Kawhi Leonard deserves every penny of the max contract he’s receiving from the San Antonio Spurs. Free agent LaMarcus Aldridge likely demanded every penny of a possible max contract.
But up until Wednesday night, San Antonio fans didn’t know exactly how much their superstar forwards would be getting paid next season.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today informed the NBA masses that the league’s salary cap for the 2015-16 campaign will be $70 million, which is about $3 million higher than expected. That means Leonard and Aldridge both received a slight raise without doing anything.
Zillgitt offered the new starting points for max contracts:
Starting NBA max salaries for 2015-16: 0-6 years of service: $16,407,500 7-10: $19,689,000 10-plus: 22,970,500
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) July 9, 2015
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Leonard’s five-year deal is now worth $95.3 million, while Aldridge’s four-year contract will pay $84.1 million. Those are increases of $5.3 and $4.1 million, respectively.
Leonard was a restricted free agent, but San Antonio wasted no time in locking up the 2014-15 Defensive Player of the Year. The small forward recorded a league-best 96.4 defensive rating and 2.2 steals per game, also contributing 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.
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While the Spurs will likely expect Leonard to continue taking a larger offensive role, he’ll occasionally defer to Aldridge, the newest star of the roster.
Aldridge spent all nine NBA seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, but the power forward opted to leave the Pacific Northwest and join the chase for a championship in San Antonio. He tallied 23.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest.
The Spurs should expect to encounter some early-season struggles while integrating Aldridge into the system. All multi-star teams have faced that problem, and the Spurs shouldn’t be any different.
But once the teammates are comfortable, the combination of Leonard’s elite defensive skills and Aldridge’s offensive prowess complement each other nicely—and each player will reinforce that he’s worth a maximum contract.