We’ve known for a while now that the salary cap in the NBA is going to be on the rise ever since news of that insane $24 billion TV deal was made official. But it’s amazing to hear the actual projections, and how quickly they’ll come into play.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein gave us a peak at what these numbers are going to look like: “Sources told ESPN.com that based on current projections, league officials expect the salary cap to increase from its current $63.1 million figure to $67.1 million next season, $89 million in 2016-17 and $108 million in 2017-18. The jumps represent massive increases triggered largely by the influx of television money that will begin pouring in after the 2015-16 season, when the NBA’s new nine-year, $24 billion TV deal kicks in.”
These NBA players are about to get PAID.
Obviously, next season we only see a slight jump, but in 2016 free agent signings will start to get ridiculous. In a league where a lot of players are already overpaid, contracts are going to become laugh-out-loud funny when you attach certain players’ names to $50 million-plus contracts.
Jodie Meeks was somehow the second highest paid player on the Piston’s roster this season until Tayshaun Prince came along and bumped him down to third. He signed a three-year deal for $19 million this past offseason, and was Detroit’s backup shooting guard. I wouldn’t want any part of this contract from the start, but what the hell would he be worth in 2017?! 3/$30M? 3/$32M? If I’m a role player in the NBA, I’m feeling pretty good about this.
If I’m a superstar in the NBA then I’m feeling great about this.
Who knows what the max contract could be, or if there will even be one? Think LeBron signed a two-year deal in Cleveland by accident? He’s going to be a free agent in 2016 when the cap is in the $89 million range and absolutely cash in. Unless, of course, he signs a one-year $30 million deal at that point and decides to cash in for even more come 2017.
Then you have stars like Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving who recently inked their long-term deals and could miss out on bigger pay days (more likely in Kyrie’s case than Melo’s). Melo signed a “modest” five-year $124 million deal this past summer ($129M would have been the max), but with his age, and the annual raises he’s set to make, the contract will probably turn out to be fair.
Starting in 2016-17, here’s what Anthony is set to earn over the final three years of his deal that ends in 2018-19: $24.5M, $26.2M and $27.9M. NO WAY he’s worth that money on the current salary cap, but that could be a fair deal when you factor in where the league is heading (his $22M on a $67M cap next year could be the worst remaining year on his deal).
In Irving’s case, the Cavs should be ecstatic over the extension they signed him to. Irving is making just $7.1 million this season until his five-year $90 million extension kicks in this offseason. But keep in mind, Kyrie just turned 23-years old and will be making an average of $18 million annually until he’s 28. That’s just 20 percent of an $89 million cap and 16 percent of a $108 million cap. Compare that to stars like Melo right now, who’s clogging up nearly 35 percent of the Knicks cap space!
The bottom line is that this TV deal is going to mean pay days all around at some point in time. The NBAPA will step in as well and make sure that no players wind up screwed on any level, or at least do their best. It’s not like Irving will be underpaid his entire career. Assuming he keeps performing, he’ll have a chance to sign a deal in his prime in 2020, when the money will surely still be around.
It’s crazy to think about, but a salary cap jump of over $40 million in just two seasons is going to change the landscape of the league for ever.
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