In a league full of superstars with nine-figure contracts, one stands to make more money this season than everyone else. Let’s take a look at some of the highest-paid NBA players before we get to the multiple-time champion set to make $43 million this year.
Who are the highest-paid centers in the NBA?
Big men may be a thing of the past (for some people), but Joel Embiid brings a unique skillset to the center position. And thanks to his prowess on the basketball court, the 7-foot, 280-pound Cameroon native has become a wealthy man.
Despite experiencing injury issues early in his career, Embiid showed enough promise for the Philadelphia 76ers to make a steep financial commitment to him. In October 2017, Embiid signed a five-year, $148 million contract extension that carries an additional $30 million in incentives.
Since scoring a lucrative raise, the supremely-skilled big man has continued to put up big numbers. Embiid averaged 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds during the 2018-19 season. Last year, he earned his third straight All-Star berth after averaging 23 and 11.6, respectively.
Embiid will make $29.54 million this season. That number jumps to $31.6 million for 2021-22.
Fellow star center Nikola Jokic will also make $29.54 million this season. The versatile big man for the Denver Nuggets signed his rookie-scale maximum contract extension in the summer of 2018.
Neither LeBron James nor Anthony Davis is the highest-paid NBA player
After winning their 17th NBA title, the Lakers had to lock up their two biggest stars. Ultimately, they did just that.
LeBron James signed a two-year, $85 million deal to remain in LA. This season, the four-time MVP has a salary of $39.2 million. That represents about a $1.8 million raise from his 2019-20 payday.
Anthony Davis opted for security by signing a five-year, $190 million contract to carry the Lakers in the post-LeBron era. However, while he did well to secure a long-term deal, the seven-time All-Star ranks well down the list of the highest-paid NBA players for the 2020-21 season.
Davis will make $32.74 million in the first year of his contract. That number jumps to $35.3 in 2021-22.
It pays to play point guard
Centers may have a size advantage over point guards, but their smaller counterparts own a sizable one at the negotiating table. Despite typically being the smallest players on the floor, the four highest-paid NBA players for the 2020-21 season play the point guard position.
Ironically, two of them recently swapped teams.
Russell Westbrook and John Wall will now play in Washington and Houston, respectively. Both veterans will get paid handsomely this year, too.
Westbrook is tied with Chris Paul for the No. 2 spot on the list with a salary of $41.36 million.
Wall and new teammate James Harden will each make $41.25 million.
But one point guard stands above every other NBA player in terms of his 2020-21 salary.
Stephen Curry is the highest-paid NBA player this season
Stephen Curry barely made a blip on the radar last season due to injury. But he will have to stay on the floor and rediscover his vintage form to earn every penny of his expensive payday in 2020-21.
In 2017, the Golden State Warriors signed the sharpshooting point guard to a five-year, $201 million contract extension. And after making $40.2 million last season, Curry’s salary will climb even higher this year.
With a salary of $43 million, the 32-year-old will be the highest-paid NBA player in 2020-21.
Curry will make $45.7 million next season, which also happens to be the final year of his deal.
Will Golden State ensure he never plays for another franchise?
As long as he still has his signature shooting touch, expect the two-time MVP and three-time champion to remain the face of the Warriors for years to come.