For years, it's seemed that size matters in the NBA. This year's free agent class suggests that it might not have the sway we always thought.
Thanks in large measure to Chris Paul's maximum-salary contract, free agents listed as 6'0" at Basketball-Reference.com earned deals worth the highest average annual value among those signed this summer. Paul's hefty contract skews that $10.842MM figure, since he's one of only five 6'0" guys to sign this summer. The rest of the 6-footers check in with an average annual salary of just $1.987MM.
Players who stand 6'11" did well for themselves, as a dozen of them cashed in to the tune of a $6.027MM average annual salary this summer, second highest on the list, buoyed by Dwight Howard's mega deal. That puts them over top of the vaunted 7-footers, including the 7'0" bunch, who scored just $2.901MM in average annual value. That figure was lower than any group of players aside from the sub-6-footers.
After players at 6'0" and 6'11", the 6'6" and 6'4" groups are the next most highly paid, at $5.49MM and $5.133MM, respectively. That means three of the four best-paid heights are shorter than the league average height of 6'7".
The complete list is below. Where Basketball-Reference values weren't available, we went with the heights listed on RealGM.com. Summer contracts, undrafted rookies and non-guaranteed contracts are included, but draft picks aren't.
- 5'9": One player (Nate Robinson), two years total, $2.062MM average annual salary
- 5'10": None
- 5'11": Two players, five years total, $1.09MM average annual salary
- 6'0": Five players, 11 years total, $10.842MM average annual salary
- 6'1": Five players, eight years total, $4.23MM average annual salary
- 6'2": Six players, 11 years total, $3.807MM average annual salary
- 6'3": Fourteen players, 31 years total, $3.406MM average annual salary
- 6'4": Six players, 18 years total, $5.133MM average annual salary
- 6'5": Five players, 11 years total, $3.831MM average annual salary
- 6'6": Eleven players, 27 years total, $5.49MM average annual salary
- 6'7": Twelve players, 29 years total, $4.031MM average annual salary
- 6'8": Five players, eight years total, $3.838MM average annual salary
- 6'9": Eighteen players, 40 years total, $4.927MM average annual salary
- 6'10": Ten players, 21 years total, $3.75MM average annual salary
- 6'11": Twelve players, 28 years total, $6.027MM average annual salary
- 7'0": Seven players, 14 years total, $2.901MM average annual salary
- 7'1": One player (Timofey Mozgov), three years total, $4.667MM average annual salary