By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With China taking a hit due to the new CBA rules and the NBA Supermax deals not leaving a lot of money on the table for mid-level players, EuroLeague is having a phenomenal offseason.
With FC Barcelona setting the tone, most European powerhouses were forced to open up their wallets and pay up. Considering the fact that there’s no salary cap in Europe and the financial landscape in the EuroLeague remains a work in progress, practically the market is what defines the top salaries without any holding bars. Of course, Europe can’t offer top NBA money, but still is the top alternative for many players, especially if you consider the money spend by European top clubs in conjunction to the level of play.
The reported salaries are not official. The clubs in Europe contrary to the NBA are not obliged to present those data in public. However, they are confirmed by multiple sources and can be considered accurate.
And like in last year’s list, the reported sums are the net salaries. Due to the various tax laws in Europe, it’s hard to calculate the gross amount of each contract, and in many cases, the tax is almost equal to the net salary.
Furthermore, the Euro is not the official currency in countries like Israel, Russia, and Turkey. That’s why many of the EuroLeague deals are made in US dollars. In order to avoid confusion and to have an easier comparison to NBA contracts, all salaries are calculated in US dollars. With that been said, if you want to compare with NBA contracts, the easiest way is to double the amount of money mentioned, due to US taxes.
Νikola Mirotic, FC Barcelona 5,400,000 $
Mirotic’s contract is a matter of debate all over the world, from the initial reports about a seven-year deal. Longtime Barcelona journalists Jose Ignacio Huguet presented a great analysis of the contract situation at “Mundo Deportivo”. According to Eurohoops sources, Mirotic will be paid on average $5,4 million annually during the four years of his deal.
However, even if you take into account the lowest number mentioned in Huguet’s report ($4,4 m.), he still makes the top of the list. The fact remains that Mirotic’s contract is comparable only with the historic contract of Olympiacos with Josh Childress back in 2008. Childress signed a $20 million deal for three years, not including taxes, in an era where Greek taxation was friendly to athletes’ contracts. He received practically more than the equivalent of an NBA mid-level exception of that time and reportedly turned his back on a $36 million offer from Atlanta. It makes sense since if taxes are taken into account, the total offer of Olympiacos was at least two million higher and included the usual perks given to import players by European clubs, like paid accommodation and a car. So Mirotic’s deal with Barcelona is practically almost the same as the reported $45 million offer he had on the table from the Utah Jazz. As for the 70 million for seven years rumor, according to Madrid’s media, it was the initial asking price from the side of the player. Still, he got pretty much what he wanted and a contract which is currently at the top two of the All-Time deals in Europe.
Alexey Shved, Khimki Moscow Region 4,000,000 $
Since his return from the NBA to Khimki Moscow Region in 2015, he was sitting on the thrown of the highest-paid played n Europe. His second contract in 2017 raised the bar even higher and only the record deal of Nikola Mirotic surpassed him this year.
Shved is a household name in Russia, one of the biggest EuroLeague and VTB United League stars, so this number makes sense. It has to be noted that this is the last season of his deal and it remains to be seen if he will get one more record deal next summer. The fact that Russia’s taxation is much more manageable compared to other parts of Europe, doesn’t hurt his chances for a raise since he is Khimki’s cornerstone.
Edy Walter Τavares, Real Madrid 3,000,000 $
After being a mid-season addition last year and ultimately emerging as the starting center of Real Madrid, Eddy Walter Tavares got paid. His contract is also rare since it’s a five-year deal. Contracts that last more than three years – usually including opt-out clauses – are unusual in Europe, unless they are offered to young NBA prospects with a much, much more modest salary.
Tavares essentially will get $15 million in the next five seasons. For the shake of comparison, that would mean a $30 million, five year deal in the NBA, where Tavares in two seasons made just $2 million, including taxes.
Nando De Colo, Fenerbahce BEKO 2,600,000 $
The EuroLeague champion with CSKA Moscow who since his return to Europe in 2014 remains one of the top players of the old continent wanted a change of scenery. His initial goal was an NBA return, where the Raptors are still holding his rights, he was mentioned as a Real Madrid target, but when Fenerbahce lost Marko Guduric, they moved fast and secured his services on a two-year deal.
Practically De Colo kept the same status he had with CSKA Moscow and pretty much the same salary. So it’s a win-win situation for him, even if he had to put aside his NBA aspirations. If the Raptors wanted to match what Fenerbahce offered him, they should have given him a $5 million annual salary.