Basketball: Steven Adams can smile all way to the bank

By Kris Shannon

Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder poses for a portrait during 2015 NBA Media Day on September 28, 2015. Photo / Getty Images.
Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder poses for a portrait during 2015 NBA Media Day on September 28, 2015. Photo / Getty Images.

Steven Adams might have allowed himself a smile as he watched the first day of the NBA free agency period unfold yesterday.

Not because the future of teammate Kevin Durant was settled - that's still very much in flux - but because the money being thrown around provided an indication that Adams' 2017 payday would be even more astronomical than first thought.

With every team awash with cash after a new television deal saw the salary cap sky-rocket, this time next year will prove extremely profitable for the 22-year-old Kiwi.

Estimations from as recently as May that Adams will receive a four-year deal in the range of US$15 million a year ($22m) now seem well short of the mark. Given the breakout playoff performance that followed those predictions and given the magnitude of contracts handed out in the last 24 hours, Adams appears in line to earn a maximum deal.

For a player with fewer than six years' experience, that figure will start at US$22 million ($30m). In other words, Adams could over the course of his contract earn the same amount as the current New Zealand Rugby player pool ($121m across a three-year period).

If Oklahoma City are unwilling to offer such an amount - and all indications suggest the Thunder want to lock up a player they drafted at No 12 overall - Adams will find no shortage of suitors.

That reality is what Durant is currently enjoying, albeit on another level altogether. The former MVP has situated himself at the epitome of wealth - The Hamptons on New York's Long Island - as he hosts teams willing to offer him the world.

Durant first met Oklahoma City and, yesterday, the Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers. He will round out his weekend hearing pitches from the Spurs, Celtics and Heat, although the Thunder are favourites to retain his services with a one-year extension at least.

- Herald on Sunday

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