Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, other stars could see max deals affected by hiatus
Last week, the NBA announced that it would be suspending the 2019-20 regular season until health officials deem it safe enough to resume play. At this point, it’s not clear exactly when that might be. Some have said that this campaign could run all the way into July or even August.
Experts are projecting a significant decline in basketball related income (BRI) in light of the coronavirus hiatus, and it is not clear what the salary and luxury tax will be set at for 2020-21 and beyond.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, if BRI for any salary-cap year substantially decreases from the prior year, and as a result, the players receive more than their designated share, the NBA and the union shall negotiate in good faith to find an adjustment that satisfies both parties.
There have been shortened seasons in the past, such as the 2011-12 lockout campaign, which consisted of 66 games. The following year, all 82 games were played. The salary cap remained steady at $58 million, with a $70.3 million luxury-tax line, according to ESPN. The league could take a similar approach in terms of adjustments for future seasons:
If, hypothetically, the NBA and players’ union take a similar approach and leave the salary cap at the current number of $109.1 million, with a $132.7 million luxury-tax line for 2020-21 and 2021-22 — rather than raising the cap to $115 million and then $125 million — there will be huge financial ramifications across the league.
Several rookies who recently signed extensions would be affected under these circumstances, including Ben Simmons, who agreed to the terms of a five-year, $170 million deal with the Sixers heading into this season. If the cap remains at $109 million, Simmons could stand to lose $8.5 million over the length of his contract, according to ESPN. Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray would lose a similar amount. Pascal Siakam, who signed a four year, $130 million extension with the Raptors, would lose $6.1 million.
Supermax deals would also be affected.
The Bucks are poised to offer Giannis one of the biggest contracts in league history. However, if the cap remains the same, The Greek Freak could lose $32 million over the life of the deal, with the potential of losing even more if the cap drops.
Antetokounmpo could choose to sign a max deal with another team in 2021, but he would make far less money. With a flat cap, his total salary would be $140.8 million, which would be $80 million less than the Bucks could offer.
Damian Lillard signed a four-year, $196 million supermax extension with the Trail Blazers last July. At that time, his deal was constructed around the belief that the NBA’s salary cap would be raising to $125 million. If the cap stays where it’s at, however, his total salary would drop to $171.1 million.
These are uncertain times in the sporting world and beyond. Hopefully, NBA play will resume sooner rather than later.