Blake Griffin Eligible For 30% Max Contract

January 18 2013 at 9:00am CST By Luke Adams

When Blake Griffin signed a five-year extension with the Clippers last July, the contract, which begins next season, was widely reported as a $95MM deal. That number likely won't end up being quite accurate, but it gives an indication of the sort of contract the two sides agreed upon.

While Griffin and James Harden both signed "maximum-salary" contracts, Harden's extension was reported to be worth around $80MM. So why the difference between the two deals? We can assume the Clippers agreed to a max contract with Griffin that will pay him 30% of the salary cap, rather than the 25% typically permitted for players with his and Harden's experience. As Larry Coon explains in his CBA FAQ, a player is eligible to sign for that 30% rookie scale extension if he meets one of the following criteria in his first four seasons: (1) Wins a Most Valuable Player award; (2) Voted an All-Star Game starter at least twice; (3) Named to an All-NBA team at least twice.

When it was announced last night that Griffin had been voted a Western Conference All-Star starter, it was the second straight year he'd achieved that honor, officially making him eligible for the 30% max.

As for Griffin's specific salary, we won't know that until July. Maximum salaries are determined based on the NBA's BRI (basketball related income), which isn't calculated until after the season. However, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, who signed five-year rookie scale extensions that began this season, provide examples of the difference between a 30% max salary and a 25% max salary — Rose, who qualified for 30% after being named NBA MVP in 2010/11, will earn $94,314,376 on his five-year deal with the Bulls, while Westbrook's contract with the Thunder, for the standard 25%, will pay him $78,595,310.

Assuming maximum salaries continue to increase at the same rate they did this past season, Griffin's 30% max contract should earn him somewhere in the neighborhood of $100MM over his next five years with the Clippers.

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