5 Biggest NBA Contracts in History So Far
In 2014, the NBA signed a 9-year, $24 billion television deal with Turner Broadcasting and ESPN. As this contract involved a huge amount of money, each team's salary cap increased significantly.
In recent years, we have seen many extensions worth more than $100 million. Some players deserve them while questions have been asked about others who've earned similar deals, suggesting they're not good enough to justify such a massive windfall.
Nicolas Batum's five-year $120 million contract was signed with the Charlotte Hornets in July last year. The 28-year-old Frenchman is yet to play in an All-Star game throughout his career and struggles with both injuries and consistency.
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Meanwhile, Anthony Davis signed a $127 million deal with the New Orleans Pelicans during the same summer. As one of the best in his position across the league, without doubt, it does not seem fair that Batum would be considered in the same quality bracket as Davis.
However, the NBA has embraced a new area with the expensive TV deal, so let's have a look at five of the biggest NBA contract extensions in history.
5. John Wall: 4-year, $170 million
John Wall is an exceptional point guard who plays on both ends of the court. Last season he averaged 23.1 points per game, 10.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and two steals.
The best thing about Wall is his ability to shine brightly during the playoffs, when consistent performances are needed to attain success.
During this past year's play-off, the Washington Wizards (4th seed) faced Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. Not only were the Celtics top seed, they narrowly managed to avoid an unlikely upset through Wall's influence on the court - prevailing after a full set of seven matches between the pair.
Wall still managed to average 25.1 points per game, 10.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks during the important moments. As a result, with speculation about his future looming large, it seemed natural that the Wizards would offer him improved terms as a reward for impressive performances. They awarded him this lucrative deal in July this year, recognising his efforts after another tough season.
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4. Blake Griffin: 5-year, $173 million
During Blake Griffin's seven years in the NBA, having missed the first season with a knee injury, he has averaged 21.5 points per game, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists too.
He consistently led his side to the play-offs every year, however the LA Clippers were forced to react quickly to news that Chris Paul had requested a trade to the Houston Rockets.
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Having traded Paul, they felt obliged to sign Griffin onto a massive extension to avoid the possibility of losing both their star players in the same summer. They would not have been able to effectively compete for a Championship any longer as a result, though he has benefited significantly from Paul's departure at the end of June.
3. Stephen Curry: 5-year, $201 million
There are a number of different reasons why Stephen Curry is worth every penny of his max contract deal. Having won two NBA championships, two MVP awards as well as an NBA-scoring champion title, he is in the 50-40-90 club - only six other players in history are there.
Having led the NBA in total steals last year, the only accomplishment missing from his illustrious career thus far is winning a finals MVP award. Proving a great role model for young children, some of whom aspire to be as successful as him in future, he never causes trouble off court and spends plenty of hours in the gym perfecting his jump shot.
His stats speak for themselves and this justifies why he deserves such a big contract.
2. Russell Westbrook: 5-year, $205 million
Russell Westbrook is the NBA's most athletic point guard in history. With the ability to finish at the rim whenever he wants with explosive speed and accuracy, he plays every match as though it's game seven of the NBA finals.
A great all-round player, he can score with seeming ease, snatch rebounds in mid-air and often gets team-mates involved offensively. Last season, he became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double throughout the entire year.
Averaging 31.6 points per game, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds during that year, it was a wise decision made by Oklahoma City Thunder to extend his deal and max out his contract for $205 million over a five-year period.
1. James Harden: 6-year, $228 million
James Harden is a superstar and one who knows how to win. Last season, he averaged 29.1 points per game, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds.
He was an influential figure in the Houston Rockets' success, as they finished third in the Western Conference behind eventual winners Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.
If not for Westbrook's historic season, he would have undoubtedly won the MVP award last season too. This year, the Rockets have the best record across the West (14-4), due to Harden's spectacular performances on a nightly basis.
31.1 points per game, 9.8 assists and 1.6 steals for the season with six weeks in the books, he continues to improve his statistics while justifying why the Rockets made such a huge commitment to him this summer.