Community Shootaround: First $200MM NBA Player?

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 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:

  1. Russell Westbrook
  2. James Harden
  3. Kyle Lowry
  4. DeAndre Jordan

The next tier of players who could be in line to surpass the $200MM mark, according to Coon, are:

  1. Brook Lopez
  2. Kevin Love
  3. Nicolas Batum
  4. Evan Turner
  5. DeMar DeRozan

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.

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2 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: First $200MM NBA Player?

  1. alphakira

    Westbrook or Harden obviously have the best shot here. Westbrook more so because of the likely gaudy numbers he’ll be putting up this year. He should flirt with a triple double nearly every game. Simmons and Towns won’t be eligible but if NBA teams are shy about doing 200 mil anytime soon (I don’t suspect they would be) I’d assume these kids would be next in line, especially Towns being that teams always overpay for big men.

    • Eddie Scarito

      Simmons and Towns won’t be able to crack that mark until they have 10 years service time (Unless the new CBA drastically changes things). So they won’t be the first. But they’ll probably end up making that amount when their time comes.


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