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Highest-paid players in the NBA

  • Highest-paid players in the NBA

    The NBA has a unique ability to have shape-shifting summers almost every year, and the 2019 offseason has certainly been no exception. With players often signing short-term contracts or long-term deals that include an opt-out clause, the culture has become one of total player empowerment: The stars have a say of where, with whom, and for how much they would like to play. So, last month some of the league’s biggest names chose their new homes and formed new partnerships with fellow all-stars in what was yet another eventful July in NBA free agency.

    There’s the new duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, who will each pull in north of $30 million this season to try to revitalize the Nets franchise that has been doomed since the infamous trade with the Boston Celtics in 2013. DeAndre Jordan followed Durant and Irving to Brooklyn in the hopes to form an Eastern Conference superteam.

    With Irving’s arrival to the Nets and the Warriors left with plenty of money as a result of Durant’s departure, Brooklyn’s All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell traded the Empire State for the Golden State, as he joined the Warriors in a high-profile restricted free-agent signing that lands him amongst some of the league’s best in terms of his earnings this coming season.

    Then there’s Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who have teamed up in Los Angeles to turn the Clippers into a contender in the very same building in which LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be grabbing Hollywood headlines night in and night out with the Lakers.

    Of course, despite all the money being thrown around in free agency, there is still a handful of “face of the franchise” players who are happily entering yet another year of their previously signed max contracts that earn them eye-popping wages.

    With all of that said, it’s time to look at where these stars rank amongst their peers in terms of what they will make in the 2019-20 season. Stacker compiled a list of the highest-paid NBA players using data from Spotrac. Players are ranked by their 2019 salary-cap hit and ties are broken by career earnings.

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  • #35. Anthony Davis

    - Team: Los Angeles Lakers
    - Position: PF
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,093,019
    - Total contract value: $127,171,313
    - Career earnings: $121,617,548

    It seemed like a long time coming, but Anthony Davis finally became a Laker after the Pelicans agreed to a trade that brought Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks back to New Orleans this past June. A cap hit of just over $27 million could be a bargain if Davis can stay healthy and continue his dominance that has seen him average a double-double for his career and earn All-NBA First Team honors three times (2015, 2017, 2018).

  • #34. Otto Porter Jr.

    - Team: Chicago Bulls
    - Position: SF
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,250,575
    - Total contract value: $106,524,975
    - Career earnings: $97,341,159

    While Otto Porter Jr. will be pulling in a large lump sum of cash from the Bulls this season, it was the Wizards who signed him to his current four-year, $106.5 million contract before eventually trading him to Chicago last February. In his 15 starts with the Bulls following the trade, Porter Jr. averaged 17.5 points per game, which would be a career-high scoring average over the course of a full season for him if he can keep contributing at that rate.

  • #33. Devin Booker

    - Team: Phoenix Suns
    - Position: SG
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,285,000
    - Total contract value: $158,253,000
    - Career earnings: $37,270,165

    During the 2018-19 season, Devin Booker led the Phoenix Suns in points per game (26.6), assists per game (6.8) and minutes (35). He has been nothing short of spectacular since being drafted in 2015 and for that the team rewarded him with a five-year, $158 million contract extension this last offseason. At just 22 years old, Booker still has plenty of room to grow and should he do so, his current cap hit of $27 million could seem like a bargain when looking back on it.

  • #32. Kristaps Porzingis

    - Team: Dallas Mavericks
    - Position: PF
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,285,000
    - Total contract value: $158,253,000
    - Career earnings: $45,935,094

    Drafted as the fourth overall pick in the same 2015 draft that shepherded Devin Booker to the league, it was also time for Kristaps Porzingis to be rewarded with his second contract at the expiration of his rookie deal. Only it didn’t end up being with the New York Knicks, where he played his first four injury-plagued seasons for a still-lost franchise that instead opted to trade the Latvian to Dallas. Now, Porzingis enters the first year of a brand new deal with the Mavericks that is basically identical to the deal that Booker signed with the Suns. The primary difference is that the Mavericks are yet to see what Porzingis can do in a Dallas uniform and are taking a gamble that he will return from a torn ACL, which he suffered with the Knicks, to a healthy and impactful star.

