As the NBA season comes to a close, many players are entering their “contract year.” A contract year is the final year of a player’s contract before becoming a free agent. This year is usually crucial for players looking to secure a big payday in the upcoming offseason. In this article, we will explore some of the best contract years in NBA history.

1. Shaquille O’Neal (1995-1996)

Shaquille O’Neal had a monster contract year during the 1995-1996 season. He averaged 26.6 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 56.2% from the field. His outstanding performance earned him a seven-year, $121 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, making him the highest-paid player in NBA history at the time.

2. LeBron James (2009-2010)

LeBron James had a phenomenal contract year during the 2009-2010 season. He averaged 29.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the best record in the league. His incredible season earned him a six-year, $110 million contract with the Miami Heat.

3. Kevin Durant (2015-2016)

Kevin Durant had a career year during the 2015-2016 season, which was also his contract year. He averaged 28.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 50.5% from the field and 38.7% from three-point range. His impressive season earned him a two-year, $54.3 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, where he won two NBA championships.

4. Dirk Nowitzki (2003-2004)

Dirk Nowitzki had a standout contract year during the 2003-2004 season. He averaged 21.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while leading the Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs. His excellent season earned him a six-year, $90 million deal with the Mavericks, cementing his place as one of the greatest players in franchise history.

5. Kawhi Leonard (2018-2019)

Kawhi Leonard had a remarkable contract year during the 2018-2019 season. He led the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship while averaging 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. His outstanding performance earned him a three-year, $103 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers.

In conclusion, a contract year can be a make-or-break year for many NBA players. These are just a few of the best contract years in NBA history, where players put up remarkable numbers and secured major contracts. As we approach the end of the current season, it will be interesting to see which players will have standout performances and secure lucrative deals in the upcoming offseason.