NBA All-Star Game 2014

How much are max contracts worth?

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In the coming weeks, you’ll surely hear a lot about max contracts.

But how much are they actually worth?

It depends and can vary a great deal.

That’s an unsatisfying answer, but if you’re looking for clarity on the term, it’s necessary to understand.

To start, maximum salaries are based on the salary cap and experience. Experience levels are split into three groups: 0-6 years, 7-9 years and 10+ years. The more experienced the group, the greater percentage of the salary cap that forms a max contract.

However, a free agent can always get 105% of his previous salary – even if that’s more than his experience calls for. This year, four potential free agents – including those who’ve already stated their intention to opt in – are or would have been eligible for a higher max than prescribed by their experience level.

Only the first year of a new contract follows that rule. After that, players who re-sign can get 7.5% raises and players who leave can get 4.5% raises. Players who re-sign can also get five-year contracts, and players who leave can get just four years.

Larry Coon’s FAQ have more information on max contracts if you’re interested.

Based on the projected salary cap of $63.2 million, here’s what max contracts would be based on experience and the four exceptions:

0-6 years

Year Re-sign Leave
One $14,756,881 $14,756,881
Two $15,863,647 $15,420,940
Three $16,970,413 $16,085,000
Four $18,077,179 $16,749,060
Five $19,183,945
Total $84,852,064 $63,011,880

7-9 years

Year Re-sign Leave
One $17,708,257 $17,708,257
Two $19,036,376 $18,505,128
Three $20,364,495 $19,302,000
Four $21,692,615 $20,098,871
Five $23,020,734
Total $101,822,477 $75,614,256

10+ years

Year Re-sign Leave
One $20,659,633 $20,659,633
Two $22,209,105 $21,589,316
Three $23,758,578 $22,519,000
Four $25,308,050 $23,448,683
Five $26,857,523
Total $118,792,889 $88,216,633

Dirk Nowitzki (probably won’t get the max)

Year Re-sign Leave
One $23,857,450 $23,857,450
Two $25,646,759 $24,931,035
Three $27,436,068 $26,004,621
Four $29,225,376 $27,078,206
Five $31,014,685
Total $137,180,338 $101,871,312

Amar’e Stoudemire (declining his early-termination option)

Year Re-sign Leave
One $22,763,888 $22,763,888
Two $24,471,179 $23,788,263
Three $26,178,471 $24,812,638
Four $27,885,762 $25,837,012
Five $29,593,054
Total $130,892,354 $97,201,800

Carmelo Anthony (already committed to opting out)

Year Re-sign Leave
One $22,458,402 $22,458,402
Two $24,142,782 $23,469,030
Three $25,827,162 $24,479,658
Four $27,511,542 $25,490,286
Five $29,195,922
Total $129,135,810 $95,897,375

Rudy Gay (opting in)

Year Re-sign Leave
One $18,783,379 $18,783,379
Two $20,192,132 $19,628,631
Three $21,600,885 $20,473,883
Four $23,009,639 $21,319,135
Five $24,418,392
Total $108,004,427 $80,205,027

The NBA will announce its official salary cap in July, and I’ll update these figures then.

In the meantime, if you’re projecting which teams have room to sign Melo, LeBron James or any other high-level player, these are good baselines for knowing how much cap room is necessary.

Watch LaMarcus Aldridge drop 38 on Thunder

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Oklahoma City has more than a few adjustments to make after a brutal defensive effort in Game 1 of their series against San Antonio, but at the top of the list is sticking with LaMarcus Aldridge on defense.

He was killing them from the midrange, and more than half of his looks were uncontested — the Thunder know he can knock down that shot, right?

It was a fantastic performance from Aldridge; we’ll see if he faces tougher defense in Game 2.

NBA: Trail Blazers scored after uncalled illegal screen by Trail Blazers in final minutes

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Should we be preparing for Game 7 of the Trail Blazers-Clippers series today?

If the officials had called the final minutes of the last game correctly, maybe.

Portland won Game 6 to take the series 4-2, but a missed call a key missed call helped clinch.

With 1:45 left, Mason Plumlee got away with offensively fouling Jamal Crawford, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Plumlee (POR) sets the screen on Crawford (LAC) without giving him room to avoid the contact.

A correct call would’ve meant a Trail Blazers turnover. Instead, Damian Lillard ended the possession with two made free throws.

Portland’s advantage when the Clippers began intentionally fouling: two.

Would the Clippers have won if the refs called Plumlee’s offensive foul? Impossible to say. The final 1:45 could’ve played out much differently.

But this missed call, the only error in the Last Two Minute Report, certainly boosted the Trail Blazers’ odds.

Four Things to Watch in two Game 7s Sunday

during game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 29, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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It’s what the playoffs are all about — win or go home Game 7s. Pressure, drama, unlikely stars Sunday is going to have it all. Here are a few things to watch:

1) Can Miami’s jump shooters have another hot game? Dwyane Wade got the headlines (and he earned them) for his Game 6 performance (everyone except purple shirt guy was impressed), but the real key for the Heat to force a Game 7 was they were hitting their jumpers — or at least enough of them. In their three losses, Miami shot 33.7 percent from 3 feet out to the arc, but in Game 6 the Heat shot 43.5 percent in that range, plus knocked down eight threes. The Hornets have packed the paint all series, when the Heat hit their jumpers they win. It’s that simple.

2) Does Kemba Walker have one more big game in him? Walker was fantastic in Game 6 (37 points), and he’s been very good in the Hornets’ victories. He’s going to penetrate and get some shots inside eight feet, but will he be able to finish? And, more importantly, will he hit his threes when they pack the paint on him? If Walker has a huge game, Charlotte very likely moves on.

3) Is Toronto too far into their own head? No team has more pressure on them to advance out of the first round than Toronto after two previous years of getting bounced in the first round, and they will feel that weight at home in Game 7 against Indiana. Will Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan step up with big games in the biggest moments of their careers, or will they succumb to the moment and the Pacers defense? For all the Xs and Os that do matter in this game, how the Raptors handle the pressure will be key.

4) Can the Pacers again get a few quality minutes when Paul George sits? In the Pacers comfortable Game 6 win, George got a rest in the second quarter and the Pacers were +5 while he sat. That was a huge step up from Game 5, where the Pacers were -18 when he was out for less than 7 minutes. If Indiana — by playing some starters such as Myles Turner — doesn’t have a huge bench drop off when George rests a few minutes their odds of winning go way up. We know Paul George can handle the moment.

Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series

SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 30: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs scores over Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during game one of the Western Conference Semifinals for the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 30, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?

Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.

It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.