Are NBA Players’ Salaries Increasing?

Posted on October 17, 2011 by


Following up on our recent post about inflation adjusted salaries, I decided to take a look at how NBA player salaries adjusted for inflation and by experience varied across time.
Some trends:

  • salary increases with experience up until about year eight, plateaus until around year eleven, then declines until retirement
  • rookie salaries (years 0-2) have increased over the years
  • years 3-9 peaked in the late 90s to early 00s
  • years 10-14 have been trending upward over time
  • years 15-20 are somewhat trendless, due to small sample sizes
Potential reasons for these trends?
  • salary increases mirror player development, albeit with a few years’ lag
  • salaries for young players (0-3) have no doubt been affected by the rookie scale
  • particulars of the CBAs affecting years 4-9?
  • younger players (high schoolers) and medicine might explain the trend in years 10-14
Oh, and those outliers at years 16 and 17? Guess who!