When your favorite NBA shooting guard Devin Booker made the All-NBA team — actually the first team — this year, he was qualified for a “supermax” extension worth 35% of the 2024-25 salary cap, followed by 8 % salary increases per year thereafter.
The Phoenix Suns immediately offered this deal to Book, and Book immediately signed it.
For the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Devin Booker and his close friend Karl-Anthony Towns, both drafted in 2015 and signing the same designated veteran extension this summer, that extension could easily see salaries in excess of $60 million a year.
The All-NBA pair is currently expected to be the seventh highest-paid player in the NBA in the 2024-25 season, behind only Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Jokic and Bradley Beal.
If GM James Jones prevails and acquires Kevin Durant, the Suns would have two of the seven highest-paid players in the game in two seasons.
A total of 18 players are currently set to make at least $40 million in the 2024/25 season and that’s two years away. By the summer of 2024, that number could double from $40 million players.
The maximum a player can earn from players under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement is 35% of the league’s salary cap. These aren’t the old days like the ’90s, when Michael Jordan’s final $33 million contract with the Bulls for the 1997-98 season accounted for more than 100% of that year’s cap.
After 10 years in the league, the 35% can be reached if you were an All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year, or League MVP in the last season(s) – see this Spotrac article for more details on recency rules .
For players like Booker and Towns, aged 7-9 in the league, that 35% can only be reached if you meet the criteria above AND one more rule: you must have played for the same team for the entire duration of your current contract (i.e. post-rookie scale contract).
According to Spotrac.com, Booker’s expansion is expected to be worth $224 million. It uses a projected salary cap of $143 million as a starting point for 2024-25.
However, this cap figure for 2024-25 is only a projection. Currently, it’s based on an increase of $10 million per year from today’s cap, but some projections call for the league to increase the cap by 10% per year as its revenue far exceeded projections over the trailing 12 months to have.
60 million dollars?!?!
If the cap increases by 10% per year over the next two years, Booker’s salaries would look more like this:
Almost $65 million in fourth year! To a player!?!?!? Are you choking on your food yet?
But things aren’t what they seem
Don’t suffocate. Turn that bile into a smile, Suns fans.
Booker’s salary figures will be finalized in the final year of this current TNT/ESPN television deal, a year ahead of a new deal that could triple in size.
According to CNBC’s Jabari Smith, the NBA expects to sign a new TV rights deal worth up to $75 billion to begin in the 2025-26 season. That dwarfs the current deal, which was just $25 billion, or $2.6 billion annually. This current deal runs through the 2024-25 season.
If the league’s TV rights revenue triples in 2025-26, the salary cap could rise by well over 10%. Keep in mind that player salary caps are based on about half of the league’s basketball earnings, and TV rights make up the bulk of the earnings. Triple those TV rights and you can only assume that gamers’ share of those rights would at least double, if not triple, right? Why would players suddenly agree to a lower stake just because the money is skyrocketing?
No one knows what will happen to the 2025-26+ per-team salary caps, but remember last time the league signed a new big TV deal… a huge year-long increase in the cap resulted in players like Bismack Biyombo Earning $17 million a year and the league’s top team, the Warriors, suddenly have enough leeway to add full-priced Kevin Durant to their roster by free hand.
What I do know is this: Salaries that seem huge today won’t seem so huge in 2025.
Booker’s projected $56 million salary for 2025-26 — set before the cap was inflated — could be just 20% of this year’s cap, rather than 35%. For perspective, that’s like giving Mikal Bridges money to Book.
It is possible that the league will preemptively increase the cap in 2024-25 to smooth out the cap jump so that the cap does not increase by 40-50% in a season. But if these owners don’t get any more money by 2025, why give more to the players?
- 30 NBA “governors” get to keep 51% of basketball-related income (sure, they’ll have to use that money to pay for expenses, but let’s not pretend we haven’t burned in much profit)
- 450 NBA players are allowed to split the other 49% among themselves
The injustice is shocking.
The bottom line is that while you might be choking on your Wheaties at Book and likely getting over $60 million over the last two years of its renewal, it’s likely that its $60 million is a far cry from 35% of the cap will be in both season. It’s more likely that $60 million by then will represent just 15% to 20% of Sun’s cap, which could easily exceed $200 million.
Now imagine how little Ayton’s $35 million in 2025-26 or Mikal Bridges’ $24 million will look like. A Prime Bridge with only 10% of the cap? Yes, please.
All is not lost for Book, DA and Bridges, however
None of Booker, Ayton or Bridges have player options built into their contracts, so they are currently tied to salaries based on this recent TV deal.
However, the CBA currently offers a limited ability to do so ‘renegotiate and extend’ at the end of a deal. These renegotiation rules are currently very tight – enough that it wasn’t a sensible route for Spurs and Dejounte Murray – but could be greatly expanded in the new CBA (the current CBA expires in the summer of 2024, a year ahead of any new TV money ). occurs). Due to the expected massive cap increase, we could see a new “renegotiate and roll over” based on the player’s value and not just a percentage increase on their current deal.
It’s the only way many of these players who are already signed can taste some of that new money before their contracts expire.
Imagine a 30-year-old Prime Book renegotiating the final year of their contract to something in the $80-90 million range?