With the 2021-22 NBA season right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at the highest paid players in the league’s first “normal” campaign in multiple years because of the pandemic.
NBA Highest Paid Players in 2021-22: Top 10
1: Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) – $45,780,966
This is the fifth-straight year Curry is the highest paid player in the NBA based on a deal he signed in 2017. His latest extension with the Warriors, which will kick in after the 2021-22 season, will have him locked up until 2025-26 with an ever-increasing salary that will reach $59.6 million by its final year. The agreement made Curry the first NBA player ever to sign two contracts worth more than $200 million in a career.
2: John Wall (Houston Rockets) – $44,310,840
Wall signed this deal with the Washington Wizards in 2019, then it was shipped to the Rockets in 2020 in the Russell Westbrook trade. Now one year later, Houston is looking to offload Wall and his massive contract, but the amount he’s owed is making it more complicated. The point guard has only played 113 games the last four seasons because of injuries, making it that much difficult to find a taker. But for now, he’s a Rocket and the second-highest paid player in the NBA for 2021-22.
3: Russell Westbrook (Los Angeles Lakers) – $44,211,146
The Lakers and Wizards agreed to a deal in July that sent Westbrook from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Coast, making LA the fourth team in four seasons to be responsible for the player’s monster contract originally signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018. Now the 32-year-old is on the West Coast collecting his checks and playing alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and the rest of the Lakers arsenal.
4: James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) – $43,848,000
Harden inked this deal with the Rockets originally, but one year after signing it in 2019, he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Joe Tsai’s team is now on the hook for his giant salary, with an additional season still on the deal for 2022-23 should Harden choose to exercise his player option.
5: Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) – $43,750,000
In 2019, Lillard and the Trail Blazers agreed to a four-year, supermax extension worth $196 million that kicks in now at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. There have been rumblings that the player could be ready to exit Portland, but he’s pushed back against those rumors and is still in Oregon right now, and he’s being paid handsomely to be there. His current deal ends in 2025, though he has a player option for the final season of the contract in 2024-25.
6: LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) – $41,180,544
In December 2020, James agreed to a two-year extension with the Lakers worth $85 million, keeping him in LA through the 2022-23 season. His salary will increase to nearly $44.5 million next season before he becomes a free agent for what feels like the one-millionth time in his career in 2023.
7: Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) – $40,918,900
To lure Durant to Brooklyn, the Nets had to open up the checkbook. They signed the free agent in 2019, and he’ll now be the seventh-highest paid player in the NBA in 2021-22 in the final year of the deal after the 2022 player option was voided this offseason. Instead, Durant agreed to an extension that kicks in after this upcoming season that’s good through the 2025-26 campaign when he’s 37.
T-8: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) – $39,344,970
The reigning NBA champion will be in the top-10 of the highest paid NBA players in 2021-22. That is thanks to a five-year, $228 million supermax extension Antetokounmpo signed with the Bucks in December 2020, which begins now. The 26-year-old is locked down in Milwaukee until at least 2025 when he has the choice to opt out of the 2025-26 year, but the deal otherwise has him with the Bucks until 2026.
T-8: Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) – $39,344,970
In December 2020, George agreed to a maximum contract extension with the Clippers to lock him in LA until 2025, with a player option available to him for the 2024-25 campaign. The contract replaced the player option he originally had for 2021-22 and comes into effect this upcoming season.
T-8: Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers) – $39,344,970
Leonard agreed to a four-year, $176 million deal with the Clippers in August, choosing to remain in LA rather than go elsewhere via free agency. His new deal ends in 2025, though he has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. This new contract gives him a roughly $5 million raise from what he made in 2020-21, which will continue to rise with each passing year of the deal.
Next-Highest Paid NBA Players in 2021-22
Here are the players and their salaries that round out the top 25:
11: Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) – $37,980,720
12: Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat) – $36,016,200
13: Tobais Harris (Philadelphia 76ers) – $36,000,000
14: Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks) – $35,500,000
15: Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers) – $35,361,360
16: Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) – $35,344,828
17: Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets) – $34,916,200
18: Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards) – $34,502,130
19: Kristaps Porzingis (Dallas Mavericks) – $31,650,600
T-20: Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) – $31,610,000
T-20: Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) – $31,610,000
T-22: Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers) – $31,590,000
T-22: Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets) – $31,590,000
T-24: Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) – $31,579,390
T-24: Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors) – $31,579,390