Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 3/26/12
They've got a nickname for Ryan Anderson in the Orlando locker room. "We call him Baby Brinks Truck," said Magic guard Quentin Richardson. One reason Anderson got that nickname is his averages of 15.9 points and 7.6 rebounds as he prepares to become a restricted free agent this summer. But do you want to know what else really helps? Anderson is 6-foot-10. "Big guys don't grow on trees," Richardson said. NBA owners might have played hardball last year when their resolve to cut salaries resulted in a lockout that ended up shortening this season to 66 games. But when the dust settled after the late November end to the work stoppage, one thing didn't change. Big men kept getting paid. Nene, who has since been traded to Washington, got a five-year, 67 million contract from Denver. Four-year deals went to Memphis' Marc Gasol for 58 million, New York's Tyson Chandler for 56 million and the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan for 43 million. Two-year contract recipients included David West from Indiana for 20 million and Samuel Dalembert from Houston for 13.7 million. Then there were the one-year guys. New Orleans gave Carl Landry 9 million. Kris Humphries received 8 million from New Jersey. And Kwame Brown, who since has been lost for the rest of the regular season due to injury and been traded to Milwaukee, got 7 million out of Golden State. Kwame Brown? Well, at last measurement he was 6-11. "People say they're paid by the inch in the NBA," said the 6-9 Humphries, a power forward who at least has been a bright spot on the woeful Nets with averages of 13.5 points and 11.0 rebounds. It's the most basic law of supply and demand. NBA teams need big guys, and they aren't exactly hanging out at the bus stop in front of the arena. "We all dream of being a 7-footer one day," said New Orleans point guard Jarrett Jack, who is making 5.2 million this season with a 15.6 scoring average that is higher than three big-men teammates all earning 9 million or more, Landry, Chris Kaman (14 million) and Emeka Okafor (12.5 million). "But now I'm just going to deal with this 6-3 I got and make it work." Centers are the ones who really get paid. The four most lucrative deals handed out to free agents before the start of the season all went to guys at that position, the recipients being Nene, Gasol, Chandler and Jordan. "If you're a center and you can walk and chew gum in this league, you make 10 million (a year)," said 6-11 Kim Hughes, a former NBA center and Clippers head coach. When he was with the Clippers, Hughes tutored Jordan, a raw 6-11 prospect. Let's just say Hughes did a double take when he saw the offer sheet Golden State tendered Jordan and was matched by the Clippers. "DeAndre Jordan found Golden State, and he is overpaid, no question," Hughes said. "But I love DeAndre. I'm happy for him. He's worked so hard." After losing out on Jordan, who had averaged 7.1 points and 7.2 rebounds for the Clippers last season, the Warriors then threw money and the next big guy who walked by. That was Brown, who had averaged 7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds with Charlotte last season. While the stories are legendary about crazy deals being thrown at centers (read: Jim McIlvaine, Calvin Booth, Jerome James), power forwards have to work a little harder for their money. But there's no doubt Orlando's power forward is on track to live up to his nickname. There were talks in January about Anderson signing a contract extension. But no deal was reached due to the uncertainty at the time about whether Magic center Dwight Howard might remain with the team past the March 15 trade deadline and because agent Jeff Austin believed his client could get better "value" by waiting. Well, Howard is still with the Magic. And, judging from what his teammates say, Anderson should have plenty of value this summer. "I haven't really looked into that stuff a ton. Obviously it's always on TV, you hear about it," Anderson said of all the big guys who got big money this season. "Obviously, the better I play the better the contract, but I'm not really thinking about that But it definitely is a benefit being tall." Anderson, dubbed a stretch four in basketball lingo, has the added benefit of being able to shoot. He's firing away at 40.8 percent from three-point range while leading the NBA in attempts and makes. A Brinks truck is being gassed up. Some other 2012 free-agent big men in line for big deals are aging Kevin Garnett of Boston and Tim Duncan of San Antonio, who still should be worth something even if it's much less than the 21 million each is getting this season, Kaman, who also might have to take a pay cut, one-year contract guys Landry and Humphries and restricted free agents Roy Hibbert of Indiana, Brook Lopez of New Jersey, JaVale McGee of Denver and Jason Thompson of Sacramento. Thompson sure has been helping himself lately after a slow start to the season. With J.J. Hickson having been waived to clear time for him, Thompson has averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds his past five games. "It's great because you can't teach height and you can't teach talent for someone with size and length," the 6-11 power forward said about inches translating into dollars. "It's good to see bigs get rewarded and that makes a guy like me smile and get ready as well for it." Thompson's tall teammate, 6-11 center DeMarcus Cousins, isn't smiling because well, he never really smiles. But Cousins, averaging 16.9 points and 11.0 rebounds, just might manage a grin when he becomes eligible for a contract extension in the summer of 2013 and he's likely offered maximum dollars. "Big guys do get paid in this league," Cousins said when asked about all the money that went to tall guys this season. "I don't really understand them numbers. You got some bigs, you average 6 and 6 and you get these crazy contracts." If Cousins was referring to Jordan, 6 points and 6 rebounds is nearly identical to his career averages. Then again, this season he's putting up more than 7 and 8 for his 10 million. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter@christomasson
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Kevin Durant has...RUSSELL MANIA!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Browns wanted ‘second-round pick and then some’ for Gordon

Report: Eric Berry to sign next week, be ready to play in Week 1

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

What's missing for each Premier Leauge team?

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

The 20 best boxing movies ever

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker