The Grizzlies signed Mike Conley to the largest contract in NBA history this summer, locking up the point guard for the next five seasons to the tune of $153MM. Conley hit the open market at the perfect time, with Memphis owning his Bird rights and the league’s salary cap jumping from approximately $70MM in 2015/16 up to $94,143,000 as a result of the new TV deal kicking in this season. With the cap expected to continue its upward trend over the next few seasons, Conley’s deal should soon be eclipsed. Salary cap expert Larry Coon writing for ESPN.com in an Insider only piece, took a stab at predicting who the first player to eclipse the $200MM total value mark will be.
It will require a specific set of criteria for a player to hit that staggering benchmark, according to Coon. A player would need to have 10 years of NBA service time, be 31 years of age or younger and re-sign for five-years with a team that holds his full Bird rights, Coon notes. If you are wondering which players might fit that criteria, Coon has you covered, noting that the likeliest to be in line for that jackpot are:
The next tier of players who could be in line to surpass the $200MM mark, according to Coon, are:
It should be noted that Coon isn’t suggesting that all of these players are worthy of that amount, but merely that they will meet his stated criteria and could be in line to sign five-year, maximum salary deals which could surpass the magical $200MM line.
Also, for those wondering why LeBron James isn’t on this list, he’s currently 31 years old and unless the next Collective Bargaining Agreement does away with the over-36 rule, he’s not eligible. The rule, as explained by Coon, states that: “In an Over-36 contract, the presumption is that the seasons at the end of the contract are likely to come after the player retires. Therefore, the salaries in those seasons are classified as deferred compensation. This is significant because deferred compensation is charged to team salary in the year it is earned, not the year it is paid.”
So here’s the question/topic of discussion for this evening: Which of the listed players do you believe will surpass the $200MM mark on their next contract? Who, if any, do you feel are worthy of pulling down that kind of salary?
Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.