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NBA Offseason Weekly: Brown Signs Record-Breaking Contract – Who’s Next?

Celtics Ink Brown to Largest Extension in NBA History

The biggest NBA news of the week was Jaylen Brown’s massive extension, making him the highest-paid player in league history. Brown inked a five-year, $305 million deal with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

NBA Offseason Weekly: Brown Signs Record-Breaking Contract - Who’s Next?
Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics | maddie meyer/getty images/afp

Fully guaranteed, with a trade kicker. No player option. pic.twitter.com/MQ6NKILY8Q

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2023

After earning All-NBA honors for the 2022-23 season, Brown become eligible for a supermax contract. The supermax lived up to its name, as Brown signed the richest contract in NBA history.

While Brown is an exceptional player, there are better players around the association. For example, Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo seem to be atop the game. Brown’s extension set a record, but how long will it last? Could we see another record-breaking contract soon? Who’s next?

How Does a Player Become Supermax Eligible?

Before digging into what players could be up next, it’s important to understand supermax contracts. These are the massive extensions that post record-breaking salaries.

To become eligible for a supermax, a player must have at least seven years of experience. They must also check one of the following criteria:

  • Make an All-NBA team in the most recent season or in two of the previous three seasons
  • Be named Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or in two of the previous three seasons
  • Be named MVP in one of the three previous seasons

In Brown’s scenario, he earned All-NBA honors in the most recent season, making him supermax eligible. Once eligible, the supermax is a five-year deal that pays a player 35% of the salary cap, with an 8% increase each year.

The first season of Brown’s supermax is in the 2024-25 season. The projected salary cap is $146.6 million, so Brown will make about $51 million in the 2024-25 season. In the final year of his contract, the two-time All-Star guard is projected to net about $69 million in the 2028-29 season.

Any team that rewards a player a supermax impacts NBA betting. Of course, these are star players that will favor the team’s futures bets. For example, some trade rumors swirled around Brown following last season. Not so fast. The Celtics will likely be among the sportsbook’s favorites for the NBA Championship for years to come.

After witnessing Brown’s mind-blowing contract, we have to wonder where NBA contracts are headed. Could this record be short-lived?

Celtic Green Means Big Bucks

Apparently, there’s something about playing in the Celtic green. Brown’s teammate, Jayson Tatum, could be the next player to sign the richest contract in NBA history.

After making All-NBA teams in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, Tatum is eligible for a supermax. His extension will come up next summer, during the 2024 offseason. What could Tatum’s deal look like? The deal is projected to be around $334 million. Remember, five-year contracts are standard for supermaxes, meaning Tatum will sign a five-year extension.

Boston probably won’t hesitate to offer Tatum this contract either. Brown’s $305 million contract is impressive, but the bar is about to be raised. A nearly $30 million increase is nothing to sneeze at.

$400 Million on the Horizon

Tatum is not the only player that could reel in a league-shaking contract in the near future. Antetokounmpo is eligible for another extension in Sept. The two-time MVP and NBA champion deserves anything coming his way.

This would not be a supermax, though. Instead, it would be for two years and about $113 million. The Greek Freak will likely until next offseason for his extension. This is when Antetokounmpo could sign another supermax, which is also projected to be about $334 million over five years.

In the 2025 offseason, Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic could be next up. A 2025 supermax is projected to be $367 million. The 2026 offseason is when the lunacy kicks in, with contracts worth over $400 million.

Think about that. Only three years from now we could see a contract worth about $100 million more than the current richest contract in NBA history. For comparison, Patrick Mahomes has the richest NFL contract of all time, making up to $450 million in 10 years. Shohei Ohtani is expected to sign the richest contract in MLB history in the upcoming offseason, which could be worth over $500 million for at least 10 years. Notice how these contracts are for 10 years, not five. NBA franchises will soon be paying more than $400 million for five years…

Who could be the first players to pen a deal worth over $400 million? Jokic would be eligible for another extension in 2026. He signed a five-year, $276 million contract in 2022. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder is another candidate who could sign a supermax in 2026. Gilgeous-Alexander comes off his first All-NBA season.

Players from the 2019 NBA Draft could also be supermax eligible in 2026. The best players from this class are Ja Morant, Zion Williamson and Darius Garland. If healthy, these players are certainly capable of making All-NBA teams on their current trajectory.

Brown’s $305 million contract was jaw-dropping, but it’s only up from here. There will likely be a new richest contract in NBA history about one year from now, and the price will continue to rise in upcoming years.

Any franchise that is offering supermax contracts is probably worth paying attention to. These are usually playoff teams among the NBA odds’ favorites for the championship. For example, Las Vegas NBA odds have the Celtics as the co-favorite with the Denver Nuggets to win the 2024 championship (+500).

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