NBA’s Top 50 Highest-Paid Players For 2020/21

While many of the NBA’s highest-paid players are on contracts considered maximum-salary deals, the 2020/21 salaries for those players vary significantly depending on when the player signed his contract and how much NBA experience he has. That’s why a player like Stephen Curry will earn nearly $16MM more than Brandon Ingram in ’20/21 despite both stars technically being on max deals.

When a player signs a maximum-salary contract, he doesn’t necessarily earn the NBA max for each season of that contract — he earns the max in year one, then gets a series of identical annual raises. In Curry’s case, his 2020/21 salary actually exceeds this year’s maximum, since his deal started in the summer of 2017 and includes 8% annual raises. The annual cap increases haven’t kept up with those 8% raises.

Listed below, with the help of salary data from Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, are the top 50 highest-paid NBA players for the 2020/21 season. The players on this list don’t necessarily have the contracts with the largest overall value. The list below only considers salaries for ’20/21.

Additionally, we’ve noted players who could potentially increase their earnings via incentives or trade bonuses. We didn’t add those notes for players like Curry who have trade bonuses but are already earning the maximum — their salaries for this season can’t increase beyond their max.

The cutoff for a spot on this year’s top-50 list is a $21.25MM salary, so players like Pacers teammates Victor Oladipo ($21MM) and Malcolm Brogdon ($20.7MM) just missed out.

Here are the NBA’s 50 highest-paid players for the 2020/21 season:

  1. Stephen Curry, Warriors: $43,006,362
  2. Chris Paul, Suns: $41,358,814
    Russell Westbrook, Wizards: $41,358,814
  3. James Harden, Rockets: $41,254,920
    John Wall, Rockets: $41,254,920
  4. Kevin Durant, Nets: $40,108,950
  5. LeBron James, Lakers: $39,219,566
  6. Blake Griffin, Pistons: $36,810,996
  7. Paul George, Clippers: $35,450,412
  8. Klay Thompson, Warriors: $35,361,360
  9. Mike Conley, Jazz: $34,502,132
  10. Jimmy Butler, Heat: $34,379,100
    Kawhi Leonard, Clippers: $34,379,100
    Kemba Walker, Celtics: $34,379,100
  11. Tobias Harris, Sixers: $34,358,850
  12. Kyrie Irving, Nets: $33,460,350 (plus incentives; 15% trade kicker)
  13. Khris Middleton, Bucks: $33,051,724
  14. Anthony Davis, Lakers: $32,742,000
  15. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers: $31,626,953
  16. Kevin Love, Cavaliers: $31,258,256
  17. Pascal Siakam, Raptors: $30,559,200
    Ben Simmons, Sixers: $30,559,200
  18. Kyle Lowry, Raptors: $30,500,000
  19. Steven Adams, Pelicans: $29,592,695
  20. Joel Embiid, Sixers: $29,542,010
    Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: $29,542,010
    Andrew Wiggins, Warriors: $29,542,010
  21. Devin Booker, Suns: $29,467,800
    Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks: $29,467,800
    Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves: $29,467,800
  22. CJ McCollum, Trail Blazers: $29,354,152
  23. Bradley Beal, Wizards: $28,751,774
    Andre Drummond, Cavaliers: $28,751,774
  24. D’Angelo Russell, Timberwolves: $28,649,250
  25. Gordon Hayward, Hornets: $28,500,000
  26. Otto Porter Jr., Bulls: $28,489,239
  27. DeMar DeRozan, Spurs: $27,739,975
  28. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks: $27,528,088
  29. Rudy Gobert, Jazz: $27,525,281 (plus incentives)
  30. Al Horford, Thunder: $27,500,000
  31. Brandon Ingram, Pelicans: $27,285,000
    Jamal Murray, Nuggets: $27,285,000
  32. Nikola Vucevic, Magic: $26,000,000
  33. Jrue Holiday, Pelicans: $25,876,111 (plus incentives)
  34. Buddy Hield, Kings: $24,701,834 (plus incentives)
  35. LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs: $24,000,000 (15% trade kicker)
  36. Jaylen Brown, Celtics: $23,735,118 (plus incentives)
  37. Draymond Green, Warriors: $22,246,956 (15% trade kicker)
  38. Harrison Barnes, Kings: $22,215,909
  39. Fred VanVleet, Raptors: $21,250,000

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

newest oldest

33 thoughts on “NBA’s Top 50 Highest-Paid Players For 2020/21

      • There are a lot of names and salaries on here towards the bottom of the list that make me wanna puke, porzingis hasn’t played since ‘86

      • buttholesurfer69

        Actually I was thinking the opposite … maybe bc I’ve been so down about his contract, I was actually surprised to see many OTHER crappy contracts

    • Redwood13

      Everyone of these is totally insane 30-40 million to play a game more the $500,000 to play a single game this is nuts. And we have people giving up their life in the military making $20,000 a year, very sad.

      • wagner13

        Well, that’s economics for you. If fans are willing to pay this much for professional basketball and there are a finite number of NBA-caliber players, athletes are going to get paid. I would rather the players, who put in the effort and provide the entertainment, get their fair share than having the owners collect all of the money. Obviously medical professionals and military veterans are more important from a necessity standpoint, but that’s not how the market works. (Although, doctors still get paid a lot because they’re difficult to replace)

      • Little_Dunker_45

        Why should someone who spent every waking hour of their life training to be the best at something make less than a job anyone can sign up for? Compare an NBA player to a navy seal. They are specialized and trained. Not to mention the ancillary revenue and jobs they create for arena staff, cities, especially smaller markets.

  1. Kowalski

    Lucky for steph curry to even get to the highest salary. Who would have thought!?

