In a sports column I was reading, the writer mentioned something about "win shares", that existed to provide a financial incentive to win games during the playoffs, especially since otherwise players weren't being paid any more for participating in the playoffs than they were otherwise. Does this still exist today? If not, is there any existing way of paying players for playoff games?

2 Answers 2


According to the NBA section of this Investopedia article, each season there is a "playoff kitty" which is divvied up amongst the various teams dependent on performance, from which the teams can choose how to distribute amongst players. Here's the exact quotes:

The NBA's salary cap restricts teams from providing significant bonuses to players for post-season performances, but there is a league-wide playoff kitty,

2010's playoff pool reached a record $12 million, but not all of that money is allotted for playoff performances. Last year $346,105 was awarded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for having the best record in the regular season, as well as a share of the $179,092 that's guaranteed to playoff-bound teams. The teams that made it to the quarter-finals split $213,095, and teams in the semi-finals divvied $352,137. Last year's finalists, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, split $1.4 million, with the Lakers netting an additional $2.1 million for taking home the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Additionally, playoff pool distribution amongst teams may not be even. As explained on wagesofwins.com, teams can distribute the money however they like - so I'd imagine that the "big name" star players will get a disproportionately large share of it. That said, If you look at the bottom of that article, if the pool was distributed fairly, making the playoffs only results in a $7,760 payout per player - so not a massive incentive. You have to make the NBA Finals to get a really large bonus.


Under the 2011 CBA, the current agreement, Article IV section 6(g) notes amounts for the player playoff pool by year. The 2015-2016 season playoff pool is $15 million dollars.

The distribution of these funds isn't mandated by the CBA. It is ultimately up to the NBPA to determine how the funds are distributed and the NBA distributes the pool in a way determined by the NBPA.

I couldn't find how they choose to distribute the funds, but articles seem to refer to the funds going to coaches, managers and whatnot. I do not think this is correct given the wording of the CBA, as it is the "players playoff pool" not the team playoff pool. The CBA also states that the NBPA determines the distribution and the NBA distributes accordingly.

Also from listening to former players talk about the playoff monies, when coaches, trainers, managers etc get a portion of the monies, it seems to come directly from the players. This seems to be because it is not much compared

  • Welcome to SE.Sport, can you please add some sources to confirm your good answer?
    – Ale
    May 5, 2016 at 7:25

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