Contracts don't just buy talent. They purchase expectations, they set standards.
They spawn pressure.
Such is the essence of NBA free agency, where players enjoying freedom and the prospect of oft-lucrative paydays have but a moment to bask in their offseason glory before reality crashes the party.
Not all contracts create overbearing circumstances. Most don't, in fact. But certain deals signed with certain teams pin players to pressure-packed posts.
These aren't overpaid talents, though they can be. These are players assuming more responsibility and power, and—most importantly—the heightened accountability this comes with.
Collective and individual expectations soar. Different, more challenging standards are set.
Pressure mounts, and it doesn't stop. It mounts and mounts and mounts until said players follow up their offseason happenings with the necessary performances and results or wilt under the nature of their employment.