Quick Spots

 

NBA teams have signed nearly 200 players to new contracts totaling over $4 billion in new money. While that seems like a staggering figure, it’s important to note that the NBA business is as healthy as it’s ever been.

The NBA and NBPA navigated through three pandemic-impacted seasons and have come out of them better than anyone expected. The cap rose from $112.1 million for 2021-22 to $123.6 million for 2022-23.

The cap projects to continue that upward momentum. The conservative projection for 2023-24 is $133 million, with the luxury tax line set at $161 million. By as soon as the 2025-26 season, it won’t be a surprise if the cap is over $150 million.

But that’s something to look at down the line. Even though the 2022-23 season hasn’t tipped off yet, several teams are clearly preparing for the 2023 offseason already. We’re using the conservative cap projection of $133 million as we take our first look at what the landscape might look like in the summer of 2023.

(Note: 2023 standings projections have been used here to determine 2023 NBA Draft selections and their corresponding cap holds. Projections on options, guarantees and renouncements have also been made. No trades have been projected for any teams.)

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Houston Rockets - $70.1 million
  2. Detroit Pistons - $62.9 million
  3. Indiana Pacers - $53.1 million
  4. San Antonio Spurs - $46.3 million
  5. Utah Jazz - $33.4 million
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder - $32 million
  7. Orlando Magic - $31.7 million
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers - $25.1 million
  9. Memphis Grizzlies - $19.8 million
  10. Charlotte Hornets - $19.7 million
  11. Los Angeles Lakers - $19.1 million

11 teams project to have cap space in the summer of 2023. There’s a good chance a few others could join them too. And, of course, a few teams above could drop off this list as they continue to make roster moves.

The Rockets are looking at hitting the summer of 2023 with seven players on rookie scale contracts, Jae’Sean Tate on a team-friendly deal and another top-five draft pick. Even if Kevin Porter signs an extension, Houston will be in the mix for the most cap space in the league.

The Pistons are in a very similar boat. Six players on rookie scale deals, Marvin Bagley on a fully guaranteed deal and a likely top-10 pick. Detroit feels slightly more ready to take the next step than the Rockets (but only slightly!). That means that after a few years of collecting assets and renting out their cap space, Detroit could be a real player in free agency in 2023.

The Pacers are still sorting through their rebuild. They shipped Malcolm Brogdon off already and could do the same with Myles Turner too. That would leave Indiana without a lot of long-term salary obligations. That could make for a very quick retool of their roster, as opposed to a multi-year rebuild.

San Antonio is tearing things down almost fully. They signed Keldon Johnson to a very fair value extension. They’ve got Doug McDermott on the final year of his three-year deal at $13.75 million. Beyond that it’s basically all rookie deals. The Spurs are tanking, which has historically worked out well for them. The last two times they took this approach they ended up with David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Is Victor Wembanyama next?

Utah is in the same boat as the Spurs. This projection doesn’t factor in Donovan Mitchell being traded, but that seems likely to happen. In that case, the Jazz could be up near Rockets/Pistons territory as far as cap space goes. Cap flexibility, a ton of draft picks and some interesting young players? Sounds like a Danny Ainge rebuild is well underway in Utah.

Oklahoma City and Orlando are in the same boat. Great young talent, a few key players signed long-term and a ton of cap flexibility. They’re both on their way back up.

The final four teams are swing teams. If Cleveland re-signs Collin Sexton, they probably drop out of the cap space running. They can then stay over the cap and re-sign some key players. If they don’t re-sign Sexton, or he takes the qualifying offer, the Cavs are probably in the running to push for max cap space with another salary-clearing move.

The Grizzlies have a lot of different ways they can go, same with the Hornets. Memphis is clearly well ahead of Charlotte, because they have Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr and Desmond Bane, who are better than LaMelo Ball and question marks. But both teams could be players in 2023 free agency to add pieces around their young stars.

You might be surprised to see the Lakers land here, but with Russell Westbrook coming off the books, LA is in position to add around LeBron James (this projection reflects him either re-signing or his cap hold being retained) and Anthony Davis. There’s not much else on the books for the Lakers. If they trade Westbrook for a player signed long-term, or for a player they project to re-sign for big money, they’ll be right back in the same boat as the last couple of seasons with the Taxpayer MLE and minimums to fill out the roster.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Brooklyn Nets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Sacramento Kings

Cap flexibility is a bit of a division between haves and have-nots in the summer of 2023. That’s reflected by just these four teams looking like they’ll have the Non-Taxpayer MLE to use.

Brooklyn is obviously in a weird spot with the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If both are gone, the Nets could even end up a cap space team next summer. For now, we’re going to put them here in the middle and, like everyone else, impatiently wait to see how their roster comes together.

The Bulls, Wolves and Kings are all swing teams. If they choose to move on from some of their veterans (Nikola Vucevic, D’Angelo Russell and Harrison Barnes), then they could all be cap space teams. If they retain their rights to re-sign them, or move them in deals to bring in other players, they’ll be over the cap. But all could still be far enough under the tax to use the full MLE.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Golden State Warriors
  6. LA Clippers
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Milwaukee Bucks
  9. New Orleans Pelicans
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Portland Trail Blazers
  14. Toronto Raptors
  15. Washington Wizards

This is a pretty huge group of teams dancing around the luxury tax line. The thing all of these teams have in common is that they’re already locked in to the core of their rosters for at least the next two seasons.

Many of these teams have re-signed players to max or near-max deals in recent years. A few have pending free agents who will be pushing for a max deal next offseason. And a handful are already all but guaranteed to be over the tax.

Of this group, the teams that could end up with a bit more cap flexibility are Dallas, Portland, Toronto and Washington.

The Mavericks have a few key free agents, plus a couple of players on partially guaranteed contracts they could move on from. If so, they’d free up some space to make moves around Luka Doncic.

The Trail Blazers are only going to be flexible if they let Jerami Grant walk. That seems unlikely to happen, unless Portland draws a hard line at what they’ll extend Grant for. They’ll probably be right around the tax.

Toronto could potentially put themselves in position to have cap space, but that would mean moving on from Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. It’s more likely they’ll have those guys back, of have moved them in a trade, and that means the Raptors will be working around the tax line.

Washington has Bradley Beal on his massive new deal, but that’s really their only substantial long-term money. Their summer really hinges on what happens with Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. If either re-signs for big money, the Wizards will be up against the tax.

NBA

As we do each year when free agency winds down, we’re going to cover the 10 worst value contracts teams signed this offseason. Full disclosure: In the opposite of the 10 Best Free Agent and Extension Values, it’s getting harder and harder to find 10 bad or even questionable contracts. More and more it trends towards a “Kind of get it, but don’t like it” thought vs a truly bad deal.

A few notes:

  • Unlike the Best Values, you will see max contracts and max extensions here. Some of them are just sort of mind-boggling in terms of committed salary.
  • No 2022 Rookie Scale signees will appear here. Even if we think the pick was bad, the contract is what it is with Rookie Scale deals.
  • This isn’t necessarily a “worst contracts” list. That’s a different thing. We’re also limiting this to signings made during the 2022 offseason only.

Got it? On to the list!

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Minnesota trading for Rudy Gobert: We’re already breaking the rules! This isn’t a signing of any sort, but that’s how few bad deals there were this summer. Instead, we’re covering a trade!

It’s not that the Gobert trade was really bad, especially not for this upcoming season. It was just…a lot. Five players and essentially five picks went to Utah for Gobert. A 10-for-1 deal! The Timberwolves have to hope this leads to multiple playoff appearances at least, and Finals contention at most. Otherwise, what was it all for?

  • Detroit trading for Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel: The Pistons eating contracts is a great use of their cap space. Especially ones that are effectively one-year deals. But Detroit only got two second-round picks in this deal. Why is that a bad return for renting out some cap space? The Knicks HAD to do this trade to clear the cap space to sign Jalen Brunson. The Pistons should have squeezed them for more draft capital.

 

On to the 10 Worst Free Agent Values of the 2022 Offseason!

  1. Marvin Bagley III – Detroit Pistons – three years, $37.5 million: 

Who were the Pistons bidding against here? This deal came together so quickly, that it seems like the conversation was one proposal by one side and an immediate accept from the other. Bagley played pretty good in Detroit. He may end up being a fine value at $12.5 million for each of the next three seasons. But he would have been even better value at $8-10 million for each of the next three seasons.

 

  1. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers – two-year, $121.8 million extension: 

We’re going to hit a couple of veterans in similar boats here. Lillard gets the first nod because of the staggering amount of money this extension is for. $61 million-plus for two seasons? His age-35 and age-36 seasons no less. It’s highly respectable that Lillard wants to make it work in Portland. And, yes, the cap is going to go way up. But this deal is linked to that rise to at least some extent. It’s just staggering to think of a small guard, who has already had several injury issues, making more than $60 million at Lillard’s age in the 2026-27 season.

 

  1. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards – five years, $251 million: 

This one is about the money and the extras that Beal got. He now has the NBA’s only true, negotiated no-trade clause. He also has a player option on Year 5 of his new deal. Oh, and he’ll make $50 million per year too, topping out at $57 million in Year 5. This deal runs through Beal’s age-33 season. Like Lillard, it’s respectable he wants to win in Washington. And the Wizards were a little caught here, because Beal is their franchise guy. But the money wasn’t enough? Why include the no-trade clause too?

 

  1. Anfernee Simons – Portland Trail Blazers – four years, $100 million: 

To start off with, Simons is a terrific and improving young player. He’s also still relatively unproven. Committing $25 million per season, without any sort of team protection, is a lot. The Blazers also just split up their small, score-first backcourt. Now, they’re right back in the same spot. That makes this a bit of a questionable investment when you add it all up.

 

  1. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers – four years, $70 million: 

It’s apparently “pick on Portland” time here. But this Nurkic deal screams Bird Rights Trap more than any other this offseason. The Blazers had no other center on the roster. They couldn’t replace Nurkic for a similarly salaried player if he left. So, they re-signed him to a questionable contract. Prototypical Bird Rights Trap. If nothing else, this deal could (should?) have been a descending contract or the final year could (should?) have been partially guaranteed, if not fully non-guaranteed. It’s all just too much for a good, but not irreplaceable player.

 

  1. JaVale McGee – Dallas Mavericks – three years, $17.2 million: 

We’re at the “Why so much for that veteran?” portion of the list. The good news? Dallas ended up giving McGee about $3 million less than was originally reported. The bad news? It was still a three-year deal for a 34-year-old center on a team that didn’t really need a center all that badly. The worse news? This might push Christian Wood to the bench. That’s just weird, given Dallas just traded for Wood. The worst news? McGee has a $6 million player option the third year, which comes just as the Mavs books clear up considerably for another run at free agents.

 

  1. P.J. Tucker – Philadelphia 76ers – three years, $33 million: 

Tucker is a nice fit for Philadelphia, but a bit of an odd one. If he starts, Tobias Harris has to play the three. That kind of offsets Tucker’s impact defensively in the starting group. If he comes off the bench, Tucker isn’t really a perfect backup for Joel Embiid. And if Embiid misses time, the Sixers still need a real center to fill in for him. Finally, that $11.5 million player option in Year 3, when Tucker will be 40 years old already looks really bad.

 

  1. Dewayne Dedmon – Miami Heat – two-years, $9 million: 

This one isn’t bad as much as it is weird. Dedmon seems like a minimum salary big man at this point. The Heat couldn’t even play him by the end of their playoff run. Omer Yurtseven might already be better as a backup for Bam Adebayo. Even with a fully non-guaranteed second season, $4.7 million for this year is a lot for Dedmon. But (there’s always a but with Miami) the Heat were lacking midrange tradable contracts. That’s something to keep an eye on when we get to trade season.

 

  1. Mitchell Robinson – New York Knicks – four years, $60 million: 

The Knicks current front office has been great about smartly structuring contracts. Their deals generally include some level of team control on the final season, either a team option or a non-guaranteed year. Robinson’s deal has neither of those protections for New York. It is a descending deal, however, and the average salary is fine. The commitment is a bit odd though. Isaiah Hartenstein has less upside, but may be a more reliable player right now than Robinson. And New York made a decent-sized investment in signing Jericho Sims too. That’s a lot of money tied up in the center spot, even if none of it is truly bad money.

 

  1. Lu Dort – Oklahoma City Thunder – five years, $82.5 million: 

Dort’s deal isn’t actually bad. It’s just kind of long. The last time OKC committed this long of a deal to a non-max player, they ended up waiving and stretching Kyle Singler’s weird contract. Given that the Thunder have a team option on the final year, this is more like $16 million a year over four years. That looks better. But, even then, it’s starting to be a crowded roster in Oklahoma City. And Dort only just barely cracked 40% shooting last year. Will playing time be so easy to come by in Years 2-4 of this deal? If not, that’s a lot of money for a “No-3&D” backup wing.

 

Final Thought

As you can probably tell by the reluctant inclusions of Dewayne Dedmon, Mitchell Robinson and Lu Dort on this list, it’s getting harder and harder to find bad contracts in the NBA. Teams have been smarter about not committing major money to non-max players. At least in free agency. Most of the questionable money comes from overpaying to keep their own players.

In fact, eight of the 10 deals we picked were re-signings. And they came in all sorts of manners. Extensions, Bird Rights Trap and just plain odd valuations made up that group of eight questionable deals. NBA teams find it hard to let go, even when they probably should.

The real takeaway here: none of these deals are truly bad. They belong in the questionable category, if even that. It seems that the truly bad overpays are now reserved for trades (and that’s before we see what happens with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell), as opposed to signings and re-signings.

NBA Offseason

As we do each year when free agency winds down, we’re going to cover the 10 best value contracts teams signed this offseason. Full disclosure: It’s getting harder and harder to trim this list to just 10. Teams have gotten increasingly better about finding good value deals in recent years.

A few notes:

  • You won’t see any max contracts on here, nor max extensions. Even if you think it’s fair to pay a player $100 million per season, that’s not allowed. So, no matter how good it looks that teams got some players to ink max deals, they won’t show up here.
  • No 2022 Rookie Scale signees will appear here either. Like a max deal, it’s nearly impossible to do better than teams already do on these deals.
  • This isn’t necessarily a “best contracts” list. That’s a different thing. We’re also limiting this to signings made during the 2022 offseason only.

Got it? On to the list!

 

Honorable Mentions

  • Rookie Scale Extensions: We’re going to break a rule here, but just slightly. The New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers signing Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and Darius Garland to full max extensions would be breaking the “no max contracts” rule, but there’s a wrinkle. None of these guys have a player option on their fifth year. That’s a massive win for their teams and that’s why they are included here. They now have their stars for the next five years and that’s enormous for three rapidly improving small market franchises.
  • Otto Porter Jr. – Toronto Raptors: Porter’s deal is going to pay him just $6 million this season. But it’s functionally a one-year deal with Porter having a player option on Year 2. Great value, but it’s very short-term. That kept it off the list.
  • Bruce Brown Jr. – Denver Nuggets: Basically, the same situation as Porter. Getting Brown for the Taxpayer MLE of roughly $6.5 million is a terrific signing for the Denver Nuggets. But it’s also functionally a one-year deal, because Brown has a player option on Year 2.

 

On to the 10 Best Free Agent Values of the 2022 Offseason!

  1. James Harden – Philadelphia 76ers – reportedly two years, $68 million: 

The Sixers and Harden are reportedly putting the finishing touches on a deal worth roughly $68 million over two seasons. Yes, Year 2 will be a player option, but that’s all by design. Normally, a deal this short wouldn’t make the list, but Harden opted out $47.4 million to take considerably less from Philadelphia. He’ll then opt out next summer and go back up to a max or near-max deal. But it was that opt out this offseason that allowed the team to add P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. That’s basically three players for $50 million or so this season. That’s tremendous value for the Sixers.

