Five-Year Contracts Rare In Today’s NBA

August 5 at 11:28am CDT By Chuck Myron

One of the primary thrusts of the latest collective bargaining agreement is to limit contract length, and if the number of five-year deals handed out is any indication, it’s mission accomplished. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Marcin Gortat are the only free agents to have received five-year deals this summer, and that’s an uptick from 2013, when teams combined to hand out only two such contracts. There have been two five-year rookie scale extensions signed in each of the previous two years, and only one player, Kyrie Irving, has inked a five-year rookie scale extension so far this offseason.

No deal under the current CBA is allowed to run more than five years, and a tight set of rules exist that keep most contracts from running longer than four seasons. Clubs can only sign their own free agents to five-year deals. That applies even for sign-and-trades, giving players no recourse but to stay with their teams should they insist on five-year commitments. Rookie scale extensions can run as long as five years, but a five-year extension triggers the Designated Player rule. That keeps teams from signing a player to a five-year rookie scale extension if they’ve already done so with another player on the roster. A Designated Player must receive the maximum salary in the first year of his deal, further dissuading teams from that sort of arrangement.┬áVeteran extensions aren’t allowed to run for more than three seasons, as I noted Monday.

The first free agency and extension period under the current collective bargaining agreement took place in 2011, but it was condensed as the league scrambled to start the 2011/12 season after the lockout that year. So, the first full offseason under the existing set of rules took place in 2012, and even since then, the way teams hand out five-year deals has evolved. It’d be difficult to see guys like Jason Thompson and Ersan Ilyasova wind up with such lengthy contracts in today’s market, and even Brooklyn’s deal with Deron Williams, that summer’s marquee free agent signing, seems decidedly player-friendly two years later.

We’ve listed each of the five-year contracts signed since the 2012 offseason, grouping them by free agent deals and extensions. Click the year for more information on each deal.

Five-year free agent contracts

2012

2013

2014

Five-year rookie scale extensions

2012

2013

2014

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