Basketball players are among the highest-paid athletes in the world. For most of us mere mortals, the numbers representing their yearly salaries are just that—numbers. We find it hard to grasp what it would mean having that amount of money in our bank accounts.
This is where our list comes in. We’ll show you just why these players are making the big bucks.
Check this out:
For the second year in a row, Stephen Curry is the highest paid NBA player. Several years ago, he was one of the NBA’s biggest “bargains” because the future of his ankles looked grim. But that all changed, and these days he’s stronger than ever – as are his finances.
So we know that the first position on the list of the highest paid NBA players is unchanged. However, if you’re wondering who the other 24 richest NBA players are, you should keep reading!
Highest paid NBA players:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors – $40,321,758
Stephen Curry has claimed the throne of the highest paid NBA player in 2019 from LeBron James.
Here’s the deal:
He signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors which guarantees him $201.2 million over a five-year period. This is huge!
It’s never too late to achieve your dreams:
Stephen Curry is 31 years old, so he’s not really in the bloom of youth. But that hasn’t stopped him from ruling the NBA scene.
2. Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder – $38,506,482
Clearly, Chris Paul made a wise choice to transfer from the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder. This decision made him the second highest paid NBA player in the world.
Chris Paul is a nine-time All-Star point guard with a guaranteed salary of more than $124 million with the City Thunder.
Just like Stephen Curry, Chris is not the youngest player on our list. However, the 34-year-old player seems to have plenty of fuel to keep him going for a few more years.
3. Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets – $38,506,482
Interestingly, Russell Westbrook is tied with Chris Paul. He may not be the highest paid NBA player ever, but he should be pretty happy considering he’s earning more than $38.5 million a year.
You couldn’t come up with two more polar-opposite stars than these two even if you tried. But they were nonetheless part of one of the biggest trade-offs in the history of NBA.
So today, Westbrook plays for Houston Rockets, and Chriss Paul plays for Oklahoma. You see, miracles do happen.
4. John Wall, Washington Wizards – $38,199,000
The fourth position is taken by another point guard, John Wall. Considering how often he gets hurt, it might come as a surprise that he made our list at all. If he took better care of his Achilles, he could perhaps become the highest paid player in the NBA.
He has a four-year contract deal with the Washington Wizards that amounts to a guaranteed $171.1 million.
He is 29 years old and 6 ft 4 in tall, which is below average for the NBA. Interestingly, he has spent his entire professional career with the Wizards, starting back in 2010.
5. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets – $38,199,000
Kevin Durant recently ended his two-year contract with the Golden State Warriors and has reasons to be happy.
By moving to Brooklyn Nets, he managed to increase his annual salary from around $30 million in 2018-2019 to more than $38 million in 2019/2020. That gets him a couple of steps closer to becoming the richest basketball player.
Apart from his basketball prowess, Durant is remarkable for taking a pay cut to make it possible for his teammates to earn more. A true team player indeed.
6. James Harden, Houston Rockets – $38,199,000
James Harden, salary-wise, is in good company with Kevin Durant and John Wall, earning around $38.2 million a year.
After finishing his previous four-year contract with the Houston Rockets worth a massive $118 million, he continued with a 4-year extension. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it, right?
The 29-year-old shooting guard is expected to make an average annual salary of around $42.3 million.
7. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers – $37,436,858
When it comes to NBA salaries, few players have earned more than the legendary LeBron James.
He has been on the throne for many years, but he was finally overthrown by Stephen Curry at the beginning of the 2018/2019 season.
If you’re wondering how much does LeBron James make per minute—it’s just above $9,000. Not too bad after his rocky first year at the LA Lakers.
8. Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors – $34,996,296
The 33-year-old point guard is currently still under a three-year contract worth $100 million with the Toronto Raptors. The deal, which will end in 2020, has allowed him to get on the list of the highest NBA payrolls.
So far, Lowry has had a very successful career with the Raptors. He has been named the NBA All-Star five times and made it to the All-NBA Third Team in 2016.
In 2019, Kyle Lowry won the NBA Championship with the Raptors, so he has plenty more reasons to be happy apart from his salary.
9. Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons – $34,449,964
Even though Blake Griffin’s salary at the moment earns him the title of the ninth highest paid NBA player, that might change for the better in the following years.
He has signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Pistons, which is set to surpass $38 million in the final year.
Griffin was formerly signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he clearly made a financially wise decision to transfer to the Pistons.
So far, his biggest accomplishments include being a five-time All-NBA player and a six-time NBA All-Star player. At the moment Blake Griffin’s net worth is $80 million.
10. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers – $32,742,000
Tobias Harris used to be one of the most valuable players for the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded to Sixers at the beginning of 2019.
Who knows, he might not be happy with this decision, as he was pretty successful with the Clippers. But he is, without a doubt, happy with his new NBA payrolls.
Harris began his NBA career in 2011 when he was drafted 19th overall and ended up playing for the Charlotte Bobcats. He was then traded to Milwaukee Bucks. Apart from those two teams, he also played for the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons. Quite a journey!
11. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat – $32,742,000
Jimmy Butler has his NBA career secured for the next four years, thanks to his recent contract with the Miami Heat. The paycheck he receives is well-above the average NBA salary, so he can be quite happy with that.
Butler began his career in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls after being drafted with the 30th overall pick in 2011.
He is a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team honoree, a four-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time All-NBA team honoree.
In 2015, he was named the most improved player in the NBA, so he has plenty of potential to be the highest paid NBA player by season in the future as well.
12. Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers – $32,742,000
Kawhi Leonard was by far the most desirable free agent in the previous off-season. He managed to grab the opportunity and turn it into hard cash by signing a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The contract is worth around $103 million in total. This won’t bring him the title of the highest paid NBA player of all time, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s still pretty good.
Leonard’s NBA track record is the envy of many. As a 23-year-old player in 2014, he won the NBA Championship with the Spurs.
At the same time, he was named the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), which reinforced his position within the league.
13. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors – $32,742,000
2019 was definitely not the best year of Klay Thompson’s career. In June, he tore his ACL, which meant several weeks of recovery time. To make matters worse, the injury happened during the NBA finals.
Nonetheless, the Warriors’ sharpshooter still managed to sign a five-year extension worth almost $190 million with the Golden State. In the near future, he might become Warriors’ highest paid basketball player.
Some of his biggest accolades include:
- One of the greatest shooters in NBA history
- Three-time NBA champion
- Five-time NBA All-Star
- Two-time All-NBA Third Team honoree
14. Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics – $32,742,000
Kemba Walker, the former Hornets point guard, now plays for the Boston Celtics. The Celtics signed him in the off-season to fill their hole at the PG position after Kyrie Irving moved to Brooklyn.
Walker signed a hefty four-year deal with Boston that amounts to $140.8 million. He grew up in the Bronx, and he has a tough background.
Even though his name is still not the answer to the question of who is the highest paid basketball player in the NBA, he has other accomplishments to boast about – he’s a three-time NBA All-Star.
15. Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics – $32,700,690
Gordon Hayward lost the claim to the 14th highest paid NBA player by just $40,000. We hope he’ll have better luck next season!
However, that does not make his salary any less fantastic or his other accomplishments less worthy.
He started his professional career in 2010 with the Utah Jazz and remained there until 2017. After that, he transferred to the Boston Celtics, where he still plays.
In 2017, he was also picked to be an NBA All-Star player for the first time in his career.
16. Mike Conley, Utah Jazz – $32,511,624
Mike Conley may have had a turbulent period recently, but he is now playing for the Utah Jazz and is happy with both of his NBA salaries.
Here’s the thing:
He originally signed a five-year contract with the Memphis Grizzlies worth $152.6 million. He was then traded to Utah Jazz in the offseason and plays the point guard position there at the moment.
Conley comes from a family of accomplished athletes. His father, Mike Conley Senior, is an Olympic gold and silver medalist in track and field.
17. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets – $31,742,000
Kyrie Irving did not waste his time in the offseason. He managed to ink a four-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets that will bring him a total of $136.5 million.
Kyrie Irving’s salary will definitely help him increase his total net worth of around $70 million.
Even if he does not, he should be happy with what he has done with his career so far. Some of the bright points in his CV include:
- Named the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2014.
