The Philadelphia 76ers have had one of the most team-friendly contracts in the NBA with Shake Milton over the last four seasons. Shake’s contract has accumulated him $6.9 million over that period, which is remarkably low for a contributing guard in the NBA, especially with the skyrocketing league salary cap.
Looking at the current Sixers roster, Shake’s annual salary this year is 13th out of the 14 players on the roster. He is earning $1.99 million this season which is only $200,000 more than the lowest-paid player, Paul Reed. In stark contrast, Shake plays the 7th most minutes of Sixers players, averaging 23 minutes per game.
If we in the media can recognize the imbalance between Shake’s contribution to the team and his salary, you can be certain he is acutely aware of this discrepancy. This leads to Shake’s impending free agency after the season, where he will undoubtedly seek to get his market rate and make up for the last four bargain years with the Sixers.
Should the Philadelphia 76ers pay Shake this offseason?
This question has a few layers to it. First up, how much will Shake likely garner on the open market? Looking at recent contracts for role-playing guards with similar contributions, I expect Shake can get somewhere in the range of $6-9 million per year. Some external factors based on team needs, league salary cap, etc. could cause his expected salary range to fluctuate, but let’s proceed on that assumption.
The second layer is if the Sixers will have players on the roster next season to fill the gap lost if Shake leaves. In terms of guards, the Sixers also likely have James Harden’s contract expiring this summer. That leaves guards under contract beyond this season as De’Anthony Melton, Tyrese Maxey, Furkan Korkmaz, and Jaden Springer.
Prioritizing re-signing Harden should be the team’s main focus if he opts out of his current deal. After that, I think Shake should be the second priority and the team should try to sign him for the aforementioned $6-9 million per annum range.
Shake has the ability to create his own shots.
For years when I’ve talked about Shake, I always note that skill. Creating opportunities to get your own shot is extremely valuable for any player in the NBA and even more valuable for a bench player. I hope Shake can get what he deserves in terms of salary, and that the Sixers can retain a quality bench guard for a 76ers team with title aspirations.