When Devin Booker, your favorite NBA shooting guard, made this year’s All-NBA team — the first team, in fact — he became eligible for a “supermax” extension of 35% of the 2024-25 salary cap, followed by 8% increases each year thereafter.
The Phoenix Suns I immediately offered Book that deal and Book and they immediately signed it.
For Devin Booker and his best friend Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolveswho were drafted in 2015 and signed the same veteran maximum extension appointed this summer, that extension could easily include salaries of more than $60 million annually.
The All-NBA pair is currently expected to be Seventh highest paid player in the NBA In the 2024-25 season he succeeded Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic and Bradley Beal.
If GM James Jones gets his way and captures Kevin Durant, the Suns will have two of the seven highest-paid players in the game two seasons from now.
Currently, 18 players are set to earn at least $40 million in the 2024-25 season, and that’s still two years away. By the summer of 2024, that number of 40 million players could double.
The most any player can achieve, under a collective bargaining agreement with players in the NBA, is 35% of the league’s salary cap. These aren’t the good old days, like the ’90s, when Michael Jordan’s final $33 million contract with the Bulls for the 1997-98 season was more than 100% of that year’s cap.
After 10 years in the league, 35% can be reached if you’ve earned an All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year, or MVP in the league in the most recent season(s) – see this Spotrak article for more details about the rules of modernity.
For players like Booker and Towns, who have been in the league for 7-9 years, the only way to get to 35% is if you meet the above criteria and another rule: you must have played for your same team during your entire current contract (ie post contract ascending range).
for every Spotrac.comBooker’s extension is expected to be valued at $224 million. This projected maximum salary of $143 million is used as a starting point in 2024-25.
This 2024-25 number is just a prediction though. Currently, it’s based on an increase of $10 million annually from today’s cap, but some forecasts have a league Maximum increase by 10% annually Because its returns have far exceeded expectations in the last twelve months.
60 million dollars?!?!
If the cap increases by 10% annually in the next two years, Booker salaries will be something like:
- $52.37 million
- $56.6 million
- $60.75 million
- $64.94 million
Nearly 65 million dollars in the fourth year! To a single player!?!?!? Are you choking on your food yet?
But things are not what they seem
Don’t suffocate. Turn that succulent into a smile, Suns fans.
Booker’s salary numbers will lock in during the final year of the current TNT/ESPN television deal, one year before the start of the new deal that could triple in size.
According to CNBC’s Jabari Smith,The National Basketball Association (NBA) expects to sign a new television rights deal worth up to $75 billion starting in the 2025-26 season. This dwarfs the current deal which was a “trivial” $25 billion, or $2.6 billion a year. This current deal runs through the 2024-25 season.
If the league’s revenue on TV rights triples in 2025-26, the salary cap could swell by more than 10%. Remember, the player salary cap is based on about half of the league’s basketball-related income, and television rights were the majority of the income. Triple those broadcast rights and you can just assume that players’ share of those rights will at least double, if not triple, right? Why do players suddenly agree to a lower stake just because the money swells?
No one knows what will happen with the 2025-26+ salary cap per team, but remember the last time the league signed a massive new TV deal… a massive one-year spike in the cap resulted in players like Bismak Piombo earning $17M Per Team of the Year and the best team in the league, the Warriors, they suddenly have plenty of room to add full-priced Kevin Durant freaks to their lineup through free agency.
What I do know is that salaries that seem huge today won’t seem so huge in 2025.
Booker predicted that the $56 million 2025-26 salary — closed before the inflation cap — might be just 20% of that year’s cap instead of 35%. For perspective, this is like giving Mikal Bridges money for Book.
The league will likely raise the 2024-25 cap proactively to facilitate a ceiling jump, so there is no 40-50% increase over the cap in a single season. But if these owners don’t get more money until 2025, why are they giving more to players?
- 30 NBA governors make 51% of basketball-related income (sure, they have to pay the expenses with that money, but let’s not pretend there aren’t a lot of profits made)
- 450 NBA players split the other 49% between them
The injustice is appalling.
The bottom line is that while you might choke on Wheaties in the Book likely to make $60+M in each of the last two years of its extension, that $60M will likely be far from 35% of your cap in either season. . More likely, $60 million will only be 15-20% of Sun’s cap by then, which could easily exceed $200 million.
Now imagine how insignificant $35 million for Ayton in 2025-26 would look, or $24 million for Mikal Bridges. Master bridges only 10ish% of the maximum? Yes please.
All is not lost for Book, DA and Bridges
Neither Booker, Ayton nor Bridges have had player options included in their contracts, so they are currently limited to salaries based on this current TV deal.
However, the CBA currently offers a limited ability to “Renegotiation and Expansion” At the back end of the bargain. Those rules around renegotiation are currently too narrow – enough that it wasn’t a sensible way for Spurs and Dejaunt Murray – but may be expanded significantly in the new CBA (the current CBA expires in the summer of 2024, a year before new TV money kicks in). Due to the massive expected cap increase, we could see a new “Renegotiation and Expansion” based on player value rather than just a % increase on his current deal.
This is the only way many of these players under their contract will be able to get a taste of some of that new money before their deals expire.
Imagine turning 30, a primer that renegotiates the last year of his contract into something between $80 and $90 million?