 

  1. Keldon Johnson – San Antonio Spurs – reportedly four-year, $80 million extension: 

When news of this one first dropped, some responses were “How much?”, but Johnson is worth every penny. $20 million average annual value (AAV) for Johnson is actually a great deal for San Antonio. Johnson averaged 17 points on 13.5 field goal attempts per game last season on 47/40/76 shooting splits. Next year, Johnson will be the face of the Spurs. Don’t be surprised when he’s a breakout player and putting up over 20 points per game on solid efficiency.

 

  1. Kevon Looney – Golden State Warriors – three years, $25.5 million: 

Looney was just the starting center on a championship team. That alone would make you think a deal for the full Non-Taxpayer MLE starting around $10.5 million was coming for Looney. Instead, Golden State got him for three years and only $19.5 million guaranteed. Looney was one of only five players to appear in all 82 games last season. He’s a good rebounder and terrific defender. Getting him for under the MLE in AAV is tremendous value for the champs.

 

  1. Jae’Sean Tate – Houston Rockets – three years, $20.6 million: 

Tate played well enough that Houston re-signed him a year earlier than they needed to. That’s a huge win for Tate. On the Rockets side, they got great value here, as they are paying their best defender well under the MLE in AAV. And Houston has a team option on Year 3, which is also big for them. The Rockets have a roster stacked with young talent, and more picks on the way. Having flexibility to trade or get out of a deal is important. This is a true win-win contract.

 

  1. Tie: Cody Martin – Charlotte Hornets – four years, $31.4 million: 

It’s only fitting that the twins come in tied on our list. Cody gets the ever-so-slight nod, because his deal is really a three-year, $22.7 million contract, with a fully non-guaranteed fourth year. But that $7-8 million AAV for a good 3&D wing is terrific work by the Hornets.

 

  1. Tie: Caleb Martin – Miami Heat – three years, $20.4 million: 

Caleb Martin gets nudged slightly behind his brother, because he has a player option on Year 3. That could put the Heat in a tough spot in a couple of years. But Miami still got great value for the Taxpayer MLE amount for a player who should have played more in the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

  1. Gary Payton II – Portland Trail Blazers – three years, $26.1 million: 

Payton cashed in being a champion with the Golden State Warriors, but he also benefitted from the champs being a bit cost-conscience this summer. When the Warriors wouldn’t pay Payton, he headed north on a really solid contract for the Blazers. Year 3 is a player option, but for the next two years Portland gets an elite perimeter defender to put with a guard group that desperately needs a defender. Payton will fit in perfectly in the three-guard rotation with Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons. And if that 36% three-point shooting holds up, Portland will look even better here.

 

  1. Ricky Rubio – Cleveland Cavaliers – three years, $18.4 million: 

The Cavs did well to get Rubio back. He was playing great for them before tearing his ACL. Cleveland’s guard-play behind Darius Garland really fell apart after Rubio got hurt. That was a big part in the Cavaliers slipping in the standings. Rubio might not be ready to go until mid-season, but that’s fine. The Cavs will get a boost ahead of the trade deadline with an “acquisition” of sorts, just as Darius Garland might need his minutes dialed back a bit. And if Rubio can’t make it all the way back, or can’t hold up, the final year is only partially guaranteed, giving Cleveland an easy out.

 

  1. Ivica Zubac – LA Clippers – three-year, $32.8 million extension: 

The Clippers did well to get their starting center signed to a new deal before the league year changed over. Because LA was sort of an average team last season, many may have missed just how good Zubac was. He was a nightly double-double threat, while holding down the backline of the defense. And he did so in just 24 minute per game. Look for his playing time and stats to bump up slightly, which will be good news for this year’s Clippers as a title contender.

 

  1. Malik Monk – Sacramento Kings – two years, $19.4 million: 

This contract was a win for the Kings. Not only did a quality free agent choose Sacramento, but the Kings didn’t have to give him a player option on the second year. Sacramento needed perimeter shooting and bench scoring, and they got it in Monk for slightly less than the full Non-Taxpayer MLE. That’ll be huge as they build their roster around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis over the next two seasons.

 

  1. Isaiah Hartenstein – New York Knicks – two years, $16 million:

Hartenstein is really good. He might even be better than Mitchell Robinson, who the Knicks paid over twice as much over the next two seasons. No matter what, New York locked down 48 quality minutes of center-play for the next two seasons. In Hartenstein, the Knicks got a big man who can defend, rebound, pass and finish. Hartenstein is also showing signs of extending his range too. For less than the Non-Taxpayer MLE, that’s tremendous value.

NBA Offseason

Almost immediately after the Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Finals, the criticisms started. Their fourth title in eight years was called a “checkbook win”. There’s also been reporting that Joe Lacob’s fellow NBA governors are upset about the Warriors lavish spending.

To be fair, Golden State has outspent the rest of the NBA by a wide margin over the last half-decade or so. That’s a fact.

Last season, the Warriors were over $39 million over the luxury tax line. That amount, combined with the subsequent penalties for being so far over the tax, plus being a luxury tax repeater team, hit Golden State with a total tax bill of over $170 million.

The second-most expensive team in terms of total tax bill? The Brooklyn Nets at roughly $97.7 million. Third on the list were the LA Clippers at $83 million.

That’s $72 million to $87 million more than the next two most expensive teams in the NBA last season. Even more staggering? The Warriors paid far more in luxury taxes than the other four tax teams did combined. The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers combined to pay approximately $131.7 million in tax payments last season. That’s more than $38 million less than the Warriors.

The other 23 teams? No tax payments at all. They all got a check from the tax teams that totaled about $11 million per non-taxpaying team.

Even if you consider the Nets and Clippers to be within range of the Warriors, that still leaves 27 teams fighting to catch the champs in terms of spending. Thus, the bellyaching that Golden State is operating in a realm the rest of the NBA can’t hope to play in.

Boo hoo. Grab a tissue and wipe your tears while the world’s smallest violin plays a somber tune for your melancholy.

Yes, small market teams probably can’t spend what the Warriors are spending. That is true. The TV and metro markets of teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are a fraction of that of Golden State’s market. They’d have struggles keeping up that level of spending over a period of a few years, never mind over the bulk of a decade.

But the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz are in markets as small as the teams listed above and both were luxury tax teams last season. The “small market” Portland Trail Blazers have regularly been tax payers too.

Market size clearly doesn’t, and shouldn’t, dictate ownership’s willingness to pay the tax. When you have the right team, you pay for it. Compete for titles, and you get expensive. That’s just how it works in the NBA. Even the small-market-example-of-excellence Spurs regularly paid the tax when they were competing to win the Finals.

And that’s the real crux of this argument. Have the Golden State Warriors bought championships, à la the accusation often leveled at the George Steinbrenner-era New York Yankees?

No. Or, at least, not exactly.

Since the Warriors won their first title in 2016, they’ve paid the tax in five of eight seasons. In their four championship seasons, Golden State has only actually paid the tax in two of those years.

Now, this year’s tax bill got a bit out of control. But that’s come from years of spending starting to add up, as opposed to a one-year, or series of one-year, spending sprees. That’s one place where the comparisons to the Yankees fall apart.

The other place the Yankees comp comes up short? The Warriors aren’t building the bulk of their roster through free agent signings and trading for players other teams can no longer afford.

Here’s the Warriors roster from last season and how they acquired each player:

  • Nemanja Bjelica – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Stephen Curry – 2009 Draft
  • Draymond Green – 2012 Draft
  • Andre Iguodala – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Jonathan Kuminga – 2021 Draft
  • Damion Lee – 2018 Minimum Exception
  • Kevon Looney – 2015 Draft
  • Moses Moody – 2021 Draft
  • Gary Payton II – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Jordan Poole – 2019 Draft
  • Otto Porter Jr. – 2021 Minimum Exception
  • Klay Thompson – 2011 Draft
  • Juan Toscano-Anderson – 2020 Minimum Exception
  • Andrew Wiggins – 2020 Trade
  • James Wiseman 2020 Draft
  • Chris Chiozza – 2021 Two-Way
  • Quinndary Weatherspoon – 2021 Two-Way

Here’s how those acquisitions break down:

  • Draft – 8 players
  • Minimum Exception – 6 players
  • Two-Way – 2 players
  • Trade – 1 player

Outside of Andrew Wiggins, every player on the roster was acquirable by a means available to every other team. With eight players acquired via the draft, the Warriors are one of the more homegrown teams in the NBA. Funnily enough, the highest-drafted of those eight players, James Wiseman, didn’t even appear in a game last season.

Now, that homegrown talent has largely blossomed and they’ve signed very lucrative contract extensions, followed by second and third extensions by some of the players. That’s largely what pushes Golden State’s salary plus tax commitment into the stratosphere.

Yes, they acquired Wiggins through a chain of transactions that relates back to signing Kevin Durant as a free agent. But even that original Durant acquisition wasn’t about just overpaying and “buying” a title. That 2016 signing was aided by a cap spike and the vastly under-market deal of Stephen Curry at the time.

After his initial 1+1 deal, Durant opted out. He did the same thing one more time. In total, Durant signed three different deals with the Warriors to keep pushing his salary higher. But when Durant wanted to leave, Golden State didn’t just let him walk. They kept that salary slot alive by working a double sign-and-trade to acquire D’Angelo Russell.

About seven months later, Russell was flipped for Wiggins, and his then-seen-as toxic contract. Two-and-a-half seasons and a title later, opinions on Wiggins’ deal have softened or flipped entirely.

In total, the Warriors made one chained-together set of deals that turned Durant into Russell into Wiggins that was even remotely enabled by their ability to spend.

Beyond that Durant-Russell-Wiggins salary slot, of which you can find a similarly exorbitant deal on the books of almost every team in the NBA over the last decade, all the Warriors have done is paid to keep their own players, while largely filling out their roster with minimum signings.

Which begs the questions: Was Golden State supposed to let their own players leave? Are the Warriors to be faulted for drafting and developing, and then paying, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson? How about Jordan Poole when he’s next to sign a big new deal?

If the answer is no, then what’s the crying about? The name of the game, for all 30 NBA teams, is always “draft and develop” first. The Warriors have simply been better at that than most for a decade.

The next logical question becomes: Can, or could, any other team have continued to up their salary plus tax commitment over a long period to keep a title team together?

This one is a little more complicated. But outside of the situation where James Harden was traded from Oklahoma City to Houston, what title contender has ever failed to pay to keep an All-Star around? To go a bit further: what team, in general, has lost an All-Star in the last 20 years because of salary concerns?

Yes, that was answering a question with more questions. But the answer to number of All-Stars leaving because their teams wouldn’t pay them is exactly zero. 0. None. Nada. Nil. Zilch. When All-Stars have left teams, it’s been to try to win somewhere else, often at the cost of giving up salary by leaving.

In an era where there are often complaints about super teams and players jumping from team to team seemingly on a whim, Golden State Warriors has built a team of mostly homegrown players and they’ve won more than anyone else over the past decade.

Instead of complaining about the Warriors largesse and skyrocketing tax bills, maybe the fingers should be pointed in the other direction. Why aren’t more teams drafting and developing better? And then, if they do, why aren’t they able to keep those teams together?

The answers to those questions probably aren’t money-based. Those teams didn’t stay together because of other reasons, often driven by failures of the teams or the players on those teams to win enough to keep everyone happy and home.

In a league where every team is owned by billionaires, it’s true that the Golden State Warriors have outspent everyone else. Not because they are the only ones who can, but because they’re the only ones who have. And it’s because they’ve outplayed everyone else during that same period and kept their team together in an era where that rarely happens. That’s a combination that should be applauded and respected instead of abhorred and reviled.

NBA Golden State Warriors

Signing a free agent player to a Top-5 free agent contract in the NBA is no recipe for long-term stability with the team the player signs with. Of the 35 players that were signed over the last 7 free agency periods (Top-5 signed contracts per the last 7 years), 45% of those contracts had some kind of movement, trade or waived, before the contract expired. 40% of the contracts had been traded before the contract had expired, but when looking at the period of 2015-16 through 2018-19, a four-year span, that number goes up to 75%. Moreover, a few of the contracts (Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Otto Porter Jr.) had been traded two times within that signed contract.

 

Movement over the last 7 years (through June 26, 2022):

  • Players traded at least once within contract: 14 (40%)
  • Players extended before the end of the contract: 5 (14%)
  • Players waived at some point before contract expires: 2 (5%)



While the last three free agency periods have a majority of the players with the teams they signed, it is already been rumored that a few players are already on the trade block:

  • Tobias Harris (PHI) has been rumored numerous times over the last 12 months
  • Kevin Durant (BKN) is now mulling his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets
  • Anthony Davis (LAL) has been rumored of recent to possibly be traded
  • John Collins (ATL) has been rumored to potentially be traded before the new league year begins
  • Duncan Robinson (MIA) has come up in reports as to what to do with him and his contract moving forward

 

If the trend from 2015-16 through 2018-19 continues into the contracts signed from 2019-20 through 2021-22 where the players having been rumored to be traded becomes a reality, we’re talking about a around a 50-75% chance that a player who signs a Top-5 contract in a free agency period is likely to be moved at some point before the contract expires. If you are a fan of any of the top signed free agents moving forward, beware that that player is likely going to get moved at some point in the future - most likely Year 3 or Year 4 of that contract based on what has transpired in the past. 

 

2015-16 

Marc Gasol

Signed with: Memphis Grizzlies

Contract Signed: 5 year, $113,211,750 (AAV: $22,642,350)

What Happened? 

  • Traded in Year 4 to Toronto

 

Kevin Love

Signed with: Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $113,211,750 (AAV: $22,642,350)

What Happened?

  •  Signed a 4 year $120 million extension with Cleveland in Year 4

 

Kawhi Leonard

Signed with: San Antonio

Contract Signed: 5 year, $94,343,125 (AAV: $18,868,625)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Toronto in Year 4

 

Jimmy Butler

Signed with: Chicago Bulls

Contract Signed: 5 year, $92,339,878 (AAV: $18,467,976)

What Happened? 

  • Trade to Minnesota in Year 3 
  • Traded to Philadelphia in Year 4
  • Declined Player Option for Year 5 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

DeAndre Jordan

Signed with: LA Clippers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $87,616,050 (AAV: $21,904,013)

What Happened? 

  • Declined Player Option in Year 4 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

2016-17 

Mike Conley

Signed with: Memphis Grizzlies

Contract Signed: 5 year, $152,605,578 (AAV: $30,521,116)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Utah in Year 4

 

DeMar DeRozan

Signed with: Toronto Raptors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $139,000,000 (AAV: $27,800,000)

What Happened? 

  • Trade to San Antonio in Year 3

 

Bradley Beal

Signed with: Washington Wizards

Contract Signed: 5 year, $127,171,313 (AAV: $25,434,263)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 2 year extension with Washington going into Year 4 

 

Andre Drummond

Signed with: Detroit Pistons

Contract Signed:  5 year, $127,171,313 (AAV: $25,434,263)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Cleveland in Year 4
  • Waived via buyout by Cleveland in Year 5

 

Nicolas Batum

Signed with: Charlotte Hornets

Contract Signed: 5 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $24,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Exercised Player Option in Year 5
  • Waived and stretched by Charlotte 13 days after exercising Player Option



2017-18 

Stephen Curry

Signed with: Golden State Warriors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $201,158,790 (AAV: $40,231,758)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 4 year $215 million contract extension with Golden State going into Year 5

 

Blake Griffin

Signed with: Detroit Pistons

Contract Signed: 5 year, $171,174,820 (AAV: $34,234,964)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Detroit in Year 1
  • Waived via buyout in Year 3

 

Gordon Hayward

Signed with: Boston Celtics

Contract Signed: 4 year, $127,829,970 (AAV: $31,957,493)

What Happened? 

