Could there be a $100 million annual NBA player salary? In addition, the new collective labor agreement comes into effect

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As the NBA nears a new media rights deal, much of the focus is on what this means for the league and its teams. But there’s also another beneficiary of the series of deals that will reportedly pay the league an average of $6.9 billion over 11 years: the players.

These new deals – whether they end with Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC or Amazon as partners alongside Disney – should more than double the current deals, which will pay the league roughly $3 billion next season in the final year of its contracts with Disney. Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery. While not guaranteed, the expectation among team leaders is that the salary cap will increase the maximum allowable 10 percent during the first seasons under the new media landscape, beginning with the 2025-2026 season.

The amount of money that will be poured into the league will likely accomplish what was once considered an impossible feat: the $100 million salary.

NBA players are already amassing wealth like never before. Every player included in the 2022 draft class will have the opportunity to earn more than $1 billion from NBA contracts alone, before any endorsements or sponsorship deals. If the cap continues to rise as expected, a player might be able to make that much over the course of two contracts in his prime. Jaylen Brown’s record-setting contract, which could be worth as much as $304 million, might seem small in comparison.

The NBA could receive its first $100 million salary in the 2032-33 season. That assumes a $141 million salary cap next season, as the league currently projects, and a 10 percent cap raise after that.

Under that forecast, the salary cap would be over $302 million, which would allow some players to cross the $100 million threshold. For example, a player in the first year of his supermax contract, which pays 35 percent of the cap, could earn as much as $105.79 million during the 2032-33 season — that’s double the $51.9 million Stephen Curry earned this season in the league. A player in the second year of a supermax contract that started the season before could make $103.86 million that season. A player in the third year of a supermax contract that started during the 2030-31 season could earn $101.41 million.

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The size of the contracts will be striking. A five-year supermax deal starting in the 2030-2031 season will be worth $507 million, according to these estimates. One starting next season will be worth $557.78 million. The supermax, which will start in the 2032-2033 season, would be worth $613.56 million.

Projected NBA Supermax Contracts

Season Projected hood 35% maximum salary Supermax deal


$141 million

$49.35 million

$286.23 million


$155.1 million

$54.29 million

$314.85 million


$170.61 million

$59.71 million

$346.34 million


$187.671 million

$65.68 million

$380.97 million


$206.438 million

$72.25 million

$419.07 million


$227.082 million

$79.48 million

$460.98 million


$249.79 million

$87.43 million

$507.07 million


$274.769 million

$96.17 million

$557.78 million


$302.246 million

$105.79 million

$613.56 million

Of course, those numbers may be overly generous. Maybe the cap doesn’t go up 10 percent every year, and salaries don’t rise that fast. While national media rights could account for about 30 to 40 percent of all basketball revenues if they take off, local media revenues appear likely to decline — and who knows what other issues will arise.

That timetable may also be too slow. The NBA or the NBPA could withdraw from this CBA before October 15, 2028, which would result in a new CBA for the 2029-2030 season. What if that CBA has no leveling off and no ceiling on how quickly the limit can rise? Or will the rule that sets maximum salaries at 35 percent of the ceiling be abolished? Get ready for some big numbers.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and president of global content and media distribution Bill Koenig certainly made a lot of people happy. The league’s yet-new collective bargaining agreement was written with a new media rights deal in mind and this should allow the NBA to have labor peace until the end of this CBA, which runs until 2030 if no one opts out. There was always a remote chance that the NBA would one day have to implement the opt-out clause it included in the current CBA, which would allow it to pull out of the agreement if its media revenues fell below a certain threshold compared to what they had during the period achieved. Season 2022-2023. But with such big numbers on the horizon, the league – and its players – are approaching even greater riches.

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Since it’s never too early to talk about the offseason — or at least that’s what every NBA TV segment tells me — it’s a good time to remind everyone of this summer’s hottest book: the CBA.

Some of the most restrictive parts of the new CBA will appear next season, with the new cap year starting on July 1. They will color how teams behave this summer.

Starting on the first day after the just-concluded regular season, teams above the first apron ($172.346 million) can only trade for a player that makes up for the value of the salary they are dealing away. Any traded player exceptions on the first platform teams generated in the past year will no longer be usable unless they are re-platformed.

Teams above the second platform ($182.794 million) can no longer aggregate player salaries – this provision went into effect at the end of the regular season. These teams cannot send their own player in a sign-and-trade, and they cannot send money in a trade.

The frozen pick rule will come into effect next season. If a team is ranked above the second tier on the final day of the 2024-25 regular season, its first-round pick cannot be traded seven years later (2032). If that team is above the second platform in two of the next four years, that frozen pick will also move to the end of the first round in that year’s draft. A team can unblock its pick if it is below or equal to the second platform in at least three of the next four years.

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If a team does any of the things mentioned above, it will have a hard cap on the apron threshold that it has yet to cross.

If a team makes a trade between the end of the regular season and the start of the new cap year with a maneuver not allowed for teams above the first or second platforms, then that team will be eligible for the remainder of the season have a hard cap. the current salary cap year and the following year. But the new CBA does offer teams some flexibility, as it won’t go into effect until after the 2024-2025 regular season; Teams can still increase their total salaries above an apron level between the end of the 2023-2024 regular season and June 30, 2024, with no hard cap in place.

There is also a new concern for teams that don’t reach the salary floor. Beginning with the 2024-2025 season, teams that don’t reach the floor will receive none of the money paid out to non-taxpaying teams.

As of July 1, teams can now use the non-taxpayer mid-tier, room mid-tier or the six-month exception to trade for one or more players or acquire a player based on a waiver claim (the player’s contract cannot exceed the maximum value). length allowed by that exception). The exception cannot be merged.

Teams will also have more leeway with expansion and trade contracts. On July 1, these can increase to a total of four years and 120 percent of the previous salary.

(Photo: David Berding/Getty Images)

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