The NBA is the highest-paying basketball league in the world but with the NBA’s supermax deals making its superstars richer, the mid-level players aren’t left with much on their plate. China is an option for these players but with the CBA adopting new salary roles, Europe has become the top destination for basketball players who aren’t lucky enough to make it big in the NBA or who choose not to.

The biggest basketball league in Europe is the Euroleague and as such, the most lucrative basketball contracts on that side of the globe are there as well. Let’s take a look at the highest-paid players in the Euroleague for the 2019-20 season:

“Soccer" 1. Nikola Mirotic $5.4M

Nikola Mirotic returns to Europe after six seasons in the NBA. Mirotic was drafted in 2011 by the Houston Rockets but played four seasons for the Chicago Bulls. He played one year with the New Orleans Pelicans before splitting last season with the Pels and Milwaukee Bucks. Mirotic reportedly had a $45 million offer from the Utah Jazz but decided to take his talents to FC Barcelona. The exact amount of his Spanish contract is unknown however, most news agencies say it’s $5.4M ( with the lowest being $4.4M). Mirotic asked for $70M for 10 years. He settled for lesser but still, it’s the highest salary in the Euroleague today.

“Soccer" 2. Alexey Shved $4M

Since returning from a foiled NBA bid, Alexey Shved became the highest-paid player in the Euroleague before Nikola Mirotic arrived. Shved is a household name in Europe and he is one of the VTB United League and Euroleague stars so that was no surprise. Shved was the Eurocup MVP in 2017 and was an All-Euroleague second team member in 2018. He also led the Euroleague in scoring during the 2018 season.

“Soccer" 3. Edy Walter Tavares $3M

Edy Tavares was a mid-season addition to Real Madrid. He became the starting center and at the end of the season he got paid with a five-year $15M deal. Considering he got a total of $2M for two seasons playing in the NBA, this Euroleague contract is huge for Tavares. Tavares was named as the Best Defender I the Euroleague for the 2019 season. He was also a member of the All Euroleague second team last season.

“Soccer" 4. Nando de Colo $2.6M

Nando de Colo won two Euroleague titles with CSKA Moscow and he was the Euroleague MVP in 2016 and the Euroleague Final Four MVP that same season. De Colo played two seasons for the San Antonio Spurs and one for the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. After winning his second Euroleague crown with CSKA Moscow, De Colo signed a deal to play for Fenerbahce of the Turkish League.

“Soccer" 5. Shane Larkin $2.6M

Shane Larkin had his moments in the NBA but he never got the right situation nor the right contract. Well after winning Turkish League finals MVP and helping his team Anadolu Efes win the 2019 Turkish League title, Larkin is in what is perhaps his best place to date. He is making $2.6M this year and $2.8M next season if he stays in Turkey.

“Soccer" 6. Nick Calathes $2.5M

Nick Calathes is considered as the best pure point guard in Europe. He is the highest-paid player in his team,  Panathinaikos, making $1M more than the second-highest earned Jimmer Fredette. The leader of Panathinaikos has two more years left on his contract. He and Fredette form an exciting backcourt for their squad.

“Soccer" 7. Jan Vesely $2.43M

Jan Vesely was the 6th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards but lasted just two seasons with the big boys. He returned to the Euroleague after that and has been a standout for Fenerbahce. He has earned three All Euroleague first-team honors and is the current Euroleague MVP.

“Soccer" 8. Sergio Lull $2.2M

Sergio Lull is one of the European players who decided to stay in Europe and not leave for the NBA. Lull’s current contract expires in 2021 when he will be 33 years old. Lull was Euroleague MVP in 2017 and a two-time Euroleague Champion. He was also a five-time Spanish Champion with Real Madrid, the club he’s played for since 2007.

“Soccer" 9. Timofey Mozgov $2M

There was a time when it seemed Timofey Mozgov would be the next big thing in the NBA. Well, those days seems like eons ago. Mozgov once got a $64M contract from the Los Angeles Lakers but he never lived up to that deal. Now he’s back in Europe and playing for Khimki in his native Russia.

“Soccer" 10. Sergio Rodriguez $2M

Sergio Rodriguez turned down a $2.5M to stay in CSKA Moscow to become the leader of  Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. His new contract is worth $6M for three years and while he is making less, it’s the challenge in being a leader that led “Chaco” to his new team. With Ettore Messina as his new coach, Rodriguez looks to play out his best years with a new team.

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