At least briefly, Jaylen Brown’s $303.7 million deal with the Celtics holds the title of NBA’s largest Contract.
It won’t be within a year. In a few years, it may drop out of the top 10. In order to phase in the new national television/streaming rights contract, the wage limit will increase by 10% for the upcoming season and is predicted to do so for around five years. The wage ceiling is anticipated to reach $191 million by 2027–2028. Consider it this way, too: According to a club executive I talked with during Summer League, the mid-level exemption is predicted to be over $20 million a season by 2030, which is a league-average salary.
Although Brown’s position at the top will only last a short while, who will succeed him?
The new CBA, which places restrictions on the highest-spending clubs, prevents such contracts from being given out like candy. A player must be deserving of a max contract and be approaching a new deal in order to receive such eye-popping payouts, but time is also important. Next summer, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will be available for extensions. Despite being obvious max players, their ability to do so is constrained by the over-38 rule. In a few years, Trae Young will become eligible for extensions, but will he win the MVP award or make enough All-NBA teams to be eligible for the Supermax?
5 players we can expect to pass Brown for NBA’s Largest Contract in the coming years.
1) Giannis Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo’s contract will be up for renewal starting in September. Although he could take a deal similar to the one Brown recently signed, he won’t. For two compelling reasons, he should wait. First off, he only has two years left on his current contract, so he could only extend for four; however, waiting until next summer, declining his option, and extending for the full five years would be more profitable (it would be an estimated $334 million over five years, with the fifth year being worth an estimated $76 million) and allow him to earn more money.
Second, holding outputs more stress on Bucks management. The Bucks just renewed their contracts with Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton, but this team’s older players—Lopez, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all at least 32—mean that the franchise will eventually need to focus on Antetokounmpo. Before signing on the dotted line, he might want to hold off and talk those ideas over with management.
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2) Jayson Tatum
Tatum gets paid by the Celtics if Brown does. He will sign an extension for the anticipated $334 million over five years when he becomes able to do so in the summer of 2024.
The Celtics rapidly emerge as one of the teams to watch as they negotiate the new CBA and the second phase of the luxury tax, with Tatum and Brown each making 35% of the salary cap. Since those guys are up for new contracts of their own (not max, but larger agreements than they have now) and want to get paid, it will be difficult to retain this roster of excellent role players close to that All-Star wing pair.
3) Joel Embiid
The season’s MVP will have the opportunity to sign a five-year, about $367 million extension in the summer of 2025. In the final year of the deal, he would earn an estimated $83 million each season, or more than $1 million per game. Because Embiid will have been in the league for more than 10 years and his maximum salary is already 35% of the cap, he may achieve it with the 76ers or — if the rumour becomes true — with any team he forces a trade to. which is distinct from…
4) Luka Dončić
In the summer of 2025, Doni would be qualified for the same contract as Embiid, which would be a five-year, $367 million extension, but only if he remained with the Dallas Mavericks (and continued to make All-NBA teams). Doni could only sign a 30% max contract if he becomes sufficiently upset with the Mavericks’ team-building efforts and pushes a move. If conditions in Dallas don’t improve to the point where they can compete, Doni may adopt the more contemporary strategy of sticking with Dallas, snagging the largest bag he can, and delaying forcing a move until 2026 or 2027.
5) Nikola Jokić
Nikola Joki, who is undoubtedly the finest player alive right now and the best hooper singing with his shirt off, just inked a $274 million contract extension before the start of the previous season. However, because of his player option at the conclusion of it, by the summer of 2026, he may extend his current contract and sign the NBA’s first $400 million contract, precisely five years at $404 million. Joki will have 10 years of service and be eligible regardless of whether he wins another MVP or title (his style of play should age well), so he might receive that money if he does.
In the summer of 2026, any five-year supermax contract might surpass the $400 million mark and can get NBA’s largest contract. Players to keep an eye on are Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Zion Williamson (SGA feels the most secure among that bunch).