Growing up, basketball was my thing. I dreamed of supporting my family with my mediocre jump shot, my 5' 8" frame in the 4th grade and becoming an NBA All Star by the time I was 19. Sure enough, my growth spurt capped at 6', I quit basketball junior year of high school, and any chance I had of averaging $5.15 million a year in the NBA was quickly sidelined (pun-intended).
That's right, $5.15 million a year multiplied by the average NBA career length of 4.8 years, I would have netted $24.7 million. Those are the latest salary figures, visualized by the folks at Sports Interaction. Looks like I should have gotten better at basketball while I had the chance.
The figures are staggering, with NBA's average player salary clocking in at $5.15 million, $1.85 million more than players in Major League Baseball who average close to $3.2 million a year. Major League Soccer rounds out the bottom of the list, with players making a relatively meager average salary of $0.16 million.
The following graphic carries a myriad of interesting visualizations and observations, such as Kobe Bryant essentially getting paid $37,940 per field goal (made basket) in 2012 while Alex Rodriguez netted $253,968 per hit in the same year:
Infographic via SportsInteraction.com / @SIAsports
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Despite all the contract riches, Silver offers a word of caution.
“A significant number of teams are continuing to lose money, and they continue to lose money because their expenses exceed their revenue,” Silver said.
Yet, to many, the riches seem greater than ever. The salary cap for this coming season was supposed to rise considerably — to $67 million; it reached $70 million. The salary cap for the 2016-17 season might be $90 million. For the season after that, perhaps $110 million or more.
These days, players who might not have been considered stars are getting what would recently have been star-level deals. John Wall of the Washington Wizards, one of the league’s elite point guards, aired his complaints.
“I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson,” he lamented, as quoted by CSN Washington.
Wall, a two-time All-Star, is going into the second year of a five-year, $85 million deal. Jackson cashed in after averaging nearly 18 points in 27 games with Detroit this past season, a breakout that followed three and a half seasons of largely unheralded work.
“That new C.B.A. kicked in at the right time,” Wall said of the collective bargaining agreement.
It seems as if every player is reaping benefits. Under the current C.B.A., player salaries are supposed to take about 50.4 percent of the league’s basketball-related income. This past season, income grew more than expected, so the league wrote a check to the National Basketball Players Association to cover the difference — roughly $57 million.
Silver thinks that might look like peanuts next year.
“We could be writing a check moving close to half a billion dollars to the players association,” Silver said. “That’s not, of course, the ideal outcome from our standpoint.”
Silver added: “It’s happened because the revenue we generated was much higher than we had ever modeled. But we’re also learning that when you have all that money coming into the system, team behavior isn’t necessarily predictable, either.”
The numbers right now are huge, which is giving some within the game hope that the league and the union — which can opt out of the current C.B.A. in two years — can avoid any more interruptions in play.
Anthony Davis was locked up by the New Orleans Pelicans for $145 million during the next five years. LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers will make $23 million this season; he could earn more than $30 million in 2016-17 if he opts out once again.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Steve Mills, the Knicks’ general manager, said when asked about how contract values keep soaring. “Obviously, it changes what happens with the league.”
The growth has been steady in recent years, although now the climb seems to be much steeper. In 2011, the average annual value of new free-agent contracts was about $5 million. So far this year, it is flirting with the $10 million mark.
Whiteside will make a little less than $1 million this season. Next summer, it would not be surprising if he landed a deal worth $80 million or more.
“Can’t think about it,” Whiteside said. “It’s hard to process. I just worry about what I can control.”Continue reading the main story