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NBA teams committed to nearly $3 billion in contracts in first days of free agency

Matt Johnson
NBA teams
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The early days of free agency delivered record-setting contracts across the league with NBA teams spending more money than ever before on some of the best players in basketball.

While the pool of free-agent talent available this year was limited, NBA teams still found ways to spread billions of dollars around to a wide variety of players. From rotational players landing lucrative contracts to perennial All-Stars signing historic contract extensions, the totals from just the early days of free agency are staggering.

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As first recorded by Front Office Sports, NBA teams have already committed to more than $2.6 billion in player salaries over the next five years. Contract extensions played a huge role, with seven contracts totaling $200 million maximum all signed by players already on rosters.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (four-year, $214 million extension), Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (five-year, $264 million extension) and Washington Wizard guard Bradley Beal (five years, $251 million) signed three of the largest contract in NBA history.

When combined with the four-year, $224 million extension signed by Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, four players will receive nearly $1 billion combined over the next five years. If you factor in the multi-year extension for Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (five years, $215 million) they blow past $1.1 billion.

As for NBA free agency itself, NBA teams had no issue signing larger contracts with some of the talent available in unrestricted free agency. Jalen Brunson landed a $104 million contract with the New York Knicks. Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers committed $170 million over the next four years to retain guard Anfernee Simons and center Jusuf Nurkic.

It will likely only be a matter of hours before NBA teams eclipse $3 billion in contracts. Darius Garland just signed a $193 million extension. Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam are also eligible for contract extensions this summer.

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All of this spending by NBA teams can be tied directly to the skyrocketing salary cap and the rising popularity of the game. With TV partners willing to spend more than ever to broadcast NBA games, leading to record-setting revenue, player salaries will keep climbing in the years ahead.

Already at a time when four players now earn $50 million AAV on their contracts, we are likely only a few seasons away from a team committing to a historic deal worth $60-plus million per season to retain their best player.