Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis will not be highest paid rookie ever


There is a rookie salary scale in the NBA that makes first round-picks very affordable for owners for the first couple years at least, and really four or five for most players. It makes the truly elite players like a Derrick Rose or Blake Griffin a real steal for the first several years they are in the league.

And traditionally each year, the No. 1 overall pick made a little bit more than the guy before him.

Until this year.

Thanks again, new NBA salary structure. From Darren Heitner at Forbes:

The new collective bargaining agreement also stipulates that Davis will not get an increase in salary compared to last year’s number one overall pick, Kyrie Irving or the prior year’s first pick, John Wall.

Typically, first round picks receive a more favorable rookie contract than the players who were picked in the same slot as them the prior year. However, Irving’s (selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the team’s first overall pick in 2011) slot value in his first year of his rookie deal was $4,286,900, as was the first overall slot for the year before, where John Wall, who was taken by the Washington Wizards…

Anthony Davis will not only fail to receive an increase in his rookie year salary from what Irving and Wall garnered in their respective rookie years, he will also receive less money in years two and three of his rookie contract than Wall, who was selected in the same slot two years ago. While Wall’s third year slot is $4,929,900, Anthony Davis’ will be $257,200 lower (at $4,672,700).

We should note that players have a “slotted” salary and can sign a contract up to 120 percent of that slot — and you can bet Davis (and the other top picks) will get that extra 20 percent.

And yes, Davis is still going to make good money. More than a lot of NBA players, more than you and me. But in terms of the revenue he will generate for the Hornets (not alone production on the court) he will be a great value for the Hornets for the first few years.

“Bird rights” arbitration could impact Knicks with Lin, Nash, everyone

Injured New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin reacts during pregame ceremonies before the Knicks play against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoffs in Miami

The Knicks — if they want to have any hope of adding Steve Nash or any other significant free agent this summer — have a lot invested in what an arbitrator says about “Bird rights” in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Because that new CBA ties GM Glen Grunwald’s hands behind his back.

It’s a long and complex tale, one told by Howard Beck at the New York Times with additional details from Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ. Stick with me through this.

First off, Bird rights are the rights of teams to go over the salary cap to re-sign players already on their roster. The league has interest in good players staying with one team and allowing fans to identify them that way (it’s good for marketing), so they provide a financial incentive for players to stay.

The question is, how do the Bird rights apply to waived players like Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak. The league and union disagree. From Beck at the Times.

The league contends (Bird rights) are lost when a player changes teams through waivers. The union is challenging that interpretation.

If the union prevails, the Knicks would be able to re-sign both Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, their two top free agents, despite cap constraints. They would also retain a $5 million salary slot — known as the mid-level exception — for use on another player, possibly J.R. Smith, who might opt out of his Knicks contract.

But if the union’s challenge fails, the Knicks will probably lose Novak and possibly Smith, when free agency opens in July. And they will have little ability to sign significant a free agent — such as Steve Nash — once they re-sign Lin.

Here’s where it gets more complex for the Knicks.

The Knicks currently have about $64 million in salary on the books for next year, before Lin, Novak and J.R. Smith make their decisions, plus Landry Fields is a restricted free agent. The way the salary cap works in the new CBA is that there is there is a luxury tax line — which will be about $70 million next season — then $4 million above that is an “apron.” Once you go above the apron there are all kinds of tight restrictions on how much money you can offer new signings (it’s not a hard cap but it will feel like it).

Lin will get $5 million as a restricted free agent, not because he totally deserves that for his play but because he’s worth far more than that in marketing terms and Knicks will keep him (and he wants to stay). If the Knicks spend that on Lin they cannot give Nash a full mid-level exception of $5 million because it takes them over the apron, they can only offer $3 million.

However, if the arbiter rules the Knicks have the Bird rights on Lin and Novak, they could offer Nash (or Jason Kidd or Jameer Nelson or a host of other free agents) the full mid-level then go over the apron to re-sign their own.

All of which is to say — the Knicks are not making any big moves this summer. Nash can get the same money to play for the Knicks or Heat (a team that plays an up-tempo style), so where do you think he’s going? You can try to trade Amare Stoudemire and is $56 million uninsured contract, good luck with that.

I do not envy Knicks GM Glen Grunwald. The expectations on him are way out of line with the tools at his disposal.

Video: Darren Rovell, David Falk talk labor deal numbers

NBPA Meet To Discuss Current CBA Offer
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CNBC’s sports business expert Darren Rovell gives a great synopsis of the NBA’s labor deal and how it effects players and player movement.

Then he brings in agent David Falk — and shockingly, agents don’t like this deal. Falk lays out his case for why pretty well, like most agents he wants a more pure free market system where the top players can make more. (Falk, by the way, represents Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Evan Turner and used to represent some guy named Michael Jordan.)