“The biggest factor preventing parity, though, is the individual player max.
This rule has been in effect since 1998, thanks to Kevin Garnett’s massive extension. It caps players’ salaries as a percentage of the team salary cap (with allowances for annual raises). This rule is the reason LeBron James can’t sign for more than $33 million for next season, even though his true value is much higher. This rule is the reason Durant would get paid essentially the same $28 million in Golden State as in Oklahoma City. The individual player max caps the salaries of Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
Green signed a deal for under his max a year ago, Thompson is close to his max for his age and Curry will be at it in one year. With the individual max in place, that quartet will make about $104 million next season (assuming a $108 million salary cap). Without the individual max, Durant might be a $50 million player, Curry would approach that and both Green and Thompson would be well above $20 million. You’d be looking at closer to $150 million in salary for those four players in an uncapped environment, something that’d create a luxury tax bill it’d be tough for even the Warriors to swallow.”
This is interesting. We tend to think of the salary cap being the thing that promotes parity in sports leagues, but when you combine it with max contracts, it really doesn’t. If I can only make “x” amount of money, regardless of what team I sign with, then the only rational things to base that decision on are which team is likely to win, and what location makes the most sense for my family?
That’s it. The market is rigged. But should it be?
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