  2. PhillyPhan69

    10 worst IMO (sequentially not ranked)
    2 Russ
    4 Wall
    8 Blake
    9 George
    11 Conley (very bad IMO not that he is a bad player)
    12 Kemba
    15 Tobias
    20 Love
    24 Adams (good player horrible value)
    25 Wiggins

    Dishonorable mention
    Porter at 36
    Hayward at 35
    Horford at 40

    • buttholesurfer69

      I might swap Porter for George, other than that agree

      Also I think Blake may be making a case for the WORST contract of all of them

  3. illowa

    i understand trying to maximize your earnings, but when is it enough money to say “i’m good now” and think logically and split the money more evenly to build a deeper roster and not cripple the franchise with these enormous contracts. it would be up to the players themselves and putting aside egos. top 2 players on team make around 20 mil., 3&4 15 mil., 5&6 10 mil., and so on. you would have a tier system in place and establish realistic market values for players.

    • washington_bonercats

      You’re asking for star players to make half of what the make now… only the premier players in the NBA earn upwards of 20 million (at least premier at the time of signing). These guys dont work the hardest to get compensated like everyone else. In a league with only one winner asking the entire NBA to take pay cuts to make teams better is a waste. And besides all that, I’m pretty sure Lebron and AD just won the chip with their “enormous” contracts.

    • floridagators

      So you would say “no I’ll take 20 million instead of 40 million.” No you wouldn’t stfu.

      • illowa

        i would if i was an all star and had other all stars with the same vision to make my team better, but not likely.

    • buttholesurfer69

      This was actually the idea of capping salaries in the first place – i.e. if there was no max cap the Lakers could hypothetically pay LeBron $70m a year

      The idea was a max contract SHOULD(in theory) allow the team to build around a star

      The real issue is all stars arent created equal. So giving LeBron the max DOES leave you the room bc you dont need all that much when you have LBJ

      But when you sign say…Blake Griffin, or even (to use a less drastic ex.) Donovan Mitchell, youre making it tough to impossible to actually build a contender around the max guy

    • wagner13

      Makes more than LeBron, who pretty much makes any team he plays for an automatic contender, but he’s grossly underpaid. Sure….

    • Kowalski

      If you were to build an nba team, would you choose steph curry or would you go for someone like rondo as your PG?

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    There are bad signings and there are overpaid. Then you can’t fault players for taking market value. Westbrook signed his deal after triple double seasons and mvp type yrs.

    Mike Conley – Never an all star
    Paul – is overpaid, Rockets had no choice really
    Porter – why did he get signed. Hardly know this guy or his game
    Kemba – I like him a lot. He s all about timing. It’s a market value thing. Not every team can afford to make these kinds of signings. Celtics can
    Harris
    Middleton
    Lowry
    All market value thing to their teams. Right place right time.
    Adams – To me makes no sense. Nice player not worth max.
    Wiggins – on potential and is not reaching it
    KP – look at Wiggins
    Hayward – a market thing. Right place right time
    Russell
    Horford
    VanVleet
    Barnes
    All market value thing. Right place right time.
    If you’re not a big market team. And you sign the wrong star. You will have issues. Just look at the teams with issues. You definitely have to manage your signings and cap. Remember the Isiah Knicks. Took yrs to get from under that. Look at Warriors who have had plenty of success. Now have big cap issues and need players. Rockets by signing two max guys who can’t get along. TWICE
    IMO opinion I agree with a salary cap. But max players have to get less percentage of team cap. Today top players make more money outside of NBA. Not like when MJ was the only one. This allows team more flexibility for team. And not get stuck with divas like Harden or Kyrie. As much as you need stars on teams. They can’t run the team. And teams shouldn’t be punished for buying a player out. It should just be approved by the union. If the player is causing the disruption. Then he should be able to be bought out for up to 50% of what he is owed. I’m all for the players. In a team sport the team comes first. That’s all.

    • Redwood13

      Everyone of them grossly over paid, what are they doing for Black Lives Matter, yes some are doing things most aren’t. It’s the fans that can’t afford to take their family to a game. Parking $20., hot dog and a drink $40. Hat and program and a shirt $50. And the tickets$200. Ea prices will do nothing but go up. I’ll watch from home SAD.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    Top 10 worse deals:

    1. Russ 41 mil
    2. Griffin 37mil
    3. Conley 34.5mil
    4. Harris 34mil
    5. KLove 3-mil
    6. Adams 29.5mil
    7. Wiggins 29.5mil
    8. Drummond 29mil
    9. Porter 28.5mil
    10. Wall 41 mil

    • Terrodan01720

      Lol russ is an all star and less injury risk than wall and wall is a better contract

      • PhillyPhan69

        Well, I would rather have wall than Russ on my team hands down. Neither is a good contract, but all things being what they are give me Wall.

  6. Simmons>Russ

    Russ sucks bro. He can’t shoot from distance, is a ball hog, is a bad locker room player, has the biggest ego, is selfish, and just not good for your team. Yes he is really talented and multiple time all star but he’s never going to be a winner.
    Wall on the other hand, is a great team mate and passer of the ball, he doesn’t have the huge ego and drama like Russ, he can adjust his game around his teammates whereas Russ is Emmy way of the highway.
    Look at how ugly the Rockets situation is because of Russ and Harden and how well Wall and Wood are trying to overcome it.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      He did win a gold medal in the Olympics. Unless that doesn’t count? Why dont you go say that to his face lol I’ll wait…

      • Simmons>Russ

        Hahaha like that means anything. USA could put out its 5th string team and still win.

      • Simmons>Russ

        Most international teams are lucky to have 1 NBA player and the other good international teams struggle to have a starting line up of NBA players.

        • Little_Dunker_45

          You said he’d never be a winner, and I was pointing out he had in fact won (on a big stage). So you’re wrong. Deal with it.

Leave a Reply