Who are the 20 highest paid NBA players? Who is the highest paid NBA player in 2023? These are important questions to ask as the Association heads to a crucial offseason.
There are normal names to look at when checking in on those who are backing up the Brinks Truck every year. Below, we look at the 20 highest paid NBA players of 2023 with a positional break down at the bottom.
20. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
- Anthony Davis contract: 5 years, $189.9 million
- Anthony Davis salary (average): $37.98 million
Davis’ struggles with injuries are by now well known. He’s missed nearly half of the Lakers’ games to injury since helping them win the NBA title in the Orlando Bubble to conclude the 2019-20 season. Davis missed 26 games this past season, too.
Despite all of this, AD did play a huge role in returning the Lakers to relevance in 2022-23. He averaged 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds as Los Angeles earned a surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals. Not too shabby for the 20th highest paid NBA player.
Related: Top 2023 NBA free agents
19. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
- Klay Thompson contract: 5 years, $189.90 million
- Klay Thompson salary (average): $37.98 million
After missing two full seasons to injury, Thompson returned with a bang in 2021-22. The three-time NBA champion actually averaged his highest point total per 36 minutes in his career. He then followed that up by a career-best performance this past regular season. This included Klay averaging north of 23.5 points on 44% shooting from distance in his final 28 games.
Unfortunately, there’s other issues that come into play here. Thompson was a disaster in Golden State’s Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s also set to become a free agent after the 2023-24 and seemingly wants one final max contract.
18. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Rudy Gobert contract: 5 years, $205 million
- Rudy Gobert salary (average): $41 million
Gobert’s first season with Minnesota after a blockbuster trade from the Utah Jazz last summer did not go according to plan. Not only did the ‘Wolves lose in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, he averaged his lowest PPG and RPG total since back in 2017-18. In short, the pairing of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, another one of the highest paid NBA players, did not work out well.
For Minnesota, this is an albatross of a contract. Gobert is set to count a combined $84.8 million over the next two seasons. He also has a whopping $46.66 million player option for 2025-26, one that Gobert will undoubtedly exercise.
17. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers (free agent)
- Russell Westbrook contract: 5 years, $206.79 million
- Russell Westbrook salary (average): $41.36 million
An enigma of sorts, Westbrook is slated to hit free agency in July. At 34 years old and well past his prime, the former MVP can’t expect to be one of the highest paid NBA players moving forward.
With that said, Russ did perform well with the Clippers after a buyout from the Utah Jazz. He actually averaged 23.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists on 36% shooting from distance in the playoffs. Some team will have interest in him.
16. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- Luka Doncic contract: 5 years, $212.28 million
- Luka Doncic salary (average): $42.46 million
Doncic’s ability to become one of the highest paid NBA players in the summer of 2021 was made possible by the fact that he earned All-NBA honors twice within his first three NBA seasons. For the Mavericks, there’s not going to be any complaints from billionaire owner Mark Cuban.
Throughout his first five seasons in the Association, Doncic is averaging 27.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per outing. He put up north of 32 points per game in 2022-23. It’s now all about the Mavericks appeasing Doncic and finding him more help.
15. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
- Zach LaVine contract: 5 years, $215 million
- Zach LaVine salary (average): $43.03 million
Since entering the NBA as an incredibly raw, but athletic two-guard in the 2014 NBA Draft, Zach LaVine has developed into so much more. Becoming one of the better scorers in basketball from anywhere on the floor, LaVine hasn’t shown any hesitancy to let it fly from distance, yet he can also slam dunk with the best of them, as shown in his various Dunk Contest competitions. The question now is whether LaVine will be with the Bulls long-term.
14. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Damian Lillard contract: 4 years, $176.27 million
- Damian Lillard salary (average): $44.07 million
There’s an open question whether Lillard will remain with the Blazers after a disappointing 2022-23 season for the future Hall of Famer and his team. Portland will have to prove that it is committed to building a contender for the star guard.
What we do know is that Lillard signed a two-year, $121.77 million contract extension back in July of 2022. Said extension kicks in during the 2025-26 season. It will be the largest NBA contract we’ve seen on a per-year basis when it does kick in.
13. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
- Kawhi Leonard contract: 4 years, $176.27 million
- Kawhi Leonard salary (average): $44.07 million
Even after suffering a partically torn ACL during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Clippers handed Leonard a super-max contract back in the summer of 2021. For good reason. The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been among the best three-and-D wings in modern NBA history throughout his career.
