This was a comment I just made in a submerged post. But it is so brilliant that I think everyone needs to read it.
For the past, I think 3 years, the cap has risen 10-15% percent. That means that each teams get 15-20 million dollars each year that they can spend on free agents. So every team in the league had money to spend of Gordon Hayward, Batum, etc…. So all those teams with money to spend creates competition. Competition raises salaries. All those teams bid each other up because every team has money to spend. So good but not great players like Hayward or Batum, etc. get max salaries, where in the past they would have got something like 40-70% of the cap, a figure that would represent their relative value better. Hayward for instance is going to get paid max same as LeBron. LeBron will get more because he has more years in the league, but they will both get the max available to their relative years of service. Do you think Hayward has the same value to a basketball team as LeBron? Not even close.
But next year tthe NBA goes back to normal. The cap is not predicted to rise. It may even shrink. The situation for teams--I think--will mostly revert to what it was previously to the influx of massive TV money. In that era, hardly any player got max. So that says to me that if we return to a time when most teams are maxed out, having a player that is not elite but is payed max salary is probably not a good situation. The cap will not rise. Teams will not have $15 million extra each year to spend on free agents or trades. And when the jazz get to the second round and pass the ball to Hayward at the end of game six needing a basket and he gets shut down by Kawaii Leonard, and the Jazz realize that they need to make changes, they will be stuck. Because no team will have room for Hayward’s massive salary, and more than that, they will not want to pay that massive salary for someone who can be shut down in crunch time in the playoffs. Because in a rational economy, salaries track value and rarity. The most valuable and the most rare get the highest salaries. But like I said above, the NBA is currently does not have a rational economy. But as far as I can tell, a rational economy is coming back next year.