Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA’s new 9-year, $24 billion TV deal, set to kick in for the 2016-17 season, is going to change the landscape of the league in the coming years. The current deal, signed in 2007, raked in $930 million annually for the NBA from ESPN and Turner Sports. With the new deal, that number is set to increase to nearly $2.7 billion per year.
Because the salary cap is directly correlated to BRI (basketball related income), it will greatly increase under the new deal. Naturally, contracts will spike as a result, and players are well aware of that.
It’s the reason LeBron James only signed a two-year deal (the second year is a player option) with the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason. It gives him an out if everything goes pear-shaped in Cleveland, sure, but seeing as he’s said time and again that he won’t be leaving in the summer of 2016, his contract gives him an opportunity to sign a new max deal once the lucrative TV deal kicks in. And based on how much that jump is expected to be, it could bump the maximum contract in the league by $9 million per year. LeBron could, therefore, be looking at a $31.1 million starting salary that could increase by $2.3 million every year, giving him the opportunity to sign a max contract of four years, $138 million with the Cavaliers, per Business Insider.
Some believe the cap will skyrocket right off the bat, while others remain cautious. According to Deadspin, the NBA will engage in negotiations with the NBPA in the hope that both sides can come to an agreement of slowly increasing the cap rather than taking a $20-or-so million increase right from the get-go. A quantum leap in cap room would give, essentially, every team in the NBA a clean slate. For all their blunders, it would give the Brooklyn Nets an opportunity to lure high-profile free agents and turn their fortunes on their head. That doesn’t seem to make sense.
Naturally, not everyone will be in agreement with that, which is why we could be gearing towards another lockout.
What that means for the immediate future, though, is that a lot is still up in the air for teams and players alike. In the case of the Orlando Magic, they have three players (Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, and Kyle O’Quinn) whose contracts will expire following the 2015-16 season. Technically speaking, Ben Gordon’s contract also expires in 2015-16 but given that the second year of his contract is fully unguaranteed, the expectation is that the Magic will waive him after this season. Out of the three, Vucevic and Harris are set to make the most, and thanks to the new TV deal, the Magic have a number of ways to go about retaining them.