The National Basketball Association is the world’s highest paying sports league. The key to earning big salaries is winning championships.
1. Lebron James – $30.96 million
James has become the star of the NBA since Kobe Bryant’s decision to retire. Cleveland believes Lebron James’ return to Cleveland was worth $500 million, even without a championship. In 2016, James earned the maximum: $100 million over three years. Lebron is expected to redo his contract in 2018.
2. DeMar DeRozan – $26.54 million
Toronto Raptor’s top scorer DeMar DeRozan has earned his salary with the team, while also playing a small role on Team USA’s team this summer who brought home a gold medal. The Raptors have struggled to keep players from leaving including Vince Carter and Chris. DeRozan reached a deal with Toronto for $137.5 million over five years.
3. Russell Westbrook – $26.54 million
With the exit of Kevin Durant, Westbrook has become the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he has become a leader is triple-double’s and is a top contender for becoming MVP this season. Westbrook reached a deal with Oklahoma for $85.7 million spread over three years.
4. Mike Conley – $26.54
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley reached a deal worth $153 million over the next five years. Conley has been a star point guard for the Grizzlies but has failed to make an All-Star team in the last nine seasons. Conley has averaged 13.6 points and 1.5 steals every game for his entire career heading into this season.
5. James Harden, $26.54 million
Other than Steph Curry, James Harden is the best scorer in the NBA. Harden managed to score 29 points-per-game last season. Harden has been criticized for playing selfishly but the Rockets appreciate his performance. Harden reached a four-year deal worth $118 million. Harden reached career highs last season with 29 points per game and was the top leader in minutes
6. Kevin Durant – $26.54 million
Kevin Durant just became the Golden State Warriors new hope for this season. Just days after the NBA Finals, Durant inked a $54.3 deal for two years, but also has the option to leave Golden State if things go south quickly. Durant left Oklahoma City for the Golden State bringing with him, four league scoring champion titles.
7. Al Horford – $26.54 million
Al Horford was an Atlanta star before moving to Boston where he signed a four-year, $113 million deal with the Celtics. Horford has reached a career high of 18.6 points and 10 rebounds per game.
8. Dirk Nowitski – $25 million
Dallas Maverick star Dirk Nowitski has become the team’s greatest player ever. He is entering his 19th season and just reached a two-year deal for $50 million. Nowitski is a shoe-in for the NBA Hall of Fame.
9. Carmelo Anthony – $24.6 million
Carmelo Anthony has been with the Knicks since 2011 and has signed two deals earning him $138 million, yet has only produced one playoff series victory. Carmelo enters the new season, after winning a third Olympic gold medal. Carmelo will now have a few new faces to work with including Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.
10. Damian Lillard – $24.33
Lillard enters the new season as a two-time NBA All Star and is a heavy favorite to become league MVP. Portland has paid $120 million to keep him until 2021. Lillard was a star during Portland’s playoff run, where he averaged 26.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 91% free throw shooting.