Who are the 20 highest paid NBA players? Who is the highest paid NBA player in 2023? These are important questions to ask as the Association navigates the 2022-23 season and plans for an increased salary cap.
There are normal names to look at when checking in on those who are backing up the Brinks Truck every year.
It starts with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who became the first NBA player to sign multiple $200-plus million contracts. Four-time champion LeBron James also remains one of the highest paid NBA players.
However, there’s also some youngsters on this list. That’s headlined by all-everything Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic. Below, we look at the 20 highest paid NBA players of 2023 with a positional break down at the bottom.
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1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (highest paid NBA player)
- Stephen Curry contract: 4 years, $215.35 million
- Stephen Curry salary (average): $54.84 million
Back in August of 2021, Curry became the first player in Association history to sign two NBA contracts worth north of $200 million. In doing so, the four-time champion set the bar in a big way. For Golden State, it’s not going to come cheap. Once Curry’s contract comes to a culmination in 2025-26, he’s going to count an eye-opening $59.61 million against the cap.
It’s not like Curry has not rewarded the Warriors’ billionaire ownes. He led Golden State to four titles and six NBA Finals appearances in an eight-year span — helping the team build their new arena on the San Francisco water front. Yeah, Curry has been a boon for co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
2. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
- Devin Booker contract: 4 years, $214 million
- Devin Booker salary (average): $53.5 million
Devin Booker IS the Phoenix Suns. Still just 26 years old, Booker has been with the Suns through thick and thin. Whether it was when they were a bottom-of-the-barrel team, or now that they’re annual contenders to win an NBA Title.
While Booker is undoubtedly one of the best offensive players in basketball, his next task will be finding a way to get back to the NBA Finals, as they fell just short in the 2020-21 season and regressed in 2022.
3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
- Nikola Jokic contract: 5 years, $264 million
- Nikola Jokic salary (average): $52.8 million
Jokic’s new deal is the richest contract in the history of the NBA and only behind Stephen Curry in NBA history when it comes to per-year average. It also includes a $60 million player option for the 2027-28 season.
To say that the two-time reigning NBA MVP has earned this would be an understatement. He’s coming off the best statistical two-year run in the modern history of the NBA and is seen as a legit franchise cornerstone in the Mile High City.
4. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
- Bradley Beal contract: 5 years, $251 million
- Bradley Beal salary (average): $50.2 million
A three-time All-Star, Beal is very well regarded around the league, which is partially why teams are always itching to trade for the scoring-first shooting guard, but the issue is, the Wizards value him even more.
Currently 29, Beal’s new contract keeps him in Washington through his age-33 season, through 2026-27. Though, the final year of the deal is actually a player option estimated to be worth roughly $57.1 million.
5. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
- Joel Embiid contract: 4 years, $195.92 million
- Joel Embiid salary (average): $48.98 million
No one could have envisioned that Embiid would be at where he is now after he missed his first two NBA seasons (2014-16) with a foot injury. Philadelphia’s first-round selection back in 2014, it’s been a long road to dominance for Embiid.
This past regular season saw the star center average a league-best 30.6 points to go with 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 50% from the field. He’s the single-most dominant center in the NBA since Shaquille O’Neal was starring for the Los Angeles Lakers. And he’s now being paid like it after signing an extension back in August of 2021.
6. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
- Jimmy Butler contract: 3 years, $146.40 million
- Jimmy Butler salary (average): $48.80 million
The $146.4 million extension Miami signed Butler to back in August of 2021 threw some for a loop. He’s 33 years old and won’t see said contract come to an end until he’s 36 years old. In reality, Butler’s standing as of the highest paid NBA players could be a detriment to Miami moving forward.
As of right now, that has not happened. In leading the Heat to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference the six-time All-Star averaged 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 48% shooting during the 2021-22 regular season.
7. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
- LeBron James contract: 2 years, 97.1 million
- LeBron James salary (average): $48.56 million
LeBron James’ contract situation was a major talking point since his Lakers finished up shop on a disastrous 49-loss 2021-22 campaign. James, 38, was set to become a free agent following the 2022-23 season. He is now one of the highest paid NBA players via a contract extension that can pay him upwards of $50 million in his Age-40 season.
Despite his Lakers struggles, James continues to play at a high level. He averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists on 52% shooting for the Lakers in 2021-22. James also missed 26 games to injury after sitting out 27 games the previous season. Is his body breaking down on the all-time great? Time will tell on that front.
8. Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
- Kevin Durant contract: 4 years, $194.22 million
- Kevin Durant salary (average): $48.55 million
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Durant sign this current contract last August. The two-time NBA Finals MVP would have earned a lot more money if he had waited until free agency this coming summer.
At 34, Durant returned to the Nets after initially requesting a trade this past summer, teaming up with Ben Simmons for a Brooklyn squad with championship aspirations. Yet, Kyrie Irving’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks changed things up. Within 48 hours, Durant landed with the Phoenix Suns in a blockbuster to end all blockbusters.
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9. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo contract: 5 years, $228.2 million
- Giannis Antetokounmpo salary (average): $45.64 million
There was some talk of the Greek Freak wanting to take his talents to a larger market. That all came to an end when he signed this $228.2 million extension with Milwaukee in December of 2020. Months later, Giannis led his Bucks to the NBA title.
Now under contract through at least the 2024-25 season, he’s going to be a fixture in Wisconsin moving forward. Much to the glee of Bucks fans. The No. 15 overall pick of the Bucks back in 2013, Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists since the start of the 2017-18 season. Yeah, he’s a generational talent.
10. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Karl-Anthony Towns contract: 4 years, $224 million
While some focus on the disappointments in the NBA playoffs, Karl-Anthony Towns showed more than enough this past season to earn the supermax extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ownership is showing a new commitment to building a winner, making the necessary financial investments for it to happen. It also might just be a few years before KAT’s teammate, Anthony Edwards, surpasses him on the list of highest paid NBA players.
11. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
- Ja Morant contract: 5 years, $193 million ($213 million max value)
- Ja Morant salary: $38.6 million
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant turned a breakout season into one of the largest contracts in NBA history. The 23-year-old – the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft – landed a supermax extension worth $193 million and it could potentially hit $213 million over five years. Coming off his first NBA All-Star Selection, the reigning All-NBA Second Team guard is the face of the Grizzlies and one of the highest paid NBA players.
12. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
- Paul George contract: 4 years, $176.3 million
- Paul George salary (average): $44.07 million
Much like Durant, it was a surprise to see George sign a max contract with Los Angeles back in December of 2020. He could have earned a lot more cash if he had waited until the summer the following year.
Either way, George remains one of the best two-way forwards in the entire Association. Despite missing 51 games to injury during the 2021-22 regular season, George averaged 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists.
13. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
- Kawhi Leonard contract: 4 years, $176.27 million
- Kawhi Leonard salary (average): $44.07 million
Even after suffering a partically torn ACL during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Clippers handed Leonard a super-max contract last summer. For good reason. The two-time NBA Finals MVP has been among the best three-and-D wings in modern NBA history throughout his career.
Leonard, 31, is averaging 24.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists on 49% shooting since the start of the 2015-16 season. Did we mention that he’s also a seven-time All-NBA Defensive Team performer? Yeah, this dude will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s also now fully healthy, giving the Clippers hopes of a deep postseason run.
14. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Damian Lillard contract: 4 years, $176.27 million
- Damian Lillard salary (average): $44.07 million
After months of trade rumors as one of the highest paid NBA players, Lillard now seems to be committed to Portland over the long-term. All of this comes after the six-time All-Star missed all but 29 games during the 2021-22 season.
Whether Dame turns in Portland’s small market for a larger market moving forward remains to be seen. What we do know is that he’s been among the Association’s most loyal athletes. For now, he’ll be one of the highest paid NBA players after inking a two-year, $121.7 million extension back in July that will kick in following the 2024-25 campaign.