  • Declined Player Option in Year 4 to become an Unrestricted Free Agent

 

Jrue Holiday

Signed with: New Orleans Pelicans

Contract Signed:  5 year, $126,000,000 (AAV: $25,200,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Milwaukee in Year 4

 

Otto Porter Jr.

Signed with: Brooklyn Nets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $106,524,975 (AAV: $26,631,244)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Chicago in Year 2
  • Traded to Orlando in Year 4

 

2018-19 

Chris Paul

Signed with: Houston Rockets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $159,730,592 (AAV: $39,932,648)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Oklahoma City in Year 2
  • Traded to Phoenix in Year 3

 

LeBron James

Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $153,312,846 (AAV: $38,328,212)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 2 year contract extension with Los Angeles going into Year 3

 

Nikola Jokic

Signed with: Denver Nuggets

Contract Signed: 5 year, $147,710,050 (AAV: $29,542,010)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Denver Nuggets
  • Supermax extension eligible with Denver during 2022-23 offseason

 

Paul George

Signed with: Oklahoma City Thunder

Contract Signed: 4 year, $136,911,936 (AAV: $34,227,984)

What Happened? 

  • Traded with LA Clippers in Year 2

 

Aaron Gordon

Signed with: Orlando Magic

Contract Signed: 4 year $80,000,000 (AAV: $20,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Denver in Year 3
  • Signed a 4 year contract extension going into Year 4



2019-20 

Klay Thompson

Signed with: Golden State Warriors

Contract Signed: 5 year, $189,903,600 (AAV: $37,980,720)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Golden State

 

Tobias Harris

Signed with: Philadelphia 76ers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $180,000,000 (AAV: $36,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently With Philadelphia



Khris Middleton

Signed with: Milwaukee Bucks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $177,500,000 (AAV: $35,500,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Milwaukee

 

Kevin Durant

Signed with: Brooklyn Nets

Contract Signed: 4 year, $164,255,700 (AAV: $41,063,925)

What Happened? 

  • Signed a 4 year contract extension going into Year 3

 

Kristaps Porzingis

Signed with: Dallas Mavericks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $158,253,000 (AAV: $31,650,600)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Washington in Year 3

 

2020-21 

Anthony Davis

Signed with: Los Angeles Lakers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $189,903,600 (AAV: $37,980,720)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Los Angeles

 

Brandon Ingram

Signed with: New Orleans Pelicans

Contract Signed: 5 year, $158,253,000 (AAV: $31,650,600)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with New Orleans

 

Gordon Hayward

Signed with: Charlotte Hornets (via Sign-and-Trade with Boston)

Contract Signed: 4 year $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Charlotte

 

Fred VanVleet

Signed with: Toronto Raptors

Contract Signed: 4 year $85,000,000 (AAV: $21,250,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Toronto

 

Davis Bertans

Signed with: Washington Wizards

Contract Signed: 5 year, $80,000,000 (AAV: $16,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Traded to Dallas in Year 2

 

2021-22 

Kawhi Leonard

Signed with: LA Clippers

Contract Signed: 4 year, $176,265,152 (AAV: $44,066,288)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with LA Clippers
  • Missed all of Year 1 due to season-ending injury

 

John Collins

Signed with: Atlanta Hawks

Contract Signed: 5 year, $125,000,000 (AAV: $25,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Atlanta

 

Chris Paul

Signed with: Phoenix Suns

Contract Signed: 4 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Phoenix

 

Jarrett Allen

Signed with: Cleveland Cavaliers

Contract Signed: 5 year, $120,000,000 (AAV: $30,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Cleveland

 

Duncan Robinson

Signed with: Miami Heat

Contract Signed: 5 year, $90,000,000 (AAV: $18,000,000)

What Happened? 

  • Currently with Miami
NBA Free Agents

The 2022 NBA Draft is now behind us. There were 19 trades agreed to involving 2022 draft picks. These deals ranged from the big trades that sent Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks and Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers to smaller deals where draft picks were swapped.

Now that the draft has passed, we have a better idea of what this offseason landscape might look like.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.3 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.4 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands after the trade deadline:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $44.8 million
  2. San Antonio Spurs – $32.6 million
  3. Orlando Magic - $27.9 million
  4. Indiana Pacers - $25.6 million
  5. New York Knicks - $16.3 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. All five seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, these five will be in position to do the big spending in the offseason. The San Antonio Spurs bumped up this list after drafting two more shooting guards. That means the generally player-friendly Spurs will likely let Lonnie Walker IV hit the unrestricted market this summer, while also creating the second-most cap space in the league.

The Knicks are still looking to shed another salary or two to get into range to make a big offer to a point guard, likely Jalen Brunson. If they can move off one more $9-$17 million salary, New York will be major players in free agency this summer.

The Portland Trail Blazers were on this list prior to acquiring Jerami Grant at the draft. That acquisition, via the C.J. McCollum traded player exception, made it a virtual lock that Portland will operate as an over the cap team.

The Memphis Grizzlies are the lone real swing team this summer. If they were to lose Kyle Anderson and/or Tyus Jones, Memphis could pivot to having over $20 million cap space. That’s somewhat of a frightening thought for the rest of the NBA, as the Grizzlies could add to what is already a good, deep roster this summer.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Houston Rockets
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Miami Heat
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. Toronto Raptors
  9. Washington Wizards

This group of nine teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Memphis, Miami, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

The Heat could be choosing between a combination of using some of the Non-Taxpayer MLE to re-sign Caleb Martin, using Bird Rights to re-sign Victor Oladipo and re-signing P.J. Tucker via his Non-Bird Rights. But they should be able to create just enough room under the tax apron to do two. Maybe they can squeeze in all three, if everyone takes a bit of a cut. It’ll mean filling out the roster with minimums, but that’s where most title contenders are at anyway.

The Rockets are well within range of being able to use the full MLE this offseason. Houston isn’t really one MLE signing away from contending, so this will be a targeted signing to help shepherd the young roster.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group instead of the cap space group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they have three first-round draft picks to sign, and they’ve got over $28 million in dead money on the books. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC continues to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now. They are also getting really tight on roster spots.

The Trail Blazers can re-sign Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons and probably still squeeze in a full MLE signing too. If they’re serious about pushing back towards the playoffs, they’ll need to do all three.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players (assuming Bradley Beal returns to the Wizards). Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

 

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. New Orleans Pelicans

These four teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their wiggle room under the tax line.

The Cavs aren’t going to re-sign Collin Sexton to anything near a max deal, but if he gets somewhere between $15 and $20 million in first-year salary, they’ll be doing the same dance as Charlotte and Chicago.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 14 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space. The bigger challenge for the Pelicans is that they are getting really tight on roster spots.

 

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Milwaukee Bucks
  10. Philadelphia 76ers
  11. Phoenix Suns
  12. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some will shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 12 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.4 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

The teams to watch are the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. The Sixers have put themselves in range of being able to use the Non-Taxpayer MLE. A lot depends on what happens with James Harden and his player option or a new deal. If he plays ball, the Sixers can create a little more spending power.

The Suns are solely dependent on the Deandre Ayton situation. If he leaves with nothing coming back to Phoenix, they’ll have the full MLE and a big hole to fill at center. If it’s a sign-and-trade deal, the Suns will likely be limited to using the Taxpayer MLE to fill out their depth up front.

And, of course, there’s the circus in Brooklyn. For now, we’ll plug the Nets in here and assume that everyone decides to play nice and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stay put. If not, the Nets could end up just about anywhere on this list. It’ll be like pressing the reset button and basically starting all over in Brooklyn.

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

First round draft picks will be eligible to sign a rookie scale contract worth up to 120% of the determined rookie scale baseline or as low as 80% of the designated rookie scale baseline (which is very rare). 

 

Breakdown Details

  • Year 1 of the 120% Baseline scale will represent a Cap Hold immediately upon being drafted by a team. 
  • Years 1 and 2 are guaranteed upon signing.
  • Years 3 and 4 are guaranteed Club Options. Club Options must be exercised or declined by Oct 31st of the year preceding (i.e. if a Club Option is in 2024-25, a team must decide on that option by Oct 31, 2023). If a team does decline either option, that value will remain as a Cap Hold for that value’s year and the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.
  • If Years 3 and 4 options are both exercised, a team has the option to extend a Qualifying Offer making the player a Restricted Free Agent in the offseason following Year 4. Qualifying Offer amounts can be lower based on the amount of (or lack thereof) starts those players have over the last two years of the contract.

 

Logistic Details

  • Drafted players can be used in trades. However, their “value” in the trade would count for $0 as far as salary matching is concerned. 
  • Players cannot be traded for 30 days upon signing their rookie scale contract.

 

Example:

A key example of the last two bulleted items is with the 2014 NBA Draft when Andrew Wiggins was drafted #1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, which happened to be the year that LeBron James returned to Cleveland in Free Agency on July 12th. Andrew Wiggins had signed his rookie scale contract on July 24th and 30 days after that signing on July 23rd he was traded to Minnesota for Kevin Love as part of a three-team trade. 

Wiggins had to sign his rookie contract when he did and Cleveland had to wait the 30 days because they needed Wiggins’ first year salary to be a part of the salary matching process. Otherwise, Wiggins’ “value” to the trade would have accounted for $0 when matching all of the salaries for the salary matching rules. 



2022-23 120% of Rookie Scale Baseline

Pick

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Total

1

$10,907,040

$11,452,680

$11,997,960

$15,129,428

$49,487,108

2

$9,759,000

$10,246,800

$10,735,080

$13,547,671

$44,288,551

3

$8,763,720

$9,201,720

$9,640,200

$12,185,213

$39,790,853

4

$7,901,280

$8,296,560

$8,691,480

$10,994,722

$35,884,042

5

$7,155,240

$7,512,720

$7,870,560

$9,972,000

$32,510,520

6

$6,498,600

$6,823,320

$7,148,760

$9,064,628

$29,535,308

7

$5,932,440

$6,229,320

$6,525,360

$8,287,207

$26,974,327

8

$5,434,800

$5,706,600

$5,978,400

$7,604,525

$24,724,325

9

$4,995,840

$5,245,680

$5,495,520

$7,001,292

$22,738,332

10

$4,746,000

$4,983,480

$5,220,360

$6,655,959

$21,605,799

11

$4,508,640

$4,734,120

$4,959,720

$6,581,548

$20,784,028

12

$4,283,280

$4,497,720

$4,711,800

$6,492,860

$19,985,660

13

$4,069,200

$4,272,600

$4,475,880

$6,396,033

$19,213,713

14

$3,865,800

$4,059,000

$4,252,560

$6,298,041

$18,475,401

15

$3,672,120

$3,855,840

$4,039,320

$6,192,278

$17,759,558

16

$3,488,760

$3,663,240

$3,837,960

$5,887,431

$16,877,391

17

$3,314,160

$3,480,000

$3,645,720

$5,599,826

$16,039,706

18

$3,148,560

$3,305,880

$3,463,320

$5,326,586

$15,244,346

19

$3,006,720

$3,157,200

$3,307,560

$5,093,642

$14,565,122

20

$2,886,240

$3,030,600

$3,174,840

$4,895,603

$13,987,283

21

$2,770,800

$2,909,640

$3,048,120

$4,855,655

$13,584,215

22

$2,660,040

$2,793,120

$2,926,200

$4,813,599

$13,192,959

23

$2,553,960

$2,681,880

$2,809,080

$4,767,009

$12,811,929

24

$2,451,840

$2,574,360

$2,697,120

$4,717,263

$12,440,583

25

$2,353,680

$2,471,160

$2,589,120

$4,663,005

$12,076,965

26

$2,275,680

$2,389,080

$2,502,960

$4,512,837

$11,680,557

27

$2,209,920

$2,320,440

$2,430,960

$4,385,452

$11,346,772

28

$2,196,360

$2,306,400

$2,416,200

$4,361,241

$11,280,201

29

$2,180,280

$2,289,120

$2,398,560

$4,329,401

$11,197,361

30

$2,164,560

$2,272,800

$2,381,280

$4,298,210

$11,116,850

 

2022-23 Rookie Scale Baseline

Pick

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Total

1

$9,089,200

$9,543,900

$9,998,300

$12,607,856

$41,239,256

2

$8,132,500

$8,539,000

$8,945,900

$11,289,726

$36,907,126

3

$7,303,100

$7,668,100

$8,033,500

$10,154,344

$33,159,044

4

$6,584,400

$6,913,800

$7,242,900

$9,162,269

$29,903,369

5

$5,962,700

$6,260,600

$6,558,800

$8,310,000

$27,092,100

6

$5,415,500

$5,686,100

$5,957,300

$7,553,856

$24,612,756

7

$4,943,700

$5,191,100

$5,437,800

$6,906,006

$22,478,606

8

$4,529,000

$4,755,500

$4,982,000

$6,337,104

$20,603,604

9

$4,163,200

$4,371,400

$4,579,600

$5,834,410

$18,948,610

10

$3,955,000

$4,152,900

$4,350,300

$5,546,633

$18,004,833

11

$3,757,200

$3,945,100

$4,133,100

$5,484,624

$17,320,024

12

$3,569,400

$3,748,100

$3,926,500

$5,410,717

$16,654,717

13

$3,391,000

$3,560,500

$3,729,900

$5,330,027

$16,011,427

14

$3,221,500

$3,382,500

$3,543,800

$5,248,368

$15,396,168

15

$3,060,100

$3,213,200

$3,366,100

$5,160,231

$14,799,631

16

$2,907,300

$3,052,700

$3,198,300

$4,906,192

$14,064,492

17

$2,761,800

$2,900,000

$3,038,100

$4,666,522

$13,366,422

18

$2,623,800

$2,754,900

$2,886,100

$4,438,822

$12,703,622

19

$2,505,600

$2,631,000

$2,756,300

$4,244,702

$12,137,602

20

$2,405,200

$2,525,500

$2,645,700

$4,079,669

$11,656,069

21

$2,309,000

$2,424,700

$2,540,100

$4,046,379

$11,320,179

22

$2,216,700

$2,327,600

$2,438,500

$4,011,333

$10,994,133

23

$2,128,300

$2,234,900

$2,340,900

$3,972,507

$10,676,607

24

$2,043,200

$2,145,300

$2,247,600

$3,931,052

$10,367,152

25

$1,961,400

$2,059,300

$2,157,600

$3,885,838

$10,064,138

26

$1,896,400

$1,990,900

$2,085,800

$3,760,697

$9,733,797

27

$1,841,600

$1,933,700

$2,025,800

$3,654,543

$9,455,643

28

$1,830,300

$1,922,000

$2,013,500

$3,634,368

$9,400,168

29

$1,816,900

$1,907,600

$1,998,800

$3,607,834

$9,331,134

30

$1,803,800

$1,894,000

$1,984,400

$3,581,842

$9,264,042




Related Links

2022-23 NBA Draft Tracker

NBA Transactions

NBA NBA Draft

Of the NBA Top-100 Contract AAV (Average Annual Value) of All-Time through the 2021-22 season, 14 players have won an NBA Championship. These contracts include AAVs of $20M+ and contract lengths of 1 year through 5 years.

With the recent championship for the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry becomes the first $40M AAV contract with an NBA Championship in addition to becoming the first player with an AAV of $20M+ to win two championships within the same contract.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the other two other players to have contracts with an AAV of $20M+ and with NBA championships, but they did so under two different contract structures.

 

Stephen Curry

  • Contract: 5 year, $201.2M
  • AAV: $40.2M (Rank #11)
  • Championship within contract: 2 with GSW (2017-18, 2021-22)
  • Note: Championships came in the first and fifth years of the contract.

