As the NBA season approaches, basketball fans and analysts alike turn their attention to „contract year players.“ These are players who are entering the final year of their current contract and will be looking to prove their worth in hopes of securing a lucrative deal in the upcoming offseason.
In the NBA, contract year players are often scrutinized more heavily than those who are not. They are expected to perform at a high level and demonstrate consistency, as teams will be analyzing their performance during every game. The pressure to perform can be daunting, but if done correctly, it can lead to a big payday.
Players who perform at a high level during their contract year often see a significant increase in contract value and length. For example, in 2019, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was entering the final year of his contract and had a breakout season, helping lead his team to an NBA championship. As a result, he earned a four-year, $130 million contract extension.
Another example is Brandon Ingram, who was in the final year of his rookie contract with the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019-20 season. He had a breakout year, averaging 23.8 points per game, and was named the NBA`s Most Improved Player. As a result, he signed a five-year, $158 million contract extension with the Pelicans.
However, not all contract year players have successful seasons. Some struggle under the pressure and fail to live up to expectations. These players risk a decrease in their contract value and length, or even worse, not being signed at all.
One notable example is Nerlens Noel, who was viewed as a top prospect heading into the 2013 NBA Draft. He signed a four-year, $70 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks in 2017, but his performance during the contract year was lackluster. He ended up signing a one-year, $5 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder the following season.
In conclusion, contract year players in the NBA have a lot on the line. They are expected to perform at a high level and prove their worth in hopes of securing a lucrative contract in the offseason. While some players thrive under the pressure, others struggle. Only time will tell which players will rise to the occasion and earn themselves a big payday.