Bernucca: Will the $30 Million Player Become Extinct?

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Jordan_by_Lipofsky_16577Like three to make two, the 10-second violation and low-top sneakers, the $30 million NBA player may become a thing of the past.

A handful of stars have approached and even crossed the magical monetary mountaintop, which is something when you consider that the collective bargaining agreement has a maximum salary restraint.

Michael Jordan – who else? – was the first player to make $30 million in one season, negotiating about an 800 percent raise after the 1995-96 season. That was Jordan’s first full campaign after returning from his first retirement, when he led the Chicago Bulls to a record 72 wins and was MVP of both the regular season and NBA Finals.

Jordan took a 10 percent raise to $33.14 million for the 1997-98 season, his last before retiring again. Since then, both Shaquille O’Neal and Kevin Garnett easily could have crossed the threshold had they not reworked their deals to take less money over more years.

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Bernucca: Will Work For Food: The NBA’s All-Six-Figure Teams


100000billThere are a scant few career tracks where an annual salary of at least $1 million does not mean you have reached the pinnacle of your profession.

Only the best doctors and lawyers pull down more than a million a year. Before bonuses, most of the world’s top bankers draw salaries in the low seven figures. Some veteran TV news anchors have climbed above $10 million annually, but most operate in the seven-figure statosphere. And no one in politics comes close to $1 million a year until they leave public office and become a lobbyist, which can pay seven figures.

But if you are an NBA player, it’s almost impossible not to make a million dollars a year.

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StatBox Free Agency Breakdown: Bucks, Mavs, Pelicans had most puzzling offseasons


bjenningsDid your NBA team confuse you this offseason? Were moves made that left you asking questions? Scratching your head? Leaving you angry and befuddled? This column is for many of you. It discusses the three teams with the most puzzling offseasons.

After a lot of thought and consideration, there were three teams that really stood out and left this writer really question their thought processes. The first is easily the Milwaukee Bucks.

After trading an interesting long-term asset in Tobias Harris for two months of J.J. Redick just to make the eighth seed in the East, Bucks general manager John Hammond was expected to choose between unrestricted free agents Redick, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. He ended up keeping none of these players.

Why? How?

If the Bucks wanted to ditch Redick and concentrate on keeping one of the other two players, it would be understandable. Milwaukee was 11-17 with Redick during the regular season and 27-27 without him.




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Whatever the reason, Redick was a lot worse with the Bucks and he just never seemed like a good fit with the team. Knowing that Redick wouldn’t return, Milwaukee traded him to the Clippers for a pair of second-round picks, which was fine. What Hammond and the front office did afterward is where it really went sour.

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Whatever Happened To Jonathan Bender?


benderIf you remember Jonathan Bender at all, you probably think of him as one of those high school prodigies who never went to college and washed out quickly in the NBA.

Selected with the No. 5 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, the lanky 7-foot teenager was destined to become the future of the Indiana Pacers, that weight to be slung on his shoulders in the post-Reggie Miller era.

You might remember the promise Bender once had; the guard-like quickness with which he moved his 7-foot frame, or how he could explode to the basket and throw down some of the prettiest-looking dunks you’ve ever seen. His wingspan would have made Jay Bilas blush, his perimeter game a primitive-age predecessor to Kevin Durant.

You probably don’t remember much about him on the court in the NBA, as he flamed out in just seven seasons, falling victim to a massive knee injury that virtually ended his career. And that’s probably where you forgot about him.

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The 10 Strangest NBA Moments of July

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WeirdAlThe month of July is typically an awkward one for NBA fans.

We’re fresh off the NBA Finals and the NBA Draft, but suddenly realizing that there won’t be any legitimate competition played for the next three months.

Of course, as with any NBA summer vacation, there are plenty of things happening with player movement and free agency, but also incidents of the more peculiar variety.

Deals are made, teams are transformed, and players find themselves with a bit too much free time on their hands. And in this age of the never-ending 24/7 news cycle, the explosion of social media and the public’s insatiable thirst for a sip of something different, the month that just ended did not disappoint.

Which brings us to our list of the “10 Strangest NBA Things That Happened In July,” because basketball doesn’t stop –and neither do any of the shenanigans that often come with it.

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