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The Supermax Problem in the NBA

Jaylen Brown finally signed his five-year extension worth 304 million dollars. Brown's new contract is the richest deal in NBA history after being selected to an All-NBA team. The problem with that is that Jaylen Brown is arguably not even a top-25 player in the NBA. These supermax contracts are leaving teams with three options: overpaying these players $300 million or letting them walk in free agency, with option 3 being to trade them for less than what they are worth.

Jaylen Brown flexes in game
via Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

This especially hurts small market teams, the teams that this was supposed to help when it was introduced in 2017. Guys like Jaylen Brown, Karl Anthony-Towns, Rudy Gobert, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Bradley Beal didn't deserve supermax money. The regular maximum extension would have been what they should've been offered. I know that players are going to try to squeeze every last cent out of these teams, and as they should. This handcuffs teams when trying to build out a roster behind a guy who doesn't deserve the money that he is being paid. And that is half the reason why four of the six guys named above have been traded from the teams that gave them the contract, and one or both of the others may be on the trade block next season or in the seasons to come.

Rudy Gobert celebrates after dunk
via Omar Rawlings / Getty Images

Small market teams don't have any wiggle room after giving out these contracts, so it either means the team will be bad with the star surrounded by cheap talent that he can't win with. leading to an unhappy star and a bad product on the court, and then they will leave the team, whether it be through free agency or trade. This is what is happening with Damian Lillard right now, even though I think he did deserve the supermax when it was offered to him.

Damian Lillard does his iconic "Dame Time" celebration
via Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Instead of being able to give a player a supermax for making any All-NBA team, make it to where you need to either win MVP or make the All-NBA 1st Team. Allowing the 2nd and 3rd team selections to make maximum money allows for fluke seasons from good, not great, players. Once a player knows how much money he can make, he will try to get all that money. That's what the NBA and their teams face with the supermax problem in the NBA, but there are solutions.

Stephen Curry holding up his two MVP trophies
via Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports

Players that are worth the supermax:


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