- Won gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
- Won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
- Starred in the film Uncle Drew in 2018.
18. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks – $30,603,448
Khris Middleton has nothing in common with the British princess, apart from the last name. But if he ever signs the highest paid NBA player contract, he might at least be able to measure his wealth with hers.
Right now, he is not all that far from that dream. As a free agent, Khris managed to land a five-year extension deal with the Milwaukee Bucks worth an incredible $178 million. With that much money, he is expected to make more than Giannis Antetokounmpo at the end of 2019.
He received his first NBA All-Star invite in 2019, which will certainly not be his last one.
19. Paul George, LA Clippers – $30,560,700
Paul George signed a four-year $136.9 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder after successfully kick-starting his career with the Pacers. That’s one of the top NBA salaries.
However, he lasted just two years with the Thunder. During those two years, he helped Russell Westbrook lead the team to the playoffs.
Most recently, he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, a team known for some of the highest NBA team payrolls.
George broke his leg in 2014 but fully recovered by 2016 when he became an NBA All-Star player.
20. Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets – $30,350,000
Paul Millsap comfortably sits on the 20th position on our list of the highest-paid NBA contracts. After a more than successful two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets worth $61 million, he signed a one-year extension. This one, as you can see, is worth just shy of $30.4 million.
Millsap is not a young player. At 34, it is questionable how much more time he has left at the top level.
However, he has nothing to regret. He is a four-time NBA All-Star and has been a valuable addition to all three teams where he played professionally:
- Utah Jazz (2006-2013)
- Atlanta Hawks (2013-2017)
- Denver Nuggets (2017-Present)
21. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – $29,802,321
The Portland Trail Blazers should be quite happy with their transfer policy when it comes to Damian Lillard.
This Weber State alum is in the middle of a five-year contract with the Blazers worth a whopping $140 million.
At the moment, he earns around $29.8 million, but his NBA salary cap in 2020 is expected to reach $31.6 million.
Lillard’s biggest accomplishment so far was the unanimous decision to name him the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2012.
22. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers – $28,942,830
Kevin Love has improved his position on the list of the highest NBA salaries by seven places, ranking 22nd this season.
Love has had a turbulent period recently, as he is still recovering from an injured left foot. Moreover, the Cleveland Cavaliers have become one of the worst teams in the NBA after LeBron left, so his future does not look promising at the moment.
His biggest career highlights include:
- 2016 NBA Champion.
- Five-time NBA All-Star.
- Two-time All-NBA second team.
- 2011 NBA Most Improved Player.
23. Al Horford, Philadelphia 76ers – $28,000,000
After completing a four-year, $113 million contract with the Boston Celtics, Al Horford decided to make a change.
He has agreed to a four-year, $109 million deal with the 76ers. Of that, he can count on $97 million guaranteed and $12 million in bonuses. This makes it one of the highest NBA player salaries at the moment.
Al started his career with the Atlanta Hawks in 2007 and continued with the Celtics until 2016. We’ll see how long he will last with the Sixers.
24. Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic – $28,000,000
Having had a successful career with the Orlando Magic so far, Nikola Vucevic decided to sign an extension. The four-year deal is worth a massive $100 million, which is pretty high considering the average NBA player salaries.
Nikola will be free to hit the free-agent market once again in 2022, so it remains to be seen if he will be offered another extension at that time.
In 2019, he was chosen as an NBA All-Star for the first time, which is his biggest recognition so far.
25. DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs – $27,739,975
DeMar DeRozan might not be the richest basketball player in the world, but he is certainly the highest paid San Antonio Spurs player.
He signed a five-year, $129 million contract with the Spurs. This is impressive but not nearly as impressive as his 2016 contract with the Raptors.
He has earned it, though, as he was named four-time NBA All-Star and made it into the All-NBA Second Team in 2018 and the All-NBA Third Team in 2017.
To sum up, it is evident that if you want to have a well-paid career in sports, basketball is the way to go. And if you get drafted to play for one of the richest NBA teams, you might even become the highest paid NBA player one day. You never know!
Until then, read and admire the accomplishments of the 25 richest NBA players on our list and keep learning the tricks of the trade from their play.