Inside the contracts that led to KD, Kyrie deals


The Brooklyn Nets included about $1 million in yearly performance-based incentives in maximum contracts for both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, a tweak that allowed them to maneuver to fit contracts for DeAndre Jordan and second-round pick Nicolas Claxton into cap space, according to contract data obtained by ESPN.

Both deals have player options in their fourth seasons, meaning Durant and Irving can hit free agency again in the summer of 2022.

Irving’s contract is especially interesting: eight separate incentives — $125,000 each, all deemed “unlikely” — and thus not included in Irving’s current cap hit. Irving’s initial salary for 2019-20 is $31,720,000 — exactly $1 million short of his maximum. Hitting all eight bonuses would make up the difference.

Irving would earn $125,000 apiece if:

  • He appears in at least 70 regular-season games.

  • He appears in at least 60 regular-season games and averages fewer than 2.4 turnovers per game. Irving has averaged 2.6 turnovers per game over his career, and between 2.3 and 2.7 in each of his past six seasons.

  • He appears in at least 60 regular-season games and attempts at least 4.6 free throws per game. Irving has averaged 4.4 free throws per game for his career, and has fallen below the 4.6 mark in each of his past two seasons.

  • He shoots 88.5 percent or better from the free throw line in the regular season. Irving is a career 87.5 percent free throw shooter. He has cracked the 88.5 percent mark in three of his eight career seasons.

  • Makes at least 2.8 3-pointers per game in the regular season. Irving has accomplished that just once in eight seasons. He has averaged 2.1 made 3s per game over his career.

  • He commits fewer than 2.1 fouls per game in the regular season. His career average: 2.2.

  • The Nets score at least 114 points per 100 possessions in the regular season with Irving on the floor.

Only two teams — Golden State and Houston — topped that mark last season, per NBA.com, though teams generally score more efficiently with their best offensive players on the floor.

The Nets allow 106 or fewer points per 100 possessions in the regular season with Irving on the floor. Only three teams averaged 106 or fewer points allowed per 100 possessions in the regular season, per NBA.com.

The same eight incentives repeat, at slightly higher dollar increments, in every season of Irving’s deal, per contract data.

Durant unlocks a $1 million bonus — raising his salary to the maximum — if any one of the following occur:

  • The Nets make the playoffs.

  • The Nets win 43 or more games.

  • Durant plays in at least 50 regular-season games.

  • Durant makes the All-Star team.

These bonuses are deemed “likely” to be reached and thus factor into Durant’s cap hit already.

Through a complex series of transactions and incentives, the Nets opened up enough flexibility to sign both Irving and Jordan with cap room, and sign-and-trade three players — D’Angelo Russell, Treveon Graham, and Shabazz Napier — for Durant. Jordan’s contract rises and falls over its four-year term: $9.881 million in 2019-20, $10.375 million in 2020-21, $9.881 million again 2021-22, and then down slightly to $9.821 million in the final season.



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