In honor of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes signing a record-breaking 10-year, $450M contract, I thought it would be fun to think about which players would be deserving of a 10-year deal in the NBA.
There are a few factors you have to consider when you think about which players you would sign to such a lucrative deal. One, they have to be young or on the younger side. I’d say that the player needs to be a max 25 years old. Anything older than would leave fans complaining later on that a 35-year-old would be making an absurd amount of money.
Second, you have to think about the situation in which the player is in, what team they’re on, and who else is on that team. Are there pieces around that player to compete now and down the line, or is the team going to have no money to spend and build a team around that player? You can’t just give out that money and all those years if it doesn’t make sense in the short and long-term.
Lastly, you have to consider what the player has accomplished so far in his career and how much potential the player has to keep adding to his resume. Is this player an All-Star? An MVP candidate? Can he be a leader on a championship team? How much better can this player get?
I have a few players in mind when I think of guys that would be deserving of signing a long-term deal that would guarantee them hundreds of millions of dollars. I believe that players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, and Karl-Anthony Towns deserve such deals.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is an easy selection here. He’s 25 years old and already has an MVP and multiple All-Star selections under his belt. Keep in mind, he’s most likely on his way to win both the MVP and DPOY awards this season, too. His resume is stacked already at a young age, and he’s still trending upwards.
He has yet to reach his prime, and once he adds a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal, he will be unstoppable on the court. This season he averaged career highs in points (29.6), rebounds (13.7), and three-point attempts (4.8) while only playing 31 minutes a game. That’s insane production from the former and soon-to-be MVP. Tie that in with the fact that the Bucks have the best regular-season record, and you’d understand why he’d deserve such a large contract.
Luka Doncic has taken the NBA world by storm since being drafted last season. Doncic just turned 21 a few months ago and is already being considered a top-10 player in the league. His stats this season are just absurd. He averaged 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 32 percent from three.
The only flaws in Doncic’s game are his three-point percentage and his impact on the defensive side of the court. I said he averaged a bit over a steal a game, but that doesn’t make him a “good” defender. He’s not a great on-ball defender and seems to care more about what he does on offense than defense. He’s still young, so that part of his game can and should come in time. Regardless, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give a long-term deal to a 21-year-old who’s averaging a near 30-point triple-double.
Jayson Tatum is a player that Boston fans want on their team for a long time. The jump he made from last year to now is unlike anything basketball fans have seen before. Tatum went from a second-option to an All-Star who plays like a superstar. Now that he got the chance to be the number one option on the Celtics, he’s taken the ball and ran with it and hasn’t looked back.
The 22-year-old averaged 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from three before the season was suspended in March. He’s done all of this while having two other 20 PPG scorers and another 17 PPG scorer around him. Imagine the numbers he’d be putting up if he was a solo act? Not only is he the leader on the offensive end, but he’s also slowly become a legit two-way player. He’s effective on both ends of the court and is only getting better. If Danny Ainge could throw a 10-year deal at Tatum, I don’t think he would hesitate.
Take away from the fact that Ben Simmons can’t shoot a three, and you wouldn’t find any weaknesses in his game. Ben Simmons is a monster inside the arc and can guard any position on the court. He’s a 6’10 point guard who is one of the most elite playmakers in the NBA. Simmons can give you 20/10/10 on any given night and can stand toe-to-toe with a team’s best player on the defensive end.
You have to assume that a jumpshot will come eventually. He’s already started shooting more threes this past season than he ever has, and although he isn’t firing away or hitting them at a high rate, it’s a start. In my opinion, Ben Simmons is a perfect player to build your team around. The Sixers would be smart to surround Simmons with shot creators, shooters, and players who could spread the floor to cover up his lack of shooting. The Simmons/Embiid duo hasn’t worked for them, and who knows if it ever will.
Karl-Anthony Towns is my wildcard pick here and for a good reason. In his five-year career, the 24-year-old has played all 82 games three times. He played in 77 games last season, and this past year was the only injury-riddled season he’s had. Towns is a player that can give you 30 and 10 on any given night and can hit threes at a very high rate.
The only flaw for Towns is his presence on the defensive end. Towns ranks 405th in defensive win shares and has a 115.4 defensive rating. It doesn’t help that he’s on the Timberwolves, you know, the 14th seed in the Western Conference. Besides D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley, who were both traded to Minnesota back in February, Towns hasn’t had much help in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins never became the player Minnesota expected him to be, and things with Jimmy Butler, unfortunately, didn’t work out. I’ve always been high on Karl-Anthony Towns and believe he’s deserving of a large contract. Minnesota just needs to work on surrounding him with better talent moving forward.
Those are five players who I believe would be deserving of signing a 10-year deal similar to what Patrick Mahomes signed a few weeks ago. NBA money is different from NFL money, so I didn’t get into how much money they should or would make. All I know is that I’d be more than happy if any of those players were signed to long-term deals on my team.
Let me know what you think and who you believe is deserving of signing a 10-year contract in the NBA.