What Is A Supermax Contract?

Supermax Contract?

Supermax contract meaning: An NBA supermax contract is a salary agreement that NBA teams can offer to their most talented and valuable players. This type of contract was introduced as part of the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

The main purpose of an NBA supermax contract is to incentivize players to remain with their current teams rather than sign with another team when they become free agents. The maximum amount a team can pay under a supermax contract is 35% of the team’s salary cap, which is significantly more than any other player on the roster. In addition, players signing a supermax are eligible for larger raises than those signing regular contracts.

How Much Is An NBA Supermax Contract Worth?

NBA Supermax Contract Worth
NBA Supermax Contract

The amount of money an NBA player can get from a supermax contract depends on many factors, including their performance on the court. Generally speaking, it involves an annual salary worth up to 35% of the salary cap for that current season. This could mean anywhere between $32 million and $50 million per year, depending on the player’s performance and team salary cap restrictions.

Who Is Eligible To Sign A Supermax Contract?

Eligible To Sign Supermax Contract
Supermax Contract

Supermax contract eligibility: The criteria for eligibility are outlined by the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). The criteria include being named an All-NBA team member at least twice or being voted an All-Star starter three times in their career. Additionally, the player must have been with one team for eight years or longer if they wish to sign a supermax contract.

Team management also has some input when deciding if a player is eligible for such contracts.

Which Players Have Received Supermax Contracts?

Players Received Supermax Contracts
Supermax Contracts

Supermax contract deals: So far, several players have received supermax deals since the introduction of this new contract type. Players such as Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden are some of the most recent recipients of a supermax deal from their respective teams. Other stars like Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving received similar deals earlier in 2019. Aside from those listed above, other standout figures like John Wall, LeBron James, and Blake Griffin have also earned supermax contracts in previous years.

What Are The Drawbacks To Supermax Deals?

Expensive For Teams:

Expensive Supermax Contracts

Supermax contracts are often much more expensive than regular contracts and require a team’s salary cap space to be dedicated to just one player. This could prevent teams from being able to sign other players or make trades, as they would lack financial flexibility due to the amount of money tied up in a single deal.

Create An Imbalance:

Imbalance In Basketball

These types of contracts could lead to a lack of depth on many teams because they won’t have enough money left over to sign other key contributors due to the high cost of supermax deals.

What Is A 1+1 Max Contract?

A 1+1 max contract is an NBA player contract that allows eligible players to sign with their current team for one season and then re-sign the following season at a higher salary. This type of contract is typically offered to players who have achieved All-NBA honors or been named an All-Star during their first two years in the league. The overall value of a 1+1 max deal depends on the amount of money available from each team’s salary cap, which can vary from year to year.

Unlike a traditional “supermax” deal, the 1+1 max does not guarantee more money in subsequent years than in the initial term. Instead, it gives teams an incentive to retain star players due to its relatively low cost compared to other contracts.

NBA Supermax Contract Rules

  1. Eligibility: To qualify for a supermax contract, players must meet certain criteria. One of the most common ways is by achieving certain accolades. For instance, if a player makes an All-NBA team in the most recent season, or two out of the last three seasons, or wins MVP or Defensive Player of the Year, they become eligible.
  2. Years of Service: The player must have completed seven or eight years in the NBA and be with the team that drafted them (or was traded on their rookie deal).
  3. Contract Length and Amount: A supermax contract can be up to five years and is worth 35% of the salary cap in the first year, with 8% raises in each subsequent year. This is compared to a max of 30% of the cap for players with 7-9 years of service who do not qualify for the supermax.
  4. Extension vs. New Contract: Players can sign the supermax either as an extension to their existing contract (adding additional years) or as a new contract (if their current contract is expiring).
  5. Trade Limitations: If a player signs a supermax contract extension, they can’t be traded for one year after the signing date.
  6. Existing Team Advantage: Only the team that has the player’s Bird rights (usually the team that drafted the player or a team that acquired the player in a trade during his rookie contract) can offer the Supermax. This is to give a financial advantage to teams in keeping their star players.
  7. Limitation on Number: Teams can only have two supermax players (whether through extension or new contract) on their roster at a time.
  8. Tax Implications: Offering a player a supermax can have significant implications for a team’s salary structure and potential luxury tax penalties, so team management needs to consider the longer-term financial implications of such a move.

The Difference Between Super Max And Max Contract In NBA:

A supermax contract is available to NBA veterans who have met certain criteria, such as being named to one or more All-NBA teams in the past three seasons or having been named Defensive Player of the Year at least once same period. A standard max contract does not contain these extra incentives and therefore pays less overall.

The main difference between a supermax and a max contract is the time each deal offers players. While both contracts promise lucrative salaries, those on supermax deals enjoy up to five years of guaranteed income, while those on max contracts can only receive four years’ worth of wages.

How Many Super Max Contracts Can A Team Have In NBA?

Any team can have up to two maximum contracts at any time, but this limit could be lower if the total payroll exceeds certain thresholds set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). In addition, teams are limited in terms of how much they can offer individual players on a Supermax deal.

Are NBA Supermax Contracts Guaranteed?

Supermax contracts are technically considered “fully guaranteed,” meaning that if a player is released from his team for any reason before the contract expires, he will still receive all the money stipulated in his deal. However, teams may include “non-guaranteed” portions of the contract that can be voided if certain performance markers are not met, such as making an All-Star team or meeting certain statistical thresholds during a given season.

Who Has The Biggest Supermax Contract In The NBA?

The biggest supermax contract in the NBA is Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Jokic signed a 5-year $270 million extension back in 2018.


Are NBA Supermax Contracts Guaranteed?
What Is A Supermax Contract- Infographic


NBA supermax contracts provide a great opportunity for the most elite players in the league to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to the game. These contracts offer more security and stability than their traditional counterparts while incentivizing athletes to stay with a particular team. While the amount of money involved may seem excessive, it reflects the value these players bring to their teams on and off the court.