Reports indicate that Denver Nuggets center Nene, an unrestricted free agent, has suitors willing to give him a max contract. Tweeters are in an uproar. Cynics remember the long list of insane contracts handed out every season in the modern history of the NBA and shrug. Of course someone will give Nene the max. Probably Marc Gasol and Tyson Chandler, too.
But the deal that sprung from the NBA lockout will fix this injustice, right? Surely after that painful defeat at the hands of the Neo-Scrooges among NBA ownership, Nene's max contract won't end up being too huge. Right? Right?
In the old collective bargaining agreement, assuming a $58 million salary cap, without cajoling the Nuggets into a sign-and-trade, Nene would have been eligible for a max contract of five years, $100 million.
In the new NBA, with a $58 million salary cap and again assuming no sign-and-trade, Nene is eligible for a max contract of four years, $74 million.
It's an absurd contract for a non-All-Star, non-All-NBA player in both cases. But it's about $26 million less absurd now.