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25 highest paid NBA players: Find out where Kawhi Leonard ranks

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard
Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Who are the 25 highest paid NBA players? Who is the highest paid NBA player in 2023? These are important questions to with the Association in the midst of the 2023-24 season.

There are normal names to look at when checking in on those who are backing up the Brinks Truck every year. Below, we look at the 25 highest paid NBA players of 2023 with a positional break down at the bottom.

25. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves

highest paid nba players: rudy gobert
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  • Rudy Gobert contract: 5 years, $205 million
  • Rudy Gobert salary (average): $41 million

Gobert’s first season with Minnesota after a blockbuster trade from the Utah Jazz did not go according to plan. Not only did the ‘Wolves lose in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, but he also averaged his lowest PPG and RPG total since back in 2017-18. In short, the pairing of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, another one of the highest paid NBA players, did not work out well.

For Minnesota, this is an albatross of a contract. Gobert is set to earn a combined $84.8 million over the next two seasons. He also has a whopping $46.66 million player option for 2025-26, one that Gobert will undoubtedly exercise unless he somehow morphs into a more complete player at the age of 33. Yeah, this contract is not moveable.

24. Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers

highest paid nba players: tyrese haliburton
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  • Tyrese Haliburton contract: 5 years, $205.9 million (max $260 million)
  • Tyrese Haliburton salary: $41.18 million

Acquired from the Sacramento Kings in the Domantas Sabonis blockbuster during the 2021-22 season, Haliburton has morphed into a legitimate star in Indiana. Last season saw the former first-round pick average 20.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists on 49% shooting. He also shot 40% from distance. Haliburton’s new rookie-level max contract could pay him $260 million with incentives, including an All-NBA appearance.

Related: Updated NBA power rankings

23. Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies

highest paid nba players: desmond bane
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  • Desmond Bane contract: 5 years, $205.9 million (max $260 million)
  • Desmond Bane salary: $41.18 million

The final pick in the first round back in 2020, Bane has become a franchise cornerstone in Memphis. He was absolutely brilliant last season, averaging 21.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 41% shooting from distance. It led to the former TCU star receiving a well-deserved rookie-level max contract from the Grizzlies.

22. LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets

NBA: Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets
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  • LaMelo Ball contract: 5 years, $205.9 million (max $260 million)
  • LaMelo Ball salary: $41.18 million

Prior to an injury-plagued 2022-23 season that limited him to 36 games, Ball was well on his way to becoming one of the best point guards in the Association. As a sophomore in 2021-22, he averaged 20.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 7.6 assists. The former No. 3 pick also shot 39% from three-point range.

21. Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

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  • Kyrie Irving contract: 3 years, $126 million
  • Kyrie Irving salary: $42 million

After all of the talk about Irving potentially leaving Dallas in free agency, the NBA champion re-signed with the team immediately after the market opened. It made sense for both parties. Irving could receive more from Dallas than any other team. Meanwhile, the Mavericks exhausted capital to acquire him from the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster trade back in February of 2023.

Related: Top selling NBA jerseys

20. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

highest-paid nba players: trae young
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  • Trae Young contract: 5 years, $215.16 million
  • Trae Young salary: $43.03 million

The brilliant start to Young’s career has taken somewhat of a turn with questions about his leadership. The Hawks’ lack of team-wide success (three playoff wins the past two seasons) has also played a role in the devaluation of the sharpshooter. Statistically, it’s hard to ignore what the 25-year-old Young has been able to do in five seasons with the Hawks.

  • Trae Young stats: 25.5 PPG, 9.3 APG, 44% shooting, 35% 3-point

The question here is whether Young can be a No. 1 option for a contending team. There is also some uncertainty about his future with Atlanta after trade rumors surfaced earlier in the calendar year.

19. Fred VanVleet, Houston Rockets

highest paid nba players: fred vanvleet
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  • Fred VanVleet contract: 3 years, $130 million
  • Fred VanVleet salary: $43.3 million

From an undrafted free agent to one of the NBA’s highest paid players. What a past eight years it has been for Fred VanVleet. You have to hand it to the former Wichita State star.

