Deals happening this summer, but amid perhaps more caution
Pat Riley saw this coming. Surveying the landscape going into free agency, the Miami Heat president had a clear sense that smarter spending was going to be the rule in the NBA this summer as opposed to the enormous-contract spree that occurred a year ago.
And so far, he’s been proven right.
There have still been some massive contracts — Stephen Curry’s $201 million agreement with Golden State will set an NBA total-value record, while the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry combined to assure themselves another $400 million in soon-to-be-official deals. Otto Porter may be in line for $105 million, either from Sacramento or Washington.
But unlike 2016, there’s been very few puzzling moves.
“Some of the contracts were sort of out of whack,” Riley said.
That was then, with deals like ones given to Joakim Noah ($72 million for four years by the Knicks), Timofey Mozgov ($64 million for four years by the Lakers) and Luol Deng ($72 million for four years, also by the Lakers) not exactly paying massive dividends last season. Perhaps not coincidentally, it should be noted that the Knicks and Lakers are both under different management this summer.
Deals are going into getting done — Monday, $1.255 billion in new contracts have been agreed upon this summer already, a figure that goes past $1.5 billion when Porter signs and assuming John Wall takes his $168 million extension offer from Washington.
They’re just getting done more judiciously, or so it would seem.
“That’s part of the reasons we signed guys in advance last summer, was in anticipation of where the cap was going, knowing the value of cap room wasn’t going to be as much because of the preponderance of cap room in the marketplace,” Portland president of basketball operations Neil Olshey said, noting there was $450 million available in cap room this summer across the league.
To Dwyane Wade, who will make nearly $24 million this season, what’s happening now is eye-popping.
“If I’m 25 with the same numbers,” the Chicago guard tweeted on June 21 with a reference to his stats from last season, “I’m getting 150 million.”