  • #31. D'Angelo Russell

    - Team: Golden State Warriors
    - Position: PG
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,285,000
    - Total contract value: $117,325,500
    - Career earnings: $50,302,978

    D’Angelo Russell could be the perfect example of the domino effect of big free-agent signings throughout the NBA. With Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors and teaming up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, it rendered the All-Star lefty point guard expendable. So, on came the same Warriors with newly opened cap space to make a restricted free-agent bid for Russell, adding depth to a backcourt that was in need of it—Klay Thompson continues to heal from a torn ACL that will keep him out most of the 2019-20 season. Russell dazzled in Brooklyn, averaging 21.1 points per game and 7.0 assists last season, but that was with the ball in his hands quite frequently as the Nets’ primary threat. Now, he is surrounded by talent in Golden State and in a system where almost every player seems to thrive. Perhaps that could be just what is needed to elevate Russell to the next tier of stardom.

  • #30. Karl-Anthony Towns

    - Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
    - Position: C
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,285,000
    - Total contract value: $158,253,000
    - Career earnings: $53,005,035

    The class of 2015 made out really well this summer, and as the first overall selection of that draft, it was inevitable that Karl-Anthony Towns would be rewarded handsomely by the Timberwolves. Towns continues to come into his own and has been named an All-Star the past two seasons while also cracking the All-NBA Third team in 2018. A lucrative contract for Towns was, without a doubt, the sensible move for Minnesota. He has been a model of consistency, posting career averages of 22.3 points and 11.9 rebounds and will be the centerpiece of whatever the franchise does in the immediate future.

  • #29. Nikola Jokic

    - Team: Denver Nuggets
    - Position: C
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,435,665
    - Total contract value: $147,710,050
    - Career earnings: $57,032,798

    Like the aforementioned Towns, Nikola Jokic is a walking double-double. Last year, he posted his best scoring average of his career, logging 20.1 points per game to go along with a career-best rebound average of 10.8. Entering the second-year of a $147.7 million deal, expectations for Jokic remain high as he is a vital part of a Nuggets team that surprised many last season by winning 54 regular-season games and finishing just three games behind the Warriors for the top seed in the Western Conference.

  • #28. Joel Embiid

    - Team: Philadelphia 76ers
    - Position: C
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,504,630
    - Total contract value: $147,710,050
    - Career earnings: $72,952,906

    With Joel Embiid, the question of whether or not he would be great always hinged on whether he could remain healthy enough to play. In 2018-19, Embiid left little doubt that he is a true superstar in today’s NBA. He put together his best season and posted game averages of 27.5 points (fourth in the NBA), 13.6 rebounds (second in the NBA) and 1.9 blocks. Now, he will look to lead Philadelphia past the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they fell to the eventual NBA champion Raptors last season; doing so for $27.5 million this coming year is a more-than-manageable figure for Philadelphia to handle.

  • #27. Andrew Wiggins

    - Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
    - Position: SF
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,504,630
    - Total contract value: $147,710,050
    - Career earnings: $77,822,123

    Andrew Wiggins has the benefit being on the second year of his second contract as opposed to the first, so an escalating salary has him earning just slightly more than his teammate Karl-Anthony Towns. Wiggins looks to continue to elevate his play along with his dollar value, as he has been a solid scoring option (18.1 points per game in 2018-19) but may need to increase his usual output if the Timberwolves are to get back into the position of a contender in the Western Conference.

  • #26. C. J. McCollum

    - Team: Portland Blazers
    - Position: SG
    - 2019 Salary-cap hit: $27,556,959
    - Total contract value: $106,633,449
    - Career earnings: $60,204,797

    As one-half of a dynamic backcourt duo in Portland, C. J. McCollum has consistently contributed for the consistently surprising Trailblazers. He provides yet another valid scoring option and can help create defensive mismatches for opponents who are busy worrying about Damian Lillard. With Portland advancing to the Western Conference Finals last year, should they continue to get value out of McCollum at $27.5 million, it would be hard to argue he is not worth it.

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