 

Klay Thompson

  • Contract: 5 year, $189.9M
  • AAV: $37.98M (Rank #12)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the third year of the contract. 

 

Khris Middleton

  • Contract: 5 year, $1177.5M
  • AAV: $35.5M (Rank #11)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

Kyle Lowry

  • Contract: 3 year, $100M
  • AAV: $33.3M (Rank #7)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with TOR (2018-19)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

LeBron James

  • Contract: 3 year, $99.9M
  • AAV: $33.2M (Rank #1)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with CLE (2016-17)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. 

 

  • Contract: 4 year $153.3M
  • AAV: $38.3M (Rank #7)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with LAL (2019-20)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract. 

 

Andrew Wiggins

  • Contract: 5 year, $147.7M
  • AAV: $29.5M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Wiggins was acquired by Golden State via trade for D’Angelo Russell during the second year of the contract.

 

Kevin Durant

  • Contract: 2 year, $54.3M
  • AAV: $27.1M (Rank #8)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2016-17)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. Durant declined a Player Option for the 2017-18 season and then signed a new 2 year $51.25M contract with Golden State in free agency.

 

  • Contract: 2 year, $51.25M
  • AAV: $25.6M (Rank #15)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2017-18)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract. Durant declined a Player Option for the 2018-19 season and then signed a new 2 year $61.5M contract with Golden State in free agency.

 

Anthony Davis

  • Contract: 5 year, $127.2M
  • AAV: $25.4M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with LAL (2019-20)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Davis declined a Player Option for 2020-21 season and then signed a 5 year $189.9M contract with Los Angeles in free agency.

 

Jrue Holiday

  • Contract: 5 year, $126M
  • AAV: $25.2M (Rank #40)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Milwaukee acquired Holiday from New Orleans on 11/24/20. Holiday declined a Player Option for the 2021-22 season and signed a 4 year $134.99M contract extension with Milwaukee on 4/4/21.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Contract: 4 year, $100M
  • AAV: $25M (Rank #41)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIL (2020-21)
  • Note: Championship came in the fourth year of the contract. Antetokounmpo had signed a 5 year $228.2M contract extension with Milwaukee prior to the 2020-21 season.

 

Draymond Green

  • Contract: 4 year, $99.7M
  • AAV: $24.9M (Rank #45)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with GSW (2021-22)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract.

 

Serge Ibaka

  • Contract: 3 year $65M
  • AAV: $21.7M (Rank #35)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with TOR (2018-19)
  • Note: Championship came in the second year of the contract.

 

Shaquille O'Neal

  • Contract: 5 year, $101M
  • AAV: $20.2M (Rank #1)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with MIA (2005-06)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract.

 

Dirk Nowitzki

  • Contract: 4 year, $80M
  • AAV: $20M (Rank #2)
  • Championship within contract: 1 with DAL (2010-11)
  • Note: Championship came in the first year of the contract.

 

NBA

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
    • Cap Hit: $39,344,900 (7th)
  • Devin Booker (PHX)
    • Cap Hit: $31,650,600 (22nd)
    • Triggers eligibility for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. Could sign estimated 4 year $211 million (based on $134.5 million cap) which would begin with the 2024-25 season.
  • Luka Doncic (DAL)
    • Cap Hit: $10,174,391 (121st)
    • Already triggered Designated Rookie Extension ("Rookie Supermax") with previous two All-NBA selections. This makes it three All-NBA selections in a row. Will earn estimated 5 year $212.28 million beginning with the 2022-23 season (based on $122 million cap)
  • Nikola Jokic (DEN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
    • Eligible for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. Eligibility was triggered last season with 2020-21 MVP Award. 
  • Jayson Tatum (BOS)
    • Cap Hit: $28,103,500 (35th)

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM

  • Stephen Curry (GSW)
    • Cap Hit: $45,780,966 (1st)
  • DeMar DeRozan (CHI)
    • Cap Hit: $26,000,000 (41st)
  • Kevin Durant (BKN)
    • Cap Hit: $42,018,900 (5th)
  • Joel Embiid (PHI)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
  • Ja Morant (MEM)
    • Cap Hit: $9,603,360 (129th)
    • Does not automatically trigger Designated Rookie Maximum Extension ("Rookie Supermax"), would need All-NBA in 2022-23 to trigger escalation

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM

  • LeBron James (LAL)
    • Cap Hit: $41,180,544 (6th)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Chris Paul (PHX)
    • Cap Hit: $30,800,000 (30th)
  • Pascal Siakam (TOR)
    • Cap Hit: $33,003,936 (19th)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,650,600 (22nd)
    • Triggers eligibility for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") in this offseason. Could sign estimated 4 year $211 million (based on $134.5 million cap) which would begin with the 2024-25 season.
  • Trae Young (ATL)
    • Cap Hit: $8,326,471 (150th)
    • Triggered Designated Rookie Maximum Extension ("Rookie Supermax") for already signed rookie extension that was signed in the 2021 offseason. Contract now becomes an estimated 5 year $212.28 million contract (based on $122 million cap)

 

ALL-NBA DEFENSE FIRST TEAM

ALL-NBA DEFENSE SECOND TEAM

  • Bam Adebayo (MIA)
    • Cap Hit: $28,103,500 (35th)
  • Jrue Holiday (MIL)
    • Cap Hit: $32,431,333 (21st)
    • Earned $120,000 bonus
  • Matisse Thybulle (PHI)
    • Cap Hit: $2,840,160 (267)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).
  • Robert Williams III (BOS)
    • Cap Hit: $3,661,976 (245th)
  • Draymond Green (GSW)
    • Cap Hit: $24,026,712 (43rd)
    • Eligible for Veteran Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).

 

ALL-NBA ROOKIE FIRST TEAM

ALL-NBA ROOKIE SECOND TEAM

 

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

  • Nikola Jokic (DEN)
    • Cap Hit: $31,579,390 (25th)
    • Eligible for Designated Veteran Player Extension ("Supermax") this offseason. This was triggered last season with 2020-21 MVP Award. 

 

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

  • Tyler Herro (MIA)
    • Cap Hit: $4,004,280 (230th)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers). View contract options

 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

  • Ja Morant (MEM)
    • Cap Hit: $9,603,360 (129th)
    • Eligible for Rookie Scale Extension this offseason (award has no bearing on financial triggers).

 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

 

ROOKIE OF THE PLAYER

NBA NBA Awards

The NBA last expanded in 2004. The Charlotte Bobcats joined the league and spent a decade as the Bobcats before rebranding and bringing back the Charlotte Hornets.

Now, nearly two decades after adding their franchise, it’s time for the NBA to expand again.

No, expansion isn’t imminent. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has routinely shot down any rumor to that effect. But in recent years, Silver hasn’t completely brushed aside the idea as idle gossip. Instead, Silver has said the league “dusted off some of their analysis” on the topic.

This week, Silver’s new negotiating partner at the NBPA, Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio, said she is of the mindset that the NBA is ready to expand as well.

“We do want more teams, I think it's good for the business,’’ Tremaglio said during her opening keynote conversation with SBJ executive editor Abraham Madkour. “Ideally, we hope that there will be more teams popping up in the U.S.’’

What makes it time for the NBA to expand? Let’s break it down.

 

Labor Peace

The NBA and NBPA have established a long period of labor peace. The last CBA negotiations were barely a blip, despite some major changes to contract structures, and the like, being pushed through. That was nearly five years ago now.

Then, behind Silver on the NBA side and former Executive Director Michele Roberts on the NBPA side, the two parties managed to work through the pandemic. The 2019-20 season paused for roughly four months in 2020 before resuming and completing at Walt Disney World. That was no small task, and required immense coordination on the part of all parties involved.

The next season was full of challenges with various mandates, guidelines and laws, but the NBA played a full, if pared down, season. And the 2021-22 season has completed with very few postponements and a full 82-game slate.

None of that happens without the league and the players having a good working relationship. And that labor peace is necessary before you add any more parties to mix in the form of new teams.

 

Talent Pool

When the NBA has expanded in the past, it’s led to a somewhat watered-down product for at least a couple of years. The way the rules work for expansion, it’s hard for an expansion team to be good quickly. They work with limited resources, lower salary caps, draft handicaps and pick their initial rosters from the ends of benches around the league.

It’s that last part that matters though. The NBA is as deep in talent as it has ever been. There are quality players in the 11-17 (including Two-Way players) spots on each roster. Some of them just don’t play because the guys in front of them are that good.

In addition to that, it’s expected a new round of expansion would come with smarter run teams than in the past. They might be willing to eat a questionable contract or two for additional assets. That will lead to a handful of vets who need a fresh start popping up on expansion rosters.

And, as the expanded rosters during the pandemic-challenged seasons taught us, there are a lot of really good players on the fringes of the NBA just waiting for a chance.

 

Draft Reform

It’s expected that the NBA and NBPA will tackle draft reform sooner rather than later. It’ll probably wait until the next CBA negotiations, but could come before that. With the advent of the G League being a now stable minor league, and the creation of the G League Ignite for players who don’t want to attend college, it’s time to change things up a bit with entry into the NBA.

It’s expected that players will again be allowed to make the leap from high school to the NBA again. There may be parameters put around that to safeguard those players making that leap, but it’s expected to be pushed through. That further increases the pool of talent coming to the league, and is another indication that two more teams can be supported.

 

Cities Ready

There are several cities that are ready for expansion teams. Primary cities mentioned are Seattle and Las Vegas, but at least five or six others are considered viable candidates.

Seattle has upgraded Climate Pledge Arena (formerly Key Arena) enough to host an NBA team. There’s also talk of building an entirely new building in another area of Seattle, should they be awarded a team. In addition, Seattle’s major has continually said he regularly pushes for a team to be brought back to the Emerald City

In Las Vegas, there are plans to build a brand new, state-of-the-art arena, with the primary goal of getting an expansion team. In the interim, there are several sites that could host an expansion team, should that new arena not be ready.

If not one of those cities, then places like Louisville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Vancouver, Montreal and Mexico City have all been mentioned as potential expansion sites. Some of them are champing at the bit to get team, especially Louisville, which has been pushing for expansion for nearly a decade now.

 

Maintaining “Basketball” Cities

As it pertains to Seattle and Las Vegas, the NBA has seen those as “basketball” cities. Seattle has a long history of turning out great players and had the SuperSonics for years. Las Vegas is the home of NBA Summer League, as well a location where several players live and train in the offseason.

However, Seattle has the Seahawks in the NFL and the Mariners in MLB, and added the Kraken in the NHL this year. Las Vegas now the Golden Knights in the NHL and recently added the Raiders in the NFL. There are rumors that Las Vegas could be a relocation spot for an MLB team too.

Now, basketball isn’t likely to lose its foothold in either of those cities. But the NBA is cautious about letting new teams, especially in direct season competition like the NHL, gain too big of a following to be overcome. The league understands that consumers have only so much expendable income. Getting those dollars funneled towards the NBA is a priority.

 

Immediate Cash Infusion

When asked about potential expansion in 2021, Adam Silver said that the reported $2.5 billion expected expansion fee was “very low”. It’s now expected that the expansion fee for each team would be somewhere between $3 and $3.5 billion. That’s $6 to $7 billion dollars that goes directly into the league.

In addition, expansion teams often operate under reduced revenue sharing and the like in their initial years. Even with a new TV contract coming, and then being split 32 ways vs 30, that expansion fee is a hefty chunk of change.

And it’s that new TV contract that also makes expansion somewhat more likely. While that pie would get further divided with two more franchises and up to 34 more players, there’s expected to be more than enough to go around. In addition, two more teams would mean two more Regional Sports Networks added. That’s just further income into the NBA coffers.

 

Increased Interest in the NBA

The NBA just released that they pulled their highest TV ratings in three years. NBA League Pass subscriptions are at their highest levels in history. And social media engagement is through the roof.

The league is ready to bring in new markets, and it will be easier than ever because there are readymade fans in those markets already. There’s not going to be any selling anyone on the NBA game, as there was when Charlotte (the initial version), Miami, Minnesota and Orlando joined the team. And the game has grown enough internationally, and the Toronto Raptors having been such a success, that growing that way wouldn’t be any sort of worry either.

 

NBA Reform

The NBA is in a position to rework their current division and conference setup in a major way. The schedule continues to be a major topic of conversation. While no one is advocating for less overall games, expansion could be a way to keep the current number of total games across the league the same, while lessening them for each individual team.

If Adam Silver really wants to push through his in-season tournament, it could be easier with two new teams and an overhaul of the schedule. Mostly, the NBA will continue to tinker with ways to make their winter-time product (regular season) as meaningful and exciting as their spring-time product (playoffs) is. Two new teams would help with that.

 

Overall

If you add it all up, it’s time for the NBA to expand. It’ll have been over 20 years since the last new team joined the league by the time an expansion team takes the floor.

While neither the NFL or MLB have expanded in that time period, they have relocated teams, re-aligned divisions/conferences/leagues and undertaken other drastic changes, like postseason expansion.

The NHL has added two teams in that time period, in two prime cities of Las Vegas and Seattle. In addition, MLS has grown by leaps and bounds since the NBA last expanded.

Mostly, when both Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio are openly admitting expansion is being discussed, it’s really time. Those are the two with the power to push expansion or block the discussions from even being started. It seems like both are ready to embrace the idea of adding teams to the league.

While expansion may not be imminent, it would be no surprise to get word within the next two-to-three years that the NBA is expanding with two new teams starting play within the next five years.

NBA Expansion

A list of active NBA players and their career earnings with respect to the NCAA Sweet 16 teams.

