Now that the rosters for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game are set, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at the highest-paid non-All Stars of the 2013-14 NBA season. Surprisingly, 10 of the top 22 highest-paid players in the league will not appear in the All-Star game on February 16 in New Orleans. Instead, several talented and undervalued players outside the top 50 highest salaries make up the two rosters that consist of the All-Star Game’s 24 total players: Stephen Curry (60), DeMar DeRozan (61), Paul Millsap (62), John Wall (95), Kyrie Irving (123) and Damian Lillard (199). Here’s a look at the highest-paid players that won’t take the court at the newly minted Smoothie King Center for the 63rd NBA All-Star game.
10. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – 2013-14 salary: $14,693,906
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook is the 22nd highest-paid player in the NBA and will not be participating in the NBA All-Star game for the first time since 2010. The three-time Western Conference All-Star (2011-13) in many ways didn’t make the team because of a devastating knee injury in late December that has kept him out indefinitely. Before the injury, the 25-year-old was averaging 21.3 points per game to go along with 7.0 assists in 25 appearances.
The Thunder are definitely looking forward to seeing their franchise point guard reappear after the All-Star break as expected, but in the meantime Kevin Durant will continue to carry Oklahoma City, having averaged 35.9 points per game in January. With two knee injuries in the last nine months the Thunder hope Westbrook’s knee holds up in the future as he gets a million-dollar raise each year over the final three seasons of his contract, which expires in 2016-17.
9. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – 2013-14 salary: $14,860,523
The reigning defensive player of the year was left out of the NBA All-Star game for the second straight year. However, much like Westbrook, the 7-footer has been troubled by the injury bug this year. Marc Gasol also suffered a knee injury (MCL sprain), which caused him to miss two months of play having only competed in 21 games thus far. The Spaniard’s numbers are slightly down from last year across all categories although he’s been playing nearly three minutes less per contest in 2013-14.
The 29-year-old has only made one NBA-All Star game in six tries, competing in the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando. That year Gasol, a defensive-minded player, tied a career-high in points per game at 14.6 compared to the 13.8 ppg he’s averaging this year. He only has one year remaining left on his contract as next year he will make $15.8 million as a 30-year-old.
8. Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls – 2013-14 salary: $15,300,000
Carlos Boozer, the 19th highest-paid player in the NBA in 2013-14, appears to be on the downhill part of his career as his stats have declined significantly from his back-to-back All-Star years in 2007 and 2008. In that two-year period with the Utah Jazz, the power forward averaged a double-double and also had career highs in points per game with a 20.9 ppg average in 2007 and 21.1 in 2008. This year the 32-year-old is averaging only 14.8 ppg.
Since signing his five-year deal worth $75 million with the Bulls prior to the 2010-11 season, the former second round pick hasn’t averaged more than 17.5 points per game or higher than 9.6 rebounds per game. A lot of that might have to do with the emergence of fellow frontcourt mate and 2014 NBA All-Star Joakim Noah, who has been averaging a double-double for the past season-and-a-half. With a year left on his contract, Boozer will make $16.8 million in the 2014-15 season.
7. Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets – 2013-14 salary: $15,333,334
“The Truth” as Paul Pierce is known, is in his first year with the Brooklyn Nets after spending the last 15 years with the Boston Celtics. During his time in Boston, Pierce compiled more than 24,000 points and made it to 10 NBA All-Star games. He also won a title with the Celtics in 2008 where he was named Finals MVP.
At the age of 36, Pierce is missing his second consecutive All-Star game after making 10 out of 11 from 2002-2012. His production so far in 2013-14 has seen a significant drop-off from his playing days with the Celtics as he’s averaging a career-low 13.5 points per game. He’s also averaging the lowest minutes per game total of his career, only playing 29.8 mpg. The good thing for the Nets and other potential suitors is that Pierce is in the final year of his contract and will likely be making under $10 million per year in the future for the first time since his rookie deal ended 12 years ago.
6. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – 2013-14 salary: $17,632,688
The current emotional state of Chicago Bulls fans is bleak as Derrick Rose looks like he may never play at the same level ever again–if he plays at all. After missing all of the 2012-13 season to an injury on his left knee, Rose injured his right knee 10 games into the 2013-14 campaign and will miss the remainder of the season. After experiencing back-to-back lost seasons due to knee surgeries, the Bulls investment in the young superstar now looks like a mistake.
Rose was well worth the investment at the time the Bulls committed to him having just won the league MVP months earlier during his third season in the NBA. That year in 2010-11, the young point guard averaged 25.0 points per game to go along with 7.7 assists and gave the Bulls the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference NBA Playoffs. After signing a five-year extension worth $94.31 million a month into his fourth season, Rose has been cursed with injuries having only competed in 49 games over the last three seasons. With his current deal, the 25-year-old will make $18.86 million in 2014-15, $20.09 million in 2015-16 and $21.32 million in his final contract year of 2016-17.
5. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies – 2013-14 salary: $17,800,000
Having made his second ever All-Star appearance in 2013 by averaging a double-double for the Memphis Grizzlies, this year “Z-Bo” as Zach Randolph is known by his admirers, did not make the Western Conference All-Star Roster despite putting up near identical numbers. Randolph finished the 2012-13 season with an average of 15.4 points per game to go along with 11.2 rebounds per contest compared to averaging 17.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg through 46 contests in 2013-14.
One of the primary differences from a year ago at this time is how the Memphis Grizzlies have been competing under new head coach Dave Joerger. Last year under the direction of Lionel Hollins the Grizzlies were 33-18 heading into the All-Star break and fifth in the Western Conference. This year? The Grizzlies are currently out of the playoffs in ninth place with a 26-22 record (through Feb. 5). The good news is the Grizzlies are hitting their stride as Marc Gasol returns to health having won 7 of their past 10 games (through Feb. 5) and could make a playoff push. Randolph, 32, has a player option for 2014-15 season that will pay him slightly less at $16.5 million, which would be surprising if he chose not to opt-in.
4. Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings – 2013-14 salary: $17,888,932
With the 13th highest salary for the 2013-14 NBA season, a lot more should be expected from Rudy Gay of the Sacramento Kings. However, despite his high salary, the 27-year-old has yet to appear in an NBA All-Star game in eight opportunities. Gay, who began his career in Memphis where he played for his first six-and-a-half years, has been moved twice in the last year, getting traded to Toronto in January of 2013 before moving onto Sacramento in December, 2013.
There is no question the former UCONN star can score as his career average is 18.1 points per game. In fact, this year Gay is having his best scoring year to date averaging 20.3 points per contest through 44 games, and a 20.8 average through 27 games with Sacramento. However, the 6’7″ small forward doesn’t do much else as he has averaged 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in his eight-year career. Gay has a player option for 2014-15, which he’s most definitely likely to act on as he’ll be earning $19.31 million next season.
3. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets – 2014 salary: $18,466,130
Only a few years ago Deron Williams was in the conversation as the best point guard in the league as many argued in favor of either him or Chris Paul. Well, those days are long gone as Williams is currently trying to rediscover his game again with the Brooklyn Nets. “D-Will”, as he is often referred to by fans, has most recently been supplanted by Shaun Livingston as the starting point guard after coming back from an ankle injury a couple weeks ago.
Averaging career lows in points and assists since his rookie year in 2005-06, the 6-3 point guard is putting up a mere 13.5 points and 6.9 assists per game in 2013-14, a noticeable decline from 2012-13 when he was averaging 18.9 ppg and 7.7 apg. In Williams first full year with the Nets in 2011-12–the final contract year of his original extension with the Utah Jazz–he averaged solid numbers and earned his third straight NBA All-Star appearance with averages of 21.0 ppg and 8.7 assists, looking like a solid investment that offseason. Unfortunately for the Nets the 29-year-old hasn’t played nearly up to the max money he’s getting, missing the All-Star game for two straight years and seeing a decrease in his numbers. If he doesn’t turn his game around the Nets sure will be paying big bucks over the next few seasons as the two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner is scheduled to make $63.12 million through 2016-17 season.
2. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers – 2014 salary: $19,285,850
Pau Gasol has had a rough couple of years with the Los Angeles Lakers. After making his fourth career All-Star game in 2011, Gasol missed the 2012 All-Star game and followed that in 2012-13 with a career low scoring average of 13.7 ppg in 49 appearances. The 7-foot center has bounced back nicely this season averaging 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in 44 appearances, but bad news came on February 1 when the Lakers announced Gasol will be out for the next few games as an MRI revealed a strained groin.
The Spaniard, who’s in the final year of his contract, turns 34 this summer, six days after the free agent market opens up, and likely won’t be earning near as much money going forward. However, the former 2001-02 NBA Rookie of the Year doesn’t have much to complain about as he’s won an NBA title and will have banked a career total of more than $156 million by season’s end.
1. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks – 2014 salary: $21,679,893
Amar’e Stoudemire is a shell of his former self, yet he has the third-highest salary in 2013-14 making only less than NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. The 6’10” power forward signed a gigantic deal in the summer of 2010 leaving the Phoenix Suns for the New York Knicks to the tune of $99.7 million over five years. The first year of the deal made it seem like a decent investment as Stoudemire went on to score 25.3 points per game in 78 appearances. However, since then the deal has proven to be a dumpster fire as he’s yet to play a full season and has battled a number of injuries.
In 2011-12 Stoudemire played in 47 games averaging 17.5 points per contest, having dealt with back and knee injuries during the shortened lockout season. The following season (2012-13), the six-time NBA All-Star came back from a knee injury two months in and had his minutes monitored to avoid re-aggravating the injury. However, after two months of limited minutes Stoudemire had knee surgery in March, leaving him with a total of 29 games played, none as a starter, and a 14.2 scoring average. While the 31-year-old has proven to stay healthier this year compared to last year, Stoudemire is averaging only 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in 19 minutes of play off the bench. Talk about an expensive bench warmer as Stoudemire will earn $23.41 million in the 2014-15 NBA season.