The NBA’s salary cap shot up $20 million this year, after the league signed a ginormous TV deal, which means that pretty much every team in the league has space to sign free agents, even the teams that don’t deserve it. (The Knicks.) Here’s brand fetishist Darren Rovell, surveying the carnage:
Everyone is getting paid, including a lot of people many casual fans probably aren’t terribly familiar with. The Orlando Magic got Evan Fournier on a sneaky good four-year, $85 million contract. Timofey Mozgov, the NBA’s greatest pitchman, landed with the Lakers on a four-year, $64 million deal. Solomon Hill, who averaged 4 points last year, landed a four-year, $52 million deal. And trigger-happy Evan Turner’s four-year, $70 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. Matthew Dellevadova, whose only skill is his ability to injure other players, is going to make $9.5 million a year playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. (As for some of the league’s marquee free agents: Kevin Durant hasn’t decided where he’s going yet, but Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside are staying put.)
One of the strange things about this year’s free agency is that, in a time when fans of all stripes pore over the CBA and advance metrics to try to figure out who is and is not actually good at basketball and what is and is not a good contract, it’s incredibly difficult to figure out if any of these deals are actually bad, given the huge cap spike. I briefly panicked when I found out the Knicks were offering Joakim Noah, who has no knees, $18 million a year, before realizing that was the equivalent of him getting $12 million last season. The other strange thing is that people seem to have mostly stopped complaining about how much athletes make—at least compared to some of the hyperbole from a decade ago, when pundits lost their shit over A-Rod’s gigantic Rangers contract. Maybe we’ve just finally come to terms with the fact that owners, not athletes, are the real enemy. Or maybe that will all change when Kent Bazemore gets a max contract.