Some of the best young players in the NBA are suddenly on super cheap contracts

This year’s NBA free agency period was one of the craziest in recent memory. With the salary cap sent to spike to unprecedented levels in the coming years, teams felt compelled to spend more than they ever have before, including a $US1.4 billion on the first day of free agency alone.

While signing a player like Reggie Jackson — who has spent the majority of his career as a backup — to a five-year $US80 million contract may look ludicrous at first, that contract was negotiated in anticipation of the salary cap ballooning from $US70 million this year to $US108 million by 2017.

As a result of the looming salary cap spike, a bunch of the NBA’s best young players are now on absolute bargain contracts because they signed them before the league’s new TV deal was announced. For example:

  • DeMarcus Cousins signed a four-year $US62 million contract extension in 2013
  • Stephen Curry signed a four-year $US44 million contract extension in 2012
  • Paul George signed a five-year $US90 million contract extension in 2013
  • Kyrie Irving signed a five-year $US90 million contract extension in 2014
  • James Harden signed a five-year $US80 million contract extension in 2012
  • Klay Thompson signed a four-year $US70 million contract extension in 2014
  • John Wall signed a five-year $US80 million contract extension in 2013
  • Russell Westbrook signed a five-year $US80 million contract extension in 2012

Jackson signed the same five-year $US80 million deal that Wall signed in 2013, and Westbrook and Harden both signed in 2012. Although Wall said he’s “happy” for players being able to make more money, he made a point when talking to ESPN Tuesday that he’s now making the same amount of money as a Jackson, who ESPN ranked as the a below-average starting point guard in 2015.

“People talk about me getting $US80 million, now you got people getting $US85 million that haven’t made the All-Star or anything like that,” Wall said. “I guess they came in at the right time. That new CBA kicked in, and they’re good now. Reggie Jackson gets five years, $US80 million. I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson.”

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