With the NBA’s salary cap in limbo, now more than ever is it important to find players who bring value with their contract as much as their talent.
NBA players raking in more money than ever before has made it increasingly difficult for teams to work out contracts in their favor. One overpriced deal sets the market for those that follow, creating a never-ending snowball effect.
Getting the most out of contracts isn’t about spending the least amount of money. It’s about knowing who to give what number of dollars to. An easy task for the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s of the league who have earned it. Less so for those who fall elsewhere on the individual hierarchy.
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Housing a bargain contract takes on greater importance in 2020 considering the unpredictability of future cap figures. Teams might have to cut a lot of corners in free agency. Having previously saved money afford the savvy teams some financial breathing room.
Some parameters for this exercise:
- No rookie-year deals: It’d be too easy to put Luka Doncic or Jayson Tatum on this list when their current contracts were tied more to their draft spot than a stroke of luck from their respective teams
- Same goes for superstars: Even though he’s worth every bit of his salary, LeBron James doesn’t exactly make it easy for teams to build around him without a steep dive into the luxury tax
- A two-year minimum remaining on their deal: What good is a player’s contract if it’s set to expire in the next few months. Additionally, even the most ludicrous contracts afford value in their final year as an expiring
You’ll notice how most of the names here have slim chances at future All-Star Games. Nevertheless, they’re viewed as key pieces to their respective teams in part because of the added benefits that come from production exceeding previous expectations.