NBA player contracts have sky-rocketed in recent years. For the 2019-20 season, a total of 28 players made at least $27.5M for the year of service to their mother teams.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the highest-paid player during the 2019-20 season. He is also the only player to make at last $40M during the season. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook and James Harden are the most expensive backcourt in the NBA with a total salary of $76M between them. On the other hand, two of the Top 10 highest-paid players in the league didn’t play a single game this season.
Let’s take a look at the Top 10 highest-paid players in the NBA during the 2019-20 NBA season:
1. Steph Curry $40,231,758.00
The highest-paid player in the NBA during the 2019-20 season was Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. The two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion made $40.2M this season as part of the supermax deal worth $201M which he signed in 2017.
Curry played just a total of five games so far this season. He played in Golden State’s first four games of the season before suffering a hand injury that required surgery. He returned to action last March 6, 2020, and scored 23 points in a losing effort against the Toronto Raptors. Curry averaged 20.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game for the Dubs.
2. Russell Westbrook $38,506,452.00
Shortly after Curry signed his deal with the Dubs, Russell Westbrook also got his five-year supermax deal worth $205M, which was the largest in the NBA when Russ signed on the dotted line. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Westbrook will be making $569,512.00 before taxes per game during the final year of his contract.
Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets last offseason for Chris Paul, reuniting him with former OKC teammate James Harden in the Houston backcourt. Westbrook averaged in a triple-double during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. His numbers tapered off a bit this season but were nevertheless impressive with 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game.
3. Chris Paul $38,506,452.00
One of the reasons why Russ was traded to Houston for Chris Paul ( or CP3 to the Thunder ) was the fact that their salaries matched. In 2018, CP3 signed a four-year extension worth $160M with the Rockets. However, Houston never got it going with him Harden and Capela so the core was disbanded. Paul was traded to the Thunder where he led an unlikely group to success.
The rebuilding Thunder didn’t just trade Westbrook, they also dealt Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers. OKC got Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous Alexander in return and the two combined force with Paul to lead the Thunder to an unlikely 4th place in the tough Western Conference. CP3 will make $44M in the final year of his deal in 2021-22.
4. John Wall $38,199,000.00
Also during the gold rush of 2017, John Wall signed a $207M extension with the Washington Wizards. When he signed the deal, Wall was coming off a season where he posted career-highs in scoring (23.1), assists ( 10.7), and steals (2.0). He also earned his 4th All-Star selection and was named to the All-NBA First team for the first time in his career.
However, Wall has played just a total of 72 games in the last three seasons while battling injuries. The latest setback came in February 2019 when he slipped in his home and tore his Achilles forcing him to miss the 2019-20 season. Wall had started returning to some basketball activities earlier this year.
5. James Harden 38,199,000.00
James Harden’s $228M deal in 2017 was the richest in NBA history when it was signed. Under the agreement, the Rockets added four-years and an additional $170M to Harden’s existing deal. Harden then rewarded the Rockets by leading the league in scoring during the 2018 season where he was also named as the 2018 NBA MVP.
The Beard has been named to the All-NBA First team in five out of the last six seasons and he has been an All-Star since 2013. During the 2019-20 season, Harden was off to a blazing start. He cooled down a bit after the All-Star break but was still the NBA’s scoring leader at 34.4 points per game. Harden also ranked 9th overall in assists at 7.4 dimes per contest.
6. LeBron James $37,436,858.00
In 2018, LeBron James opted out of his final season in Cleveland to sign a four-year deal with the Los Angles Lakers. After being a fixture in the NBA Finals, James missed the playoffs last season as his Lakers failed to qualify for the Top 8 spots in the Western Conference.
This season, James got a boost as the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from the Pelicans. With James and Davis leading them, the Lakers zoomed to the top of the Western Conference. LA led the West team standings when play was suspended and James was having a very impressive 17th season as he led the league in assists.
7. Kevin Durant $37,199,000.00
Kevin Durant has not played a single NBA game since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals but during the offseason, he was still able to sign a four-year $164M deal with the Brooklyn Nets last summer. In signing the deal, he nixed a five-year $221M offer from the Warriors. It was later confirmed that KD and Kyrie Irving took less than the max deal so DeAndre Jordan could sign with the Nets.
Sources: Durant will sign a 4-year, $164M deal with the Nets; Irving will sign 4-years, $141M.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
Durant won back to back NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors but decided to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. KD averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game last season. He was among the three Nets players who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus last month.
8. Blake Griffin $34,449,964.00
Blake Griffin and the LA Clippers went through a very comprehensive courtship that included the Clippers offering to retire Griffin’s jersey but five months after he signed a five-year deal worth $171.1M, the Clippers traded him to the Detroit Pistons. Griffin had a renaissance season with the Pistons last year as he returned to All-Star form. However, the 2019-20 season has been difficult.
Dealing with knee issues, Griffin underwent surgery and was expected to return in June. He played just a total of 18 games for the Pistons this season, averaging 15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game before he was shut down. The Pistons made the playoffs last season but struggled this year with their superstar playing like a shell of his old self.
9. Kyle Lowry $33,996,296.00
Kyle Lowry won his first NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last season and then re-signed with the team last October. He played a big part in the Raptors’ title run as he averaged a career-high 8.7 assists per game last season and scored 26 points in the series-clinching Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Lowry averaged 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game during the 2019-20 season. He is playing in his 8th season with Toronto and is the franchise leader in three-pointers made at 1,223, and steals at 746. Lowry is also the team’s all-time leader in the playoffs for games, points, assists, steals, and three-pointers.
10. Paul George $33,005,556.00
Paul George was traded by the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason to the LA Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. In Los Angeles, PG13 joined Kawhi Leonard to establish one of the best duos in the league. With Leonard and George, the Clippers were installed as preseason favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.
George played in a total of 21.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game during the 2019-20 season. He played in a total of 42 out of the 64 games of the Clippers this season. Although he was dealing with injuries, George had returned to full health when the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.