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James Nunnally's 10-Day Contract

I hope James' accountant is not QuickBooks as he had quite the adventure.

Julian Finney

James Nunnally's journey with the Hawks started on January 11th and is coming to an end after the Miami Heat MLK Day game. All in all, his contract paid him for 10 days of service out of the 170 days in the NBA regular season at the minimum player salary for rookies ($490,180). This equates to a total of $28,834, or $9,611 per game, or $2,883 per day. Ah, the life of an NBA player. How does this break down even further?

  • James played one game in the great state of Tennessee, so he is subject to their Jock Tax of $2,500 per game. Ouch. While the NHL Player's Union reimburses this tax for their players, the NBA Player's Union does not.
  • James traveled to Great Britain for 4 days (1/13 to 1/17) and is subject to taxation by the United Kingdom on his $11,534 earned there. This isn't so bad except the UK has higher tax rates than the United States. At least he won't be double taxed as the UK and US have a treaty about this.
  • James had to play on a Federal Holiday against the Miami Heat.
  • James should have had a meal allowance of $124 for each day "on the road" with the team. That works out to a cool $7091. All players receive this, so this not unique to James. I just thought you would like to know.

Certainly a few things to gripe about, but overall not a bad gig. The Jock Tax and UK taxes may seem harsher than they really are. Taxes exist across different industries to varying degrees, so pointing out one (of many) may be a little unfair to Tennessee or the Brits. It is still interesting to point out even though James' accountant may be able to find some exemptions that lower his effective tax rate.

The Hawks are allowed to sign James to one more 10-day contract. After that, the Hawks would need to sign him to a Rest-of-Season Contract that guarantees him salary for the remainder of the season at his minimum salary. The Hawks do have the option of doing none of these things or using their Cap Space ($1,827,305) or Room Mid-Level Exception to sign him. The last two options are highly unlikely, but still technically possible.

1. This has been adjusted based upon the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) from a value of $120 in June 1, 2011 [$120*(232.945 / 225.964)]. The "on the road" time period for him would be from 1/11 to 1/17, although on 1/11 the Hawks players were only afforded 54% of meal allowance because of when they arrived in Memphis and on 1/17 they received 18% of meal allowance for their travel from London.