Bismack Biyombo could get paid $17 million a year.
Those kinds of numbers turn heads and show just how having a $22 million bump in the salary cap in one season — thanks to the new NBA television deal kicking in — will impact salaries this summer. Teams with cash to spend are going to try and poach players with potential and overpay to see if they can land them.
But are we overestimating how many guys are going to get massive contracts this summer? Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says yes, as he told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“Every player thinks it’s just going to be a money train this summer. There’s a lot of money; there’s not THAT much money. … And I think there’s going to be teams that save their money for next year, because it’s a better free agent class. People just presume now that everybody’s going to get paid a lot of money, and it’ll be interesting to see if that happens.”
One thing Cuban says you hear a lot from people around the league: Teams are going to keep their powder dry this summer if they can’t find a top player they like because next summer is a much deeper free agent class. This summer is going to see guys get paid — Biyombo and Whiteside numbers will turn heads, but bigs are always overpaid in the NBA based on supply and demand — but how much will guys such as Jeremy Lin or Dion Waiters or Ryan Anderson or Kent Bazemore get? More than they would have a year ago, but how much more?
The other thing you hear consistently: Nobody is sure how things will go this summer. This is uncharted territory; nobody has been here before because this kind of cap spike has never happened before. There will be unintended consequences. Because the rookie salary scale will not spike, those contracts will become even more valuable (which could lead to a lot of trades on draft night). The smart teams will have a plan and stick with it, but this summer is going to be fluid and a bit crazy.
There is going to be a lot of money for some players, but how far that money trickles down to the lower rungs remains to be seen. Cuban thinks it may not go as far down as some agents are probably betting on.