Damian Lillard has agreed to a supermax contract with the Portland Trail Blazers worth $196 million over four years, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Also known as the Designated Veteran Player Exception, the supermax allows Lillard to receive a substantial increase in salary over the next five years.
According to Windhorst, Lillard’s contract includes a player option for the final year of the contract.
The All-NBA guard will have a player option for $52 million in the last year of the extension, sources said.
For more background on the supermax extension, Keely Diven of NBC Sports Washington used John Wall as an example when explaining the details of the lucrative agreement:
Valued up to 35 percent of the salary cap in the initial year and subject to eight percent escalation in each subsequent year, these deals are mammoth money.
For example, the Wizards signed John Wall to a four-year supermax in the summer of 2017 when he had two years left on his contract. The supermax money begins in 2019-20 and pays Wall $38.15 million that year. With annual escalations, his supermax is worth $170.912 million over the four-year lifetime of the deal.
According to Eric Griffith of Blazer’s Edge, this comes with clear advantages for Lillard:
The obvious benefit to Lillard is that it locks in nearly $200 million in guaranteed salary immediately. Signing an extension now also accelerates the timeframe for his next contract, which could maximize long-term earnings by locking in his final pre-38 years old deal a season earlier.
These figures use a conservative-ish salary cap projection of $121 million for the 2021-22 season and assume Lillard will receive the maximum allowed 35 percent of the cap with maximum eight percent raises.
Lillard qualified for the supermax this season after making the All-NBA Second Team. Last season, he was named to the All-NBA First Team. Lillard’s previous max contract took up 30% of the cap, while the supermax allows his salary to take up 35% of the cap.
After the extension was announced, ESPN’s Bobby Marks detailed Lillard’s new contract.
Here is the breakdown of the Damian Lillard supermax extension with Portland: $43.75, $47.25, $50.75 and $54.25 million. Lillard will become the first $50 million player in NBA history and $257 million in combined salary (current and new money) is the most in league history.
As Lillard has professed his interest in staying loyal to Rip City, it is no real surprise that he intends to stay with the team through the 2024-25 season, at which point he will be 34 years old. The contract will allow Lillard to continue pursuing Trail Blazer records. He trails only Clyde Drexler as the Blazers’ all-time leading scorer.