 

#1 Gonzaga

Kelly Olynyk, $70,356,906

Domantas Sabonis, $62,573,326

Zach Collins, $23,067,603

Rui Hachimura, $13,798,838

Brandon Clarke, $7,808,640

Jalen Suggs, $6,592,920

Corey Kispert, $3,383,640

Killian Tillie, $1,901,625

 

#1 Arizona

Andre Iguodala, $182,314,035

Aaron Gordon, $92,777,983

Deandre Ayton, $39,781,548

Lauri Markkanen, $35,749,302

Stanley Johnson, $21,419,703

T.J. McConnell, $18,752,881

Josh Green, $5,774,280

Zeke Nnaji, $4,878,600

Brandon Williams, $53,176

 

#1 Kansas

Andrew Wiggins, $137,224,484

Joel Embiid, $132,355,267

Marcus Morris Sr., $72,877,547

Kelly Oubre Jr., $50,251,988

Markieff Morris, $50,169,716

Ben McLemore, $30,891,878

Josh Jackson, $27,522,173

Devonte' Graham, $14,980,624

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, $6,209,071

Udoka Azubuike, $4,052,880

 

#2 Villanova

Kyle Lowry, $217,032,826

Josh Hart, $20,354,114

Mikal Bridges, $17,370,623

Donte DiVincenzo, $12,925,178

Ryan Arcidiacono, $8,028,681

Jalen Brunson, $6,024,217

Saddiq Bey, $5,514,240

Eric Paschall, $4,142,768

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, $2,000,000


#2 Duke

Kyrie Irving, $194,017,299

Brandon Ingram, $80,122,392

Mason Plumlee, $64,325,952

Jayson Tatum, $57,687,445

Austin Rivers, $54,453,395

Justise Winslow, $40,319,065

Marvin Bagley III, $35,602,717

Seth Curry, $33,050,810

Tyus Jones, $32,409,999

Zion Williamson, $30,126,480

Luke Kennard $27,623,622

Rodney Hood $27,552,690

R.J. Barrett $24,695,640

Wendell Carter Jr., $21,686,380

Gary Trent Jr., $19,830,624

Cam Reddish, $13,373,880

Grayson Allen, $10,951,898

Frank Jackson , $6,961,220

Vernon Carey Jr., $2,867,981

Jalen Johnson , $2,659,680

Tre Jones, $2,416,291

 

#3 Purdue

No active players

 

#3 Texas Tech

Jarrett Culver, $18,313,080

 

#4 Arkansas

Bobby Portis, $28,888,606

Daniel Gafford, $4,142,768

Moses Moody, $3,562,200

Isaiah Joe, $2,416,291

Mason Jones, $61,528

 

#4 Providence

David Duke Jr., $0 / Two-Way

 

#4 UCLA

Russell Westbrook, $288,581,670

Kevin Love, $235,261,434

Jrue Holiday, $186,069,405

Trevor Ariza, $116,874,668

Zach LaVine, $86,428,548

Lonzo Ball, $51,531,316

Norman Powell, $48,230,702

Kyle Anderson, $42,169,578

Kevon Looney, $19,538,458

Aaron Holiday, $10,477,351

Moses Brown, $3,143,453

Chris Smith, $0 / Two-Way



#5 Houston

Quentin Grimes, $2,168,640

Armoni Brooks, $1,660,221

 

#8 North Carolina

Harrison Barnes, $147,806,228

Danny Green, $91,692,990

Wayne Ellington, $47,587,347

Ed Davis, $46,486,744

Reggie Bullock, $28,343,804

Coby White, $16,385,865

Cameron Johnson, $12,453,510

Tony Bradley, $10,265,469

Cole Anthony, $6,734,520

Nassir Little, $6,500,805

Day'Ron Sharpe, $2,009,160

Theo Pinson, $1,558,838

 

#10 Miami

Lonnie Walker IV, $12,285,006

Bruce Brown Jr., $8,566,726

Davon Reed, $2,480,021

 

#11 Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr., $100,906,220

Caris LeVert, $41,062,875

Trey Burke, $22,019,147

Duncan Robinson, $18,651,634

Nik Stauskas, $15,043,243

Moritz Wagner, $7,809,762

Jordan Poole, $6,189,480

Franz Wagner, $5,00,7840

Ignas Brazdeikis, $2,508,677

Isaiah Livers, $1,057,260

 

#11 Iowa State

Monte Morris, $13,411,128

Talen Horton-Tucker, $11,860,147

Georges Niang, $8,920,084

Tyrese Haliburto, $7,855,440

Matt Thomas, $4,029,325

Lindell Wiggington, $0 / Two-Way



#15 Saint Peters

No active players




NBA NCAA

All-Star Game Roster

A financial breakdown of the 2022 NBA All-Star Teams drafted by LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Team LeBron 2021-22 Cap Hit   2021-22 Cap Hit

Team DURANT

  $183,885,800 Starters $109,192,111  
LeBron James, LAL $41,180,544   $31,579,390 Joel Embiid, PHI
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL $39,344,900   $9,603,360 Ja Morant, MEM
Stephen Curry, GSW $45,780,966   $28,103,500 Jayson Tatum, BOS
DeMar DeRozan, CHI $26,000,000   $31,579,390 Andrew Wiggins, GSW
Nikola Jokic, DEN $31,579,390   $8,326,471 Trae Young, ATL
  $196,121,737 Reserves $201,333,380  
Jarrett Allen, CLE $20,000,000   $8,231,760 LaMelo Ball, CHA
Jimmy Butler, MIA $36,016,200   $31,650,600 Devin Booker, PHX
Luka Doncic, DAL $10,174,391   $35,344,828 Rudy Gobert, UTH
Darius Garland, CLE $7,040,880   $19,500,000 Zach LaVine, CHI
James Harden, PHI $44,310,840   $35,500,000 Khris Middleton, MIL
Donovan Mitchell, UTH $28,103,500   $15,428,880 Dejounte Murray, SAS
Chris Paul, PHX $30,800,000   $31,650,600 Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN
Fre VanVleet, TOR $19,675,926   $24,026,712 Draymond Green, GSW
  $380,007,537 Totals $310,525,491  
  $29,231,349 Average $23,886,576  

 

The following amounts are the payouts for each participation of game or skills competition:

All-Star Game

Winning Team: $50,000 per player

Losing Team: $25,000 per player

 

Rookie-Sophomore Game

Winning Team: $25,000 per player

Losing Team: $10,000 per player

 

Shooting Stars

Winning Team: $60,000 per player

2nd Place Team: $45,000 per player

3rd Place Team: $24,000 per player

4th Place Team: $24,000 per player

 

Slam Dunk

1st Place: $100,000

2nd Place: $50,000

3rd Place: $20,000

4th Place: $20,000

 

Three-Point Shootout

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $25,000

4th Place: $10,000

5th Place: $10,000

6th Place: $10,000

 

Skills

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $15,000

4th Place: $15,000

 

Related NBA Links

NBA 2021-22 Cap Hit Rankings

NBA NBA All-Star

At the trade deadline, there’s a rush to grade trades or to decide who won or lost deals. Sometimes, this happens before all the details are even out. “The Celtics are getting Derrick White? Winners! Oh, they gave up Josh Richardson? Still Winners! Wait…a first and a potential swap too? Losers!” And then you see it play out on the floor and all of a sudden, your opinion may completely flip again.

With the benefit of a week to clear our heads, gather all the details and even see some games with new faces in new places, it’s time to start evaluating who won and lost at the trade deadline.

But…it’s not really that simple. For some of these deals, it will take months or even years to see how they fully play out. With that, there’s a pretty big caveat to all this “winners and losers” talk. This is how we judge things today, in mid-February 2022. There’s lots of room and time to be wrong. But it’s up those teams to prove us so.

All that said, here’s who won, lost and sat out the 2022 NBA trade deadline. (Note: This will encompass trades in the weeks leading up to the deadline, not just trades near or on deadline day.)

 

Winners

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks didn’t do much. They essentially swapped Cam Reddish for Kevin Knox and a protected first-round pick. Knox has little value to Atlanta, and he’s hardly played for them, and the pick is fairly heavily-protected. The part where the Hawks won is that it removed a potentially extension negotiation from their trade of Reddish. For a team that’s already expensive and flirting with the luxury tax, that’s notable.

Boston Celtics

Boston was pretty active. They moved a couple of rotation players, plus shed enough salary to put themselves in position to avoid the luxury tax. Most importantly, the players they got back are better fits for this roster than the ones the Celtics gave up. Derrick White’s defensive versatility and skill, along with his quick-processing offensive game is a perfect fit for what Boston needs out of a backup guard. Daniel Theis is the ideal fourth-big in the rotation, because he can execute the same scheme as the other three bigs Ime Udoka uses regularly. Yes, the Celtics gave up a first-round pick and a potential pick swap. And, yes, they took on long-term money. But that long-term money gives them flexibility to match salary in almost any possible trade construction Brad Stevens can dream up moving forward.

Brooklyn Nets

We’ll get to the Philadelphia 76ers later, but this seems like it could be the most blockbustery of win-win trades in NBA history. The Nets side just may take a little longer to play out than the Sixers side. It could take Ben Simmons a while to find his form and to fit in, but, lest we forget, he’s really good at basketball! Simmons might be a non-shooter, but he’s an elite passer and the most versatile defender in the NBA. And Brooklyn is getting a couple of picks out of this deal too. Also, don’t overlook Seth Curry. He’ll feast on open jumpers created by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. And the more shooting around Simmons, the better.

Charlotte Hornets

We can keep this one simple. The Hornets got Montrezl Harrell for two non-rotation players. Backup center has been an issue all season long. P.J. Washington does his best, but he’s a four masquerading as a five. Harrell will give Charlotte energy and scoring off the bench, and the cost was essentially nothing.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs did well to snag Caris LeVert for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract. They also picked up Rajon Rondo for nothing a few weeks earlier. Those are rotation-stabilizing moves for a team that is in the mix for homecourt advantage in the East. And they have LeVert for next year, while nothing prevents Cleveland from re-signing Rubio as a free agent. Good stuff all-around.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets got Bryn Forbes for two injured players. Considering they needed another shooter while Jamal Murray works his way back, that’s great work. But really, Murray, and potentially Michael Porter Jr., will be the big “additions” for Denver. The Nuggets are a team no higher-seeded team is going to want to see in the playoffs.

Houston Rockets

Houston got off long-term money for Daniel Theis, without taking any long-term money on. Sure, that’s an admission of guilt that they blew the Theis’ signing in the first place. But there’s no saving that by throwing good money after bad. Getting off that deal is a win for the Rockets. Now, about a John Wall buyout…

Indiana Pacers

Indiana reset themselves at the deadline as much as any team outside of Portland did. But getting back Tyrese Haliburton as a cost-controlled rookie scale guy that has All-Star potential is huge. The Pacers also got themselves a first-round pick for Caris LeVert, and they get to take a flier on Jalen Smith. But really, this is all about Haliburton, who has a chance to lead the next set of Pacers playoffs teams for years to come.

LA Clippers

The Clippers took on a good chunk of money, both this season and moving forward, but they did so for good players. Norman Powell got hurt, but that acquisition was only sort of about this year anyway. If everyone is healthy to begin next season, LA has the deepest team in the NBA and it’s not particularly close. And they’ve set themselves up with some good trade options if a third star wants to team up with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. When your owner makes millions per second, spending his money is never a bad thing.

Milwaukee Bucks

The trade of Donte DiVincenzo looks a little rough with the hindsight of Pat Connaughton getting hurt, but as long as Connaughton is back to himself by the playoffs, all is good. Milwaukee needed another big to ease the burden on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Serge Ibaka can do that. He’s a reasonable facsimile for Brook Lopez, in that he can protect the rim on defense and space the floor on offense. And DiVincenzo likely wasn’t getting re-signed, given the presence of Connaughton and Grayson Allen already on the roster. For a team that’s trying to repeat as champs, it’s perfectly acceptable to make win-now moves like DiVincenzo for Ibaka.

New Orleans Pelicans

This one is a little tricky and you have to be bought in that C.J. McCollum has at least a few good years left. And he should. That’s probably enough to give up a first-round pick and rotation player in Josh Hart. But add in Larry Nance Jr. (if he gets healthy!) and you’ve really got something working. New Orleans has chance to be eight or nine-deep in quality rotation players at the start of next season. That’s huge for battling their way through the Western Conference. But if Zion Williamson isn’t healthy, a whole new set of questions will start being asked in the bayou.

Philadelphia 76ers

As stated above, this could be a win-win blockbuster deal. James Harden is a massive upgrade over the exactly zero the Sixers were getting from Ben Simmons. MASSIVE. That’s all that really matters here. If Harden is healthy, he and Joel Embiid can parade their way to the free throw line on a nightly basis all the way into a deep playoff run. That alone is worth giving up on Simmons (who was never playing for Philly again), Seth Curry and a couple of picks.

Phoenix Suns

Much like their terrific season to date, the Suns trade deadline moves seem to have gone a little under the radar. They got Torrey Craig for Jalen Smith, who had no future left in Phoenix. And they got Aaron Holiday for literally nothing. Craig was a nice add during last season’s NBA Finals run, and he’ll be the same this year. He’s good insurance on the wing behind Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Holiday is a nice upgrade on Elfrid Payton until Cameron Payne gets back. These are winning moves at basically no cost. That’s how you get back to the Finals.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers finally started the teardown. Err…umm…reset. Whatever they call it, it’s begun in Portland, and that’s a good thing. They gave it the best possible run they could with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum led rosters. Now, it’s time to rebuild around Lillard. The Trail Blazers opened up all sorts of cap flexibility, possibly as soon as this summer. Now, it’s about getting things right at the draft and in free agency, if they hope to keep Lillard in the only NBA home he’s ever known.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings got unfairly pilloried when news of their trade with the Indiana Pacers first broke. Sure, Tyrese Haliburton is a really good, young player. But you know what? Domantas Sabonis is also a really good, not-that-much-older player. The early returns are interesting for Sacramento. All of the offense creation doesn’t fall on De’Aaron Fox now. Sabonis is a hub through which they can run plays. He’s a two-time All-Star and that seems to have been forgotten a bit. Yes, the Kings are often the KANGZ, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those times.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs traded Gregg Popovich favorite Derrick White, but they got a helpful player back in Josh Richardson, along with a first-round pick and swap rights down the line. And they get a chance to see if Romeo Langford can pop, although the wing is crowded with young prospects in San Antonio. They also got a first-round pick for Thaddeus Young, which is offset a bit by giving up a nice second-round pick, but it’s still an upgrade. Overall, this is a win for the Spurs, who usually let the deadline pass with nary a peep.

 

Losers

Chicago Bulls

Usually, we won’t be too harsh on a team that sits the deadline out. But the Bulls are a legit title contender. They have a multitude of injuries, including Zach LaVine having a troublesome knee. And DeMar DeRozan is turning in a near-career-year during his age-32 season. That all screams to get someone. Yes, it would have cost them Patrick Williams and maybe Coby White. And yes, they are a little short on tradable picks. But there were deals they seemingly could have gotten in on. Standing pat could come back to bite Chicago this spring.

Dallas Mavericks

It’s understandable to want to move on from Kristaps Porzingis. He was seemingly destined to miss 30-40 games per year in Dallas. But to take back two questionable contracts in Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans offsets the shedding of Porzingis’ salary in a major way. If Dinwiddie and/or Bertans finds their previous form, we’ll eat a big helping of crow. But this doesn’t really seem like an upgrade around Luka Doncic, just as he wraps up the cheap years of his rookie scale deal.

Detroit Pistons

Putting the Pistons in the “losers” category is a little harsh. They didn’t give up anything of value in the deal to get Marvin Bagley III, but there’s no real upside there. If Bagley plays great, and finally looks something like the #2 overall pick he was in 2018, the Pistons will have no choice but to keep him and sacrifice any chance of cap space this summer. If he plays poorly, there’s nothing really lost, but there’s also nothing gained. And they didn’t deal Jerami Grant. Not making a deal is better than making a bad deal, but dragging that situation out one more trade-cycle could get a little messy for the long-term roster building.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers didn’t do anything, and that in and of itself, is a loss. It might not have been the time to shed Russell Westbrook, and that should be easier to deal with this summer, but things aren’t likely to get a whole lot better with that situation. And Los Angeles shopped the Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and a pick package to every team in the league. No one was buying, because there’s just not much value there. What you see is what you get for the rest of this year, minus a possible buyout addition or two.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota is another team that did nothing, but should have. They had the contracts to pile together to get in on some of the players who were traded. They also could have put together an offer for someone like Jerami Grant. Again, not making a deal is better than making a bad deal. But…the playoffs are in sight for a team that has seen the postseason once with Kevin Garnett left town. Some sort of upgrade should have been made to bolster those chances.

New York Knicks

Yes, the Knicks got Cam Reddish for a fairly minor outgoing package. But Reddish has struggled to crack Tom Thibodeau’s rotation and the coach said he’s not likely to play at all when the roster is healthy. That makes it a little hard to evaluate his fit before extension negotiations start this summer. Beyond that, the Knicks could have reset things a bit by trading away players like Alec Burks or Nerlens Noel. This season hasn’t gone how New York wanted. Not moving off some money might have been a mistake. If they don’t turn some of those contracts into better fits for next season, it definitely will have been a mistake.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The upset of the trade deadline is between the San Antonio Spurs making four trades or the Oklahoma City Thunder making just two extremely small deals to eat salary. While that’s good for the Spurs, it’s not great for the Thunder. OKC is on the tipping point of having too many draft picks. They found it impossible to move up in last year’s draft, as it was. But sitting on over $20 million cap space seems like a missed opportunity to collect more picks, or even to acquire some young talent. And the Thunder don’t project to have this sort of flexibility into this offseason.

