We’ve heard one question in particular that comes up a lot lately in all sorts of professional sports leagues. this question is about the players and the contracts they sign. In the nba, we’ve seen this same question and it’s about how much money any one player is guaranteed.
Are NBA contracts guaranteed money? yes, the vast majority of nba contracts have some type of guaranteed money attached to keep the player financially secure no matter what circumstances come their way that season. Some smaller contracts may not have guaranteed money in the deal and a lot will depend on your health or your game on the court. however, again, most players in the league today are likely to have almost all of their contract money guaranteed before signing.
guaranteed money is not something easy to explain. there are many different factors that go into each contact, and it is almost always different from player to player depending on their circumstances. most are governed by the cba, so nba players are sure to get a great deal.
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Types of NBA Contracts
This first one is pretty simple, it’s the standard league contract. Simply put, any contract signed in the NBA that is not considered a two-way deal will be marked as a standard contract.
another type is the rookie scale contract. this type of deal only applies to a player who was selected in the first round. the deal will cover two years with a team option on the third and fourth. a player’s money on that specific contract will be determined by when it is drafted and in what round. for example, a number one pick in the draft would make much more money than someone who was picked 26th overall.
We now have a designated veteran player contract. This is a deal that goes to a free agent player with at least eight years of NBA experience. If a player signs this deal, he cannot be traded for a full year. the total salary cannot exceed 30 percent of the team’s salary cap for that year, and no team can have more than two players on these types of contracts at the same time.
the nba also has a two-way contract. this agreement does not last more than two seasons. it cannot be extended or renegotiated in a similar way to other contracts. This is a player who has less than four years of league experience with a standard NBA contract conversion option. The player typically plays in a different league with the potential to be called up to an NBA roster if injuries or other trades plague the 15-man roster. if they play well, the conversion option helps to change the deal to a standard league contract. the number of games they can play for the nba franchise is limited and if the team wants them to exceed this, their contract must be converted 2-way.
what is guaranteed money in the nba?
When people refer to guaranteed money in the nba, they mean how much of a player’s salary they are guaranteed to be paid, regardless of performance or injury. means that the contract cannot be canceled in advance, neither by the player nor by the team, as long as both parties act within the established basic parameters of conduct. Sometimes teams will enhance a contract with performance bonuses, such as games played or the collection of a certain stat line. however, there is a minimum amount of each nba contract that is guaranteed to the player as set forth by the cba.
two terms we’ll be using as we go along are team option and player option, let’s see what they mean.
- Player Option – Often included for the final year of a high-level player’s contract, it simply means that if the player wants to opt-in, they can. In essence, the salary due on a player option is guaranteed for as long as the player wants it. the benefit to the player here is that if the situation he finds himself in doesn’t look right. they can opt out of the player option year of the contract and go into unrestricted free agency.
- Team Option – As you might guess, this works the opposite of a player option and is most commonly attached to unproven or young player contracts. teams can add a couple years of team options to the end of a contract. this means that the team has the right to reject him and not sign the player for those years. that way the contract is not guaranteed money for the player. the benefit to the team here is that they can take a chance on a player who is developing or recovering from injury. if it doesn’t work, they are not required to commit to the full contract.
Are rookie contracts guaranteed?
Now that we know what an NBA rookie contract is, we can ask if these contracts have guaranteed money attached to them. Simply put, the first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed. that means that no matter what happens to the player, he will be entitled to the amount of money in the contract he signed in those initial two seasons. however, the third and fourth years are a slightly different story. If the team chooses these next two options before the deadline to do so, chances are they will be guaranteed money from him. these years depend on a number of different scenarios that could affect how much guaranteed money they can get in the future. For the most part, NBA rookies make more money in their third and fourth seasons than they did in their first two years. that’s how the league sets up their contracts for new players entering the draft.
Largest guaranteed contract in NBA history
The largest guaranteed contract in league history belongs to Steph Curry (as of April 2022). Curry has a ridiculous amount of money set aside for his deal. In total, Steph is guaranteed $261,134,628 on his contract. For those who don’t know, that’s literally all the deal for him outside of the incentives that were added to help him make more money. just behind him is kevin durant. duran has $229,997,220 in collateral. This may be surprising considering Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a slightly larger contract than Curry’s not too long ago. however, his contract does not have that much money guaranteed at the moment. that money wasn’t even in the realm of possibility a few decades ago. You have to wait for another superstar player to come along and eventually get a bigger amount of guaranteed money than steph curry. As the NBA grows and revenues rise, the salary cap rises, so the next megastar to sign a big contract will almost certainly surpass Steph. my advice is that the reigning favorite of 2021 and 2022 for mvp nicola jokic will sign a pretty big deal in the summer of 2023.