Sunday, March 2, 2008

Worth the Max: NBA Players Who Deserve Maxiumum Contracts

Trade rumors swirled around Phoenix and Shawn Marion last season and into this past offseason. Those in the know believed Marion would be traded as a result of chemistry issues. According to Peter Vecsey of the New York Post, Shawn Marion wanted to stay in Phoenix until a meeting with Phoenix president and general manager Steve Kerr.

In this meeting, the two sides discussed terms of a new contract. Marion believed a contract worth $15 million per season would leave him underpaid and asked for a maximum contract. Kerr disagreed, saying the only players worth a maximum contract were Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. Marion perceived this as an insult and tensions between the two sides continued, culminating in the blockbuster deal with Miami for Shaq O'Neal.

These entire ordeal leaves me pondering two questions: how much is and who is worth a max contract?

Based upon's (a great, funny basketball site) numbers, a maximum contract for players with six or fewer years of service is valued at $13 million each season. For veterans for seven to nine seasons, the salary increases to $15.6 million. Maximum contracts for ten-plus year veterans are $18.25 million. These salary levels can vary year to year.

Currently, twenty-one players earn max dollars. Well, eighteen since Stephon Marbury, Shaq O'Neal, and Jermaine O'Neal are hardly earning their keep. Stull, all have made at least one All-Star appearance.

To truly justify a max deal, a player should be more than an All-Star. A single player who occupies roughly 40% of the salary allotment must make his team a playoff team, to a reasonable extent. Simply, only the NBA's bests are deserving of maximum contracts.

In my book, there are only six players worthy of being max players. Kerr was correct in labeling Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. They add a mentality that goes beyond the box score. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have led their teams deep in to the playoffs with little support. Finally, the point guards. The additions of Steve Nash and Chris Paul made the Suns and Hornets into contenders overnight.

When it comes down to it, these six players are who max contracts were designed for. They alone can make their teams into contenders.


About the Undrafted Free Agent

Ron Crimson was the only player on the high school roster to not get in a game. He couldn't argue with the decision, because he sucked. Needless to say, yet stated anyway, when he entered the NBA draft following his sophomore season in college, he went undrafted. Now, Ron Crimson is the Undrafted Free Agent.

Contact the Undrafted Free Agent

Interested in informing the Undrafted Free Agent of his mistakes, advertisement opportunities, or a scoop on the latest sports scandal? (You can guess which is more likely.) Well, email him at undraftedfreeagent [at]

Look at This!

There's nothing here; I just needed to fill some space. Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! Space eater! I also needed to balance it out a bit.

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