The NBA free agency frenzy is fully upon us. Some players have inked long-term extensions to stay with the same team, while others are leaving for greener pastures — and, in many cases, more money than their former teams were willing to pay. But in the modern NBA era, the best way to maximize your earnings is simple: be a star and re-sign with your team.
Thanks to the way NBA contracts work, a team can offer an extra year to a player it's re-signing. Typically, that team can give a maximum of five years, while another team would only be able to hand out four years. The "home" team can also offer more money per season; put the two together and there's plenty of incentive to stick around town.
Less than a week after this year's NBA free agency period began, teams have been spending to keep their stars happy (and on the roster). These eight players have signed supermax extensions worth at least $200 million. Here's a look at them in chronological order.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards — $251 million
After declining his player option for $36.4 million, Beal kicked off the free agency madness by signing a deal worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. The ten-year veteran has spent his entire career in Washington, and now it looks like he'll play out the rest of his prime with the Wizards, too. The Wizards had to sign Beal so he wouldn't walk for nothing in return, but the team has only been fairly average for much of his career. Beal will look to build on a career that has included three All-Star appearances and one All-NBA team. However, if the Wizards expect to contend for a title, they'll need to develop a stronger supporting cast around him.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets — $264 million
When you win back-to-back MVPs, your team is probably going to do whatever it takes to keep you around. In Jokic's case, that means giving you the largest contract in NBA history. Jokic's salary in the final season of this contract will be a whopping $60 million, which is a single-season record. And for the first time in a long time, Jokic is going into the season with a healthy Jamal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. That'll be an exciting combo on the court, and if it can translate into a championship, Jokic will be well worth the hefty price tag.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns — $214 million
The only player on this list who didn't sign a five-year deal, Booker will nevertheless remain in Phoenix for the next four seasons. Both Booker and the Suns had a shaky postseason, particularly a Game 7 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals, where the Suns lost by 33 points on their homecourt. But this is still a roster that was two wins away from a championship just two seasons ago, and Booker has been an instrumental part of the Suns' success. Considering the franchise has reached the NBA Finals only one other time, it makes sense to pay Booker and make him the centerpiece of the team moving forward.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves — $224 million
Karl-Anthony Towns had perhaps his best NBA season yet last year. He made All-NBA Third Team and, alongside Anthony Edwards, led the Timberwolves to a rare playoffs appearance, taking the Memphis Grizzlies (and their star guard, who will show up on this list shortly) to six games. While making the postseason was nice, earning All-NBA honors helped Towns earn a supermax contract. He's already due more money on his current deal, so he'll make $295 million over the next six seasons, all while trying to capitalize on his team's recent success.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies — $193 million with incentives up to $231 million
Morant has only been in the league since 2019, but he's already making waves. The guard won Rookie of the Year his first season and has continued to improve since then, culminating in an appearance on the All-NBA Second Team. Much like Towns, Morant is now eligible for a supermax extension, this one worth $193 million. But unlike Towns, Morant can up the value of his deal to $231 million if he makes another All-NBA Team, wins MVP, or is named Defensive Player of the Year. The former is a likely scenario, so Morant will probably easily surpass $200 million. The exciting guard has also become one of the faces of the league, already having marketing and commercial partnerships with Nike, Beats by Dre, Panini, Hulu, and Sony.
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls — $215 million
Had LaVine made the All-NBA team this past season, he could have earned a contract similar to the one Beal signed worth about $251 million. Instead, the Bulls guard will have to "settle" for a five-year deal worth $215.2 million and a player option for the fifth year. LaVine has won two Slam Dunk contests and earned two All-Star nods. Now, he'll look to build on the success of the Bulls' first playoff appearance since 2017.
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans — $193 million with incentives up to $231 million
Since the Pelicans drafted Williamson in 2019, the team has played 226 games. Williamson has only participated in 85 of them — a bit less than 38 percent. But the team has seen enough promise when Williamson steps on the court that they're willing to take a chance to sign their former No. 1 draft pick to a long-term supermax extension. Like Morant's deal, Williamson's will pay him a guaranteed $193 million. However, if he earns All-NBA honors or wins the Defensive Player of the Year or MVP award, the deal will pay him $231 million. Is it unlikely after he missed all of last season with a foot fracture? Sure, but stranger things have happened. Beyond his on-court play, Williamson's brand presence is so strong that he'll continue having endorsements and partnerships that increase his earnings.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers — $193 million with incentives up to $231 million
Garland is in the same boat as Williamson. His five-year supermax deal is worth $193 million guaranteed. But if he can secure an All-NBA spot or wins the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year award, he'll earn $231 million instead. The guard has been a bright spot for Cleveland, which had its best season since LeBron James left in 2018. The Cavs were the eighth seed but ultimately lost both games in the play-in round. Garland, who made his first All-Star team last season, will look to continue his strong performance on the court, this time with some postseason success to add to it.