After months of delay, the NBPA and the NBA finally have finally come to an agreement on terms for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The more time that passes, the more details about the new agreement that are starting to be revealed. With free agency around the corner, this is the perfect time to discuss those changes.
Currently, the Philadelphia 76ers are attempting to make their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since the 2001 season. However, there is an elephant in the room that has tempered many fans’ expectations: James Harden’s upcoming free agency. After watching Harden tie his playoff career high in game 1 against the Boston Celtics, the apprehension has only grown. With Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton also due contract extensions that will be negotiated as soon as this summer, the terms of the new CBA give the Sixers some clarity with these important decisions to make.
Here are the essential terms of the agreement that affect the Sixers the most:
Tyrese Maxey’s rookie extension
In the current CBA, a player in the last year of their rookie contract could sign either a five year maximum deal, or up to a four year deal worth less than the maximum salary. For example, in the 2022 offseason, the Phoenix Suns failed to come to an agreement with DeAndre Ayton because they didn’t feel comfortable paying Ayton the five year $174 million deal that he was eligible for. As a result, Ayton tested restricted free agency and signed a four year $133 million deal with the Indiana Pacers. Ultimately, because Ayton was restricted, Phoenix was able to match the offer and signed Ayton at his four year maximum value and avoided paying him the fifth year that Ayton desired.
Meanwhile, in the new CBA, eligible players may now sign for a fifth year without getting paid their maximum salary. This is where the new CBA actually helps the Sixers. With Tyrese Maxey due for a rookie extension, there are two recent examples of the type of money Maxey can expect. The first example is the Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Poole. Poole signed a four year deal up to $140 million; however, if you include just likely incentives it’s a 4/$128 million deal. The second example is the Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro. Herro signed a 4 year deal worth up to $130 million. If this is the range Maxey’s next deal is in, the Sixers would get an extra year of control given Maxey can sign a similar deal for five years rather than four.
For projection purposes, let’s say Maxey’s starting salary in year one of the extension is around $27 million, similar to Herro’s and Poole’s. That puts his projected five year rookie extension with 5% raises at 5/$149 million. As a result, this is the best case scenario for the Sixers, as they get to keep Maxey for an extra year without being required to pay him a full max contract.