Orlando Magic

Much like the Thunder, the Magic had a chance to be more active at the deadline. They ate a couple of small contracts, but let a large Traded Player Exception expire unused. And Orlando didn’t deal any of their veterans like Gary Harris, Terrence Ross or Robin Lopez. Not be a broken record, but not making a bad trade is more important than not making a trade. But the Magic may have missed an opportunity to collect some assets for players who aren’t likely to be a part of the next Orlando playoff team.

Toronto Raptors

It’s not that Thaddeus Young won’t help the Raptors. He might. But was that really worth sliding back 10-15 picks in the draft and giving up their best trade asset in Goran Dragic’s expiring deal? It feels like Toronto should have been able to do better than that with Dragic and a protected first-round pick. That’s what got them here as a very soft “loser”.

Utah Jazz

Much like the Bulls, the Jazz are a contender that didn’t do anything. That’s a miss. They could have gotten a piece to push them over the top. But as it stands now, Utah is firmly behind Phoenix and Golden State in the Western Conference. That’s not a great spot to be in, considering this is year umpteen of very good, but not quite great Jazz teams.

Washington Wizards

Much like the Mavericks, the Wizards sort of shuffled things around in picking up Kristaps Porzingis in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Maybe Porzingis will pop and finally stay healthy, but history says he won’t. And that means his deal will be a cap albatross for Washington for a couple more seasons. It’s also easier to move a couple of smaller contracts vs one big one. This could go really poorly for the Wizards.

 

Sat-it-out

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t have much to do. They are playing well and their roster is fairly set. Their best trade assets are their recent draftees and all are too young, too good or both, to trade now. It’s likely this roster is what it is, minus some hopefully better health down the stretch.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are way ahead of schedule. This young team is brash, scrappy and fun. They’re also very good. Maybe Memphis could have moved a couple of their expiring deals, but they had no real roster holes to fill. They’ll use this playoff run to determine what they need to take the next step from fun playoff team to title contender.

Miami Heat

The Heat largely sat out the deadline. They made one small, salary-clearing deal. That opened up a roster spot and some space under the tax. Miami converted Caleb Martin to a standard deal, after he outplayed his Two-Way deal. Now, the Heat will look to add another veteran on the buyout market.

 

NBA NBA Trade Deadline

The 2022 NBA trade deadline is now behind us. There were 10 trades made on deadline day alone, and 16 total trades made during deadline week. These deals ranged from the blockbuster James Harden-for-Ben Simmons swap to small salary-clearing trades for teams looking to dodge the luxury tax.

Now that the deadline has passed, we have a better idea of what this offseason landscape might look like.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.2 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.3 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands after the trade deadline:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $31.4 million
  2. Orlando Magic - $28.1 million
  3. Indiana Pacers - $23.8 million
  4. Portland Trail Blazers - $20.0 million
  5. San Antonio Spurs - $17.6 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. Detroit and Orlando seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, or with trades before the deadline, these three will be in position to do the spending in the offseason. The only major changes that could come to this projection is if either team decides to hang on to former high draft picks, Marvin Bagley III or Mo Bamba.

Indiana and Portland could both choose to stay over the cap via keeping free agent rights and or trade exceptions. Both made considerable changes leading up to the deadline and more big changes are likely to come this season. Neither team has said they are rebuilding, but rather “resetting” around some of the players they kept after making several trades.

The Spurs took on some money at the deadline by acquiring Romeo Langford and Josh Richardson, and by acquiring two additional first-round picks. That takes their projection to under $20 million. If San Antonio was to move on from restricted free Lonnie Walker IV, they could push the Pistons for the most space this summer.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Memphis Grizzlies
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves
  5. New York Knicks
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder
  7. Sacramento Kings
  8. Toronto Raptors
  9. Washington Wizards

This group of eight teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Cleveland, Memphis, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

After salary-dumping Daniel Theis at the deadline, the Houston Rockets are now in range of being able to use the full MLE this offseason. They’ll likely split it, as the Rockets are still more than one MLE addition away from competing for the playoffs.

New York is a bit harder to project. They could be a team that makes a major pivot after a disappointing season following their 2021 playoff appearance. Look for whatever the Knicks to do to come via trade vs clearing enough salary to get in the cap space derby.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they project to have three first-round draft picks. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC will continue to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players. Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. New Orleans Pelicans

These three teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their room under the tax line.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 13 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space.

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Miami Heat
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some may shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 13 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.3 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

 

Related NBA Links

NBA Cap Tracker

NBA Tax Tracker

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

The 2022 NBA trade deadline is closing in. We’ve already seen several big trades, including the Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers kicking off major resets. On the other side, the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings have made moves that should help them now and in the future.

There’s likely more moves to come. Ben Simmons for James Harden, anyone? But the summer of 2022 landscape is already coming into focus for cap space as we approach the deadline.

In general, teams slot into one of three categories in the offseason. There are Cap Space teams, Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the full $10.2 million MLE) and Taxpayer Mid-Level teams (can use the “mini” $6.3 million MLE).

Here’s where each team stands before the trade deadline passes at 3:00 Pm ET on Thursday:

 

Cap Space Teams

  1. Detroit Pistons - $31.4 million
  2. Orlando Magic - $28.1 million
  3. San Antonio Spurs - $22.5 million
  4. Indiana Pacers - $20.8 million
  5. Portland Trail Blazers – $20.3 million

These five teams are all in line to have cap space this summer. Detroit, Orlando and San Antonio all seem like locks to go the cap space route. Barring something unexpected with their own free agents, or with trades before the deadline, these three will be in position to do the spending in the offseason.

Indiana and Portland could both choose to stay over the cap via keeping free agent rights and or trade exceptions. It’s not really clear if either is done dealing before the deadline either. Further moves could change this projection by a considerable amount.

 

Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Sacramento Kings
  7. Toronto Raptors
  8. Washington Wizards

This group of eight teams is a mixed bag. Teams like Cleveland, Memphis, Minnesota and Toronto have their cores locked in. They’ll be looking to use the $10.3 million Non-Taxpayer MLE to supplement that group.

New York is a bit harder to project. They could be a team that makes a major pivot after a disappointing season following their 2021 playoff appearance. Look for whatever the Knicks to do to come via trade vs clearing enough salary to get in the cap space derby.

Some may be surprised to find Oklahoma City in this group. The Thunder have a major contract extension kicking in for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander next season, plus they project to have three first-round draft picks. That’s got them over the cap, despite still being early in their rebuild. OKC will continue to build through the draft and through trades and may just sit on the MLE for now.

Then you have the factories of sadness that are Sacramento and Washington. Both have All-Star level players. Both have solid role players. Yet, it never quite seems to come together for either franchise. In an offseason that will feature yet another retooling, these teams will spend the MLE on a player or players they hope will push them firmly into the playoff picture.

 

Taxpayer Mid-Level Teams

This group is so big we’re going to sub-divide them. The two categories will be “Close to the Tax” and “Over the Tax”

Close to the Tax

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Houston Rockets
  4. New Orleans Pelicans

These four teams will be dancing around the tax line. Charlotte (Miles Bridges) and Chicago (Zach LaVine) have free agents to re-sign who are going to eat up most of their room under the tax line.

Houston is still carrying John Wall’s sizable contract, which has them tighter to the tax than they would like.

New Orleans is probably a move away from joining the teams who can use the full MLE and stay under the tax. They have 13 players under contract and are only one small salary-shedding deal from opening up full MLE space.

Over the Tax

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Dallas Mavericks
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Miami Heat
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Philadelphia 76ers
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. Utah Jazz

This is potentially the largest group of tax-paying teams the NBA will have ever seen. It may not end up playing out this way, as some may shed salary or make free agent decisions that allow them to duck the tax. But as it stands, all 13 of these teams are currently over the tax, or project to be after they fill out their rosters for the 2022-23 season. That’ll have them limited to spending the $6.3 million Taxpayer MLE for help, or upgrading their rosters via trades. Since all fancy themselves as somewhere between solid playoff teams and title contenders, don’t expect to see a lot of salary-shedding from within this group.

 

Related NBA Links

NBA Cap Tracker

NBA Tax Tracker

NBA Cap Space Luxury Tax

The Kings promised that Tyrese Haliburton was untouchable for this deadline, but as everyone knows - there’s always a price. 

 

Kings Acquire…

Domantas Sabonis, PF
Sabonis is under contract through 2023-24 with cap hits of $19.8M the rest of this year, $18.5M next year, and $19.4M to finish it off. The 25 year old is averaging 19 points, 5 assists, and 9 boards in 34 minutes per game this season.

Jeremy Lamb, SG
Lamb is an expiring contract, holding a $10.5M cap hit for the rest of 2021-22. The 29-year-old is posting 5 year lows in 2021, with just 7 points, 1 assist, and 2 boards per game.

Justin Holiday, SF
Holiday brings team-friendly cap hits of $6M & $6.3M respectively over this and next year. The 32-year-old has collected 11 points, 3 boards, & 2 assists in 2021-22 thus far, hitting over 41% of his shots.

2027 2nd Round Pick

 

Pacers Acquire…

Tyrese Haliburton, PG
The #12 overall pick in 2020 was rumored to be “untouchable” for this deadline, but the Pacers found the right price. Haliburton holds cap hits of $4M, $4.2M, & $5.8M through 2023-24, after which he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency. His ceiling offers major value for the Pacers going forward.

Buddy Hield, SG
Hield is in year 2 of a 4 year, $94M extension, bringing with him cap hits of $23M, $21.1M, & $19.2M through 2023-24. Buddy is posting 5 year lows in points (14), Assists (2), & Rebounds (4) thus far this season.

Tristan Thompson, C
Thompson offers an expiring contract, with a $9.7M to boot for the rest of 2021-22. His minutes and production have been rapidly declined over the past two seasons, currently sitting at 6 points, and 5 boards per game.

 

Financial Ramifications

The Pacers promised they would find a way to rip this current roster apart and start anew next season, and they’re well on their way to that with a few days left to spare. The Caris LeVert trade plus this move allows them to free up what could be $21M of cap space for the 2022 offseason, a good start to getting another key piece in the building to pair with Haliburton. Today’s move puts the Pacers right at the luxury tax threshold for 2021-22, suggesting there’s still another move to be made to free themselves from that burden.

The Kings’ added significant salary with Sabonis’ $38M of future salary, but it’s hard not to look at his production vs. contract and see a ton of value in adding this player to an overpaid De’Aaron Fox to try to restart this process on the fly.

NBA NBA Trade Deadline Sacramento Kings Indiana Pacers

The February 10th trade deadline finally heats up with a blockbuster move between the Portland Trailblazers, & the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal included 7 players and 3 picks (for now).

 

The Portland Trailblazers Receive…

The Pelicans 2022 1st Round Pick
As long as it lands between #5 & #14. If not, the pick will push out to a future year.

Two Future 2nd Round Picks
Details TBD

Josh Hart, SG
Brings with him a $12M cap hit to finish off 21-22, then a non-guaranteed $12.96M next season, and a $12.96M player option for 2023-24. The 26 year old is averaging almost 14 points, 4 assists, and 8 rebounds this year.

Tomas Satoransky, SG
Is an expiring contract with a $10M cap figure for 21-22. Satoranksy’s production has been minimal this year, with just 2 points, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes per game.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG
The 23 year old #17 overall draft pick back in 2019 brings a $3.2M cap hit this year, and a $5M already exercised option for 2022-23 before restricted free agency eligibility. The youngster has posted nearly 13 points, 3 assists, and 3 boards thus far in 26 minutes per game.

Didi Louzada, SF
Louzada holds a $1.78M cap figure this year, and a guaranteed $1.8M next year before his non-guaranteed salaries kick in. He’s also amidst a 25 game suspension for a positive PED test.

 

The New Orleans Pelicans Receive…

C.J. McCollum, SG
The 30-year-old brings with him $30.8M cap figure, then fully guaranteed salaries of $33.3M, & $35.8M respectively through 2023-24. McCollum has posted 20 points, 4 assists, and 4 boards per game in around 35 minutes played. It should also be noted that he suffered a scary collapsed lung injury that kept him away for 18 Portland games. He earned $136.25M in 8.5 seasons with Portland.


Larry Nance Jr., PF
Nance holds a $10.7M cap hit for the remainder of 2021-22, then a small dip down to $9.6M for the 2022-23 season. The 29-year-old has posted 7 points, 2 assists, and 5 boards in 23 minutes per game this season.


Tony Snell, SG
The 30 year old brings a 1 year veteran minimum deal over to the Pelicans, which carries a valuable $1.6M cap hit for the remainder of the season. Snell has posted about a basket a game numbers in 14 minutes played thus far.

 

Financial Ramifications

The Trailblazers now sit with $17.3M of tax space this year, while the Pelicans are sitting with nearly $5.1M of tax space.

Portland sheds almost $80M of future cash, bringing back just $6.8M of future guarantees. This is a tale of one franchise beginning to break things down, and another (finally) pushing the gas pedal down. 

Portland gains a $21M trade exception per this move, and now has a chance to free up significant cap space this summer. If the plan is to keep Damian Lillard, they now have assets to add at least one significant (new) piece around him going forward.

NBA NBA Trade Deadline Portland Trail Blazers New Orleans Pelicans

The recent trade between the New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks (breakdown below) could be the start of some significant blockbuster trades that have yet to happen in 2022. While this New York-Atlanta trade may not be categorized as significant, we have seen major NBA stars traded in January of recent; most notably James Harden, Blake Griffin and Kristaps Porzingis. Below is a breakdown of the major January trades, what each team acquired, the salaries the team took on and where those players ended up post trade.

 

2021-22 Trades

Jan 13, 2021

New York Knicks

Cam Reddish - acquiring salaries $4.67 million (2021-22) and $5.95 million (2022-23). Reddish becomes rookie scale extension eligible in the offseason.

Solomon Hill - expiring contract with a minimum salary of $2,389,641

 

Atlanta Hawks

Kevin Knox - expiring contract with salary of $5,845,978. Knox will be a Restricted Free Agent in the offseason.

2022 1st Round pick (Charlotte’s pick which is Top-18 protected in 2022, Top-16 protected in 2023, Top-14 protected in 2024 and 2025 which would convey to 2nd-round picks in 2026 and 2027)


Notable Past January Trades

Jan 14, 2021

Brooklyn Nets

James Harden - acquired guaranteed salaries of $41.3 million (2020-21) and $44.3 million (2021-22). Harden has a Player Option of $47.4 million for the 2022-23. Brooklyn offered Harden an extension during the 2021 offseason but has yet to be signed.

 

Houston Rockets

2022 1st round pick (unprotected), 

2022 1st round pick (CLE pick via MIL), 

2024 1st round pick (unprotected), 

2026 1st round pick (unprotected), 

Pick swaps in 2021, 2023, 2025, and 2027

Dante Exum - expiring contract with a salary of $9.1million

Rodions Kurucs - acquired minimum salaries of $1.78 million (2020-21) and $1.86 million (2021-22). Kurcus was traded 2 months later to Milwaukee.

Victor Oladipo - expiring contract with a salary of $21 million. Oladipo was traded 2 months later to Miami.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers 

Jarrett Allen - expiring rookie scale contract with a salary of $3.9 million. Allen became an Unrestricted Free Agent and signeda  5 year $100 million contract with Cleveland.

Taurean Prince - acquired salaries of $12.25 million (2020-21) and $13 million (2021-22). Prince was traded in the 2021 offseason to Minnesota.

