NBA salaries have become ludicrous

By Steve Sell
July 07, 2016

It’s no wonder NFL players have been watching the NBA’s free-agent signing frenzy with jaw-dropping amazement.

NBA journeyman after journeyman is signing an outrageous deal, such as former KU star Cole Aldrich — who has been a career backup – being lavished with a 3-year, $22 million contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Of course the bigger stars are getting nine-figure deals that boggle the mind.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The NBA salary cap goes up again next year and there comes a point where the league minimum is going to be about id="mce_marker"0 mil.

NFL players for the most part make a fraction of their NBA brethren. And a majority of their deals are not guaranteed because of the injury factor associated with the game. Why do I get a feeling there’s going to come a time soon when the NFL has another serious issue with salaries when all it has to do is point to the NBA and the overpaying of the majority of its players?

Of course the biggest offseason splash was made by Kevin Durant, the longtime Oklahoma City Thunder star who left after nine years to join Golden State, which lost in The Finals last month to Cleveland. Durant, who will make an astonishing $54 million for two years though he can opt-out after one year, joins Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green for a “dream team,” much like what Miami had when it added LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wade back in the day.

I have to admit I was surprised by Durant’s leaving. He had been in OKC for nearly a decade and it’s a place where he can fly under the radar, which seems to fit his personality.

But while the Thunder have had some good teams in his time there, they never won the championship. Durant must think his legacy will only be cemented by winning a title and aligning himself with the before-mentioned Curry, Thompson and Green makes the Warriors the prohibitive favorite. Heck, there’s not much need to play the regular season, let’s just put the Warriors and Cleveland in The Finals for the third straight year.

The actual biggest salary that has been given is id="mce_marker"53 million to Michael Conley Jr. Some might say “who is that?” as Conley has been an excellent point guard for Memphis, though not a player who most would have picked to received the largest offseason haul.

The story that most caught my eye though was Wade leaving Miami on Wednesday to return to his hometown of Chicago.

Wade often has given up money for the better of the franchise. Had he not yielded to LeBron, The King may never have made the move to South Beach. For all his glitter, Wade often was seen as a Robin to LeBron’s Batman.

But with LeBron having left two years ago and Bosh plagued by health problems, Wade thought it was his time to get the big bucks.

However, Miami unloaded the truck for somebody named Heath Whiteside and was set to sell the farm for Durant. Wade? The Heat expected him to be the good soldier and play for less than the market value.

Now Wade wants his money. Problem is he’s nearing the end of his career and yet he wanted $50 million for two years, more money than he could ever spend in his lifetime. The Heat came back with $40 million, which various reports indicated was a low-ball offer in Wade’s eyes. He “settled” for $47 million for two years.

I get it that Wade feels “slighted.” But he should think of the basic working stiff who just gets by and lives paycheck to paycheck before making his displeasure so public. Just how much money do NBA players really need anyway?

I guess it’s just another reason I have a hard time watching the NBA anymore. Give me the good old days of Magic and Bird.