With the salary cap skyrocketing, no team jumped headfirst into the new spending environment quite like the Trail Blazers.
Damian Lillard‘s super-max extension, worth nearly $140 million over five years, kicks in this season. Portland matched Allen Crabbe‘s offer sheets from the Nets (nearly $75 million over four years) and directly signed Evan Turner ($70 million), Meyers Leonard ($41 million) and Maurice Harkless ($40 million) to sizable four-year contracts. The Trail Blazers also signed C.J. McCollum to a four-year, $106 million – though not max – contract extension.
This high number of highly paid players creates a conundrum.
Insiders: How do you decide who pays for dinner on the team? With you, Damian, Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Moe Harkless and others all getting pay days, is it, “I pay this time, you pay the next?” Or is there a generous guy out of the group who just continues to take care of you guys?
McCollum: “I’m on my rookie minimum still! That contract of mine doesn’t go into effect until next season, so those guys will definitely be picking up the tab – no doubt! I’m not making close to what they’re making yet.”
McCollum makes a good point. He’ll earn just $3,219,579 plus his share of a shortfall check (estimated to be $200 million for all players to share) next season. That’s small potatoes relative to his teammates, who’ll also get shortfall shares.
But McCollum’s extension is fully guaranteed, and it won’t be long until he’s the team’s second-highest player and barely behind Lillard.
If McCollum gets treated all season, his teammates are going to seek major payback the next four years – maybe even with interest. Perhaps, McCollum should pick up a check once in a while this year to avoid four years of retribution.