Boston, Toronto, and Memphis should pray their stars don’t make All-NBA

Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors, Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors, Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

As the NBA season winds down, the league’s top players are putting the finishing touches on their resumes for All-NBA consideration. All-NBA is meant to recognize the top three players at each position in the league, and being selected is huge since it often carries big financial ramifications. That is particularly true for Ja Morant, Jaylen Brown, and Pascal Siakam, who are all vying to make All-NBA and would qualify to make either 30% or 35% of the league’s salary cap.

The salary cap is currently set at $122 million this season but is expected to skyrocket when the league’s television contract expires after next season. That would mean Brown and Siakam could make significantly more on their next contract, while Morant is already under contract for four more years, and it would amount to a significant salary increase.

Why each team may be rooting against their player making an all-NBA team

While all three players are obviously great, no team wants to pay their best player nearly $290 million over five years. However, as the cap rises, so do max contracts, and while superstars drive winning, small-market teams are likely to think twice about committing so much money to one player. Boston isn’t exactly a small market, but they probably don’t want to have to pay Brown that much while also having to pay Jayson Tatum.

The same can be said for Toronto, which probably doesn’t want to commit so much money to a player who is 29 and could be declining by the end of that max contract. There are also some overlap concerns with their roster, and they would certainly prefer he didn’t make an All-NBA team so they could keep his next contract more affordable and even tradeable. Ironically, with the dramatically rising cap and max contracts being tied to a percentage of the salary cap, teams may start having to choose whether it’s worth it to pay their stars.

The San Antonio Spurs were reportedly concerned about having to pay All-Star Dejounte Murray upwards of $200 million in 2024, more if he made All-NBA. As a result, they appear to have traded him to the Atlanta Hawks to avoid that possibility, among other reasons. That appears to be the right decision, considering their ceiling with Murray was limited since he isn’t a superstar. Of the three players mentioned, Morant is the closest to being a superstar, followed closely by Brown and then Siakam.

Morant is also several years younger, so Memphis may be the most willing to do whatever it takes to keep him. However, Boston and Toronto could potentially trade Brown and Siakam if they become eligible for 35% of the salary cap by making All-NBA rather than paying them next summer.

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Ultimately, Toronto, Memphis, and Boston will all be closely watching to see if Siakam, Morant, and Brown make an All-NBA team. If they do, then two of them would be eligible to sign massive new contracts. If they don’t, then their teams would receive a major financial break.