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Highest-paid NBA players by season

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The highest-paid NBA players by season over the past twelve seasons have received contracts with salaries noted in the twenty-million-dollar range. In this twelve-year span, Kevin Garnett received $28,000,000, which was the highest salary payment of any NBA player, during the 2003–04 season. Garnett has been the highest-paid NBA player per year in seven of the past twelve NBA seasons. Michael Jordan was the first NBA player to sign a contract worth over thirty million dollars in a season. During the 1997–98 season, Jordan earned $33,000,000. Kobe Bryant become just the second player to reach this milestone when the 2013–14 season began.[1] LeBron James became the third in the 2016–17 season. Stephen Curry became the first player to eclipse $40-Million per year when he signed a record 5-year contract worth $201-Million in 2017.

Beginning in the 1984–85 NBA season, the NBA's first salary cap was introduced. The NBA salary cap is the maximum dollar amount each NBA team can spend on its players for the season. However, the NBA uses a "soft" salary cap, which means that significant "salary exceptions" allow NBA teams to exceed their allotted amount in order to sign players. The salary cap is determined during the offseason, but as stated earlier, it is liable to change.[2]

Michael Jordan, who earned $33,000,000 in the 1997–98 NBA season, attempts a slam dunk at the old Boston Garden.

An exception is necessary to sign a player for a contract that would exceed the salary cap threshold of the "soft cap". The Larry Bird exception, more commonly known as Bird Rights, allows teams to re-sign a current player only if he has played for that particular team for a minimum of three years.[3] Another exception known as the mid-level exception allows for teams that are over the salary cap to sign one or more players as long as they do not exceed the total amount of the average NBA salary.[4] Next, the bi-annual exception can be used by teams every other year to sign a free agent(s) for up to two years at an amount set by the NBA.[5] Finally, the rookie player exception allows any NBA team to sign their first-round draft pick to a contract based upon a scale previously set forth by the NBA. Another option for teams would be to assign players to a league-assigned minimum salary contract for a maximum of two years.

According to 2010–11 NBA season game performance, the league's best players were not its highest-paid players. Each year there are ten players selected to one of the two All-NBA Teams. Out of those ten players chosen that year, Kobe Bryant was the only player that was also among the game's ten highest-paid during the 2010–11 NBA season.[6]



Player [7] Salary Team
Stephen Curry $34,682,550 Golden State Warriors
LeBron James $33,285,709 Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Millsap $31,269,231 Denver Nuggets
Gordon Hayward $29,727,900 Boston Celtics
Blake Griffin $29,512,900 Los Angeles Clippers
Kyle Lowry $28,703,704 Toronto Raptors
Russell Westbrook $28,530,608 Oklahoma City Thunder
Mike Conley, Jr. $28,530,608 Memphis Grizzlies
James Harden $28,299,399 Houston Rockets
DeMar DeRozan $27,739,975 Toronto Raptors


LeBron James became the third player to sign a contract worth over thirty million dollars in a season, after Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
Player [8] Salary Team
LeBron James $30,963,450 Cleveland Cavaliers
Al Horford $26,540,100 Boston Celtics
DeMar DeRozan $26,540,100 Toronto Raptors
James Harden $26,540,100 Houston Rockets
Kevin Durant $26,540,100 Golden State Warriors
Russell Westbrook $26,540,100 Oklahoma City Thunder
Mike Conley, Jr. $26,540,100 Memphis Grizzlies
Dirk Nowitzki $25,000,000 Dallas Mavericks
Carmelo Anthony $24,559,380 New York Knicks
Damian Lillard $24,328,425 Portland Trail Blazers


