NBA contracts have grown to new levels over the past few seasons with every major star wanting a max deal. The success of the league, thanks to star power, has raised the salaries beyond what past eras could have ever expected. Any superstar right now is going to make huge bucks thanks to the leverage on their side. Teams failing to re-sign a player to his desired contract will risk losing a fan favorite and hurting their team’s overall success.
We will look at the players making the most money as we enter the 2019-2020 season. There are many changes in play regarding most players on this list. Some have just signed a new contract that will see them starting such a lucrative deal. Others have had their contracts for a while but are on a new team after getting traded. ESPN shows us the salaries of each player currently in the league. Find out which talents are worth their salary as we look at the top ten highest paid players for 2019.
10 Tobias Harris: $32.7 Million
Tobias Harris scored one of the biggest contracts of the most recent offseason to remain with the Philadelphia 76ers. The team lost Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick which convinced them to offer the max extension for Harris out of the fear of losing him for nothing.
Harris has become one of the more underrated forwards in the league. The contract of almost $33 million per year may seem too high for someone that’s never made an All-Star team, but the 76ers must go all out with their team looking to win an NBA Championship this upcoming season.
9 Blake Griffin: $34.4 Million
The Detroit Pistons traded for Blake Griffin a few seasons ago despite his massive contract. Los Angeles Clippers management gave up on Griffin during his first season under the contract once they realized they wanted to go after Kawhi Leonard in this past free agency.
Griffin helped the Pistons make the playoffs last season and delivered arguably his best year in the NBA. The $34.4 million heading his way makes him the ninth highest-paid player in the league entering the season. Griffin will likely be an All-Star once again given his consistent greatness.
8 Kyle Lowry: $35 Million
Kyle Lowry can enjoy his $35 million salary after helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship last season. Many fans and pundits criticized both the contract and the overall play of Lowry in the postseason over the past few years.
Kawhi Leonard certainly played the biggest difference, but Lowry stepped up to help bring that title home to Toronto. The contract of Lowry will see him make huge money before heading into free agency next summer. Time will tell if the Raptors re-sign him for another big extension.
7 LeBron James: $37.4 Million
The biggest name in the NBA only ranks seventh among the highest paid players in the league. LeBron James signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to add a new chapter to his career. The Lakers missed the postseason last season, but James is motivated to contend again with Anthony Davis now on the roster.
LeBron will make $37.4 million from the Lakers during the 2019-2020 season. However, he has more investments and endorsement deals than the average NBA superstar. James will likely always be the wealthiest overall even though six players get paid more than him.
6 James Harden: $38.2 Million
James Harden helped make the Houston Rockets franchise relevant again after getting traded there from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The superb play of Harden sees him in the MVP discussion just about every season now as he would win the trophy once.
Houston will pay Harden $38.2 million this season with the hopes of finally getting over the hump and contending for an NBA Championship. The offensive dominance of Harden makes his huge contract a good value given all the positives to come from his star power and the team winning.
5 Kevin Durant: $38.2 Million
The biggest move of the recent NBA offseason saw Kevin Durant end the super team run of the Golden State Warriors by signing with the Brooklyn Nets. Durant may miss the entire season recovering from an injury, but he is still going to make $38.2 million.
The risk was worth it for Brooklyn to sign one of the most dominant offensive players in league history. Durant likely would have gone 3 for 3 in NBA Championship rings in Golden State if not for the playoff injury last season. The new goal is to eventually win a ring with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
4 John Wall: $38.2 Million
One of the worst contracts in the NBA currently belongs to John Wall. The Washington Wizards got away with underpaying Wall during his best years which allowed him to become eligible for a super-max contract. Wall received the deal right before injuries hurt his career.
The past season featured Wall missing most of it and another injury is going to keep him out for most of the upcoming season. Wall will receive $38.2 million to recover as the Wizards don’t have much optimism. The team reportedly wants to trade Wall, but no one wants to add his contract.
3 Russell Westbrook: $38.5 Million
The Houston Rockets pulled off one of the biggest moves of the offseason when trading for Russell Westbrook. Once it was made apparent that the Oklahoma City Thunder would not contend, they attempted to trade Westbrook to remove his huge contract from the payroll.
Houston added the contract of Westbrook and will pay him $38.5 million to help them contend for a title. The hope here is that Westbrook and James Harden will work well together and finally lead this Rockets core to an NBA Championship before its too late.
2 Chris Paul: $38.5 Million
Chris Paul was the player that the Houston Rockets traded away for Russell Westbrook in a no-brainer deal. The injuries and age of Paul made his contract turn into a disaster right away. Paul earned it after having a legendary career as a top point guard and can still play well today.
However, there’s no way he should be the second-highest paid player in the entire league. The Oklahoma City Thunder will pay Paul $38.5 million with reports of trying to trade his contract. No one wants to take on such a big contract for a player with huge flaws at this stage in his career.
1 Stephen Curry: $40.2 Million
The highest paid player for the upcoming season will be Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Curry’s ascension earlier in the decade completely changed the landscape of the league. Two MVP Awards and three NBA Championships proved Curry was a legitimate superstar and future legend.
Golden State made sure to lock up Curry to a long-term max contract. Curry is going to make over $40 million this season and will likely have to live up to it to make up for the loss of Kevin Durant and injury to Klay Thompson. The star power and success of Curry gained him an incredible NBA salary.