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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs players also surprised by NBA free-agent jackpots

In nearly any context, NFL players are compensated well, with a minimum salary of $450,000 and contracts that can exceed $100 million.

But even well-paid NFL players were impressed by the ridiculous money tossed around Friday on the first day of free agency for the NBA, where a new salary cap has lesser-known players landing contracts that can dwarf their NFL counterparts. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck made headlines earlier in the week with a six-year, $140-million contract; on Friday, Mike Conley, 28-year-old point guard for a Memphis team swept in the first round of the playoffs, got a five-year, $153-million contract.

"This NBA free agency money!!" tweeted Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, one of the league's top paid at his position, but still getting less per year than comparably anonymous Magic guard Evan Fournier.

It's two different economies, of course -- the NFL has 53-man rosters while the NBA has 12 or 13 on a team; the NFL plays only 16 games, obviously under more demanding physical conditions, but the NBA plays 82 games each year, getting five times as many opportunities to sell out with home crowds. And the NBA salary cap has a significant bump this season, so teams are overpaying for players who aren't even starters.

"Wish I was tall enough and talented enough to be in @NBA #hoopdreams," tweeted Bucs defensive tackle Akeem Spence, who will be an unrestricted free agent next spring but would do well to get a fraction of the recent NBA jackpots.

"Woaaahhhh @NBA dishing big money out!!" linebacker Kwon Alexander tweeted.

The Bucs have their share of former basketball players on roster, so it wasn't all jealousy at the lucrative paydays going to their hardcourt brethren.

"s/o (shoutout) to the real hoopers that got paid s/o to the hoopers who robbed the league," tweeted receiver Mike Evans, a standout basketball player in high school in Texas. "I ain't mad at ya do ya thing."

[Last modified: Saturday, July 2, 2016 9:24am]


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