$ 2.5 bil­lion free agency pay could go long way else­where

USA TODAY International Edition - - SPORTS - AJ Neuharth- Keusch

Roughly $ 2.5 bil­lion in con­tract money has been handed out to NBA play­ers since free agency be­gan July 1.

Two. Point. Five. Bil­lion. Dol­lars.

There was James Har­den’s record four- year, $ 170 mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion that will push his earn­ings to $ 228 mil­lion through the 2022- 23 sea­son; Stephen Curry’s five- year, $ 201 mil­lion deal that was the rich­est in NBA his­tory; and $ 100 mil­lion- plus deals made with play­ers in­clud­ing Blake Grif­fin and Gor­don Hayward.

Now that the free agency dust has set­tled a bit, we did some re­search to find some of the most out­ra­geous things — hy­po­thet­i­cally speak­ing — $ 2.5 bil­lion could buy. THE BURJ KHAL­IFA Dubai’s 2,717- foot, 160- story tower — renowned for be­ing the tallest build­ing in the world — fea­tures res­i­dences, swim­ming pools, cor­po­rate suites and a ho­tel de­signed and de­vel­oped by Gior­gio Ar­mani. Al­though you couldn’t pur­chase the en­tire build­ing in its cur­rent state, the con­struc­tion price tag was $ 1.5 bil­lion. A TRIP TO THE MOON ... AND BACK SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he’s plan­ning to send two pay­ing pas­sen­gers around the moon at some point in 2018. Musk didn’t spec­ify the cost of the trip, but Busi­ness In­sider priced it at about $ 300 mil­lion. EV­ERY SEAT AT THE SU­PER BOWL ... The av­er­age ticket for a seat at Su­per Bowl LI went for ap­prox­i­mately $ 5,000. There are 72,220 seats at NRG Sta­dium. Give or take a few mil­lion, of course, but that would make the price of ev­ery seat com­bined worth roughly $ 360 mil­lion. ... AND EV­ERY COM­MER­CIAL Ac­cord­ing to USA TO­DAY’s Ad Me­ter, 66 com­mer­cials aired dur­ing Su­per Bowl LI be­tween the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots and At­lanta Fal­cons. Com­pa­nies paid an av­er­age of $ 5 mil­lion for each com­mer­cial. The to­tal? $ 330 mil­lion. A B- 2 SPIRIT While Northrop Grum­man’s B- 2 stealth bombers aren’t ex­actly avail­able for pur­chase to civil- ians, each one — the United States Air Force cur­rently has 20 — costs about $ 2 bil­lion. THE MONA LISA Though many ex­perts have deemed Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa price­less, it was as­sessed at $ 100 mil­lion in 1962 — the high­est known in­sur­ance val­u­a­tion for a paint­ing, ac­cord­ing to Guin­ness World Records. Tak­ing in­fla­tion into ac­count, the price tag would be more than $ 800 mil­lion to­day. A SU­PER YACHT The es­ti­mated cost of the Eclipse — a 530- foot yacht owned by Rus­sian bil­lion­aire Ro­man Abramovich — ranges from $ 400 mil­lion to $ 1.5 bil­lion. She’s ru­mored to be equipped with bul­let­proof glass, a mil­i­tary- grade mis­sile de­fense sys­tem, an anti- pa­parazzi laser shield, two swim­ming pools and a mini- sub­ma­rine. ONE NBA FRAN­CHISE ( OR MORE) The only fran­chises in the NBA worth more than $ 2.5 bil­lion are the Knicks ($ 3.3 bil­lion), Lak­ers ($ 3 bil­lion) and War­riors ($ 2.6 bil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the an­nual list re­leased by Forbes in Fe­bru­ary. That leaves 27 other teams up for grabs.

TROY TAORMINA, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

All- Star guard James Har­den, right, signed a con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Rock­ets that guar­an­tees him $ 228 mil­lion over the next six sea­sons.

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