Kevin Love's Contract Extension: What Is Superstar Money in the NBA Today?

Quentin HaynesContributor IMarch 5, 2011

Is Kevin Love worth 70 million?
Is Kevin Love worth 70 million?Elsa/Getty Images

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Despite the talk of cutting back and looking for smarter contracts, general managers still are struggling with this concept. For the 15 years I watched the NBA, I’ve always been confused as to how 30 people don’t understand how to keep a market down in terms of player contracts. For every good contract (David West, Nene, Anderson Verejao), there are terrible contracts that you can see from a mile away.  Such deals can paralyze a team and jeopardize their chances at contending (Baron Davis is a perfect example).

Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love was rumored to be receiving a five-year, $70 million extension this offseason. Much respect to Love, who I argue is a top 25 player and the best rebounder in the NBA.

But is Love worth 14 million dollars a year?

Personally, I say no way.

As good as Love is, and as much as his great talents are what a title team needs, I really don’t think he’s worth $70 million. For one, Minnesota is talking lottery this season with their 15-49 record. But the biggest problem with this is: Joakim Noah and Al Horford are both better overall basketball players...and both received less. The idea of, "We don’t have much to hold on to, so we have to overpay this player, who seems to be a very good piece for someone else,” is daunting to me.

Would Kevin Love be snatched up in the offseason? Yes.

Would Love leave Minnesota in a heartbeat? Yes.

Would any team in the NBA offer Kevin Love 70 million? No.

Well, let's look at it this way: What’s superstar money? What’s top 10 money? What is the exact amount of money a player can earn where we can agree, "that’s a perfect price"?

I always look at $15 million. Why? It’s a solid number, for a cap number usually in that 45-55 range. As of today, 19 players in the NBA are making over $15 million. In fact, if I were making a NBA team, here’s the ideal contract situation for my top three players:

  • #1 option: $15 million
  • #2 option: $12 million
  • #3 option: $8 million

Alas, there are teams that like to use the “we have to keep him” routine and throw three to seven million dollars extra. Then, when they struggle, it’s the player’s fault for being underpaid.

How about we just not overpay them?