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15. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
- Zach LaVine contract: 5 years, $215 million
- Zach LaVine salary (average): $43.03 million
Since entering the NBA as an incredibly raw, but athletic two-guard in the 2014 NBA Draft, Zach LaVine has developed into so much more. Becoming one of the better scorers in basketball from anywhere on the floor, LaVine hasn’t shown any hesitancy to let it fly from distance, yet he can also slam dunk with the best of them, as shown in his various Dunk Contest competitions. Now the Bulls star is set to stay in Chicago through the 2026-27 season.
16. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- Luka Doncic contract: 5 years, $212.28 million
- Luka Doncic salary (average): $42.46 million
Doncic’s ability to become one of the highest paid NBA players last summer was made possible by the fact that he earned All-NBA honors twice within his first three NBA seasons. For the Mavericks, there’s not going to be any complaints from billionaire owner Mark Cuban. Throughout his first four seasons in the Association, Doncic averaged 26.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists. He’s going to be one of the future faces of the NBA once the old-timers listed here calls it quits. Take that to the bank.
Related: NBA trade rumors, latest buzz before busy 2022 offseason
17. Russell Westbrook, Utah Jazz
- Russell Westbrook contract: 5 years, $206.79 million
- Russell Westbrook salary (average): $41.36 million
Well, isn’t this fun? Imagine collecting a check the size that is cut to Westbrook on an annual basis despite being largely considered average at your job. That’s what the Los Angeles Lakers had prior to dealing him to the Utah Jazz. Now, Westbrook is now long on our list of the highest paid NBA players. He’ll soon be bought out by Utah, hitting free agency in the process.
18. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Rudy Gobert contract: 5 years, $205 million
- Rudy Gobert salary (average): $41 million
Gobert has come a long way from averaging 2.3 points during his rookie season back in 2013-14. The France native and former late first-round pick has now earned three consecutive All-Star appearances and is a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. The question now becomes how well he can fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota, forming a Twin Towers frontcourt. Signed to his current extension back in December of 2020, ‘The Stifle Tower’ is due $116 million over the next three seasons with a player option of $46.66 million in 2025-26.
19. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
- Klay Thompson contract: 5 years, $189.90 million
- Klay Thompson salary (average): $37.98 million
After missing two full seasons to injury, Thompson returned with a bang in 2021-22. The three-time NBA champion actually averaged his highest point total per 36 minutes in his career. Over his final 11 regular season games, Thompson averaged 27.3 points on 42% shooting from distance. One of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, Klay is under contract for the next two seasons with a combined cost of $83-plus million. That’s a lot of cash for a 33-year-old guard coming off two serious injuries.
20. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
- Anthony Davis contract: 5 years, $189.9 million
- Anthony Davis salary (average): $37.98 million
Davis’ struggles with injuries are by now well known. He’s missed nearly half of the Lakers’ games to injury since helping them win the NBA title in the Orlando Bubble to conclude the 2019-20 season. He’s shooting a mere 23% from three-point range during that two-year span and seemst to be a shell of his former self.
Related: 2022-23 NBA Playoff and championship predictions
Highest paid NBA players by position (annually)
- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: $53.84 million
- Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: $44.07 million
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $42.46 million
- Russell Westbrook, Utah Jazz: $41.36 million
- Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $53.5 million
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards: $50.2 million
- Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $43 million
- Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: $37.98 million
- Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors: $35 million
- James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers: $34.3 million
- C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans: $33.33 million
- Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers: $32.60 million
- Tyler Herro, Miami Heat: $32.5 million
- Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat: $48.80 million
- Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
- Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
- LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: $42.83 million
- Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: $35.5 million
- Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns: $48.55 million
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: $45.64 million
- Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers: $37.98 million
- Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers: $36 million
- Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $34.23 million
- Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: $52.8 million
- Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: $48.98 million
- Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves: $41 million
- Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $32.6 million
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: $31.65 million