July 4, 2022 | 12:10 pm EDT Update
Morant’s salary is a fraction of what he deserves, which is bad for him and, in the harsh reality of the competitive NBA, magical for his team. To contend for the NBA title, you typically need to win north of 50 games. The Warriors’ math is that if Curry generates 15 wins, then there’s some tap dancing—and cap dancing—to figure out how to afford the other 35-40. After paying Steph, the Warriors had only $67 million left to spend under the salary cap. That would only buy 20 more wins at league-average prices, and who wants to win a measly 35 games? So to leap back into title contention, the Warriors shattered the salary cap and set all-time spending records. Over the broad sweep of NBA history, we see the occasional Joe Lacob, James Dolan, Mikhail Prokhorov, or Paul Allen—billionaires determined to build dynasties with gold bricks. It usually doesn’t work. Even when it does, the league stacks on such punitive luxury-tax bills that everyone eventually loses their appetite for overspending.
Trae Young led the NBA by creating 11.74 Bonus Wins last season. At a cost of just $8.36 million, he was arguably the NBA’s most underpaid player. MVP Nikola Jokic also did something incredible, creating almost as many Bonus Wins despite making nearly four times Trae’s salary. There’s a lot to notice from the first look at Bonus Wins: Bonus Wins are rare. In the whole NBA, only Jokic and Trae delivered more than 10 Bonus Wins. Only 16 players, including Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Luka Doncic, and Darius Garland, delivered as many as six. – It’s a lot easier for low-salaried players to create Bonus Wins. Most of the league leaders in Bonus Wins made under $10 million. – While the list of winning players includes guys of various ages, players who deliver lots of Bonus Wins are overwhelmingly young. Trae is 23. The average age of the league leaders in Bonus Wins is 26.
In terms of return on investment, most of these huge-salaried players aren’t Steph, some of them are John Wall. Simply put: The players making the biggest salaries are almost all on the downslopes of their careers. As a result, most of the league’s brightest stars—its highest-paid marquee veterans—can’t match the league leaders in Bonus Wins. LeBron, adding 12.78 wins last season, was in the league’s top ten, and by far the Lakers’ best player. Yet, with a massive $41.2 million salary, his wins cost very close to the league average. Clearly, the Lakers had a hard time crafting a winning roster around him.
And another surprise finding: The Lakers’ team leader in Bonus Wins last season was one of the least famous players on the roster: Malik Monk. On the court, he offered roughly the same productivity as Westbrook. But by contributing more than four eWins for under $2 million, Monk was a legit difference-maker, generating a tidy 3.86 Bonus Wins for the Lakers. He’s a model for the kind of player who can help stars like LeBron win titles, and the reason we created Bonus Wins.
July 4, 2022 | 11:21 am EDT Update
The Nets officially signed Alondes Williams to a two-way contract Monday morning. Williams, who will play for the Nets in the NBA Summer League this week, is coming off a big senior season with Wake Forest — a season he upped his scoring average from 6.7 to 18.5 points per game to pair with his 5.2 assists and 6.4 rebounds. He was viewed as one of the most dynamic players in college basketball with elite court vision and a playmaking niche. After leading the Deacons to a 25-10 record, he was named ACC Player of the Year — the 11th Wake Forest product to do so.