The NBA landscape has dramatically shifted into a player-friendly league over the past few years. Unlike other sports, basketball is dominated by the star power of the players. People tune into the television broadcasts or attend the live games to witness the big names play superb basketball as much as they are going to root for the local team. It has allowed contracts to rise to new record highs as the league must take care of their talent.
The market has grown to new competitive levels when it comes to multiple teams willing to overpay a free agent if they feel he is a missing piece. Teams that have a superstar also must pay the supermax to appease them as an incentive for their All-Star or All-NBA play. We will look at some of the players to make the most of the new market thanks to ESPN listing all salaries. These are ten NBA players that make way more money than you’d expect.
10 Chris Paul: $38.5 million
Most NBA fans realize that Chris Paul is overpaid at this stage in his career, but it is shocking to realize he will be the second-highest paid player in the league during the 2019-2020 season. The Houston Rockets were ecstatic to deal Paul’s contract along with smaller assets to acquire Russell Westbrook.
Paul is currently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder with no teams reportedly wanting to trade for him. The contract is the main reason why given Paul will be making more money than any player aside from Stephen Curry. Paul’s past success earned him the contract, but $38.5 million is a figure no one expects him to make.
9 Tobias Harris: $32 million
The contract extension of Tobias Harris with the Philadelphia 76ers fell under the radar due to the busy offseason. Everyone knows Harris remained with Philadelphia, but the max contract extension was for a massive contract that will see him make $32 million next season.
Harris is a valuable piece for the 76ers’ path to winning a title. However, he has yet to make an All-Star appearance and is nowhere near superstar status. Harris will make more money than better players like Paul George, Damian Lillard, and Joel Embiid next season.
8 Tim Hardaway Jr: $20 million
The Dallas Mavericks made a bold move trading for Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks last season. One of the reasons the Knicks gave Porzingis up for so little in return was that Dallas added the big contract of Tim Hardaway Jr. when New York believed they needed cap space for free agency.
Hardaway Jr. is slated to make $20 million in the 2019-2020 season with the Mavericks due to the Knicks giving him such a big deal. It is likely that Hardaway will come off the bench as one of the most expensive sixth men in the league.
7 Allen Crabbe: $18.5 million
Allen Crabbe received one of the most surprising contracts in the league thanks to the Brooklyn Nets. It was the Portland Trail Blazers that originally signed Crabbe to this deal after matching Brooklyn’s offer sheet. The Nets ended up trading for Crabbe still believing in his talent.
Last season’s disappointment would see Brooklyn trade Crabbe along with a first-round draft pick to sweeten the deal of taking the last year of his big contract to free up cap space. Crabbe is going to make $18.5 million with the Hawks as a player that might not even crack the rotation.
6 Hassan Whiteside: $27 million
The Miami Heat instantly regretted the deal to add Hassan Whiteside to the team’s long-term plans. Whiteside would see his value with the Heat decline over the past two seasons as he didn’t even start towards the end of last season. Miami traded him along with the final year of his fat contract to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The hope of Portland is that Whiteside’s $27 million contract will land them a motivated big man that will make up for the absence of Jusuf Nurkic before he returns from injury. Whiteside does have great defensive skills, but the flaws of his game just makes his salary even more surprising to the average fan.
5 Gordon Hayward: $32.7 million
The Boston Celtics believed they were setting up a potential dynasty in the summer of 2017 when trading for Kyrie Irving and signing free agent Gordon Hayward. Both moves look like huge mistakes now with Irving gone and Hayward’s contract looking like a horrible deal moving forward.
Hayward suffered an injury during his first game as a Celtic and has not been able to return to form. Last season featured Hayward having ups and downs as a bench player. Boston owes him a whopping $32.7 million in the 2019-2020 season with the likelihood of him being a role player on their roster.
4 Paul Millsap: $30 million
The final year of Paul Millsap’s contract with the Denver Nuggets will see him make $30 million as one of the highest-paid players in the league. Millsap signed with Denver coming off four consecutive All-Star appearances with the Atlanta Hawks to help take them to the next level.
Denver agreed to pick up the final year of Millsap’s contract due to their commitment to contending for a title this season. Millsap will likely never make this much money again for a single season, but the importance of starting on a contender with limited replacement options earned him the $30 million.
3 Otto Porter Jr: $27 million
A hope to contend for a playoff spot in the 2019-2020 season would see the Chicago Bulls trade for Otto Porter Jr. last season. Porter’s big contract will earn him $27 million as a solid two-way player. Chicago views Porter as worth the risk of overpaying for a few seasons given their lack of established talent.
The huge $27 million figure for Porter is surprising since he’s never come close to making an All-Star Game in his career. Porter cashed in on the desperation of the Washington Wizards before they traded him to the Bulls.
2 Andrew Wiggins: $27.5 million
Andrew Wiggins has been one of the most disappointing players in recent NBA memory. The Minnesota Timberwolves expected a future superstar after trading Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Wiggins and a few other prospects.
It turned out to be a regretful decision for Minnesota to sign Wiggins to a long-term contract extension before he proved he was ready for it. Wiggins has not sniffed the All-Star level and played a huge role in the team failing to make an impact in the playoff race. The $27.5 million salary of Wiggins next season will hurt the Timberwolves fans unless he improves.
1 John Wall: $38 million
John Wall’s injury means that the fourth highest-paid basketball player in the league may miss almost the entirety of two consecutive seasons. The Washington Wizards signed Wall to a max contract extension after he had a good run as the leader of the franchise.
Wall suffered an injury that made him miss most of the last season along with another injury off the court making him miss most of the upcoming 2019-2020 season. Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook are the only players that will make more next season. Wall’s $38 million will shock fans given most will start to forget he’s still in the league given his time away from the court.