Aleksandar Vezenkov - rights were acquired

 

Indiana Pacers

Caris LeVert - acquired rookie contract extension which was signed in Aug 2019 with salaries of $16.2 million (2020-21), $17.5 million (2021-22) and $18.8 million (2022-23) 

2023 2nd round pick (least favorable of HOU, DAL and MIA)

2024 2nd round pick (least favorable of CLE and UTH pick)

$2.6 million



Jan 31, 2019

Dallas Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis - acquired expiring rookie contract with salary of $5,697,054 (2018-19). Porzingis became an Unrestricted Free Agent in the 2019 offseason and signed a 5 year $158.3 million maximum contract with Dallas.

Courtney Lee - acquired with salaries of $12.25 million (2018-19) and $12.76 million (2019-20). Lee finished the contract out with Dallas before becoming an Unrestricted Free Agent in the 2020 offseason.

Tim Hardaway Jr. - acquired with salaries of $17.33 million (2018-19), $18.15 million (2019-20), and $18.98 million (2020-21). Hardaway Jr. finished the contract with Dallas and then signed a 4 year $75 million contract during the 2021 offseason.

Trey Burke - acquired an expiring contract with a minimum salary of $1.80 million 

 

New York Knicks

Dennis Smith Jr. - acquired a rookie contract with salaries of $3.8 million (2018-19), $4.46 million (2019-20) and $5.69 million (2020-21). Smith Jr. was traded in February 2021 to Detroit.

Wesley Matthews - acquired an expiring contract with a salary of $18.6 million. Matthews was bought out by New York days later.

DeAndre Jordan - acquired an expiring contract with a salary of $22.9 million. Jordan completed the contract and signed a 4 year $40 million contract with Brooklyn during the 2019 offseason.

2021 1st round pick (unprotected)

2023 1st round pick (Top-10 protected)



Jan 29, 2018

Detroit Pistons

Blake Griffin - acquired 6 months after signing a 5 year $171.2 million contract that was signed with Los Angeles during the 2017 offseason. Detroit acquired salaries of $29.5 million, $31.87 million, $34.23 million, $36.6 million and $38.96 million. After playing 3+ seasons with Detroit, Griffin agreed to a buyout in March 2021 giving back $13.3 million. 

Brice Johnson - acquired rookie contract salaries of $1.3 million (2017-18), $1.5 million (2018-19) and $2.5 million (2019-20). Johnson was traded days later to Memphis.

Willie Reed - acquired an expiring contract with a salary of $1.58 million. Reed was traded days later to Chicago who then waived Reed.

 

Los Angeles Clippers

Tobias Harris - acquired contract with salaries of $16 million (2017-18) and $14.8 million (2018-19). Harris was traded 1 year later to Philadelphia.

Avery Bradley - acquired expiring contract with salary of $8.8 million. Bradley completed the contract and signed a 2 year $24.96 million contract as an Unrestricted Free Agent during the 2018 offseason.

Boban Marjanovic - acquired salaries of $7 million (2017-18) and $7 million (2018-19). Marjanovic was traded 1 year later with Harris to Philadelphia.

2019 2nd round pick - pick was traded 

2018 1st round pick (Top-4 protected)

 

Notable NBA Links

NBA Trade Tracker

NBA Transactions Wire

NBA Trades

The NBA calendar is full of important dates from mid-December to mid-February. On December 15, the trade window unofficially opens, as the vast majority of players signed that offseason can be traded. On January 5, teams can sign 10-Day contract. This was tweaked this season, due to so many teams having players in the health and safety protocols.

January 7 is the final day to waive a player before all contracts become fully guaranteed on January 10. And of course, mid-February (February 10 this season) features the trade deadline.

In between looms January 15. This is an important date for a couple of reasons. It’s the last day teams can apply for a disabled player exception to replace players out for the rest of the season. It’s also usually the deadline to sign players to a Two-Way Contract. This season, because of the COVID related absences, Two-Way rules have been tweaked and there will be no deadline.

Most importantly: January 15 is the final big trade restriction date for offseason signees.

Unlike the December 15 restriction, when most free agents signed in the summer can be dealt, the January 15 trade restriction only applies to players who were re-signed in the offseason. And of that group, it only applies to select individuals.

When a player is re-signed using Bird or Early Bird rights to a contract that is 20% or greater than their previous deal AND their team is over the cap, those players can’t be traded until January 15. This is because those contracts tie to Base Year Compensation rules, which impact how a BYC player’s salary works in trade. In effect, it’s an additional blocker that keeps teams from re-signing and player and immediately trading them.

Once January 15 (or three months after the player re-signed) hits, that restriction is lifted and those players can be traded. Here’s a list of players who become trade eligible on January 15:

  1. Jarrett Allen – Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Bruce Brown Jr – Brooklyn Nets
  3. John Collins – Atlanta Hawks
  4. Terence Davis – Sacramento Kings
  5. Hamidou Diallo – Detroit Pistons
  6. Josh Hart – New Orleans Pelicans
  7. Richaun Holmes – Sacramento Kings
  8. Talen Horton-Tucker – Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Reggie Jackson – LA Clippers
  10. Furkan Korkmaz – Philadelphia 76ers
  11. T.J. McConnell – Indiana Pacers
  12. Jordan McLaughlin – Minnesota Timberwolves
  13. David Nwaba – Houston Rockets
  14. Duncan Robinson – Miami Heat
  15. Derrick Rose – New York Knicks
  16. Cameron Payne – Phoenix Suns
  17. Norman Powell – Portland Trail Blazers
  18. Gary Trent Jr. – Toronto Raptors
  19. Jarred Vanderbilt – Minnesota Timberwolves

A handful of the players listed above have been prominently mentioned in trade rumors, including Hart, Holmes, Horton-Tucker and Powell. It’s important to keep in mind that you may hear their names mentioned in the rumor mill now, but it’s still a bit before those players can actually be moved.

 

Notable NBA Links

NBA Trade Restrictions

As far as the calendar goes in a normal NBA season, of which 2021-22 is thankfully one, January 10 is a meaningful date for teams and players. On that date, all NBA contracts become fully guaranteed for the duration of the season. In addition, any contract signed after that date (minus a 10-Day contract) is also fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season.

However, the date to really keep an eye on is January 7. Because players have to clear waivers by January 10, that turns January 7 into the date when players need to be waived by to avoid a cap hit for the full salary.

If a player is waived, the salary already paid to the player, plus the two days on waivers, is put on the team’s books as dead money. If the player is claimed off waivers, the entire salary and cap hit is transferred to the claiming team’s cap sheet.

Here are the 30 players to watch with January 10 (but really January 7!) guarantee dates:

 

Notable NBA Links

 

NBA Salary Guarantees

October 18th was the deadline for 2018 1st round picks to lock in a rookie extension before the start of the upcoming season. For those who didn't extend, the next available opportunity to do so now becomes via free agency after July 1st 2022, the beginning of the next league year.

In total, 11 of the 30 eligible draft picks locked into future contracts, ranging from Luka Doncic's $207M SuperMax, to Grayson Allen's $18.7M bridge upgrade. The 11 new deals is up from 10 last fall, 10 in 2019, and just 5 in 2019.

Total extensions: 11 of 30 eligible players
Total Max Value (if all incentives met): $1,151,660,000
Total Practical Value (Base salaries + LTBE incentives): $1,144,810,000
Total Guaranteed at Signing:  $1,093,090,000

Related Links:
2018 NBA Draft Tracker
Upcoming NBA Extensions

 

Extension Details

3. Luka Doncic
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Terms: 5 year, $207,060,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $207,060,000 (at minimum)
Average: $41,412,000
2022-23 Salary: $35,700,000 (estimate)

  • Contract is an estimate due to language allowing the first year salary to be determined based on 30% of League Cap in 2022-23 season.
  • 15% Trade Bonus

 

4. Jaren Jackson Jr.
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
Terms: 4 year, $104,720,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $104,720,000
Average: $26,180,000
2022-23 Salary: $28,946,605

 

5. Trae Young
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Terms: 5 year, $172,550,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $172,550,000 (at minimum)
Average: $34,510,000
2022-23 Salary: $29,750,000 (estimate)

  • Contract is an estimate due to language allowing the first year salary to be determined based on 25% of League Cap in 2022-23 season.
  • If All-NBA status is achieved, first year salary will be determined based on 30% of the League Cap in 2022-23 raise the estimated contract value to 5 years, $207 million
  • 2025-26 Early Termination Option
  • 15% Trade Bonus

 

7. Wendell Carter Jr.
Team: Orlando Magic (drafted by Chicago)
Terms: 4 year, $50,000,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $50,000,000
Average: $12,500,000
2022-23 Salary: $14,150,000

  • Salaries are decreasing over the length of the contract, finishing with $10,850,000 in 2025-26 season.

 

10. Mikal Bridges
Team: Phoenix Suns
Terms: 4 year, $90,900,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $90,900,000
Average: $22,725,000
2022-23 Salary: $22,725,000

 

11. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Terms: 5 year, $172,550,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $172,550,000 (at minimum)
Average: $34,510,000
2022-23 Salary: $29,750,000 (estimate)

  • Contract is an estimate due to language allowing the first year salary to be determined based on 25% of League Cap in 2022-23 season.
  • If All-NBA status is achieved, first year salary will be determined based on 30% of the League Cap in 2022-23 raise the estimated contract value to 5 years, $207 million
  • 15% Trade Bonus

 

14. Michael Porter Jr.
Team: Denver Nuggets
Terms: 5 year, $172,550,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $145,280,000 (at minimum)
Average: $34,510,000
2022-23 Salary: $29,750,000 (estimate)

  • Contract is an estimate due to language allowing the first year salary to be determined based on 25% of League Cap in 2022-23 season.
  • 2026-27 season: Partially guaranteed
  • (i) $12 million of the $39.27 million is guaranteed at signing.
  • (ii) $17 million becomes guaranteed if earns All-Star status in any of the 2021-22 through 2025-26 seasons.
  • (iii) Fully guaranteed based on performance metrics and awards that can be triggered prior to the 2026-27 season.

 

19. Kevin Huerter
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Terms: 4 year, $65,000,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $65,000,000
Average: $16,250,000
2022-23 Salary: $14,508,929

 

21. Grayson Allen
Team: Milwaukee Bucks (drafted by Memphis)
Terms: 2 year, $18,700,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $17,000,000
Average: $9,350,000
2022-23 Salary: $8,500,000

  • Maximum value could reach $19,550,000 if all incentives are achieved.
  • Total incentives: $2,550,000 (Annual Likely-to-be-earned: $850,000; Annual Unlikely-to-be-earned: $425,000 - at time of signing)

 

26. Landry Shamet
Team: Phoenix Suns (drafted by Los Angeles Clippers via Brooklyn)
Terms: 4 year, $42,500,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $19,750,000
Average: $10,625,000
2022-23 Salary: $9,500,000

  • 2024-25: non-guaranteed salary
  • 2025-26: Club Option/non-guaranteed salary

 

27. Robert Williams III
Team: Boston Celtics
Terms: 4 year, $48,000,000
Guaranteed at Signing: $48,000,000
Average: $12,000,000
2022-23 Salary: $10,714,287

  • Maximum value could reach $54,000,000 if all incentives are achieved.
  • Total incentives: $6,000,000 - Annual escalating incentives for games played + playoffs thresholds (all deemed unlikely at signing) 

 

Notable Players Without Extensions

1. Deandre Ayton, PHX
2. Marvin Bagley III, SAC
8. Collin Sexton, CLE
12. Miles Bridges, CHA
17. Donte DiVincenzo, MIL

Related Links:
2018 NBA Draft Tracker
Upcoming NBA Extensions

NBA Rookie Extension 2018 NBA Draft Class

Top Drafted Colleges

Earnings Per College (Last 5 Years, 2016 - 2020)

#1) Duke, $202,705,284 (15 players)

#2) Kentucky, $159,204,357 (Kentucky)

#3) Washington, $82,798,262 (7 players)

#4) Florida State, $66,483,327 (7 players)

#5) Gonzaga, $62,042,322 (5 players)

 

Top Drafted Countries

Players Per Country (Last 5 Years, 2016 - 2020)

#1) USA: 213 players

#2) France: 11 players

#3) Canada: 6 players

#4) Serbia: 5 players

Overall: 82% = USA, 18% International

 

Earnings Per Country (Last 5 Years, 2016 - 2020)

#1) USA, $1,521,928,509

#2) Australia, $74,667,792

#3) Bahamas, $67,704,272

#4) France, $48,708,736

#5) Croatia, $43,327,129

 

By Position

Earnings Per Position (Last 5 Years, 2016 - 2020)

#1) Point Guard, $533,139,216 (65 players)

#2) Shooting Guard, $504,122,295 (78 players)

#3) Power Forward, $447,719,445 (58 players)

#4) Small Forward, $306,373,984 (52 players)

#5) Center, $278,631,406 (41 players)

 

Top Earnings

Top Drafted Earners (Last 10 Years, 2011 - 2020)

Rank Player Round Pick Earnings
1 Kyrie Irving 1 1 $158,688,599
2 Anthony Davis 1 1 $152,666,234
3 Damian Lillard 1 6 $151,870,966
4 Kawhi Leonard 1 15 $149,088,735
5 Jimmy Butler 1 30 $144,395,731
6 Klay Thompson 1 11 $144,363,984
7 Bradley Beal 1 3 $144,130,512
8 Andre Drummond 1 9 $136,137,168
9 Tobias Harris 1 19 $135,604,355
10 Harrison Barnes 1 7 $127,522,137
11 Chandler Parsons 2 38 $126,998,919
12 Otto Porter Jr. 1 3 $124,127,236
13 Kemba Walker 1 9 $123,274,126
14 Khris Middleton 2 39 $120,920,176
15 C.J. McCollum 1 10 $115,393,598

 

Top Drafted Earners Per First Round Pick Number (Last 10 Years, 2011 - 2020)

Pick No. Player Draft Year Earnings
1 Kyrie Irving 2011 $158,688,599
2 Victor Oladipo 2013 $104,174,940
3 Bradley Beal 2012 $144,130,512
4 Tristan Thompson 2011 $106,193,433
5 Jonas Valanciunas 2011 $91,621,944
6 Damian Lillard 2012 $151,870,966
7 Harrison Barnes 2012 $127,522,137
8 Brandon Knight 2011 $79,134,209
9 Andre Drummond 2012 $136,137,168
10 C.J. McCollum 2013 $115,393,598
11 Klay Thompson 2011 $144,363,984
12 Steven Adams 2013 $110,144,832
13 Zach LaVine 2014 $66,928,548
14 Marcus Morris Sr. 2011 $57,249,640
15 Kawhi Leonard 2011 $149,088,735
16 Nikola Vucevic 2011 $108,338,639
17 Dennis Schröder 2013 $69,042,112
18 TJ Leaf 2017 $11,400,195
19 Tobias Harris 2011 $135,604,355
20 Evan Fournier 2012 $91,384,369
21 Gorgui Dieng 2013 $67,660,739
22 Kenneth Faried 2011 $56,855,817
23 Solomon Hill 2013 $53,774,756
24 Reggie Jackson 2011 $87,869,444
25 Clint Capela 2014 $52,252,343
26 Miles Plumlee 2012 $55,253,385
27 Rudy Gobert 2013 $102,690,340
28 Tony Bradley 2017 $8,476,213
29 Cory Joseph 2011 $58,717,660
30 Jimmy Butler 2011 $144,395,731

 

Top Earnings Per Pick Number (Last 10 Years, 2011 - 2020)

Rank Pick No. Earnings
1 1 $664,037,211
2 3 $612,686,470
3 4 $474,864,090
4 2 $472,767,404
5 7 $409,073,608
6 15 $400,486,152
7 9 $374,521,876
8 11 $370,915,100
9 6 $357,318,467
10 12 $324,158,136
11 8 $301,847,455
12 10 $291,857,169
13 13 $287,287,243
14 5 $285,818,004
15 19 $280,180,602

 

Top Earnings per International Player (Last 10 Years, 2011 - 2020)

Rank Player Country Pick No. Earnings
1 Giannis Antetokounmpo Greece 15 $106,999,970
2 Rudy Gobert France 27 $102,690,340
3 Jonas Valanciunas Lithuania 5 $91,621,944
4 Evan Fournier France 20 $91,384,369
5 Nikola Jokic Serbia 41 $85,855,769
6 Bismack Biyombo Congo, Democratic Republic of the 7 $85,350,819
7 Kristaps Porzingis Latvia 4 $73,697,582
8 Dennis Schröder Germany 17 $69,042,112
9 Bojan Bogdanovic Croatia 31 $65,379,296
10 Clint Capela Switzerland 25 $52,252,343
NBA NBA Draft

NBA players signed to minimum contracts are usually defined into one of three groups:

  • Rookies or young players who are hoping to make a team
  • Veteran players who are hoping to play a role a title contender
  • Veteran players who receive a buyout and catch on late in the season with a contender

The first group regularly sees players play themselves off of a minimum contract. This offseason alone, that group includes Bruce Brown Jr., Devonte’ Graham, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson and Gary Trent Jr. All of these players are going to get more than the minimum and some are going to get considerably more.

