The NBA owners have locked out the players and the sides are working on negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. There is currently a soft salary cap and a maximum placed on the amount of money players can earn. Kobe Bryant is the top earner in the NBA in terms of annual salary, making just over $25 million per season. Few people would argue that he’s not worth more to the Lakers organization. According to a report, team owner Jerry Buss agrees.
In a column on NBA player salaries not matching the value of true stars, Adrian Wojnarowski drops in the following nugget.
“Privately, Jerry Buss has told people that Bryant – who will make a league-high $25 million this season under his current contract terms – is worth perhaps $70 million a year to the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Players like Kobe capitalize on endorsement deals so it’s not as if they’re not making major money. Still, few people would say the game’s superstars are not worth more than they make from their teams. On the other hand, most of the bench players and mid-level guys are worth far less than what they make.
The information above may serve as an argument to remove the salary cap and make the NBA a free market system. I disagree. The most competitive leagues have hard salary caps because that puts teams on equal footing. Look at the NFL and NHL — teams have hope that they can succeed from year-to-year whereas MLB and NBA teams pretty much already know where they stand before seasons begin. Now if you want to remove maximum contracts, that is reasonable. However, it would likely come at the cost of the NBA’s mid-level players, for whom owners might have less money.
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