Kobe Bryant, who spent his entire 20-year career in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, was the highest-paid player in the league from the 2009–10 until his retirement at the conclusion of the 2015–16 season.
Player [9] Salary Team
Kobe Bryant $25,000,000 Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James $22,970,500 Cleveland Cavaliers
Carmelo Anthony $22,875,000 New York Knicks
Dwight Howard $22,359,364 Houston Rockets
Chris Bosh $22,192,730 Miami Heat
Chris Paul $21,468,695 Los Angeles Clippers
Kevin Durant $20,158,622 Oklahoma City Thunder
Derrick Rose $20,093,064 Chicago Bulls
Dwyane Wade $20,000,000 Miami Heat
LaMarcus Aldridge $19,689,000 San Antonio Spurs



Kevin Garnett was the highest-paid player during the 2008–09, 2007–08, and 2006–07 seasons; he relinquished that position to Shaquille O'Neal for two seasons, but was also the highest-paid player during the 2003–04, 2002–03, 2001–02, and 2000–01 seasons.
Player [16] Salary Team
Kevin Garnett $24,751,934 Boston Celtics
Jason Kidd $21,372,000 Dallas Mavericks
Jermaine O'Neal $21,372,000 Toronto Raptors
Kobe Bryant $21,262,500 Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal $21,000,000 Phoenix Suns
Allen Iverson $20,840,625 Detroit Pistons
Stephon Marbury $20,840,625 Boston Celtics
Tim Duncan $20,598,704 San Antonio Spurs
Tracy McGrady $20,370,437 Houston Rockets
Ray Allen $18,388,430 Boston Celtics


Player [18] Salary Team
Kevin Garnett $23,751,934 Boston Celtics
Shaquille O'Neal $21,000,000 Phoenix Suns
Jason Kidd $19,728,000 New Jersey Nets
Jermaine O'Neal $19,728,000 Indiana Pacers
Kobe Bryant $19,490,625 Los Angeles Lakers
Tim Duncan $19,014,188 San Antonio Spurs
Allen Iverson $19,012,500 Denver Nuggets
Stephon Marbury $19,012,500 New York Knicks
Tracy McGrady $18,257,750 Houston Rockets
Baron Davis $16,440,000 Golden State Warriors



Player[27] Salary Team
Patrick Ewing $18,500,000 New York Knicks
Shaquille O'Neal $17,000,000 Los Angeles Lakers
David Robinson $14,841,000 San Antonio Spurs
Kevin Garnett $14,000,000 Minnesota Timberwolves
Alonzo Mourning $13,130,000 Miami Heat
Juwan Howard $13,125,000 Washington Wizards
Hakeem Olajuwon $12,943,000 Houston Rockets
Dikembe Mutombo $11,218,000 Atlanta Hawks
Jayson Williams $11,000,000 New Jersey Nets
Scottie Pippen $11,000,000 Houston Rockets

See also


  1. ^ "Kobe Bryant to Become NBA's Second Ever $30-Million Player". Archived from the original on 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^ "NBA Salary Cap History". 
  3. ^ "NBA Salary Cap Explained". 
  4. ^ "Mid Level Exception". 
  5. ^ "Bi-annual Exception". 
  6. ^ Badenhausen, Kurt (2010-11-04). "The NBA's Highest-Paid Players". Forbes. 
  7. ^ "2017-18 NBA Player Contracts". Retrieved 2017-08-14. 
  8. ^ "The NBA's 25 highest-paid players for the 2016-17 season". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  9. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2015-2016". ESPN. Retrieved 2015-10-30. 
  10. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2014-2015". ESPN. Retrieved 2015-01-17. 
  11. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2013-2014". ESPN. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  12. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2012-2013". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  13. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2011-2012". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  14. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2010-2011". ESPN ( Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  15. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2009-2010". ESPN ( Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  16. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2008-2009". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  17. ^ a b "NBA Salaries". Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  18. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2007-2008". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  19. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2006-2007". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  20. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2005-2006". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  21. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2004-2005". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  22. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2003-2004". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  23. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2002-2003". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  24. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2001-2002". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  25. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 2000-2001". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  26. ^ "NBA Player Salaries - 1999-2000". ESPN ( Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  27. ^ . Sports Reference LLC Retrieved 2016-08-20.  Missing or empty |title= (help)