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Andre Iguodala questions fans' weird logic on NBA contracts vis-a-vis performance

Andre Igoudala sarcastically looking to the side

Andre Igoudala

Over the last several years, it is not just the exciting and high-level games that have been treating fans to some good entertainment. Part of the basketball craze is the hefty contracts NBA players and teams agree upon every offseason. A lot of money is involved, and fans, as always, love to share their opinion on the matter — no matter how absurd.

The truth about NBA contracts

Golden State Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala is well-aware of this trend. He knows that fans usually have the weirdest demands when a player signs a massive deal. For them, after a player inks a good deal, his production should also reach greater heights. While this is the ideal scenario, the 2015 NBA Finals MVP shared the real deal about contracts. In his book "The Sixth Man," Iguodala wrote:

"A contract isn’t always tied to how you are currently playing. While Steph was literally rewriting NBA record books, there were guys coming off the bench making more than him. You get paid for how you played on your last contract, not your current one."

Iguodala is talking about the time when Curry made 402 3-pointers in the 2015-16 season, shattering Ray Allen's previous record of 269 3-pointers in the 2005-06 season. Curry was also crowned the first unanimous MVP during that year. Iggy noted he was making $400,000 more than Curry that year. The likes of Khris Middleton, Paul Millsap, and Reggie Jackson were also cashing in more than Steph.

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Iguodala explained that while a player's performance is critical, fans have to note if a player is still under a rookie deal. If a player under a rookie contract performs up to par, he will get a raise based on what he deserves and the current market levels. As we have observed, the NBA's salary cap rises every year. The most significant increase so far was between the 2015-16 season and the 2016-17 season, where the cap jumped to $94 million from $70 million. During that time, even players tagged as scrubs were getting paid. These numbers largely depend on how the league as a business is performing.

Temper your expectations

Iguodala is conscious of these realities. From his point of view, it is not always reasonable to expect a player to perform off the charts after filling up his bank. Once again, he cited his teammate Stephen Curry as an example of unrealistic expectations from fans.

"Let’s say you’re on your rookie deal and you’re averaging a solid 15 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. These are good, productive numbers. Once you are up for a new deal, you’re going to get paid. Let’s say your next deal is worth three times as much. By some people’s logic, you’re now supposed to be playing three times as well. You’re supposed to be averaging 45, 30, and 30. What’s not taken into account in this expectation is that the rookie deal was a bargain for the team. You were getting paid way under market value and earning half as much as vets who are producing less. That’s what it means to be a rookie. You can’t suddenly pull numbers out of nowhere."

"Steph was making $11 million per year when he shot 402 threes. Now he’s making a little over $40 million a year. Would you now expect him to shoot 1,608 three-pointers this season? It makes no sense. But sometimes people do assign this same logic to lesser scenarios" 

These are indeed exciting insights that we do not hear from the media. Iguodala was nice to share the behind-the-scenes of contract signing. In a way, Iggy is also protecting his colleagues from all the hate they receive from social media — either from rowdy fans or savage analysts. Yes, some of them are overpaid. But they’re just trying to make the most out of their NBA stint. It’s a chance that only happens once in a lifetime.

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