Players Who Took NBA’s Largest Pay Cuts

It was clear from the start that Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t leaving the Mavericks this summer, and while that also foretold a discount deal, few would have predicted that he’d agree to the league’s sharpest decline in salary. The future Hall-of-Famer let the Mavs lop nearly $15MM off his take from 2013/14, a reduction larger than last season’s entire salary for Emeka Okafor, who remains unsigned and trails only Nowitzki in terms of pay decrease from last season.

The presence of Nowitzki might keep new teammate Richard Jefferson from feeling too regretful about his minimum-salary deal, one that comes on the heels of a more than $11MM payday last season. Five players in the NBA are set to see their salaries dip by more than $10MM, and Jefferson is next on the list after that group.

The Wizards are the only other team with two players among the top 10 in salary declines from last season to next, as Paul Pierce and Kris Humphries, whose eight-figure salaries went the opposite way in the 2013 Celtics/Nets blockbuster, unite for less in Washington. Like the majority of the players in this top 10, Pierce and Humphries will still make more than the minimum salary this year, so it could be worse for them.

Here’s the complete list, with each player’s pay cut in parentheses, followed by his name, his 2013/14 salary, his 2014/15 salary, and his 2014/15 team, if applicable. All salaries are rounded to the nearest $1K:

  1. ($14.747MM) Dirk Nowitzki, $22.721MM — $7.974MM: Re-signed with Mavericks
  2. ($14,488MM) Emeka Okafor, $14.488MM: Unsigned
  3. ($12.158MM) Pau Gasol, $19.286MM — $7.128MM: Signed with Bulls
  4. ($11.944MM) Danny Granger, $14.021MM* — $2.077MM: Signed with Heat.
  5. ($10.028MM) Paul Pierce, $15.333MM — $5.305MM: Signed with Wizards
  6. ($9.598MM) Richard Jefferson, $11.046MM — $1.448MM: Signed with Mavericks
  7. ($9MM) Andris Biedrins, $9MM: Unsigned
  8. ($8.7MM) Ben Gordon, $13.2MM — $4.5MM: Signed with Magic
  9. ($7.869MM) Shawn Marion: $9.317MM — $1.448MM**: Agreed to sign with the Cavaliers
  10. ($7.75MM) Kris Humphries, $12MM — $4.25MM: Signed-and-traded to Wizards

* — Granger’s 2013/14 salary as listed here is the combined salary he made between his original deal and the prorated minimum salary he signed with the Clippers after the Sixers waived him following the trade that sent him to Philadelphia. The amount might be slightly less, depending on whether the Sixers agreed to waive set-off rights as part of Granger’s buyout agreement.

** — Some details about Marion’s deal remain unclear, but the Cavs are limited to giving him no more than the minimum salary.

Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

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