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Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

Explained: What is an NBA supermax contract and how does it work?

With All-NBA selections made and franchises deciding about contract extensions, fans will see the term "supermax contract" thrown around a lot. 

Here's a quick primer with everything you need to know about the NBA's most lucrative player deals. 

What is a supermax contract?

Officially known as the "Designated Veteran Player Extension," this rule allows teams to re-sign qualified players to maximum five-year contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap with eight percent escalation in each subsequent year.

The length of the supermax deal depends on the player's years of NBA experience and years remaining on his current contract. 

  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has two years left on his contract is eligible for a four-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified player who has completed seven or eight years of service and has one year left on his contract is eligible for a five-year supermax (keeping the player with the same team for a total of six seasons)
  • A qualified free agent who has completed eight or nine years of service is eligible for a five-year supermax 

Furthermore, teams cannot trade a supermax player for the first year after he signs the contract.  

How much is a supermax contract worth?

Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.

For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal. 

According to a report by Yahoo's Chris Haynes, Damian Lillard—who has two years remaining on his current deal with the Trail Blazers and is expected to be named to an All-NBA team—will be offered a four-year supermax extension worth roughly $191 million this summer. 

Who is eligible to sign a supermax contract?

Very few players qualify for a supermax contract. First, only a player that has (or will have) completed eight years of NBA service by the end of his current contract is eligible to sign a supermax deal, which can only be offered by the team that drafted him or traded for his rookie contract. 

Then, a player must meet one of the following three criteria.

  • Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it
  • OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons

Which players have received supermax contracts?

  • Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors
  • James Harden - Houston Rockets
  • Russell Westbrook - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Wall - Washington Wizards

Who could receive a supermax contract this summer?

Anthony Davis is already eligible for a supermax offer from the Pelicans. The following players also could receive supermax offers after the All-NBA announcement:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
  • Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
  • Kemba Walker - Charlotte Hornets

What are the drawbacks to supermax deals?

The supermax contract was designed to help teams retain their players by allowing them to offer significantly more money than the competition; however, teams that offer such contracts are squeezing themselves in terms of salary cap room to fill out their rosters. 

No franchise can carry more than two supermax players at 35 percent of the cap each. Functionally, though, it's difficult for a team to have more than one.

Two supermax players would account for 70 percent of a team's salary in any given year, leaving the club virtually unable to sign a competitive supporting cast. 

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Wizards vs. 76ers Preseason: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Wizards vs. 76ers Preseason: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Wizards will take the court Friday night in Philadelphia as they wrap up their 2019 preseason slate. While there are still roster spots to be won and roles to be carved out, the biggest storyline surrounding the Wizards this week comes from their biggest star.

Bradley Beal, the face of the franchise and Wizards' only All-Star while John Wall rehabs from his Achilles injury, signed a two-year contract extension with the Wizards Thursday morning.

The focus of the season for the Wizards will clearly be on their younger players, but fans will be most excited to see the team's remaining star this season.

It's unclear which 76ers stars will be on the court for the preseason finale, but the game will serve as the final tune-up for two franchise going in opposite directions. 

The Wizards vs. 76ers preseason finale wil tip off Friday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus.

WIZARDS vs. 76ERS PRESEASON HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers, 2019 NBA Preseason Game 4

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

When: Friday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Wizards at 76ers preseason game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington Plus (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at 76ers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. 76ERS TV SCHEDULE

3:00 PM: The Daily Line (LIVE)

7:00 PM: Wizards vs. 76ers, NBA Preseason (LIVE)

WIZARDS vs. 76ERS INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Left thumb rehab), Isaac Bonga (OUT, Left knee soreness), Troy Brown Jr. (OUT, Left calf strain), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Left foot rehab)

76ers: James Ennis (DAY-TO-DAY, calf injury)

WIZARDS vs. 76ERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, G, Wizards: Beal just signed a contract extension to keep him in Washington for a few more years. With John Wall out, the Wizards are solely his team, and this will be his first time on the court since agreeing to the new deal. 

Thomas Bryant, C, Wizards: The Wizards' best big man has enjoyed a strong preseason, and will look to solidify himself as Washington's number two option behind Beal with John Wall out. His outside game remains a work in progress, but Bryant has flashed a lot of potential inside for a Wizards team desperate for secondary scoring.

Matisse Thybulle, SG, 76ers: The rookie guard filled the stat sheet in Philadelphia's previous preseason game, and appears to have earned a significant role as a defensive specialist and the first wing off the 76ers' bench.  

WIZARDS vs. 76ERS SERIES HISTORY 

Number of all-time Meetings: 303 games

All-time Record: 76ers lead 181-122

Last Meeting: Wizards won 123-106 on 1/9/19

Streaking: Wizards have won 9 straight home games against the 76ers, and  22 of last 29 at Capital One Arena

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How Bradley Beal's contract extension will work and how he could earn more money down the road

How Bradley Beal's contract extension will work and how he could earn more money down the road

By signing Bradley Beal to a two-year contract extension worth $72 million on Thursday, the Wizards made their future more secure. It was undoubtedly a win for the franchise and their newly constructed front office.

It is also a victory for Beal, of course, as he will go from rich to even richer. And even though he is technically passing on the chance to earn a supermax in the short-term, he is now in position to earn a lot of money down the road.

Beal's contract now runs through at least the 2021-22 season, as 2022-23 is a player option. That means he could opt out after his Age 28 season and enter free agency just weeks after his 29th birthday, in the summer of 2022.

His Age 28 season will also be his 10th in the NBA and players with 10 years of service time can sign contracts worth up to 35 percent of the salary cap. According to ESPN, Beal could sign a new contract with the Wizards in 2022 worth an approximate $266 million over five years.

Or, Beal could leave the Wizards that summer and still sign for a lot of money with a different team. He will be in line for a deal worth about $198 million over four years in free agency.

By the summer of 2022, Beal will have made roughly $172 million in NBA salary, so not including his endorsements. A $266 million deal would push him to somewhere in the range of $438 million in career earnings and that contract would end when he's 33 going on 34. 

Assuming Beal will still be good enough to earn another NBA contract at that age, he could push $450-500 million in total salary by the time his career is over.

That's a lot of cash and Beal gets to stay in Washington for the foreseeable future, which is what he wanted to do. Not bad.

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