What the Top 10 Max-Contract NBA Stars Should Be Making

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What the Top 10 Max-Contract NBA Stars Should Be Making
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
How much does Kobe Bryant deserve to make?

There’s reality, a society in which so many people are underpaid compared to what they truly deserve.

Then there’s the NBA, a culture for the overpaid. Even then, in this overly valued subculture, there are a number of guys who are priced even more ridiculously than others.

A max deal, the longest contract with the most money allowed, is conditional on a number of factors, including years played and the bottom line of the salary cap. It is designed to cap the best players' ability to earn, for instance, half of a team's payroll.

Players and agents, without blame here, are going to chase the money. And owners are often forced to buckle under the threat of losing their best players.

For a good young talent, it’s either pay him more than he deserves or lose him altogether. It’s always a seller’s market in the NBA. As a result, a number of guys have cashed in on undeserved max contracts.

On the other hand, a true superstar who earns a max contract could well be underpaid, by NBA standards, of course.

Not many believe LeBron James needs a raise. But by NBA standards, he certainly deserves it. The best player in basketball's salary of $17.45 million this season is only the 13th highest in the league. With no cap rules and James not taking a reduction to play in Miami, he should be paid more than Kobe Bryant's $27.8 million per year.

With only five guys on the court at a time, sometimes superstars even with max contracts can seem underpaid. But when those max contract players are clearly overpaid, it can devastate a franchise.

So for the sake of discussion, let's play independent arbitrator. Here’s a list of what the top-10 max-contract players should be making.

(All statistics in this story reflect games played prior to Friday, Nov. 16.)

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