NBA: The ins and outs of the supermax and who should take the deal

NBA Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
NBA Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
NBA Miami Heat LeBron James (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

An in-depth look at the supermax and exploring if the long term money is worth it for some of the NBA stars eligible for the deal

When LeBron James ‘took his talents to South Beach’, he not only helped create a Miami Heat dynasty, he also helped create the wave of player empowerment and player movement we see today.

Since then, player movement in the NBA has skyrocketed, and with an offseason that is going to be loaded with player movement looming, it is time to look at the relatively new supermax deal. Kemba Walker is now eligible for this deal, and has stated he would take less money for the Hornets to build around him, but with the monumental trade for Anthony Davis happening recently, he may reconsider that statement.

NBA players have been notorious for teaming up to give it the best run at the title since LeBron, Wade, Bosh donned the Miami jerseys and played in not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 NBA Finals together. With these players joining forces and some cases taking less money, loyalty to teams seems to be at an all-time low which does not bode well for the supermax.

Guys like Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis did not want to lock into one team for the next five years and demanded trades. It worked very well for Kawhi in Toronto, and we will see how it goes for AD in the purple and gold.

How the supermax contract works is a complicated idea involving All-NBA teams, Defensive Player of the Year, and the MVP. This deal was put into works as a reaction to when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to play to join the 73-9 Warriors team. According to Keely Diven of NBC Sports, for a player to be eligible for the supermax he must:

"-Be named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it -OR, be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it -OR, be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons"

Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall have all signed the supermax deal. It is hard to argue with the deals of Steph and Harden, the deal seems to be money well spent.

For Westbrook, the deal seems to be a bit of an overpay to me. His play will most likely fall off in the next few years and his shot has already started that decline, maybe he will improve next year, but it is a lot of money to be locked into Russ. The deal to me was paid out of respect for sticking with the Thunder his career, which starts the debate if paying these guys for what they’ve done well for the franchise.

At the time of the deal, I did not like it, and after watching his play this year, I dislike the deal more. After the Paul George signing, the Thunder will be locked into Paul George, Steven Adams, and Russell Westbrook, which is a fine trio, but with teams improving, Lakers getting AD, the Nuggets progressing, and the Kawhi rumors to the Clippers, are those three enough?

For Wall, this deal was a wild overpay. He has had his health issues, but after watching the Wizards this year, it seems they may have paid the wrong guy. Bradley Beal seems to be the star they hoped John Wall would be. When Wall is healthy, he is one of the top point guards in the NBA, no question, but he has had his bouts with health issues, and with him missing another season, the deal was not good money.

The supermax has not been the home run that the NBA, CBA, and Adam Silver dreamed of. Players are interested in playing for different teams, with their friends, or building championship contending superteams. Obviously, the locked up money for the players is a huge pro, especially with the injury bug hitting some of the game’s biggest stars in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. But for player movement, and wanting to build a super team, the supermax would not be the answer for the player.

The supermax is a flawed contract for sure, especially with the player movement happening in the NBA today. However, there are ways to fix the deal, but for now, I’m going to look at guys who are or who will be eligible for the supermax, and see if it would be in the best interest for both sides to do.

With their latest accomplishments, Rudy GobertGiannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard (who is expected to sign the deal), and Kemba Walker are eligible on their contract years, and I am going to explore if it would be worth the money for their respective teams to lock up their stars.