Of the four major sports, the NBA is clearly the place where the money is being delved out the most.


Since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement kicked in last summer, players, whether some are truly worth it or not, have been getting paid a king’s ransom by teams to either stay or join their respective teams.


Memphis Grizzlies Guard Mike Conley kicked the proceedings off last summer when he signed the then richest contract in league history with his 5 year/$150 Million deal. Many debated whether or not he, someone who had never made an all star team, but played at an all star level, deserved that type of money. However, with the new stipulations in effect, the money was made available to him and the Grizzlies to take full advantage of.


This summer, the money, and true worth of an individual player has been taken to an entirely new level. Max contracts have already grown in value and the new “super max” has come into play where an all star player who has played his first seven seasons with one franchise can now be eligible for a max deal on top of a max deal of sorts.


Players like Steph Curry have recently cashed in on this new phenomenon when he signed a 5 year/$200 million deal to stay in Golden State, netting him upwards of $40 Million a season.


This came off the heels of another Western Conference all star who signed the largest extension in league history.


James Harden has logged an eight-year career between the Oklahoma City Thunder and now the Houston Rockets. Since he joined the Rockets and became the focal point of the team, he has become one of the most dynamic players in the game. Last season, he averaged career highs in points, rebounds and assists with 29.1, 8.1 and 11.2 respectively.


In order to ensure that he will stick around for the foreseeable future, the Rockets gifted Harden with a 4 year/$228 Million dollar extension on his current deal. This means that on top of what he’s already making, starting in the 2019 season through 2022, Harden’s annual earnings will grow from $37.8 Million to $46.8 Million per year by the extensions end.


What this type of money shows is how lucrative basketball has become and how much less of a liability it is for player safety than sports like football.



Harden is a top five player in this league. What separates the NBA from the NFL is that basketball’s global reachability seems to far extend that of football. Players like Harden often go on world tours to promote their shoe brands and to promote the game because it has become the ideal global sport just outside of soccer. More and more kids are picking up a basketball, more and more basketball courts and facilities are being built which means that more and more people are being exposed to and loving the game.


This brings in dollars for the NBA because jersey sales go up, TV and online viewership rises which results in more money being brought in to reward the players with.


Now players like Curry, Harden and even LeBron James are starting to creep towards their actual worth that they bring to the league and basketball as a whole.  James has come out and said that players like that are actually worth $80 Million per year due how much of an impact each player may have on the Leafs by themselves.


Although we are not there yet, the last two summers show that massive progress has been made in regards to players beginning to make the money that they truly deserve for all that they do.


Harden’s deal on top of a deal is a reminder that teams will show loyalty to those players who are truly driving the market on and off the floor.


Do you think Harden’s extension was too much? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.