Unfortunately, injuries have limited the 31-year-old Leonard to 102 games since the end of the 2019-20 season. His deal calls for $45.64 million next season and a player option of $48.79 million in 2024-25. Ouch!
12. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
- Paul George contract: 4 years, $176.3 million
- Paul George salary (average): $44.07 million
It was a surprise to see George sign a max contract with Los Angeles back in December of 2020. He could have earned a lot more cash if he had waited until the summer the following year.
Either way, George remains one of the best two-way forwards in the entire Association when healthy. But much like Leonard, he has not been able to remain on the court in recent years. George has missed 87 of a possible 164 games since the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
11. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
- Ja Morant contract: 5 years, $193 million ($213 million max value)
- Ja Morant salary: $38.6 million
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant turned a breakout season into one of the largest contracts in NBA history. The 23-year-old – the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft – landed a supermax extension worth $193 million and it could potentially hit $213 million over five years.
Since signing that extension back in July of 2022, it’s been all downhill for Morant from an off-court perspective. That includes multiple suspensions for waiving a firearm in public. Morant currently remains suspended by the Grizzlies and is likely facing a long-term ban from the NBA due to his actions. In the process, he could end up giving up tens of millions and what looked to be a brilliant NBA career.
10 highest paid NBA players
10. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Karl-Anthony Towns contract: 4 years, $224 million
A one-dimensional performer, Towns’ status as one of the 10 highest paid NBA players isn’t necessarily a good look for the Wolves. It has actually led to speculation that he will be traded this summer.
The former No. 1 pick is coming off his worst statistical performance since his rookie campaign back in 2015-16. His new deal calls for a player option worth $62.06 million in 2027-28. Ouch!
9. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo contract: 5 years, $228.2 million
- Giannis Antetokounmpo salary (average): $45.64 million
There was some talk of the Greek Freak wanting to take his talents to a larger market. That all came to an end when he signed this $228.2 million extension with Milwaukee in December of 2020. Months later, Giannis led his Bucks to the NBA title.
Now under contract through at least the 2024-25 season, he’s going to be a fixture in Wisconsin moving forward. Much to the glee of Bucks fans. The No. 15 overall pick of the Bucks back in 2013, Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists since the start of the 2017-18 season. Yeah, he’s a generational talent.
8. Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
- Kevin Durant contract: 4 years, $194.22 million
- Kevin Durant salary (average): $48.55 million
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Durant sign this current contract last August. The two-time NBA Finals MVP would have earned a lot more money if he had waited until free agency this coming summer.
At 34, Durant returned to the Nets after initially requesting a trade this past summer, teaming up with Ben Simmons for a Brooklyn squad with championship aspirations. Yet, Kyrie Irving’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks changed things up. Within 48 hours, Durant landed with the Phoenix Suns in a blockbuster to end all blockbusters. Whether Durant is able to have success in Phoenix remains to be seen. But he remains one of the modern faces of the Association.
7. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
- LeBron James contract: 2 years, 97.1 million
- LeBron James salary (average): $48.56 million
LeBron James’ contract situation was a major talking point since his Lakers finished up shop on a disastrous 49-loss 2021-22 campaign. James, 38, was set to become a free agent following the 2022-23 season. He is now one of the highest paid NBA players via a contract extension that can pay him upwards of $50 million in his Age-40 season.
This past season saw King James return the Lakers to relevance with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Though, there’s now a question about his future with the organization and in the NBA. James is taking time about making a decision about his future.
6. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
- Jimmy Butler contract: 3 years, $146.40 million
- Jimmy Butler salary (average): $48.80 million
The $146.4 million extension Miami signed Butler to back in August of 2021 threw some for a loop. He’s 33 years old and won’t see said contract come to an end until he’s 36 years old. In reality, Butler’s standing as of the highest paid NBA players was seen as a detriment to the Heat.
Then, things changed once the 2023 NBA Playoffs started. Butler put the Heat on his back in a Round 1 win over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. After taking out the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals, Miami earned a trip to the NBA Finals via a seven-game series win over the Boston Celtics. With two NBA Finals appearances in the past four years, Butler has proven he’s worth every cent.
5. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
- Joel Embiid contract: 4 years, $195.92 million
- Joel Embiid salary (average): $48.98 million
No one could have envisioned that Embiid would be at where he is now after he missed his first two NBA seasons (2014-16) with a foot injury. Philadelphia’s first-round selection back in 2014, it’s been a long road to dominance for Embiid.
