Within the NBA there are players who have earned a max contract, such as Lebron James, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. And there are also others who were signed to a max contract but do not deserve to have a max contract, such as Chandler Parsons and Harrison Barnes.
Nowadays a max contract is no longer associated with the caliber of player, but in what state the market is in. With the cap set to go up next summer as well, you will see many non-max players get signed to a max contract. One example of a free agent that will snatch a max contract is JJ Reddick.
The term “max contract” carries a heavier meaning than what is intended. Look at Mike Conley. He received a max contract extension over the summer, but NBA fans are outraged because he earned the biggest contract in NBA history. Yet, they need to look at the bigger picture. Mike Conley is a max player, no matter how much the max maybe he deserved it.
Because of the influx in cap space, a max contract is no longer meant for just superstars. A role player can now earn a max contract from a team if they are desperate enough.
There are a few NBA players who are in the game right now that do not have a max contract but deserve to have one. So, let’s look at a few of those players.
One obvious player is Steph Curry. He is the back to back MVP and does not seem to be taking a back seat to Kevin Durant’s arrival. The reason Steph was not signed to a max in the first place is that there were injury concerns because he had just come off a hard 2011-2012 season full of injuries. And the Warriors did not sign Curry to an extension over the offseason because of their acquisition of Kevin Durant.
Curry is having another MVP caliber year despite the arrival of Kevin Durant. Steph is averaging 25.5 points, 1.7 steals, 4.2 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He is shooting 48% from the field and 39.5% from three. Watch for Steph Curry to sign a massive contract this offseason.
George Hill was involved in the three-team trade between the Hawks, Pacers, and Jazz. Utah and Atlanta seem to be benefiting the most from this trade. Utah gained an all-star caliber point guard in George Hill, and he has fit in nicely in Utah.
He is averaging 20 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.5 assists. He is shooting a staggering 53.4% from the field and 45.6% from three. What can hold Hill back from being a dominant threat is his injuries. Hill will be a max player to a team next year, maybe even Utah if they can manage to sign him to a max extension.
Kyle Lowry is going to opt-out of his final contract with the Toronto Raptors, and he has already made that abundantly clear. Lowry has been with the Raptors for five seasons, including the current 2016-2017 season.
Lowry is still playing like an All-Star even though this is his 10th season in the league. He is averaging 21.3 points, 7.3 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. He is shooting 45% from the field along with 43.8% from three. Lowry deserves a max contract from the Raptors.
I’ve been on the Towns hype train since day one. He is the future of what NBA teams will want in a center. Towns is averaging 21.6 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game. He is shooting 47.9% from the field and 36.3% from three.
Even though this is only Towns’ second season in the league, he has proven to be a serious threat and deserves a max extension through the Timberwolves.