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Stephen Curry’s Contract Illustrates Why a Major Sport Is in Trouble, and It’s Not the NBA

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The Warriors have won the NBA championship three years in a row, and while they have been successful, it’s also worth noting that they are the only team to win the NBA title in the last five years, and they are the only team to win it three years in a row.

If you’ll recall, Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors contract included a no-trade clause, which is typically only exercised in mid-season, and is mutually beneficial to both sides. This allows a team to retain its best player rather than lose him for nothing as he enters free agency. But this contract only has value if the Warriors win the NBA championship in the coming season, otherwise the player is free to leave for nothing. That’s why Curry’s contract is so infuriating to the rest of the NBA. It demonstrates the inherent imbalance between the NBA and the NBA players union.

Steph Curry is currently a free agent. It’s his fourth season in the NBA, and he’s yet to sign a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors. However, the NBA has been looking into a rule that could shorten the duration of Curry’s free agency.

For the second time in his career, Stephen Curry has led the NBA in scoring. It set the scene for the Golden State Warriors guard to become the league’s all-time leader in another category: most career contracts worth more than $200 million.

Curry’s new contract deal serves as a reminder that the NBA has weathered the epidemic well and continues to thrive despite reports of decreasing television numbers. Professional basketball isn’t one of those sports with basic financial problems.

Stephen Curry’s net worth is rapidly increasing.

Stephen Curry reacts after hitting a 3-point shot during the NBA play-in game against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 19, 2021. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Stephen Curry reacts after hitting a 3-point shot during the NBA play-in game against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 19, 2021. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images On May 19, 2021, Stephen Curry reacts after making a 3-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA play-in game. Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian

Curry’s contracts have increased in magnitude in tandem with his skill as a lethal 3-point shooter. He signed a conventional two-year contract with a pair of options for $12.68 million when he came out of Davidson as the No. 7 selection in the 2009 NBA draft. The Warriors then signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension, which began with the 2013-14 season.

Curry had averaged 22.9 points and 6.9 assists in 38 minutes per game at that time, and had established himself as a major component of the Warriors’ offense. That was before the Warriors began winning NBA championships. Curry’s next deal, without a doubt, would be enormous.

Curry re-signed with Golden State on July 6, 2017, for a five-year, $201.2 million contract, momentarily the biggest in NBA history. Curry has made more than $40 million each year for the last two NBA seasons, and according to Spotrac.com, he will earn $45.78 million next year.

Curry’s net worth was estimated to be $130 million even before the just concluded season, when Celebrity Net Worth took into account his endorsement money.

Curry, 33, is on his way to being worth a quarter of a billion dollars by the time he is 36, thanks to a massive extension on his current deal.

The contract deal for Stephen Curry is significant.

Curry signed his second nine-figure deal last week, agreeing to a four-year, $215.35 million agreement that would keep him with the Warriors until 2026, according to the Associated Press. The statistics are reasonable for a guy who has a lifetime average of 24.2 points, 6.5 assists, and 43.3 percent 3-point shooting.

In the last season of the contract, the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player will make more than $726,000 per game. The following is a breakdown of the yearly salaries:

  • Season 2022-23: $48,070.014
  • Season 2023-2034: $51,915,615
  • Season 2024-2025: $55,761,217
  • Season 2025-2026: $59,606,818

That’s a good haul for a point guard who was just the third point guard off the board in 2009, after Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.

His salary in 2025-2026 is more than four MLB clubs are paying this season.

The NBA is financially sound. For the most of the previous season, the league spent a significant amount of money to run the bubble in order to finish the 2019-20 season, and games were played in empty or virtually empty stadiums. However, income from broadcast and sponsorships has not slowed.

Based on the ridiculousness revealed by Curry’s recent contract deal, if any major team sport is in danger, it would have to be Major League Baseball. The NFL and NBA also have salary limits, but their collective bargaining agreements ensure that clubs spend a reasonable amount on wages. In baseball, there is no such structure.

Last season’s NBA payrolls ranged from almost $102 million for the New York Knicks to $175.8 million for the Warriors, according to Spotrac.com. MLB isn’t even close to equal in terms of percentages. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a budget of $267.4 million, whereas the Cleveland Indians have a budget of less than 17% of that.

The four lowest MLB payrolls are as follows:

  • Indians of Cleveland: $48,248,013
  • Pirates of Pittsburgh: $54,513,025
  • The Baltimore Orioles have a fan base of 57,357,807 people.
  • The Miami Marlins are worth $57,865175.

Three of the four are in last place in their respective divisions through Saturday. The Indians are second in the American League Central, albeit with a losing record.

Inflation and market factors may drive up their salary in the future years. For the time being, though, the four clubs are spending less than Curry would earn in 2025-26 on his own. This is a depressing statistic that shows how far MLB has fallen and why it is in danger.

Basketball Reference provided all stats. 

RELATED: In Their Attempt to Contend for an NBA Title, Stephen Curry and the Warriors Are Welcoming Back an Old Friend

After posting a record-breaking season, the Golden State Warriors are looking to lock up Curry for as long as possible. The NBA’s newest MVP has a $201 million contract, making him the highest paid player in league history. Yet, Curry is currently one of the NBA’s most underpaid superstars, making only about $21 million a year. As a result, the salary cap of the NBA is increasing every year, meaning that players are getting paid more every year. This means that players like Curry and LeBron James who are earning over $20 million a year are becoming less and less common in the league.. Read more about steph curry free agency 2022 and let us know what you think.

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