Athletes are an interesting breed of human. Despite being paid millions of dollars, and being every child’s role model, these sportsmen insist on having ridiculous clauses added on to their contracts. Other times, a team adds a ridiculous ceveat in the contract in what seems like a paranoid attempt of protecting themselves from any situation.
Some interesting ones throughout sports include no interstellar space travel, having to eat sheep testicles, and guaranteed money even if the world were to end. That one really doesn’t make sense. If the world were to end, what good would that guaranteed money be?
Now, most of these crazy clauses are outdated, but some interesting add-ons still remain in today’s NBA. While the NBA has its share of interesting characters, they don’t seem to have quite the abundance of eccentric athletes they had in the league’s heyday of the 80s and 90s.
We will take a look at the NBA’s contract situation, from the ludicrous Collective Bargaining Agreement to unbelievable milestone clauses in player’s contracts. You better call up your agent and negotiate a new deal, after reading this article, and maybe even include these 15 insane contract add-ons from NBA contracts you won’t believe.
15. Larry Hughes Individual Win Total Incentive
Larry Hughes’ agent must have been doing something right. The longtime journeyman played for eight NBA teams throughout the course of his career. He never really broke out in the league, but was known for being a role player and even made the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2005.
But why is Hughes on our list of insane contract add-ons? In 2009, the guard was traded from the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks, and was set to make a base salary of $13.6-million in the 2009-10. On top of that salary, he was to make an extra $1.6-million if the Knicks won 55 games. Now that’s not odd, but the 55 wins applied to any team that Hughes was on, not just New York. I guess once you have been traded more than stocks on Wall Street, you have to add that insane provision to your contract.
14. Nick Collison For MVP
It’s not odd to negotiate accolade-based incentives into NBA players’ contracts (as you will see when you continue reading). But one that is laughable, and pretty much just a joke, is Nick Collison’s MVP add-on. If the big man out of the University of Kansas were to some how pull off the biggest odds-defying award in sports history, he would receive an extra $100,000. I have to think Collison and his agent are just trolling us all, because not only is this clause hilarious, but just plain fun. Honestly, all basketball fans should convince the sports writers who make up the MVP selection committee to just choose Collison as MVP so the man can have an extra hundred grand. Come on, he’d sure appreciate it more than LeBron or KD would!
13. No Extreme Sports
If you are making millions of dollars, why put yourself at risk doing extreme sports? Apparently, NBA players cannot, due to past incidents. The new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement specifically prohibits several activities, including: sky-diving, hang gliding, snow skiing, mountain and rock climbing, jet skiing, hoverboards, rafting, bungee jumping, trampoline jumping, hover boards, driving (or riding) motorcycles, etc. You get the point.
Some specific instances that have caused the NBA to ban these activities include Vladimir Radmanovic, in 2007, hurting himself in a skiing accident and getting fined $500,000. We can’t forget Jay Williams, who suffered career-ending injuries in a motorcycle incident just one year after he was selected with the second overall pick. I wonder if LeBron and company would get in trouble for banana boat part deux?
12. The Dreaded Weight Clause
There is nothing more sickening in a sports contract from the perspective of a fan, than the weight clause. Pretty much, these players, who are getting paid millions of dollars, get a little bit extra as long as they aren’t being a fat butt. Imagine if your boss told you could double your salary as long as you don’t go around the office shoving donuts in your face. That would be pretty easy!
Some examples of weight clauses in the NBA are Glen “Big Baby” Davis in 2009, who earned a cool $500,000 for meeting his weight goals. If veteran forward Boris Diaw didn’t gain five pounds through the 2014 season, he would be eligible for $500,000. The fat add-on isn’t just for big men! Former point guard for the Miami Heat, Mario Chalmers received almost $20,000 just for showing up to offseason workouts so he could stay in shape. Talk about an incentive!
11. The Outrageous Flight Rules For Players
So we already talked about how the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement bans certain extreme sports and fireworks and pretty much anything that could get a player injured. But now, we will jump to the other side of the coin, and let you know some of the insane stipulations in the CBA that treat the players like divas.
According to an article by CNN Money, since airplane travel is so common, there are several written rules that the league must adhere to for its players. All players are entitled to first-class seats on an airplane, unless the flight is under an hour, or the coach can bump the player from the front as long as there are already eight players up there. If a player has to sit in economy like a regular person, they get paid the difference between the first-class and economy seat. And my favorite crazy rule, the players get $129 per diem when they are on the road! Jeez, these divas are spoiled!
10. Luke Ridnour Plays Defense?
Just another laughable add-on negotiated into a contract! The former Oregon Duck, in 2006, had it added to his contract that if he won the Defensive Player of the Year award, he would receive an extra $1.5 million. Clearly, Ridnour was never cut out to play defense, and standing at 6’2″, he was usually out-sized by opposing guards.
Ridnour actually made huge headlines in the 2015 offseason when he was traded four times in a week. He went from the Magic to the Grizzlies, then on the next day, to the Hornets, then on that same day, on to the Thunder. Finally, OKC dealt Ridnour to the Toronto Raptors. Obviously, the versatile guard took it all in fun, but he did sit out the 2015 season after being released from Toronto and retired from hoops altogether in 2016. All those years, and no Defensive Player of the Year Award.
9. Adonal Foyle For Finals MVP
I guess Nick Collison wasn’t the first player to have the MVP Clause. The former NBA center negotiated into his contract that if he were to win the MVP award, he would receive an extra $500,000. Obviously, that was pretty unlikely, but there was more. If for some reason his team were to make the NBA Finals, and Foyle happened to be the Finals MVP, he would earn another $500,000. I think this is ridiculous, but hey, Andre Iguodala won the Finals MVP a few years ago, so anything could have happened. But, I think the Warriors were safe when they signed the contract, since Foyle only averaged 4.1 points per game and 1.6 blocks per game. He may be a humanitarian MVP, but not in basketball.
