Changes In 2010/11 Salaries Due To Performance Incentives
July 10th, 2010

The worst part about maintaining the internet’s premier NBA salary information resource is that the information is never static. It is ever-changing. Due to things such as conditional guarantees, trade kickers and the like, rarely do contracts ever stay the same. This is particularly true because of the science of performance incentives. Performance incentives can be included in contracts for almost any reason, including (but not limited to) All-Star selections, championship, or team wins. The only rules are that any numerical definitions are specific, and that they are for positive achievements only (although God knows why you’d want it otherwise). For example, Kirk Hinrich has performance incentives based on any First Team All-Defensive placements that he gets, and Matt Bonner’s just-expired contract was based around his three point and free throw percentages. These incentives are deemed by the league to be either “likely” or “unlikely”. If they are deemed “likely”, then they appear on a team’s cap number for the upcoming season; if they are deemed “unlikely”, then they are not. This is why this information is important to cap space calculations and the like. The likehood of incentives is decided by the league using one simple criterion; whether the player achieved the incentive last year or not. In the case of team-based incentives such as team win totals, this can be changed when a player is traded to a new team; this is perhaps most famously demonstrated by the case of Devean George, whose team win-based incentive went from “likely” to “unlikely” when he was traded from Dallas to Golden State, thereby costing him $200,000. Such is the risk. Cap hits based on performance incentives are modified during the moratorium, due to a re-evaluation of their incentives. (That’s what the moratorium is for – bookkeeping.) Some previously deemed “unlikely” […]

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