Posted on July 4, 2016, by Travis Pulver
When the free agency period began for the NBA, teams knew it was going to be a little crazy. It always is; that’s why it is referred to as the ‘Silly Season.’ Someone is always willing to make a superstar some sort of crazy offer and someone else is bound to offer a role player or reserve the kind of money typically given to a starter. Thanks to the new television contracts, the salary cap was taking a serious jump—about $24 million and it is going to be even higher next year.
Everyone has money to spend than normal. So if teams wanted to add even a moderately talented player to their respective rosters, they knew they were going to have to pay—and pay they have.
Deals can’t become official until Thursday, July 7, but teams have been able to talk to guys since July 1. Within hours, news of some pretty crazy deals began to go public. Assuming no one pulls a DeAndre Jordan, and every contract becomes official, a lot of players will be wearing new uniforms next season.
Oh—and they will be paid quite handsomely to do so. How handsomely? After just three days there have been 53 contracts/deals agreed to. In a few of them, the player’s original team has the option to match the offer. But at the numbers that have been offered, they would be crazy to do so.
What is really crazy is the amount of money that has been promised in these contract. Not just promised, but since the NBA Players’ Union has a beast of a negotiator—unlike the NFL—guaranteed.
Next season these 53 players are going to make over $744 million. Over the life of their contracts—which range from a single season to five—they will make $2.808 billion. That’s 53 guys—and some of them aren’t even very good! The top ten alone are going to make over $1 billion over the life their contracts:
- Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies: five years, $152,605,575 million
- DeMar DeRozan, SG, Toronto Raptors: five years, $139 million
- Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards: five years, $127,171,313
- Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons: five years, $127,171,313
- Nicolas Batum, SF, Charlotte Hornets: five years, $120,000,000
- Al Horford, PF, Boston Celtics (formerly with Atlanta Hawks): four years, $113,326,227
- Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat: four years, $94,438,523
- Chandler Parsons, SF, Memphis Grizzlies (formerly with Dallas Mavericks): four years, $93,940,000
- Evan Fournier, SG, Orlando Magic: five years, $85 million
- Ryan Anderson, PF, Houston Rockets (formerly with New Orleans Pelicans): four years, $80 million
To compare this to the NFL, the top ten unrestricted free agents in the NFL this offseason (not including franchise-tagged players that have yet to sign long term contracts) signed for a combined total of $627.75 million with just $289.7 million guaranteed.
What is even crazier than the current numbers is what they could be when some of the top remaining picks sign their deals. If Kevin Durant and LeBron James were to sign long-term, max contracts (which they probably will not) the total would easily hit $3 billion.
But with the slate of free agents yet to sign the total will easily surpass that mark before the silly season quits being silly.