LeBron James hit one of the NBA’s biggest problems head on with his tweet over the weekend about Steph Curry. Curry recently signed a five-year, $201 million deal, which is the highest average annual value in the United States’ major sports. However, James thinks Curry should be making even more.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 1, 2017
The NBA, for whatever reason, has a max contract in place. Out of the three big sports leagues in North America (NFL, MLB and NBA), they are the only league that puts a cap on how much a player can make.
The NFL is a free market. The teams decide how much a player is worth and pay them accordingly.
The MLB does the same thing. In fact, they don’t even have a salary cap. This allows the richest teams to buy even more great players, but those still aren’t always the best teams.
Because the NFL and MLB have a free market, the league’s talent pool is more evenly spread out.
The NFL and MLB get this concept. That is why players like Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins are making over $300 million and Derek Carr just signed the NFL’s richest contract ever. If the Marlins and Raiders think those guys are worth that money, they should be able to pay it. If another team wants to try and persuade those guys to come play for them by offering more money, they also should be able to do that.
The NBA doesn’t do this and therefore super teams form. Putting a max on a team salary and player salary allows teams to easily put together a big three. There is no way the Golden State Warriors should be able to afford both Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, but since the max contract is in place, it is possible.
Also, why should a player like Mike Conley be able to make just as much money as a player like Kevin Durant? Yes, Conley is a great player. He is a proven veteran. He is smart with the ball, and leads his Memphis Grizzlies well.
No disrespect to Conley, but he is miles and miles away from Durant. Durant is an eight-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA first team selection. He also has one MVP and two Finals appearances. Conley has played in zero All-Star games, has never made All-NBA first, second or third team, never won an MVP, and never made it past the conference finals in the postseason.
There is no way Conley and Durant should be paid equally. The accolades and numbers prove that they play on different levels.
As it stands now, any proven veteran can make the same amount of money on any team, except their own, which can pay a little bit more. It was recently changed that the player’s current team could pay them the most money to try and encourage them to stay with their current team, but that has not worked. Kevin Durant left OKC and more money to make a super team in Golden State.
Now LeBron said Curry should be making $400 million on his new contract because that is what he is worth. That just seems like an astronomical amount to be honest. But honestly, it is not.
The NBA makes a lot of money and needs to spend it somehow. The most obvious way is on the players. Just like every other item you buy like gas or milk, the market decides the price. Gas goes up when oil goes up and also during holidays when people are traveling around. It is all about supply and demand.
As the NBA continues to go in this era of super teams, one thing for Adam Silver to consider is the way players are paid. The way the league stands now has allowed the Cavs and Warriors to make the NBA Finals the last three years and also for the next several.
We don’t know who is going to make the World Series in the MLB each season. We also don’t know which teams in the NFL will be playing in the Super Bowl. But we all know who will be playing in the Finals in the NBA.
If Silver wants to create a better NBA, he needs to get rid of max contracts. This will let the free market decide how much players are paid. It will spread the talent around the league. It will eliminate super teams and make the NBA more competitive again. It is basic business.
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