The last group is a matter of circumstance. For all of Andre Drummond’s foibles as a player, he’s not really someone who will play on a minimum contract for very long. After his buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Drummond joined the Lakers for a shot at a ring. This summer, Drummond will make far more than the minimum, even if it means taking a role with a lesser team. Blake Griffin is another good example. If he wants to leave the Nets for more than the minimum, he’s shown he’s still got the game to earn more.

It’s the middle group where players often get stuck, sometimes forever. Around the NBA there is a thought that “Once a minimum player, always a minimum player” when it comes to veterans.

Fair or unfair, that’s how life works in the NBA. The vast majority of successful teams are built around one to three players on max contracts, a handful signed to a mid-tier contract via the Mid-Level Exception, a few Rookie Scale players and then a handful of players that were signed via the Minimum Exception. Or the bench is rounded out with young players who the team used part of an exception to sign to a three or four-year minimum contract (Minimum Exception deals are limited to two seasons in length).

This season several players stuck in that “minimum player” category seem to have played themselves out of that designation. Here’s a list of players who might be looking at a more lucrative contract in 2021-22, based on their play this year.

 

Reggie Jackson (PG, LAC)

Jackson turned in one of his better seasons while toiling away on the minimum for the Los Angeles Clippers. He averaged 10.7 points per game, while shooting 45% from the field and 43% from behind the arc. In the postseason, Jackson has been even better. He’s averaged 17.6 points on 51% shooting overall and 42% from behind the arc. With several teams looking at point guard openings this summer, Jackson has earned himself at least a large chunk of the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception from someone.

 

Nicolas Batum (SF, LAC)

Let’s stick with Clippers vets for a minute. Batum looked finished in 2019-20 with the Charlotte Hornets. He barely played, shot poorly and it looked like his NBA career was over. The Clippers added Batum for the minimum and he became a key rotation player for them. He stayed healthy all season and turned in 8.1 points (on some of the best shooting of his career) and 4.7 rebounds in 27.4 minutes per game. He’s also shown the ability to play some small ball five, which adds to his value. It’s unclear if Batum will leave LA or not. If he stays, he probably stays on the minimum. If he wants to cash in elsewhere, he could get $4 or $5 million from a title contender for a bench role.

 

Cameron Payne (PG, PHX)

Going head-to-head with the Clippers is Payne, who has finally put it all together in his sixth season. The Phoenix Suns did well to add Payne on a two-year, minimum contract before the bubble last season. He played well at Walt Disney World and that’s carried over to this year. He’s been a solid backup to Chris Paul and stepped up while Paul was out to start the Western Conference Finals. Payne should get a portion of the MLE from a good team to be a high-end backup point guard that can start when necessary.

 

Torrey Craig (SF, PHX)

Completing our quartet of Western Conference finalists on the minimum is Craig. He’s a defense-first wing who easily fits on any good team. The Milwaukee Bucks probably should have kept him, but the Suns stole him on the cheap when the Bucks needed to clear a roster spot. Craig’s defense alone should earn him a chunk of the MLE from someone, but his offense is probably better than you think too.

 

Solomon Hill (SF, ATL)

Hill belongs in the same camp as Batum, even if he’s several years younger. If he wants to return to Atlanta, it’s probably for the minimum, as the Hawks payroll is starting to get a little unwieldy. But if Hill wants to cash in on his newfound “defensive stopper” reputation, he could get a nice offer elsewhere.

 

Austin Rivers (PG, DEN)

Rivers play for the Denver Nuggets was better than most expected. If he’s happy there as a placeholder until Jamal Murray returns, Rivers will re-sign with Denver for the minimum. Otherwise, he could leverage a poor free agent class into a bigger offer from a playoff contender seeking guard depth.

 

Jeff Green (PF, BKN)

Since his one-year, $15 million contract with the Orlando Magic expired in 2017, Jeff Green has played for the minimum for five different clubs over the last four seasons. If Green wants to stay with a ready-made title contender in Brooklyn, the Nets will happily bring him back on another minimum deal. If Green wants to cash in one last time, he might have a chance to snag part of the MLE from a playoff hopeful looking for a veteran forward for their bench.

NBA Minimum Contract Reggie Jackson Nicolas Batum Cameron Payne Torrey Craig Solomon Hill Austin Rivers Jeff Green

The presence, and absence, of a handful of players with the recently announced 2020-21 All-NBA teams has major financial ramifications for upcoming and future contract extensions.

The 2020-21 All-NBA Teams:

First Team

  • Nikola Jokic
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Stephen Curry
  • Luka Doncic

Second Team

  • Joel Embiid
  • Julius Randle
  • LeBron James
  • Damian Lillard
  • Chris Paul

Third Team

  • Rudy Gobert
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Paul George
  • Bradley Beal
  • Kyrie Irving

 

Luka Doncic, G, DAL

Let’s start with Luka Doncic. By virtue of being named to an All-NBA team for the second consecutive year, Doncic now qualifies for the Designated Player Rookie Extension. We previously covered all of the options for Doncic last week. Here’s the projected extension starting at 30% of the 2022-23 cap that Doncic is now in line to sign:

  • 2022-23 - $34,735,800
  • 2023-24 - $37,514,664
  • 2024-25 - $40,293,528
  • 2025-26 - $43,072,392
  • 2026-27 - $45,851,256
  • Total – 5 years, $201,467,640

(Note: Doncic will complete the fourth and final year of his Rookie Scale contract during the 2021-22 season. This extension would start with the following season in 2022-23.) Because of Doncic’s stature in the league, it’s likely he’ll have a player option on the fifth year of his new deal. And he’ll probably have a 15% trade bonus added in there too.

Because Doncic made All-NBA in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, he is no longer dependent on being honored for 2021-22. A player must make All-NBA or win Defensive Player of the Year in either the two seasons that preceded the most recent season or in the most recent season (or win MVP in any of the three preceding seasons) to qualify for a Designated Player Extension. Since Doncic made it in 2019-20 and 2020-21, he’s now qualified for the Designated Player Rookie Extension no matter how his 2021-22 season goes.

 

Bam, Fox, Mitchell, & Tatum

Sticking with Designated Player Rookie Extensions, a quartet of players did not make All-NBA and thus did not qualify for the jump from 25% to 30% of the cap (or anywhere in-between). Bam Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum all were eligible to bump to 30% of the cap in first-year salary in their extensions had they made All-NBA. Fox wasn’t a realistic candidate to make All-NBA, but Adebayo had a case and Tatum and Mitchell were both certainly deserving. In the case of Tatum, he narrowly missed out on his second straight All-NBA nod.

As it stands now, each player will have a projected extension structure of:

  • 2021-22 - $28,103,500
  • 2022-23 - $30,351,780
  • 2023-24 - $32,600,060
  • 2024-25 - $34,848,340
  • 2025-26 - $37,096,620
  • Total – 5 years, $163,000,300

Both Tatum and Mitchell have player options on their fifth years, while Adebayo and Fox are straight five-year contracts.

Had any of the quartet been named to All-NBA, they would have been eligible for a projected first-year salary of $33,724,200 and a total salary of $195,600,360 over the life of their deals. That’s a difference of $5,620,700 in 2021-22 and $32,600,060 over the full run.

 

Joel Embiid, C, PHI

As for the Designated Player Veteran Extension, Joel Embiid has now qualified to sign under this criterion. Embiid’s current deal is scheduled to run through 2022-23. This offseason, the 76ers could tack on four additional years to Embiid’s contract via the Designated Player Veteran Extension beginning in 2023-24 at 35% of the cap. That would give Embiid a projected contract structure of:

  • 2021-22 - $31,579,390 (current contract)
  • 2022-23 - $33,616,770 (current contract)
  • 2023-24 - $42,551,250 (Year 1 of Designated Player Veteran Extension)
  • 2024-25 - $45,955,350
  • 2025-26 - $49,359,450
  • 2026-27 - $52,763,550
  • Total – 6 years, $255,825,760

That’s a lot of money to lay out, given Embiid’s injury history and the fact that he’ll turn 33 years old during the 2026-27 season, but Embiid is the NBA’s best two-way center and has gotten more serious about his conditioning this year. It’s probably worth the gamble to keep one of the league’s most talented big men happy and in the fold in Philadelphia.

NBA All-NBA Team

Tim Duncan

Signed six contracts over his career.

    • 3 year / $10.24 million (Rookie contract)
    • 3 year / $31.9 million
    • 7 year / $122 million (exercised 2008-09 Player Option)
    • 2 year / $40 million (extension)
    • 3 year / $30.36 million (exercised 2014-15 Player Option)
    • 2 year / $10.85 million (retired prior to 2016-17 season but salary was guaranteed)

Highest Salary: $22,183,220 (2009-10 season)

Average Salary per 20 seasons played: $12,738,147

 

Kobe Bryant

Signed five contracts over his career.

    • 3 year / $3.5 million (Rookie contract)
    • 5 year / $56.225 million (exercised 2004-05 Early Termination Option to become free agent)
    • 7 year / $136.4 million (exercised 2010-11 Player Option)
    • 3 year / $83.5 million (included the rare no-trade clause)
    • 2 year / $48 million

Highest Salary: $30,453,805 (2013-14 season)

Average Salary per 20 seasons played: $16,165,615

 

Kevin Garnett

Signed six contracts over his career.

    • 3 year / $5.39 million (Rookie contract)
    • 6 year / $126 million (exercised 2004-05 Early Termination Option to become free agent)
    • 5 year / $100 million (traded to Boston; trade kicker activated)
    • 3 year / $51.3 million (signed extension part of MIN-BOS trade)
    • 3 year / $36 million (included rare no-trade clause; waived for BKN-BOS trade)
    • 2 year / $16.5 million (included rare no-trade clause; retired prior to 2016-17 season but salary was guaranteed)

Highest Salary: $30,417,829 (2007-08 season due to trade kicker bonus money)

Average Salary per 21 seasons played: $15,919,250

 

Year Tim Duncan Kobe Bryant Kevin Garnett
1 $2,967,840 $1,015,000 $1,622,000
2 $3,413,000 $1,167,240 $1,666,000
3 $3,858,240 $1,319,000 $2,109,120
4 $9,600,000 $9,000,000 $8,536,585
5 $10,230,000 $10,130,000 $16,806,300
6 $12,072,500 $11,250,000 $19,610,000
7 $12,676,125 $12,375,000 $22,400,000
8 $14,260,641 $13,500,000 $25,200,000
9 $15,845,156 $14,175,000 $28,000,000
10 $17,429,672 $15,946,875 $16,000,000
11 $19,014,188 $17,718,750 $18,000,000
12 $20,598,704 $19,490,625 $21,000,000
13 $22,183,220 $21,262,500 $30,417,829
14 $18,835,381 $23,034,375 $23,000,000
15 $17,034,937 $24,806,250 $14,665,110
16 $9,638,554 $20,318,738 $17,080,110
17 $10,361,446 $27,849,149 $15,691,186
18 $10,361,446 $30,453,805 $11,566,265
19 $6,000,000 $23,500,000 $12,433,735
20 $5,643,750
(retired/waived but earned)
$25,000,000 $12,000,000
21     $8,500,000
22     $8,000,000
(retired/waived but earned)
Total $242,024,800 $323,312,307 $334,304,240
Avg $12,738,147 $16,165,615 $15,919,250

 

NBA NBA Hall of Fame Tim Duncan Kobe Bryant Kevin Garnett

A "SuperMax" Extension or also known as the Designated Player rule allows for an NBA player to receive increased compensation based on certain criteria being met. The increased salary allows for the first year salary of the extension to be 30% or 35% of the designated league year cap based on credited experience and performance awards (All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year or Most Valuable Player). Players are able to receive a yearly raise up to 8% of the first year salary.

A player who is signed to a Designated Player extension can only be signed from the end of the offseason moratorium through the last day before the regular season. Furthermore, being signed to this extension type means a player cannot be traded for one year after the extension has been signed.

Designated/"SuperMax" Extension Types

Designated Rookie Extension

Player is entering the 4th year of rookie scale contract, maximum salary starts at 25% of the cap (30% based on criteria below) with a maximum of six (6) years (which includes the remaining year on the current contract).

A player with fewer than seven (7) years of experience and mets the criteria for the 30% of the cap is said to be eligible for the "Derrick Rose Rule," name for Derrick Rose who won the MVP during his third season in the NBA.

Designated Veteran Extension

Player has 7 or 8 years of experience and has 1 or 2 years remaining on their current contract (all with with the same team or was traded during first four years in the NBA) and meets the criteria below is eligible for a maximum salary that starts at 35% of the cap with a maximum of six (6) years (which includes the remaining years on the current contract).

 

Who applies for this increase:

(A) Players finishing their rookie scale contract and other players having been credited with four (4) years of service can receive a starting salary up to 30% of the cap.

(B) Players finishing their rookie scale extension or other players having seven to nine (7-9) years of experience can receive a starting salary up to 35% of the cap.

 

At least one of the following must apply:

(A) Player was named to All-NBA First, Second or Third team in most reason season or both of the two seasons prior to the most recent season.

Based on 2021 offseason, player was named to any All-NBA team in 2020-21 OR was named to any All-NBA team in 2018-19 AND 2019-20.

(B) Player was named the Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) in most reason reason or both of the two season prior to the most recent season.

Based on 2021 offseason, player was named to DPOY in 2020-21 OR was named as DPOY in 2018-19 AND 2019-20.

(C) Player was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in any of the three most recent seasons.

Based on 2021 offseason, player was named as MVP in 2018-19, 2019-20 or 2020-21.

 

Supermax Extension Designated Player Extension Extension NBA

How much do the players selected to the All-Star Game, Rookie-Sophomore Game, and All-Star Skills competition make?

 

All-Star Game

Winners: $50,000 per player

Losers: $25,000 per player

 

Rookie-Sophomore Game

Winners: $25,000 per player

Losers: $10,000 per player

 

All-Star Skills Competition

Slam Dunk

1st Place: $100,000

2nd Place: $50,000

3rd Place: $20,000

4th Place: $20,000

 

Three-Point Shootout

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $25,000

4th Place: $10,000

5th Place: $10,000

6th Place: $10,000

 

Skills

1st Place: $50,000

2nd Place: $35,000

3rd Place: $15,000

4th Place: $15,000

 

Shooting Stars

1st Place: $60,000

2nd Place: $45,000

3rd Place: $24,000

4th Place: $24,000

 

NBA All-Star Game All-Star Skills