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NBA money is about to get stupid

Fri, May 24th, 2024

The Opening Tip

  • The first $100M-a-year contract isn’t far away

  • The Pacers’ defense is very funny 

  • A rogue All-NBA voter

Tonight’s playoff game

1. Are you ready for $100M-a-year salaries?

Despite a decade-long slide in TV ratings and general fan malaise, Adam Silver’s NBA is about to silence the haters and losers with the coming announcement of a new TV rights deal, which will reportedly come out to ~$7B a year.

That is … 

  • A shit load of money. (The current deal pays the league about $2.6B per year.) 

  • A sign of a lush future for players, which will be conveyed through an exploding salary cap* and extravagant ‘supermax’ extensions for the best players 

Here’s what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, after becoming supermax eligible on Thursday, is projected to make on his next deal:

  • 2027-28: $65.6M

  • 2028-29: $70.9M

  • 2029-30: $76.2M

  • 2030-31: $81.4M

Every year going forward, a new elite player will join the supermax club, which will lead to ever-inflating projections, which will lead to the first deal that will pay someone $100M in one season.

When this happens, it will cause existential pearl-clutching about overpaid athletes. But you must ask yourself: Would you rather your favorite player have more money, or your favorite player’s team’s owner have more money?

*The salary cap in 2015 was $70M. Jaylen Brown will make $65M in 2028.

2. Daily GIF: DE-FENSE

The Pacers generally take an interesting approach to defense, but they took ‘not giving a fuck’ to a different level last night on this possession.

[WATCH: Celtics-Pacers Game 2 highlights]

3. Trivia

Which fast food commercial was playing while the Nuggets drafted Nikola Jokić?

• McDonald’s 


• Wendy’s

• Taco Bell

Guess, click and see if you're right… (The clip.)

4. A mischievous NBA awards voter turned his ballot into a Domantas Sabonis lovefest

Here is the ballot of NBA awards voter Ignacio Garcia from ‘Marca,’ a daily sports newspaper in Spain.


  1. Victor Wembanyama

  2. Bam Adebayo

  3. Domantas Sabonis 


  1. Nikola Jokic

  2. Luka Doncic

  3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

  4. Domantas Sabonis 

All-Defense first team: 

  • Rudy Gobert

  • Victor Wembanyama

  • Bam Adebayo

  • Domantas Sabonis

  • Giannis 

All-NBA first team: 

  • Nikola Jokic

  • Luka Doncic

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

  • Domantas Sabonis

  • Anthony Edwards

In every one of these categories, Ignacio was the only person to include Sabonis, a consensus top 20-ish player who has never been mistaken for Hakeem Olajuwon on defense.

You simply must respect the unabashed lionizing of someone who isn’t often lionized. You also must wonder if Igancio is Sabonis’s brother-in-law.

[READ: Every All-NBA team]

Quick hits

  • Jaylen Brown, on his All-NBA snub after dropping 40 last night: ‘We're two games away from the Finals, so honestly I don't have the time to give a fuck.’

  • Tyrese Haliburton’s status for Game 3 is currently TBD. 

  • Oshae Brissett played 12 minutes last night and was a plus-18

  • Charles Barkley, knowing that Inside the NBA has an expiration date, is unloading the clip. 

  • The Cavs fired J.B. Bickerstaff yesterday. 

  • After making All-NBA third-team, LeBron is now the youngest All-NBA player ever and the oldest All-NBA player ever. He’s also made 20 straight All-NBA teams. 

  • The only team owner to vote against the WNBA’s expansion team in Toronto was James Dolan, who is currently suing the Raptors.


  • Behind the scenes of the NBA’s most unlikely revival [The Ringer

  • Derrick White and the immense power of small trades [ESPN]

  • Have the Celtics learned from their past mistakes? In Game 2, they finally took care of business at home. [Boston Globe]

That's the buzzer.
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