It’s also not like VanVleet didn’t earn this contract in NBA free agency. From 2020-22, he averaged 19.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. While VanVleet did struggle shooting this past season, he’s a big addition for a young Rockets squad.

18. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls

highest paid nba players: zach lavine
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  • Zach LaVine contract: 5 years, $215.16 million
  • Zach LaVine salary (average): $43.03 million

When the 28-year-old LaVine entered the Association as a first-round pick of Minnesota back in 2014, most figured that he was nothing more than an athlete. Early on, he displayed flashes of brilliance by driving and dunking with the best of them.

Since being acquired by Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade back in 2017, things have changed dramatically. LaVine has morphed into one of the more complete wings in the game. He’s averaging 24.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting a resounding 39% from distance over the past six seasons. The question now is whether LaVine will remain in the Windy City long term with trade rumors surrounding the wing. We’ll find out more ahead of the February NBA trade deadline.

17. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

highest paid nba players: luka doncic contract
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  • Luka Doncic contract: 5 years, $215.16 million
  • Luka Doncic salary (average): $43.03 million

Doncic’s ability to become one of the highest paid NBA players in the summer of 2021 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 five seasons in the Association, Doncic is averaging 27.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per outing. He put up north of 32 points per game in 2022-23. It’s now all about the Mavericks actually find themselves in contention moving forward.

16. Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings
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  • Domantas Sabonis contract: 5 years, $217 million
  • Domantas Sabonis salary (average): 43.4 million

The Domantas Sabonis trade to Sacramento worked out great for all parties involved. Since joining the Kings, Sabonis has led the NBA in rebounding, drastically improved his shooting percentages, posted career highs in assists, all while helping Sacramento get back to the playoffs.

It’s not surprising to see the Kings continue to build around their young core, headlined by Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. Now, Sabonis’ hard work and dedication have paid off in a big way, becoming one of the highest-paid players in basketball.

Related: 2024 NBA Championship odds

15. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

highest paid nba players: kawhi leonard contract
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  • 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 back in the summer of 2021. 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.

Unfortunately, injuries have limited the 32-year-old Leonard to 102 games since the end of the 2019-20 season. His deal calls for $45.64 million this season and a player option of $48.79 million in 2024-25. The key is staying healthy.

14. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

highest paid nba players: paul george contract
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  • Paul George contract: 4 years, $176.3 million
  • Paul George salary (average): $44.07 million

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 when healthy. But much like Leonard, he has not been able to remain on the court in recent years. George has missed 87 of a possible 164 games since the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

13. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

highest paid nba players: giannis antetokounmpo contract
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  • 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 after signing a massive extension, 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. Now that he has Damian Lillard with him, the sky is the limit.

Related: 2023-24 NBA Playoff and Finals predictions

12. Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns

highest paid nba players: kevin durant
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  • 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 back in August of 2022. The two-time NBA Finals MVP would have earned a lot more money if he had waited until free agency this past summer.

At 35, 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. He promptly requested a trade leading up to the February NBA trade deadline. Now teaming up with two of the other highest paid NBA players — Devin Booker and Bradley Beal — in Phoenix, pressure is on KD to deliver.

11. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat

highest paid nba players: jimmy butler contract
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  • 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 was seen as a detriment to the Heat.

Then, things changed once the 2023 NBA Playoffs started. Butler put the Heat on his back in a Round 1 win over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. After taking out the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals, Miami earned a trip to the NBA Finals via a seven-game series win over the Boston Celtics. With two Finals appearances in the past four years, Butler has proven he’s worth every cent as one of the highest paid NBA players.

Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2024

10. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

highest paid nba players: lebron james contract
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  • LeBron James contract: 2 years, $99.01 million
  • LeBron James salary (average): $49.50 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.

This past season saw King James return the Lakers to relevance with a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Seemingly set to return to the Lakers for at least one more season after a brief flirtation with retirement, expect James to continue playing at a high level.

9. Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns

highest paid nba players: bradley beal
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  • Bradley Beal contract: 5 years, $251 million
  • Bradley Beal salary (average): $50.2 million

A three-time All-Star, Beal is well regarded around the league, which is partially why teams were always itching to trade for the scoring-first shooting guard before he was sent from the Washington Wizards to the Phoenix Suns in a blockbuster.

