Pascal Siakam, Jaylen Brown, and Brandon Ingram are among the NBA players hoping to become eligible for supermax extensions in 2023. Let’s dig into what’s at stake.
Last October, Boardroom hypothesized about which NBA megastars could earn a supermax contract following the 2021-22 season.
We highlighted Denver Nuggets MVP center Nikola Jokic, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns, Phoenix Suns elite guard Devin Booker, and Chicago Bulls scoring machine Zach LaVine as players who could secure the biggest bags come July. Of those four, the first three ultimately did qualify for and sign the Designated Veteran Player Extension (the official name of the supermax in the league’s collective bargaining agreement), which entitles them to a wage equal to 35% of the NBA salary cap in each season.
Jokic won the league MVP for a second straight year; he only needed one trophy to become eligible to sign a five-year, $270 million deal, the single largest contract in NBA history. KAT and Booker each signed four-year pacts worth $224 million — both orchestrated by CAA agent Jessica Holtz — after becoming supermax-eligible via making an All-NBA team.
Let’s not feel too bad for LaVine, however, who re-signed with the Bulls for five years and $215 million, or Bradley Beal, whose new five-year, $251 million mega-contract is (1) the second-largest in league history by total value and (2) includes the NBA’s only current full no-trade clause despite not technically being the full 35% supermax. That deal will take the Washington Wizards star’s career on-court earnings past $450 million.
So, with all this in mind, which players could be next on the NBA supermax list come next summer? Let’s quickly look at who’s actually eligible to sign this deal as well as which players could strike it rich in July 2023.
Top NBA Supermax Contract Candidates, Summer 2023
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Spicy P is certainly enjoying the four-year, $136 million extension he signed with Toronto in 2019 that will expire in two more seasons — just in time to tack on a Designated Veteran Player Extension next summer. All he has to do is replicate the performance he showed in 2021-22, averaging 22.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game to earn an All-NBA Third Team selection, the second such honor of his career.
Will the continued development of reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes get in Siakam‘s way as it relates to filling the stat sheet? It didn’t this past season, and Siakam is just one All-NBA selection away from being supermax eligible next summer as long as he remains with the Raptors. If he does fall short, he’ll have one more year to make All-NBA and qualify after his eighth NBA season in 2023-24.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
The Celtics star received three All-NBA Third Team votes back in May, but was well short of the 63 points Siakam got as the lowest vote-getter to make All-NBA at any position. Brown averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.5 assists leading into Boston’s NBA Finals run, and he has an All-Star nod to his name from 2020-21.
He earned the $24.8 million he made last season on the second year of a four-year, $107 million extension signed prior to the 2019-20 season. Brown has two years and just over $55 million left on his deal, but All-NBA honors in 2022-23 or 2023-24 would make him supermax-eligible.
The 25-year-old would likely have to make All-NBA at the same time as superstar teammate Jayson Tatum, who’s fresh of a First Team honor. Notably, only seven different pairs of teammates over the last five seasons made All-NBA in the same year, including two pairs who have done so twice:
- 2021-22 Suns: Devin Booker and Chris Paul
- 2020-21 Clippers: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
- 2019-20 Lakers: LeBron James and Anthony Davis
- 2019-20 Rockets: James Harden and Russell Westbrook
- 2017-18 and 2018-19 Thunder: Paul George and Russell Westbrook
- 2017-18 and 2018-19 Warriors: Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant
- 2017-18 Timberwolves: Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns
If Brown and Tatum could shine together and both make All-NBA for the loaded Celts, a supermax becomes a possibility for JB.
And one year later, Tatum will have a chance to earn one of his own in 2024, his first year of eligibility.
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
We’ll see what New Orleans’ appetite is for another large contract after signing Zion Williamson to a five-year, $193 million 25% rookie max extension that could escalate to $231 million — the full 30% rookie max extension as per what’s colloquially known as “the Derrick Rose Rule” — if he makes All-NBA next season. But come next summer, Brandon Ingram could technically cash in even bigger.
B.I. is coming off a really strong season for the Pelicans, averaging 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game in leading NOLA back to the playoffs.
Like Williamson, though, Ingram has durability issues that could prevent him from being selected to an All-NBA squad. Aside from his 2016-17 rookie campaign with the Lakers, he has never played in more than 62 games in one regular season. He has three years left on a five-year, $158 million extension that still owes the 24-year-old $101.5 million.
Let’s see how this shakes out — notably, he’d have one more season to become supermax-eligible in 2023-24.
Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
After missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Murray would still be eligible for a supermax if he makes All-NBA despite losing out on a full year of play in 2021-22. The 25-year-old Canadian point guard has participated in five seasons and has three years left on a five-year, $158 million he signed during the 2019 offseason.
Murray averaged career highs in points, rebounds, and assists before he got hurt while shooting better than 40% from three, but runs into a similar problem as Brown; with Jokic taking up most of the ballhandling responsibilities, Murray’s stats could be limited. If the Blue Arrow can somehow not only come back from a major injury and be one of the 15 best players in the league next season, he’ll surely have earned that supermax deal.
Whether Denver will actually be able to offer it, however, is a different question, as teammate Michael Porter Jr. is already on a rookie max extension himself and won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon.
The Ineligible Honorable Mentions
Though Dejounte Murray is no longer supermax-eligible thanks to his offseason trade to the Atlanta Hawks — a player can be dealt and keep eligibility, but only if he’s still on his rookie contract like Ingram was — he does have several of the traits you’d look for in a supermax candidate. The 25-year-old averaged an absurd 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game for San Antonio last season while playing elite defense, and will now team with Trae Young to form one of the league’s most dynamic backcourts.
Though Ben Simmons is likewise no longer eligible thanks to last season’s trade to the Brooklyn Nets, it could be fascinating to follow what would happen to the balance of power in the Association if Ben Simmons returned to All-NBA form after sitting out all of last season. We’re not sure who his teammates will be (or which team he’ll ultimately play the bulk of his basketball for) next season, but the 25-year-old made the All-NBA Third Team as recently as 2019-20 and has the ability to contend for Defensive Player of the Year when healthy.