In the changing landscape of the NBA’s salary cap as more and more regulations from the latest CBA come into play, there are currently 22 players in the league with a max contract, including a few teams – New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, with two or more players getting a max deal.
There isn’t one equal figure and money for the max contract. The numbers change depending on the experience of the player, the fact if he’s re-signing or joining a new team, his designation and even certain criteria including All-Star appearances and All-NBA selections, determining the kind of extension he can get.
New York Knicks – Carmelo Anthony & Amare Stoudemire
The two arrived in New York in the same season, a few months apart. Stoudemire was a free agent coming from the Phoenix Suns, signing to become the star for the Knicks on a $99.7 million, five-year deal. He had a great start to the season, until Anthony came. Anthony was traded from the Denver Nuggets, and his deal, which is worth $46.7 million for the remainder of his contract, if he decided to use his early termination clause at the end of this season, and test free agency waters. Anthony led the NBA in scoring last season with 28.7 points per game. Stoudemire, coming back from a long injury, playing in only 29 games, averaging 14.2 points.
Brooklyn Nets – Joe Johnson & Deron Williams
Deron Williams came to the Brooklyn Nets from the Utah Jazz via trade, but eventually re-signed with the team on a five-year, $98.7 million deal before the 2012-2013 season. Joe Johnson arrived from the Atlanta Hawks via trade, coming with the remainder of the six-year, $119 million deal he signed in 2010. Williams averaged 18.9 points and 7.7 assists last season for the Nets; Johsnon averaged 16.3 points per game, his lowest since the 2002-2003 season.
Toronto Raptors – Rudy Gay
Gay arrived mid-season from the Memphis Grizzlies, a team he’s been with since 2006, and signed a five-year, $82 million contract with in 2010. Gay averaged 19.5 points per game last season for the Raptors, and has two years left on his contract worth $37.1 million, including a player option for his final season.
Indiana Pacers – Paul George
Paul George’s rookie deal expires at the end of this season, but he and the Indiana Pacers have agreed on an extension worth $90 million for five years, making him the highest paid player on the team. He averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists last season, reaching game 7 of the conference finals and winning the league’s most improved player award.
Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose
Rose, drafted by the Bulls in 2008, signed his max-extension following his MVP season. He got $94.8 million for five years, becoming a designated player (eligible to earn 30% of the salary cap, which is now known as the Derrick Rose rule), although he hasn’t seen much court time since.
Miami Heat – Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh
The Miami Heat trio isn’t really a maximum money group, because both James and Bosh could have taken more money, deciding to give a tiny discount in order to make it work. However, both of them will make over $20 million on the last two years of their deals, unless they opt out. Both James and Bosh make $19.067 million next season, $20.59 million in 2014-2015 and $22.112 million in 2015-2016, if they stay that long. Dwyane Wade earns slightly less, as the trio alone makes more than the salary cap. It has worked out quite well since their formation, making it to three NBA finals, winning two of them.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant signed a five-year extension worth $86 million before the beginning of the 2010-2011 season; Russell Westbrook signed a similar extension (worth $80 million) just over a year later. Durant averaged 28.1 points per game last season, but couldn’t get past the conference semifinals after Russell Westbrook had to see his season end prematurely in the previous series against the Rockets.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Love
Love, who has been with the Timberwolves since 2008, signed a four-year extension worth $62 million in 2012, although he was quite frustrated by not getting the fifth year “designated player” clause. He missed most of last season due to injury, averaging 18.3 points and 14 rebounds per game, playing only 18 times.
Los Angeles Clippers – Chris Paul & Blake Griffin
Chris Paul did have the opportunity to test free agency this offseason, but preferred signing a five-year, $107.3 million extension with the Clippers, staying alongside Griffin, who signed a five-year, $95 million deal a year earlier. The two failed to make it past the first round of the postseason (losing to Memphis). Paul averaged 16.9 points per game last season, and Griffin finished with a 18 points, 8.3 rebounds per game average.
Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant & Pau Gasol
Down to two after Dwight Howard left. Kobe Bryant is on the final year of his latest extension, paying him an incredible $30.4 million this season. Pau Gasol is also about to hit free agency after this season, compensated with $19.3 million before he takes a much smaller and possibly final deal. Bryant had another strong season, individually at least, averaging 27.3 points per game. Pau Gasol had his worst NBA season, averaging only 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
New Orleans Pelicans – Eric Gordon
The Pelicans were pretty much forced into giving Gordon his max deal, as the offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns, giving him $58 million on a four-year deal, had to be matched. Remember, this was the pre-injury Gordon, so the Hornets thought they had one of the rising stars at shooting guard. Gordon averaged 17.6 points per game last season.
Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol makes less money than Zach Randolph, but Randolph’s deal wasn’t a max one. Gasol signed a four-year $58-million after the 2011 lockout was over. He won the NBA Defensive player of the year award last season, leading the Grizzlies to the conference finals, averaging 17.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in the playoffs.
Houston Rockets – James Harden & Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard chose the Houston Rockets as his next team, one he hopes he’ll win a championship with. Howard signed a $88 million, four year deal, joining James Harden, who came via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and signed a five-year, $80 million extension to his rookie contract. Harden established himself as one of the best players in the league last season, averaging 25.9 points per game. Howard had a down year with the Lakers, averaging 17.1 points per game.
Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki is entering the final year of his contract, making $22.7 million on it. It’s the end of a four-year, $80 million deal he signed back in 2010. Nowitzki and the Mavs missed the playoffs this season, with Dirk returning only midway through the season after recovering from knee surgery. He averaged 17.3 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season.