Jaylen Brown just signed the NBA’s first $300 million contract. Who could be the first to hit $400 million?

Jaylen Brown just signed $300 million contract

NBA Updates PH – In 1996, Juwan Howard was the first NBA player to sign a deal worth $100 million. Mike Conley became the first player in the league to make $150 million in 2016, but it only took Stephen Curry one year to break the $200 million mark. Six years later, Jaylen Brown signed a five-year, supermax contract with the Boston Celtics, making him the league’s first $300 million player.

Even though it would be easy to say “Player X deserves $400 million if Jaylen Brown got $300 million,” The pay cap doesn’t work that way. The highest salary in the NBA is based on a number of things that players can’t change.

Jaylen Brown Dunk

What did that first sentence teach us? Two things that are very important:

  • Not only are NBA wages going up, but they are going up a lot. As long as sales keep going up, we’ll keep hitting goals at a faster and faster rate.
  • Curry seems like the kind of player who would reach this point. But Howard, Jaylen Brown, and Conley? Not really. Even though they were all great players, they only made four All-Star teams between the three of them. When it comes to milestone contracts, time is the most important thing. All three deals were signed at very good times for Jaylen Brown, Conley, and Howard.

Most of the time, a player’s pay is based on how long they have been playing. In the first year of a new contract, players with six years of experience or less can make 25% of the cap, players with seven to nine years of experience can make 30% of the cap, and players with 10 years of experience or more can make 35%. When a player re-signs with his own team, he can get 8% raises every year, but if he leaves and signs with a new team, he can only get 5% raises.

A player can sign a five-year contract with his own team, but only a four-year contract with another team. This is a big reason why most players would rather re-sign and force deals than move through free agency these days. It’s just more profitable to do so.

There are a few exceptions to the above rules, but only the best NBA players get to use them. The Derrick Rose Rule says that players with less than six years of experience can jump up to 30% of the cap if they re-sign with their own team and have won MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or All-NBA in the previous season or two of the last three.

Through the Designated Veteran rule, a player with seven to nine years of experience can go from getting 30% of the cap to getting 35% of the cap. However, they can only get this deal from a team that drafted them or traded for them within the first four years of their career.

Season 2026–2027

The next batch of max contracts won’t hit $400 million either, but it will reach another very important milestone. If you don’t count the playoffs, an NBA season has 82 games. So, players who sign a supermax deal for the 2026–2027 season will be the first NBA players in history to make $1 million per game in a single season, but that won’t happen until the 2030–2031 season. Bill Walton and Moses Malone were the first players in league history to make $1 million in a single season. This happened less than 50 years ago. Now? That’s less than the minimum for a new player.

Season 2027–2028

The first group of $400 million Supermax contracts will start in the 2027–2028 season. Our top pick here is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He didn’t get a player-option on the last year of his rookie extension like Doncic and Young, so he will have to wait until the summer of 2026 if he wants to add five more years to his contract. If he does that and stays as good as he was last season, when he made All-NBA, he has a good chance of becoming the first NBA player to make $400 million.

Notably, none of the max rookie contracts given to 2019 draft picks included player options for the last year of the deal. This means that Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, and Darius Garland could all sign new contracts in 2026, but they could only add four years to the ones they already had. If they don’t wait a little longer, they won’t be able to join the “$400 million for a single contract” club. As long as the league keeps making money, none of these players will have trouble paying their bills.

Conclusion 

It’s important to remember that all of the numbers we’re talking about here are estimates. The cap might not go up as fast as we think. We could also see players who we didn’t expect become well-known enough to get contracts of this size. We can’t know what will happen in the future. We can guess, for example, that the league’s first $100 million pay will be paid out in the 2032-33 season, but that is still almost a decade away. The NBA’s pay cap was $58.7 million ten years ago. In such a long amount of time, a lot can change.

We should also point out that the new collective bargaining deal for the NBA only goes through the season of 2029-2030. That won’t break contracts that have already been signed after that point, but it could change how contracts are discussed. If a team’s income drops sharply over the next few years, for example, they might not want to sign a $400 million deal.

There is also the issue of growth. Most people think the NBA will add two teams in the not-too-distant future, but that would mean the players’ share of income would be split between 32 teams instead of 30. Since the cap is based on the share of income players get under the CBA, this means that when the league adds new teams, the cap will be lower on a relative scale. But we don’t know when the cap will change because we don’t know when those two teams will join the league.

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