A couple of years back the NBA signed a television deal that would cause a rise in the salary cap for each of the NBA franchises. Last season the cap sat at $70 million. This year that number will rise to $92 million and could exceed $100 million by 2017. That is an excessive amount of money for a roster that dresses 12 men each night. With the salary cap number up to $92 million for this summer, free agency will see some massive contracts and be one of the craziest off seasons we have seen in a while. Hopefully last summers outrageous deals makes general managers a little more cautious, although I know it won’t.
One of the (many) great things I have heard Mark Cuban said was when he was asked about his experiences early on as an NBA owner. He said something along the lines of, NBA general managers are only concerned about keeping their jobs. What is the best way to keep your job? Be good enough to make the playoffs, to get fans in the building, making the owner money. So if a general manager is given an extra $22 million to work with, they are going to overspend on good players. Don’t get me wrong, the players that are getting paid all of this money are good players. They have helped teams win games and have put up good number, but is it worth it? Let’s take a look at some of last season’s contracts.
Robin Lopez 4 years, $54 million.
Greg Monroe 3 years, $51 million
Tyson Chandler 4 years, $54 million
DeMarre Carroll 4 years, $60 million
Kosta Koufos 4 years $33 million
Let me first start off by saying that the Greg Monroe contract was deserved for him. He is a good player that could help out a team in some capacity but it was the tea that signed him that I have a problem with. The Bucks tried to get good too soon without letting the process play itself out. They decided to throw money at a guy for the sake of spending money, not realizing he is a terrible fit for that team. Same thing goes for DeMarre Carroll. He is a good defender that can knock down the occasional three, but he isn’t the best fit for Toronto. Toronto needs more people that can knockdown outside shots to help space the floor more for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but with $15 million locked up each year in DeMarre Carroll makes that a little harder to move. The Robin Lopez contract was a complete panic move by New York since Greg Monroe spurned them by wanting to go to Milwaukee. The Kings made perhaps the biggest Kings move ever by throwing $33 million at Kosta Koufos to do… something? Not sure what he does well. Kings gonna Kings I guess. Then the Suns decided it was a good idea to give a 32 year old a 4 year deal worth $54 million.
As you can see, there were many “impulse buys” if you will when these teams are presented with a lot of money to spend. Those were just a few contracts that will haunt these franchises down the line when they are unable to move these contracts. I can only imagine some of the outrageous contracts that will be given out this year. Players like Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, and Nicolas Batum will be seeing much bigger checks come this off season. Even other role players like Evan Turner and Kent Bazemore will likely get a lot of money for their services. Some poor soul is even going to give DeMar DeRozan a max deal. But let last season be a warning to NBA general managers. Just because you have money does not mean you have to spend it.