Jessie Alcheh/Associated Press (Jaylen Brown)
The NBA continues to evolve. Centers like Nikola Jokic have the playmaking abilities of a point guard. Players like Ja Morant are explosive athletes with incredible leaping abilities. Young players like Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Anthony Edwards are making names for themselves as players like LeBron James and Chris Paul are getting older. The NBA is evolving in many ways. And that evolution does not stop on the court. It has also reached the business side of the league. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is an agreement between the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) that deals with aspects of the league such as contracts. The most recent CBA took effect on July 1. That was around the start of free agency, and since then, players have received significant deals. In fact, history was made with a contract extension this summer.
The NBA’s contracts are growing, and each year at least one of the league’s top players signs a huge deal. Here are the five biggest contracts in NBA history.
1.) Jaylen Brown
Jaylen Brown recently made history this offseason. He was eligible for a contract extension, and on July 25, Brown signed the richest deal in NBA history. He signed a five-year, $304 million extension, which shows the 26-year-old remains a core player in the Boston Celtics’ championship aspirations.
Brown was the third pick of the 2016 draft, where he was selected by the Celtics. The Celtics drafted Tatum the following year. Brown is a skilled player, and when he and Tatum are playing at a high level, the Celtics are tough to beat.
Brown averaged a career-high 26.6 points in the 2022-23 season, and in the season before that, he helped the Celtics reach the NBA Finals.
The Celtics guard/forward accomplished many things. He became the youngest NBPA Vice President in 2016. He is the youngest person to lecture at Harvard. He is an exceptional chess player. He was once offered an internship with NASA. And recently, he shared that he intends to build a Black Wall Street in Boston with the money from his extension. Brown is a modern day renaissance man, and the Celtics have a special player on their hands for years to come.
2.) Nikola Jokic
Before Brown, Nikola Jokic had the richest contract in NBA history. Jokic signed an extension with the Denver Nuggets last summer worth around $270 million. Jokic won his second consecutive MVP around that time, and helped become a potential contender. The following year, he and the Nuggets won their first championship.
Jokic is one of the most skilled players in the NBA. His contract extension was well worth it, and as the Nuggets looked to get their second championship, Jokic will continue leading the way.
3.) Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal will be playing for a new team this season, but prior to joining the Phoenix Suns, he spent years with the Washington Wizards. Beal signed his extension last summer, as at that time, he planned on staying with the Wizards. Beal’s extension was five years and was worth $251 million. That contract continues with the Suns and extends to at least the 2026-27 season. He can opt out of the contract then, or he can wait a year and become an unrestricted free agent. Beal is a talented player, and his extension was worth it.
4.) Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo remains one of the league’s top players. He is a two-time MVP, led his team to a championship and he dominates anytime he is on the floor. Antetokounmpo signed a five-year, $228 extension with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020, and he has a player option in 2025-26. Despite losing to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs, the Bucks are still contenders. And with Antetokounmpo leading the way for at least a few more seasons, they have what it takes to win.
5.) Devin Booker
Devin Booker is one of the league’s top stars. He can score at will and has helped the Phoenix Suns become a contending team. Booker signed a four-year, $224 million extension last summer. The Suns now have players alongside Booker like Beal and Kevin Durant. that can take the Suns to the next level. If all goes well, Booker and the Suns could be on the verge of a championship.
The NBA has come a long way. When Juwan Howard signed the first $100 million contract (he signed for $105 million) in 1996, that was a big move. Now, players’ contracts have exceeded that. It will be interesting to see where the league goes from here.