The Soaring Rate of Trade
Last week's flurry of deals before the trading deadline followed a trend that dates back to the 1995-96 season, when the latest collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players went into effect. As part of the deal, the league imposed a wage scale on all draft picks and, in return, granted unrestricted free agency after three years. The move was intended to give teams a chance to measure the development of their young stars before committing to them long term. But many teams, fearful of not being able to re-sign these players, have had to make sweeping personnel moves related to the impending free agency of the class of '95. Here are some revealing numbers.
47 Players dealt on the day of the three trading deadlines since February 1996.
13 Players dealt on the day of the three trading deadlines before February 1996.
72.4 Percentage of class of '95 first-round picks (21 of 29) who are no longer with the teams that drafted them.
55.6 Percentage of class of '94 first-round picks (15 of 27) who three years later were no longer with the team that drafted them.
3 Lottery picks from the class of '95—Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and Bryant Reeves—who signed contract extensions last summer, when they were first eligible to do so.
15 Average annual salary, in millions of dollars, given to those three second-year men, who all signed six-year deals to become the highest-paid players on their teams.