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.

Little change in TV ratings for new-look NBA All-Star Game

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NEW YORK (AP) — A new format for the NBA All-Star Game had a negligible impact on television ratings.

Total viewership for the game was down slightly compared to last year, although it improved over 2014, the previous time the league’s midseason showcase faced competition from the Winter Olympics.

Turner Sports announced on Monday that the game drew an average of 7.7 million viewers Sunday night on TNT. Last year’s game attracted an average of 7.8 million viewers. In 2014 during the Sochi Olympics, an average of 7.5 million people watched the NBA’s best at the All-Star Game.

This year’s game abandoned the traditional East-vs.-West format in favor of teams selected by superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry. James’ team won 148-145 in an uncommonly competitive matchup that featured better effort on defense.

Turner said the ratings improved among key demographics, including people between ages 18 and 34, and that video views on social media channels were up 37 percent compared to 2017.

Fergie says she “tried my best” after national anthem blowback

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fergie is apologizing after trying something different with the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the Grammy-winning singer said in a statement Monday. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Fergie’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase.

A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after she finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”

Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 +-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.

Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured Sunday’s mood – and became an instant GIF – when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.

After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, “Let’s play some basketball!”

The Black Eyed Peas singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California.

Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after Fergie’s performance during the TNT halftime show.

Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal leaped to Fergie’s defense, saying: “Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”

Others on social media weren’t as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.

 

Did Lakers help keep LeBron James in Cleveland with trade?

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When the trade went down between the Lakers and Cavaliers before the deadline — sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland in exchange for Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye plus Cleveland’s 2018 first-round draft pick (top-five protected) — it caught the NBA by surprise.

The first reaction for a lot of people to the deal? This opens up as much as $70 million in cap space for the Lakers this summer (depending on other moves with players such as Julius Randle). Los Angeles could sign two max players — LeBron James and Paul George. Why would Cleveland help Los Angeles open up room to steal LeBron.

The Cavaliers didn’t see it that way — they knew they had to make a major shakeup or LeBron was gone. At that point, does it matter where? So in a series of moves, Cleveland GM Koby Altman radically remade the roster around LeBron. The goal was to energize them back into being the team to beat in the East, and from there make it hard for him to leave as a free agent. Since the trades, the Cavaliers are 2-0 and LeBron has clearly been reinvigorated, plus they will add Kevin Love back in a few weeks.

Altman’s plan seems to be working, one executive told Mark Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Cleveland now,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference team executive said. “The Cavaliers put a really good team around him. The Cavaliers have made it really tough for him to decide to leave Cleveland again. The Lakers might have helped them keep LeBron.”

I had heard from sources for a while LeBron to the Lakers was not likely (Paul George is another story, that door remains open). As Spears notes, the Lakers did not have an All-Star in Sunday’s game. Even if LeBron and PG13 went to Los Angeles, that team was third or fourth best in the West next season. LeBron is in full on legacy mode and wants to win rings. Los Angeles is not the place to do it.

Houston is interesting (and it’s still a team I hear some execs think has a real shot), but the gutting or role players on that roster to make it work would be a concern. Maybe a dark horse such as Philadelphia can emerge. However, if LeBron can lead this newly-energized Cavaliers team to the Finals again (his eighth consecutive trip there), they get a high draft pick with the Brooklyn pick, then LeBron gets a commitment from Altman and owner Dan Gilbert to keep spending and being aggressive, where is he going to be closer to a title than at home?

Lou Williams trolls Jimmy Butler for resting during All-Star Game

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Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles and enjoying his well-earned All-Star slot on Team Stephen.

Well, except for the actual playing basketball part. Butler did not set foot on the court during the All-Star Game at his own request.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

Lou Williams, the Clippers’ guard who likely would have been near the front of the line for an open All-Star roster spot in the West (likely second in the queue behind Chris Paul), but instead took part in the Saturday Skills Competition then had Sunday off, trolled Butler for it on Twitter.

This seems more good natured than genuinely bitter.

Williams will roll with it, but his point’s a valid one — if you’re an All-Star, at least play a little and give the people what they want. Get out there for five minutes or whatever. LaMarcus Aldridge only played four minutes, no big deal.

If you’re not going to use the roster spot, give it up to someone who will.