8. J.J. Redick’s Abortion Contract
Okay, we get it, this isn’t an official NBA contract, but it’s too good not to talk about it. In 2007, Redick was involved in a relationship with model Vanessa Lopez, who became pregnant in May of that same year. Now, Lopez has been known to be a “jersey chaser” for most of her life, and there were doubts over who was the father. The former Duke guard owned up to it, and the two parties drafted one of the creepiest contracts of all-time. In exchange for medical proof that Lopez got an abortion, Redick would agree to maintain a social, dating relationship with Lopez for at least a year, or else the model would be owed $25,000. I’m no lawyer, but this agreement has to tip-toe around extortion. Now, there are plenty of other details that we won’t cover in depth here, but they are sure interesting to read about.
7. Michael Jordan Just Loves Basketball
There’s no doubt that MJ is the one of the best basketball players to walk the face of the earth, but he loved basketball so much that he was contractually allowed to play whenever, and wherever he wanted to. Now, that seemed simple, but for the normal NBAer of the time, they were prohibited from balling outside of the team in fear of injury or lost revenue towards the league.
Jordan was able to play in the park, at the YMCA, hell, he was even allowed to play with the Toon Squad. Now, I don’t know if it’s true, but from the looks of it, Space Jam would have never been made if it weren’t for Jordan’s contract add-on. Let’s thank Air Jordan for this crafty contract add-on, and for a timeless film!
6. Baron Davis Just Needs 30 Wins
The two-time NBA All-Star point guard, and famous bearded man (long before Harden even had stubble) entered into an odd contract with the Clippers following the 2007-08 season. Despite what we know of the Clippers now, “Lob City” was the red-headed stepchild of California sports teams just a decade ago. Donald Sterling decided they needed to bring in Davis and give him an incentive to play hard so the Clips could actually sell tickets.
Davis, if he were to play in at least 70 games, and the Clippers won 30 games, would receive an extra $1 million. Yup, L.A. was so mad, the owner was willing to shell out a cool million just to go 30-52. How sad! Even sadder, Davis played in 75 games that year, but the Clippers finished up 29-53, one win away from an extra million!
5. Steve Novak Can’t Have A Dog
The legitimacy of this contract add-on is highly skeptical, but I will never pass up the opportunity to talk about white guys who jack up three-pointers for a living. Steve Novak is the quintessential journeyman; traveling around the country, stopping in cities for a year or two, and raining down the long ball on opponents. While he has only ever started six games in his decade long career, the 34-year-old specialist out of Marquette University has had a career three-point percentage of 43%. That’s damn good.
Anyway back to the alleged contract clause: Novak was not allowed to have a dog while with the New York Knicks since he was allergic to dog fur. If he were to be caught, he would have to donate $100,000. Now, again, not sure if this is super legitimate, but it makes for a damn good story.
4. Anthony Carter Forgets To Opt-In
You’ve got to feel bad for Anthony Carter. His agent, Bill Duffy, forgot to notify the Miami Heat that Carter would be exercising his player-option in the 2003-04 season. Thus, Carter was a free agent. Now these player- and team-options are not uncommon, but it’s the domino effect from this mistake that really catches our attention.
Since Carter never opted-in, Pat Riley had an extra $11 million in cap space, and ended up bringing in RFA Lamar Odom. After one year, Riley took Odom, plus Caron Butler and Brian Grant, and traded them to the Lakers for the great Shaquille O’neal. Miami eventually won the championship a year later, and without Bill Duffy making a mistake, Shaq might have never joined Wade in South Beach. If you want to know more about the whole situation, check out hothothoops.
3. Matt Bonner Combined Shooting Percentage
The “Red Mamba” was a hell of a role player for the Spurs for several years, and he even has two championships to prove it! Alongside Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, Bonner was a reliable option behind the arc and down low. But we are not here to celebrate the career of a role player, but rather celebrate his role player-like contract incentive. If Bonner were to make a combined shooting percentage (field-goal percentage + three-point percentage + free-throw percentage) of 169 or above over the course of the 2010-11 season, he would have earned an extra $100,000. Unfortunately for the former Florida Gator, despite his lifetime combined percentage of 167 percent, he only achieved 157 percent in his incentive laden year.
2. Tony Battie And His Bizarre Milestones
We’ve covered several contract add-ons already that are based on incentives, but Tony Battie’s 2009-10 contract takes the cake. While he made a base salary on the Nets of $6 million, there were several “goals” Battie could have achieved to add some extra money to his bank account. A bonus of $100,000 would be granted if the former Texas Tech Red Raider were to play in 50 games and average eight rebounds. He’d get another $100,000 if he played in those 50 games, and his team were to make the playoffs. On top of all that, another $100,000 if he average five free-throw attempts per game. How ridiculous! Even more crazy is that Battie only managed to play in 15 games that season, and got none of the add-on money in return.
1. No-Trade Clauses
No-Trade clauses are nothing new in the NBA, but the overall concept of these contract add-ons is quite interesting. In the NBA specifically, a player can only negotiate a no-trade clause if he has had four-years of service with said team, and at least an eight-year tenure in the NBA. The clause is exactly that, a player can veto any trade involving them if they don’t want to play for a team. While several players have had no-trade clauses in the past, only three players currently have it in their contracts: LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, and Carmelo Anthony. The latter waving his rights to join the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason.
Clearly, you have to be a superstar to even have a team consider this contract add-on. In 2007, Kobe Bryant was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join either the Phoenix Suns or Chicago Bulls, but with that limited market, L.A. never got a deal done. It’s safe to say that the no-trade clause is reserved for the elite, and thus makes our list of insane contract add-ons.
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