This past regular season saw the star center average a league-best 33.1 points to go with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 55% from the field. He’s the single-most dominant center in the NBA since Shaquille O’Neal was starring for the Los Angeles Lakers. And he’s now being paid like it after signing an extension back in August of 2021.
4. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
- Bradley Beal contract: 5 years, $251 million
- Bradley Beal salary (average): $50.2 million
A three-time All-Star, Beal is very well regarded around the league, which is partially why teams are always itching to trade for the scoring-first shooting guard, but the issue is, the Wizards value him even more.
Currently 29, Beal’s contract keeps him in Washington through his age-33 season. Though, the final year of the deal is actually a player option estimated to be worth roughly $57.1 million. There’s also a chance that Washington looks to trade Beal this summer and starts anew with a rebuild.
3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
- Nikola Jokic contract: 5 years, $264 million
- Nikola Jokic salary (average): $52.8 million
Jokic’s deal is the richest contract in the history of the NBA and only behind Stephen Curry in NBA history when it comes to per-year average. It also includes a $60 million player option for the 2027-28 season.
To say that the two-time NBA MVP has earned this would be an understatement. He’s coming off the best statistical two-year run in the modern history of the NBA and is seen as a legit franchise cornerstone for a Nuggets team making its first NBA Finals appearance.
2. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
- Devin Booker contract: 4 years, $214 million
- Devin Booker salary (average): $53.5 million
Devin Booker is the Phoenix Suns. Still just 26 years old, Booker has been with the Suns through thick and thin. Whether it was when they were a bottom-of-the-barrel team, or now that they’re annual contenders to win an NBA Title.
While Booker is undoubtedly one of the best offensive players in basketball, his next task will be finding a way to get back to the NBA Finals after premature playoff exits each of the past two seasons.
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (highest paid NBA player)
- Stephen Curry contract: 4 years, $215.35 million
- Stephen Curry salary (average): $54.84 million
Back in August of 2021, Curry became the first player in Association history to sign two NBA contracts worth north of $200 million. In doing so, the four-time champion set the bar in a big way. For Golden State, it’s not going to come cheap. Once Curry’s contract comes to a culmination in 2025-26, he’s going to count an eye-opening $59.61 million against the cap.
It’s not like Curry has not rewarded the Warriors’ billionaire owners. He led Golden State to four titles and six NBA Finals appearances in an eight-year span — helping the team build their new arena on the San Francisco waterfront. Yeah, Curry has been a boon for co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
Highest paid NBA players by position (annually)
- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: $53.84 million
- Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: $44.07 million
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $42.46 million
- Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers: $41.36 million (free agent)
- Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $53.5 million
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards: $50.2 million
- Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $43 million
- Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: $37.98 million
- Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors: $35 million
- James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers: $34.3 million (free agent)
- C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans: $33.33 million
- Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers: $32.60 million
- Tyler Herro, Miami Heat: $32.5 million
- Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat: $48.80 million
- Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
- Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
- LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: $42.83 million
- Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: $35.5 million (player option)
- Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns: $48.55 million
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: $45.64 million
- Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers: $37.98 million
- Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers: $36 million
- Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $34.23 million
- Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: $52.8 million
- Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: $48.98 million
- Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves: $41 million
- Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $32.6 million
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: $31.65 million
Highest paid NBA players (FAQs)
- Who is set to become the NBA’s highest paid player? Damian Lillard signed a two-year, $121.77 million contract extension with Portland back in July of 2022. Once it kicks in, he’ll be the highest paid player in NBA history.
- What was Michael Jordan’s salary? This six-time NBA champion earned $33.1 million for the 1997-98 NBA season. It remained the highest salary in the NBA until 2018. The second highest-paid NBA player that season was Patrick Ewing at $20.5 million.
- What is minimum NBA salary? The minimum salary for a rookie during the 2022-23 season was $953,000. That number is expected to increase to $982,000 for 2023-24.
- Who is the highest paid NBA player by year? Nikola Jokic will earn that mantle in 2023-24 by averaging 54.04 million. Fellow two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry was the highest-paid on a per-year basis in 2022-23, earning $53.84 million.
- Which NBA player has the highest net worth? LeBron James is said to have a net worth of $1.2 billion, making him the richest current NBA player. The aforementioned Michael Jordan boasts the highest net worth of any player in Association history at $1.7 billion.
- When will we update our list of the highest paid NBA players? Free agency is slated to start on July 6. Some new contracts will come into play then. Updates will be done roughly a week before then.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.