Contract Year Phenomenon (kahn-trakt' yir fuh-nahm'-uh-non') noun. The miraculous occurrence in which a professional basketball player is able to have a "breakout year" (which usually equates to career highs in several major statistical categories) when he's about to become eligible for free agency or open negotiations on a long-term deal with his own team.
Usage example: The Contract Year Phenomenon allowed Erick Dampier to scorer a 7-year, $73 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Now he sucks.
Word Trivia: Few things are as deceiving as a basketball player's performance during his contract year. Let's take the above example of Erick Dampier. During his last season with the Golden State Warriors, Dampier averaged 12.3 points, 12 rebounds, and almost 2 blocked shots per game (all career highs). He then inks a huge, long-term contract with the Dallas Mavericks...and just stops trying. Less than two years removed from the Contract Year Phenomenon, Dampier's averaging 5 points, 8 rebounds, and a blocked shot per game. And this is as the starting center for the best team in the Western Conference.Players are rarely the same after the contract year.