The NBA kicks off a new season on Tuesday night with the defending champion Toronto Raptors taking on the New Orleans Pelicans.
That game will feature one of the NBA’s ten highest-paid players – Toronto’s Kyle Lowry – while two more will face off later on Tuesday in Los Angeles when LeBron James and the Lakers tip off their season against Paul George and the Clippers.
The average NBA player salary is $7.7 million for the season that starts on Tuesday and will run through June 2020. That number is up from an average salary of almost $6.4 million for the previous season, according to Basketball Reference.
NBA salaries continue to rise year to year, and the highest-paid player’s earnings are no exception, as the Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s earnings for the 2019-2020 season are ticking upward to $40.2 million from $37.5 million for the previous season.
Here are the ten highest-paid NBA players for the league’s new season, starting with Curry, according to Spotrac.
The former MVP, who has won three championships with the Warriors since 2015, signed a five-year contract worth $201.2 million with the team in 2017. The deal pays Curry an average annual salary of more than $40 million, with the annual value eventually increasing to more than $45 million by 2021.
Houston acquired Westbrook in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in July. The All-Star guard had previously signed a five-year, $206.8 million contract extension with his previous team in 2017 that leaves him tied for the second-best annual salary in 2019 behind Curry, according to Spotrac.
Chris Paul finds himself tied with Westbrook for second on the ranking of the NBA’s highest-paid players for the second year in a row. In fact, Paul and Westbrook will switch teams for the new NBA season, as the two players were traded for each other in the mega-deal between Houston and Oklahoma City over the summer. Paul’s four-year, $159.7 million contract expires in 2022.
Another former league MVP, Harden is entering his 11th season in the NBA and the first year of a four-year, $171.1 million contract extension he signed with the Rockets in 2017 (the new deal extends a previous contract he signed in 2016 that paid him an average annual salary of $29.5 million).
Durant left Golden State to sign a four-year contract worth $164.3 million with the Nets in the 2019 off season despite the fact that he’ll miss the entire upcoming season due to a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the 2019 playoffs. He’s set to make over $42 million in the final year of the contract, which expires in 2023.
Wall is also expected to miss the entire upcoming season due to injury (he also tore an Achilles tendon). Regardless, the Wizards’ All-Star point guard will rank among the league’s highest-paid players for the foreseeable future, thanks to a four-year, $171.1 million contract extension he signed in 2017 that will eventually pay him more than $47 million annually before it expires in 2023.
The four-time MVP took his talents to the Lakers in 2018, signing a four-year deal worth $153.3 million overall. As CNBC Make It noted at the time, James will have earned more than $387 million in total salary over his career by the time his current contract expires in 2022, which will give him the highest all-time contract earnings in NBA history.
Lowry and the Raptors are entering the new season fresh off the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship. The veteran point guard will also see his salary jump a few million dollars from the $31 million he earned in the 2018-2019 season.
Griffin was traded from the Clippers to the Detroit Pistons in January 2018, more than a year after he signed a five-year, $171.2 million contract extension that will expire in 2022.
The Clippers acquired George in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder in July, taking on the All-Star’s four-year, $136.9 million contract in the process.
Missing from this list of the 10 best-paid NBA stars are both last season’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, who was crowned the NBA Finals MVP in June after winning a championship with Toronto.
Leonard, 28, just missed cracking the top 10, as he’ll make $32.7 million this season from a new three-year contract (worth $103 million overall) he signed with the Clippers in July.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Antetokounmpo will make $25.8 million in the upcoming season (making him just the 41st highest-paid player in the NBA, according to Spotrac) as part of a four-year, $100 million extension he signed with Milwaukee in 2016. He’ll be a free agent in 2021, and Antetokounmpo is already expected to be highly sought after and could land a new deal that would make him among the league’s highest-paid players.
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