With the 2014/15 NBA season underway and the majority of teams’ rosters set and players’ contract amounts locked in for the season, it’s time to take a look at who the highest paid player on each squad is. While franchises will still waive and sign players throughout the season, unless there is a blockbuster trade involving upper-tier talent, the top slot on each team’s payroll ledger isn’t likely to change until next summer.
Ideally, the player occupying the largest percentage of a team’s cap space should be its most productive one as well, though that isn’t always the case. There are a number of players whose salary is more indicative of past performance rather than their present contributions. Such is the case for a player like the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire, whose $23,410,988 salary is the second highest in the league, which is no way in line with his current production. But the majority of the players on this list are all-star quality players who are easily among the best at their respective positions, and are compensated accordingly.
With a new CBA on the horizon in 2017, and the league’s new $24 billion TV deal set to begin in 2016, the figures on this list could potentially skyrocket in the coming years, depending on the outcome of the upcoming negotiations between the owners and the NBPA. There is talk of potentially implementing a hard cap, which the owners are said to desire. On the players’ side of the table, they are almost assuredly going to try and get the maximum salary rules tossed, though that is just my speculation. If that occurs many of the numbers on this list could end up seeming like bargains in a few seasons.
The mean highest salary for each franchise’s top-earner this season is $15,742,918, with the Sixers’ Jason Richardson being the “low” man at $6,601,125, and Kobe Bryant of the Lakers topping the list at $23.5MM. Listed alphabetically by team below are the players earning top dollar for the year on their respective rosters.
Note: Players who are still being paid after being waived using the amnesty provision are not included on this list. Only salary that counts against the cap is reflected.
Sixers: Jason Richardson ($6,601,125)
Bucks: Larry Sanders ($11MM)
Bulls: Derrick Rose ($18,862,876)
Cavaliers: LeBron James ($20,644,400)
Celtics: Rajon Rondo ($12,909,090)
Clippers: Chris Paul ($20,068,563)
Grizzlies: Zach Randolph ($16,500,000)
Hawks: Al Horford ($12MM)
Heat: Chris Bosh ($20,644,400)
Hornets: Al Jefferson ($13.5MM)
Jazz: Gordon Hayward ($14,746,000)
Kings: Rudy Gay ($19,317,326)
Knicks: Amar’e Stoudemire ($23,410,988)
Lakers: Kobe Bryant ($23.5MM)
Magic: Channing Frye ($8,579,088)
Mavericks: Tyson Chandler ($14,846,887)
Nets: Joe Johnson ($23,180,790)
Nuggets: Ty Lawson ($11,595,506)
Pacers: Paul George ($15,925,680)
Pelicans: Eric Gordon ($14,898,938)
Pistons: Josh Smith ($13.5MM)
Raptors: Kyle Lowry ($12MM)
Rockets: Dwight Howard ($21,436,271)
Spurs: Tony Parker ($12.5MM)
Suns: Eric Bledsoe ($13MM)
Thunder: Kevin Durant ($18,995,624)
Timberwolves: Nikola Pekovic ($12.1MM)
Trail Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge ($16,256,000)
Warriors: David Lee ($15,012,000)
Wizards: John Wall ($14,746,000)
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.