There will be at least 19 NBA players with average yearly contracts worth more than $25 million before the month is out (NBA free agents are restricted from inking new deals until July 7 when a signing moratorium expires). They range from two-time MVP Stephen Curry, who agreed to the richest deal in NBA history over the weekend worth $201 million and $40.2 million annually to point guard Jrue Holiday, who secured $126 million or $25.2 million annually from the New Orleans Pelicans this week.
It is hard to argue with the uber-salaries for Curry, LeBron James ($33.3 million), James Harden ($29.5 million) and Russell Westbrook ($28.5 million). They all finished in the top six of MVP voting this year and won a combined seven MVP trophies. These players are difference makers for their respective franchises.
But some much less decorated NBA players have also cashed in and will bank more than Carr and every other NFL player. Last summer Mike Conley signed the richest deal in NBA history at the time worth $152.6 million over five years. Conley is a solid point guard, but has never made an All-Star team or averaged seven assists per game for a season. Bradley Beal ($25.4 million per year) and Rudy Gobert ($25.5 million) are other players with $100 million-plus deals without an All-Star nod, although Gobert did make the All-NBA second team this season.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver noticed the NBA free agency bonanza over the past three days and the disparity with NFL players. He tweeted his sentiments over the weekend.
We gotta get paid more I’m pretty sure 2014 class will change the market
— King Me (@sammywatkins) July 2, 2017
NBA players are reaping the rewards of the league’s $24 billion TV contract with ESPN/TNT which kicked off last season. The deal is worth triple the prior TV agreement on an annual basis and pushed the salary cap up 34%. Total NBA revenue was expected to hit $8 billion for the 2016-17 season.
The NFL is the richest sports league in the world with revenue of $14 billion and both NBA and NFL players receive roughly 50% of revenue under terms of their collective bargaining agreements. But the pay disparity comes down to roster size. NBA rosters have 15 players, while NFL teams must spread their player costs under the salary cap among 53 players, plus any dead salary cap money for players who were cut.
Below is a full list of the NBA players with average salaries worth more than $25 million according to Spotrac. Kevin Durant and Gordon Hayward have not signed new contracts yet, but both are expected to secure pacts worth more than $25 million annually.
Player, Average Salary
1. Stephen Curry: $40.2 million
2. Blake Griffin: $34.5 million
3. Kyle Lowry: $33.3 million
4. LeBron James: $33.3 million
5. Mike Conley: $30.5 million
6. Paul Millsap: $30 million
7. James Harden: $29.5 million
8. Russell Westbrook: $28.5 million
9. Al Horford: $28.3 million
10. Damian Lillard: $28 million
11. DeMar DeRozan: $27.8 million
12. C.J. McCollum: $26.7 million
13. Rudy Gobert: $25.5 million
14. Andre Drummond: $25.4 million
14. Bradley Beal: $25.4 million
14. Anthony Davis: $25.4 million
17. Jrue Holiday: $25.2 million
Kevin Durant: To be determined ($25+ million)
Gordon Hayward: To be determined ($25+ million)