WASHINGTON — July 1 marks the first day of NBA free agency, with a number of big chips already on the move around the league.
Here’s a recap of the reported big money that, in some cases, exceeds the value of the chips. Remember, NBA contracts are 100 percent guaranteed:
- Darrell Arthur, PF, Denver Nuggets: 3 years, $23 million
- D.J. Augustin, PG, Orlando Magic: 4 years, $29 million
- Nicolas Batum, SF, Charlotte Hornets: 5 years, $120 million
- Jerryd Bayless, SG, Philadelphia 76ers: 3 years, $27 million
- Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards: 5 years, $128 million
- Jordan Clarkson, SG, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 years, $50 million
- Mike Conley, PG, Memphis Grizzlies: 5 years $153 million
- Matthew Dellavedova, PG, Milwaukee Bucks: four years, $38 million
- DeMar DeRozan, SG, Toronto Raptors: 5 years, $145 million
- Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons: 5 years, $130 million
- Evan Fournier, SG, Orlando Magic: 5 years, $85 million
- Jeff Green, SF, Orlando Magic: 1 year, $15 million
- Solomon Hill, SG, New Orleans Pelicans: 4 years, $50 million
- Dwight Howard, C, Atlanta Hawks: 3 years, $70.5 million
- Al Jefferson, C, Indiana Pacers: 3 years, $30 million
- Jeremy Lin, PG, Brooklyn Nets: 3 years, $36 million
- Timofey Mozgov, C, Los Angeles Lakers: 4 years, $64 million
- Chandler Parsons, SF, Memphis Grizzlies: 4 years, $94 million
- Mirza Teletovic, PF, Milwaukee Bucks: 3 years, $30 million
- Evan Turner, SF, Portland Trail Blazers: 4 years, $70 million
- Ish Smith, PG, Detroit Pistons: 3 years, $18 million
- Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat: 4 years, $98 million
As of 8:30 p.m. ET, more than $1.5 billion has been committed to free agents. That’s an average of more than $65 million, with even the smallest deal providing life-changing income to the recipient and his family.
Immediately, discussion began on sports talk radio around the country of whether or not Player X was worth Salary Y. The numbers seem inflated, especially for bench or role players. But that’s the economics of basketball in 2016.
And their NFL counterparts have taken note (NFL contracts are not fully guaranteed).
From the Redskins Twitterverse:
The economics of sports are complicated and shrouded in mystery, as most teams don’t have the reveal how much revenue they make in a season. In labor disputes, owners will do everything possible to downplay revenue, while players usually have to bargain away certain rights in order to get a larger slice of the pie.
But just for comparison, the NBA’s salary cap for the upcoming season will be approximately $94, after experiencing a $24 million jump–the largest in NBA history. It will jump again next year thanks to escalators in the TV contracts signed in 2014.
That doesn’t compare favorably to the NFL’s $155.27 million, but that’s a pie divided 53 ways. In the NBA, only 14 players must share the pie, guaranteeing much higher-end deals.
On average, an NBA player will survive in the league for 4.8 years, which dwarfs the 3.5 average of the NFL. The average NBA contract last season was just more than $4 million, with the median at just below $2 million. The average NFL contract is only $2.1 million, with the veteran minimum only $435,000.
For NBA players, that’s longer average careers, higher average pay and less competition for sponsorship deals. NFL players may get paid to play a child’s game, but they have a legitimate argument for getting salaries closer to their NBA counterparts.