It's good to be part of the National Basketball Association these days. The league is filled with stars that are located all around the country. A massive new TV deal means more money for the NBA.
And that means more money for the players.
“The whole thing that went on with the last negotiation process was the owners was telling us that they were losing money. There's no way they can sit in front of us and tell us that right now after we continue to see teams selling for billions of dollars, being purchased for $200 million, [selling] for 550 [million], 750 [million], $2 billion.” - LeBron James.
To summarize: NBA players are about to get paid and in a big way.
These are the 10 highest-paid NBA players for the 2014/15 season.
10 SF Rudy Gay - Sacramento Kings: $19,317,326
Gay is one of several players on this list that some would consider to be overpaid. Would you, if building an ultimate NBA roster, take Gay over Kevin Durant? Over Derrick Rose? Over Blake Griffin or over Kevin Love?
None of those players are in the top ten of NBA salaries for 2014.
This is not to suggest that Gay is not a great player. He has averaged 18.2 points per game over his career, and he went for 20 points per game last season. Gay has prepared his body for an up-tempo offense, and his stats could improve during what will be his first full season in Sacramento.
9 PG Deron Williams - Brooklyn Nets: $19,754,465
Williams has experienced drops in production each season since joining the Nets. His points per game went from 18.9 in 2012-13 to 14.3 last season. His assists averages have decreased every season since 2010-11. Williams has had to deal with chronic ankle problems, and he started in only 58 contests in 2013-14.
A healthy Williams is an impact-player. How healthy he will be as the campaign rolls along, however, is a mystery. The 30-year-old is coming off of surgery to both ankles. Reports are that Williams is fully healthy this fall, but there are more than a few reasons fans of the Nets should be worried about what the future may bring.
8 PG Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers: $20,068,563
The Clippers infamously made headlines last April when racist and offensive comments made by then-owner Donald Sterling were released to the public. Players threatened to boycott or leave the team entirely, Sterling was bounced right out of the NBA, and Los Angeles was eventually eliminated from the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals.
There is no controversy regarding Chris Paul.
Paul is a recognized superstar on and off of the court. He is good for a double-double on any given night against even the top teams in the NBA. An absolute bargain compared with others in the league, the 29-year-old is one of the best in the business today.
7 SF LeBron James - Cleveland Cavaliers: $20,644,400
It was the story that dominated sports television broadcasts, radio call-in shows and headlines. Would LeBron remain with the Miami Heat, or would he choose to make a storybook return home to Cleveland? The world learned of James' decision on July 11 when he announced via an essay posted on SI.com that he would be rejoining the Cavs.
James is the best basketball player on the planet and an international icon. The pressure will be on him to perform in games like never before. Not 5...not 4...not 3...not 2...
Cleveland just wants one; one professional sports championship for the city. The first Cleveland has won since 1964.
6 C/PF Chris Bosh - Miami Heat: $20,644,400
And then there were two.
The best “big three” of the NBA which consisted of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was broken up this past summer when James signed with the Cavs. Bosh, a two-time NBA champion and nine-time All-Star, will now be tasked with making up for what the Heat lost during the offseason.
The expectations are that the Heat will rely heavily on Bosh as the team's offensive go-to guy in 2014-15. His points and rebounds totals should theoretically rise for the upcoming campaign. Bosh is, at 30 years old, in his physical prime, and he isn't banged up.
Will he and his teammates have the goods to beat Cleveland in a playoff series if the two face off next spring?
5 C Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets: $21,436,271
Houston had a rough offseason. Chandler Parsons left in free agency to join the Dallas Mavericks. Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin were traded away as the Rockets were chasing free agent LeBron James. James, of course, returned to Cleveland, a transaction that left Howard and the Rockets as big losers of the summer.
Howard has admitted that he returned to NBA action too early following back surgery. Reports are that Howard is in tremendous shape this fall, but there is an old adage in sports that the back problems never go away once they first appear. The 6-foot-11 and 265-pound Howard may have to be at his absolute best if the Rockets are to do anything of note this season.
4 SF Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks: $22,458,401
'Melo is certainly an elite NBA player. He takes a ton of shots in games, sure, but Anthony has the ability to put points on the board from the perimeter and the post. The 30-year-old could be in for the best season of his career.
An underrated superstar, however, Anthony is not.
3 SG Joe Johnson - Brooklyn Nets: $23,180,790
The 33-year-old has been a durable player throughout his NBA career. Johnson has appeared in at least 72 regular season games every campaign but one since 2007-08. While he has admitted that he is feeling his age these days, Johnson can still be a reliable contributor for the Nets.
Nobody would suggest that Johnson is a top-three, top-five or a top-ten NBA player in 2014. He is being paid for his overall body of work and not just for what he can offer Brooklyn at this stage of his career. He and Deron Williams make up the foundation of the Nets, and both will be hoping to have bounce-back seasons.
2 PF/C Amar'e Stoudemire - New York Knicks: $23,410,998
It's do-or-die time for Stoudemire. Stoudemire's massive contract runs out at the conclusion of the season, and he will be playing to show the Knicks and the other NBA franchises that he is worth one final monster deal.
His biggest obstacle will be his own body. The big man has dealt with a laundry list of injury woes throughout his professional career. Stoudemire started in only 21 games in 2013-14 after making zero starts the previous season.
The talent and desire are there. Stoudemire now has to prove that he isn't broken down.
1 SG Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers: $23,500,000
Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of his generation and of all time. He is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and he has five NBA titles to his name. Bryant will be in the Hall of Fame not long after he calls time on his playing career.
How much he has left in the tank, however, is unknown.
The 36-year-old has lots of wear and tear on his body. Bryant's knee and ankle appear to be fine in early October, but early into the season is not when the Lakers will most need their top player. Bryant is one awkward fall or one bad collision away from having to retire.
It's a shame that sports legends have to get old.
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