With NBA free agency progressing, some of the largest signings have taken over the headlines this summer. Specifically, the Denver Nuggets were among the teams to award a supermax contract, as Nikola Jokic became the highest-paid player in NBA history following a $260 million extension.
In order to qualify for a ‘supermax’ contract, a player must meet each of the following:
- Seven or eight years of NBA service
- Still a member of their original team, unless traded or acquired via waivers
In addition, a player must have one or more of the following accomplishments:
- Named to an All-NBA First, Second, or Third team in previous season OR in two of the last three seasons
- Named Defensive Player of the Year in previous season OR in two of the last three seasons
- Named NBA MVP at least once in the past three seasons
At this time, a total of 11 players will enter the 2022-23 season under the supermax contract. The talents vary from future Hall of Fame talents to international icons. Here, we discuss where each supermax-worthy player ranks entering next season:
Note: All rankings have been compiled through averages of contributors of The Athletes Hub
11. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Back in 2017, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook agreed to a five-year, $205 million supermax extension; marking the largest contract in NBA history at the time. It was following a season in which Westbrook made the All-NBA First Team and NBA MVP, making him eligible for the deal.
Fast forward a few years later and Westbrook’s $47.1 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers this season becomes one of the biggest burdens across the league. The 33-year old is coming off a season in which he averaged a mere 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists, while supporting a career-low 15.2 player efficiency rating.
10. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
After missing the 2021-22 season with a broken right foot, the New Orleans Pelicans still inked Zion Williamson to a five-year, $193 million designated maximum rookie extension. While he technically isn’t under the supermax extension quite yet, if Williamson is named as either a member of the All-NBA Team, MVP, or Defensive Player of the Year next season, it will trigger the supermax clause. His total contract value would then escalate to $231 million.
During his rookie season, Williamson averaged 22.5 points per game. He became the second rookie in NBA history to average 20 or more points while shooting 55% from the field , joining Shaquille O’Neal. While his early accolades are impressive, we truly haven’t seen Williamson at his full potential. Entering his age 22 season, consistency will be the largest factor in Williamson rising on this list in the future.
9. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
After opting out of his player option this summer, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards agreed to a five-year, $261 million supermax extension. The 29-year old appeared in a career-low 40 games this past season, undergoing wrist surgery due to a torn ligament.
Beal is one of the better offensive shooting guards in the league, but the lack of success for Washington will continue to fall on his shoulders. The Wizards have reached the playoffs just once in the last four seasons. In addition, the two sides have agreed to a no-trade clause as part of the new extension. Beal is the only active player in the NBA with a true no-trade clause and is just the 10th player all-time to have his contract structured in that manner.
8. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
During the summer of 2019, the Portland Trail Blazers handed Damian Lillard a four-year, $196 million supermax extension following a season in which he averaged 25.6 points across a 44.4 field goal percentage. That same season, the Trail Blazers reached the Western Conference Finals following Lillard’s series-clinching three-point shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Last Friday, Portland and Lillard agreed to an additional two-year, $122 million extension that will include a player option for the 2026-27 season. His average salary during the 2025-26 and 2026-27 seasons will surpass $60 million. Despite eight consecutive playoff berths from 2014-21, the Trail Blazers will need to be creative in attempting to find ways to give Lillard a chance at an NBA Finals.
7. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker was one of several players to be signed to a supermax deal this summer, as he inked a four-year, $224 million extension with the Phoenix Suns. On top of his current contract, Booker has a contract value of $295 million across six years.
Booker averaged 26.8 points while dishing 4.8 assists per game this past season, finishing fourth in NBA MVP voting. He was named to the All-NBA First Team as a result, making him eligible for the deal.
With the future of DeAndre Ayton currently unknown, Booker will have career-high expectations entering the 2022-23 season. Phoenix never won more than 39 games through Booker’s first six seasons, but have compiled a 115-39 record over the past two years.
6. Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been active this summer, signing Karl Anthony-Towns to a four-year, $224 million supermax extension among other moves. With the new deal, Towns’ total contract value expands to $295 million across the next six years.
The former No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is coming off a season in which he averaged 24.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game with the Timberwolves. As a member of the All-NBA Third Team, Towns became eligible for the supermax extension this summer. The Timberwolves are elevating themselves to win-now mode after they made the playoffs last season for just the second time in Towns’ career.
5. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
In August of 2021, the Philadelphia 76ers committed to Joel Embiid with a four-year, $196 million supermax extension. The deal was scheduled to keep the 7-footer under contract with the team through the 2026-27 season. The deal signed was fully guaranteed for Embiid, who was coming off a season in which he finished in second in NBA MVP voting.
Last season was the first time in which Embiid has played 60 or more games since the 2018 season. In 2021 specifically, he averaged a career-high 30.6 points to go with 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
4. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Last summer, the Dallas Mavericks rewarded Luka Doncic with a five-year, $207 million supermax rookie extension. The international superstar was named to the All-NBA Team twice before the age of 22, as he quickly became eligible for the supermax.
Doncic has an early legacy in the NBA, winning Rookie of the Year during the 2018-19 season. He is also one of four players in NBA history to make multiple All-NBA First Teams before the age of 23, joining Kevin Durant as the only active player to do so. This past season, Doncic averaged 28.4 points per game while leading the Dallas Mavericks to their first Western Conference Finals appearance since the 2010-11 season.
3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
This offseason, Nikola Jokic received a five-year, $270 million supermax extension from the Denver Nuggets. The two-time NBA MVP has a total contract value of $303 million across the next six years, which includes a player option. As a second-round draft pick, Jokic was just the 15th player in league history to win multiple MVP awards.
His extension is completely justified considering Jokic was the largest factor in the Nuggets reaching the Western Conference Finals during the 2019-20 season for the first time since the 2008-09 season. It’s important to note that despite injuries to key players such as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr, the Nuggets have remained relevant due to Jokic’s efforts.
2. Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
To no surprise, Curry is one of the greatest talents in the NBA currently on a supermax contract. In 2017, Curry signed a five-year, $201 million supermax extension, becoming the first player in league history to sign a contract worth more than $200 million. In August of 2021, Curry became the first player in league history to sign multiple contracts worth more than $200 million, as the Golden State Warriors signed him to a four-year, $215 million extension.
With four NBA Championships and a solidified legacy, Curry is coming off a season in which he averaged 25.5 points and 6.3 assists per game. Entering his age 34 season, Curry has certainly maintained his spot among the elite talents the NBA has to offer.
1. Giannis Anteokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
In December of 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks committed to Giannis Anteokounmpo with a five-year, $228 million supermax extension. The two-time NBA MVP was coming off a season in which he was the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Steph Curry has the more solidified legacy and more accolades, but if we’re ranking current players under the supermax contract entering the 2022-23 season, Anteokounmpo is seven years younger and has averaged a double-double in each of the last five seasons.