The Redeem Team: The Cost of Redemption

This morning the United States men’s basketball team returned back to its rightful place atop the basketball world for the first time since 2000.  After poor showings in the 2002 and 2006 World Championships and a bronze medal in the 2004 Summer Games, the USA set out on a 3-year commitment to build chemistry and camaraderie on and off the court, earning it the nickname The Redeem Team heading into this year’s world tournament.

But how much is this Redeem Team worth?

With a team assembled of the NBA’s elite, it was surprising that only 3 of the league’s top 25 highest-paid players were on the USA roster – Jason Kidd $21.4M, Kobe Bryant $21.3M, and Michael Redd $15.8M.  The 12 players on The Redeem Team will combine to earn $160.6M in 2008-09 NBA estimated salaries, an average of $13.4M each.  However, that figure includes Deron Williams ($5M) and Chris Paul ($4.6M), who are both entering the final year of their rookie contract – both of whom recently signed contract extensions of nearly $70M over 4 years – an average of roughly $17M per season.  Take those two salaries out and it cost $151M for 10 guys, an average of $15.1M per.

Surprisingly, the only veteran member on the squad to earn less than $10M next season will be Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince, who barely fits below double-digits at $9.5M this upcoming season. Not a bad chunk of change for a Gold Medal.

But what is more surprising?  The fact that this historic team will earn such a healthy amount in the NBA this season?  Or the fact that there are 22 NBA players supposedly “worth” more than the nine of the 12 players sent to Beijing, sitting at home watching on TV, as The Redeem Team proved to be a incredibly cost effective investment.

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