IN THE MONEY

Del Olaleye: 3 players who stand to get paid based on the NBA postseason

Clint Capela is earning a big contract somewhere. Jason Miller

The NBA playoffs are under way and I could spend time using this space to breakdown matchups or what this postseason will mean to James Harden’s legacy. I could do that, but I won’t. I do enough of that on the radio and so do other people. I’m much more interested in the game inside the game. I’m talking about guys who could cash in on a big postseason. What is Clint Capela worth? Is Kyrie Irving being hurt the best thing that could happen to Boston’s Terry Rozier? Will the Wolves series against the Rockets change the way the NBA sees Derrick Rose?

Who is the next Jonathon Simmons? If you remember back to last year’s playoffs, Simmons became a playoff star for what he did in the Spurs-Rockets series. He helped the Spurs eliminate the Rockets while Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard were injured. He scored 12 points in a pivotal Game 5 and 18 points in San Antonio’s 39-point Game 6 victory that closed out the Rockets in Houston. Simmons averaged 6.2 points in the regular season but scored in double figures 10 times in the postseason. His overall performance led to three-year deal worth $20 million from the Orlando Magic. A modest number by NBA standards but certainly a huge increase over the $874,000 Simmons made in his final season with the Spurs. Here are three guys who have a shot to duplicate the impact that Simmons provided and earn substantial raises because of what they do in these playoffs.

Clint Capela

Capela has done enough regular season work to get a big deal. This postseason gives him a shot to cement himself as a premiere big man in the league. He used Game 1 of his playoff run to dominate a big man with a pretty good reputation. The athleticism difference between Capela and the Wolves’ Karl Anthony Towns was a drastic one. Capela’s fluidity and his ability to get up down the court was evident and the box score reflected the difference between the two young centers. Capela put together a dominant all-around game that featured 24 points and 12 rebounds. Towns finished with eight points in 40 minutes. Capela’s impact on Houston’s success has been well documented throughout the season. Game 1 was just further confirmation of just how important he is to the Rockets. A successful playoff run for the Rockets could potentially put Capela in the discussion for max money this offseason.

Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent ‘18

Terry Rozier

Much like the inspiration for the piece, Rozier has been given an opportunity due to an injury to a star. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is out for the playoffs and Rozier goes from backup to starter on team that entered the season with title aspirations. As the backup at both backcourt positions Rozier had his best season as pro in his third season. He saw his minutes, points and shooting percentages increase significantly. In his first game as a starting point guard in the playoffs, Rozier scored 23 points, pulled down four rebounds and dished out three assists with no turnovers. Most importantly he made multiple big shots down the stretch, somewhat duplicating Irving’s big shot ability. A strong playoff run by Rozier could place him in high demand for a team desperate for a young and improving point guard. Rozier is set to make just over three million dollars in the final year of his deal. At a premium position like point guard a productive 2018 playoff run could land Rozier a deal worth eight figures annually.

Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent ‘19

Oklahoma City’s Jerami Grant

Grant’s regular season numbers are modest at first glance and they don’t make you think of a guy who is in line for a big deal but there is a precedent for springy bench players getting lucrative deals. Moe Harkless of the Portland Trailblazers used a strong playoff performance over eleven games in 2016 to see his annual salary increase from just over $2.8 million to just under $9 million. The Blazers rewarded him for his increased production over the course of those two 2016 series with a deal worth $42 million. Grant’s role as a energy bench player is important to the Thunder’s second unit. His style is a complement to Russell Westbrook’s frenetic style of play when Westbrook tries to push the pace. Grant’s energy leads to putbacks for himself and second chance opportunities for his team. Paid just over $1.5 million in the final year of his deal, a big playoff performance could see Grant’s annual salary multiplied by six.

Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent ‘18

Shoutout to Matthew Dellavedova, the ultimate playoff finesser. He went from making just over $1.1 million on a one year deal in Cleveland to getting paid $38 million over four years in Milwaukee. That raise was primarily based on a postseason where he scored in double figures seven times in 20 games as Kyrie Irving’s backup for Cleveland in 2015. He became a national story for all of five days when Irving was injured in the Finals against the Golden State Warriors. He’s still in Milwaukee by the way. As I type this he’s playing in garbage time as the Bucks are about to go down 0-2 in their series with the Celtics.

The playoffs can be lucrative for potential stars or the 8th and 9th men in a rotation.

Gerald Green, go get yours.

 

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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