The NBA salaries are basically set for next season, minus a few tweaks for late pickups and drops. While there are a few good players still out there as free agents, said players are discovering right now the market is pretty dry. I hope they all like the veteran minimum.
So who is going to make the most money next year? Glad you asked. The fine folks at Hoopsworld (Eric Pincus in particular) have that salary info handy and compiled this list.
1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) $27,849,149
2. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) $20,907,128
3. Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) $20,463,024
4. Amare Stoudemire (Knicks) $19,948,799
5. Joe Johnson (Nets) $19,752,645
6. Dwight Howard (Lakers) $19,536,360
7. Pau Gasol (Lakers) $19,000,000
8. Chris Paul (Clippers) $17,779,458
9 (T). Chris Bosh (Heat) $17,545,000
9 (T). LeBron James (Heat) $17,545,000
(Bonus) 11.Dwyane Wade (Heat) $17,182,000
A few thoughts on the list:
• Unlike recent years, there are no massive duds on the list (Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis type contracts). You can thank the new CBA’s amnesty provision for that. But just wait, there will be future bad contracts handed out to make these lists. Be patient.
• Kobe will make nearly $7 million more than anyone in the league in salary.
• There are three Lakers in the top 10, three Heat (if you count Wade at No. 11), and a couple of Knicks. But sure, small market competitive balance is alive and well.
• I think it needs to be repeated: When you talk about oversized NBA contracts, these are not the guys to point at. (If you want to say as a society we overvalue entertainers and undervalue teachers and firemen and librarians, etc., then by all means go ahead. But that is not the debate at hand.) Kobe is paid handsomely but what he generates for the Lakers in terms of ticket sales (and with that beer sales, parking, etc.), sponsorships, television rights revenue and so on vastly outweighs what he gets paid. Same with basically everyone on this Top-10 list. What hurts is more the upper middle class of the NBA — Jose Calderon making $10.5 million, Hedo Turkoglu making north of $11 million. Those are the kins of salaries that hurt teams bottom lines.