offseasons, encouraging owners and team executives to overspend now in order to save later.

A rebounding specialist worth about 10-12 million dollars, might be demanding over 15 million dollars a year by 2017. Mike Dunleavy, a sharpshooting specialist, only got paid a 3 year, 14.4 million dollar deal, per SB Nation. His abilities to space the floor could command over 10 million dollars a year within the next two offseasons. Three and d players like Demarre Carroll getting paid 15 million dollars a year seems ill-advised now as it takes up over 20% of a team's cap space. In two years, however, when the cap rises to 108 million dollars, his contract will seem like a bargain as it'll only take up 13% of the available cap space.

You get the point. Contributing role players and lower-tier stars are getting paid seemingly unwarranted amounts of money, but within the next few years, these deals will look like steals.

As much as the 2015 offseason assumes to be about overpaying undeserving players, in reality, it's been all about the superstars trying to cash in on that new TV money. Both Dwayne Wade and Lebron James, inked one year contracts in order to take advantage of the rising salary cap. Even Jimmy Butler thought about betting on himself again, and sign a one year contract with the Lakers. Ultimately, that didn't come into fruition because it's hard to turn down a guaranteed 95 million dollars.

Teams have become aware of the incredulous amounts of money that superstars might garner in the upcoming years, and have therefore handed out absurdly large amounts of money to retain their talent. Cleveland paid Kevin Love 110 million dollars, far too high for a third option. Nevertheless, teams would pay far more for a player of his talent with an increased salary cap. Marc Gasol (assuming he continues to play at an all star level), is worth more than the 21% of the cap space that'll be used on him in 2017.

The upcoming TV deal is why a one-dimensional player like Damian Lillard, who's near his peak considering his age, garnered a 5 year, 125 million dollar deal. He'll still likely be overpaid when the salary cap grows, but as the face of the franchise, the deal will be more than justifiable.

The team that took most advantage of this TV deal, was the Pelicans. His NBA record-high 145 million dollar deal was a bargain. Had he gone into free agency a year later, he would've gained millions more. Likewise, it would be preposterous to turn down such a gargantuan deal. Essentially, this was a win-win situation in which both parties came out highly content.

Therefore, superstar contracts worth upwards of 110 million dollars won't seem like outliers anymore and instead could become more of the norm. Even Carmelo Anthony's contract could look justifiable.

Thus, NBA teams are gearing up for increased salary cap an offseason beforehand. By overpaying players now, teams will have considerably more to spend in the next two years. It allows for teams to have the cap space necessary to acquire the bevy of superstars that will hit the open market in both the 2016 and 2017 offseason. Players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Al Horford, Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose will all be available.

Nearly every team will have available cap space to sign a max contract player. This means every team in the league will be in contention for these superstars. Teams such as the Knicks or Sixers could expedite their rebuilds and return to relevancy while others such as the Mavericks could finally turn themselves into a title contender. As a result, the 2015 offseason is a precursor to the ensuing chaos that'll occur in the upcoming seasons.


Basketball, Nba, Salary Cap

Meet the author

author avatar Mahtab Shihab
I'm a sports fanatic with a profound passion for basketball and football. I have my own blog in which I offer my insight on the NBA's issues. Follow it at

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Aug 2015 (#)

Not only in basketball, other sports too have also upped the ante in terms of paying astronomical sums to top players.

Looks like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs! siva

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