Currently 30, Beal’s contract keeps him in Phoenix through his age-33 season. Though, the final year of the deal is actually a player option estimated to be worth roughly $57.1 million. We have to hand it to new Suns owner Mat Ishbia. He’s paying out a combined $660 million to Beal, Booker and Durant.

Related: Top centers in the NBA today

8. Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA: Playoffs-Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets
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  • Anthony Edwards contract: 5 years, up to $260 million
  • Anthony Edwards salary (average): $52 million per season

Three years ago, everyone questioned how much Anthony Edwards liked the game of basketball, while skeptics wondered if he’d ever become a good scorer. These takes are laughable now, as Edwards has developed into one of the best young players in the game today, earning an All-Star nod as a 21-year-old last season.

Now Edwards is the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise, and the front office will continue building around him, Jaden McDaniels, and Karl-Anthony Towns for the foreseeable future. There was never a question about Edwards going anywhere else, but his extension makes that official.

7. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

highest paid nba players: joel embiid contract
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  • Joel Embiid contract: 4 years, $213.25 million
  • Joel Embiid salary (average): $53.31 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 33.1 points to go with 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 55% 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. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

highest paid nba players
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  • 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 owners. 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 waterfront. Yeah, Curry has been a boon for co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

5. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

NBA games today, NBA schedule, NBA games tonight
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  • Nikola Jokic contract: 5 years, $276.08 million
  • Nikola Jokic salary (average): $55.2 million

Jokic’s deal is one of the richest contracts in the history of the NBA 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 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 for a Nuggets team coming off its first NBA title.

4. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves
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  • Karl-Anthony Towns contract: 4 years, $234.57 million
  • Karl-Anthony Towns salary: $58.64 million

A one-dimensional performer, Towns’ status as one of the 10 highest paid NBA players isn’t necessarily a good look for the Wolves. It has actually led to previous speculation that he will be traded this summer.

The former No. 1 pick is coming off his worst statistical performance since his rookie campaign back in 2015-16. His deal calls for a player option worth $62.06 million in 2027-28. Ouch!

3. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

longest championship drought NBA
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  • Devin Booker contract: 4 years, $234.57 million
  • Devin Booker salary (average): $58.64 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 after premature playoff exits each of the past two seasons. He will be aided by the recent acquisition of fellow All-Star guard Bradley Beal as well as Kevin Durant’s presence in the desert.

2. Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks

highest paid nba players: damian lillard
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  • Damian Lillard contract: 2 years, $121.77 million
  • Damian Lillard salary (average): $60.8 million

Lillard’s status atop the lost of the highest paid NBA players won’t officially take hold until 2025-26, but the two-year extension he signed back in July of last year puts him atop this list.

  • Damian Lillard stats (2022-23): 32.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 37% 3 point

Now a member of the Milwaukee Bucks following a blockbuster trade with the Portland Trail Blazers, the pressure is squarely on Dame to prove worthy of this title. He is a star on a championship-contending team. Postseason struggles will not be tolerated as he teams up with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Related: Best NBA players of all-time

1. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics (highest-paid NBA player)

Highest paid NBA players
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  • Jaylen Brown contract: 5 years, $304 million
  • Jaylen Brown salary (average): $60.8 million

Over the last seven seasons, Jaylen Brown has put in the work and effort to develop himself into a legitimate elite-level talent in the league. While earning his second trip to the All-Star game in 2022-2023, the 26-year-old also secured a spot on an All-NBA team. Which pushed him into a unique category to land a supermax deal this offseason.

  • Jaylen Brown stats (’22-’23): 26.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 34% 3PT

With him eligible to be locked into a long-term deal the Boston Celtics handed him a massive bag in July when they gave him a record-breaking five-year, $304 million contract that makes him the richest player in NBA history.

Highest-paid NBA players by position (annually)

Point guard

highest paid nba players: shai gilgeous-alexander
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  1. Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks: $60.89 million
  2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: $53.84 million
  3. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks: $43.03 million
  4. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks: $43.03 million
  5. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies: $39.44 million
  6. Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers: $39.44 million
  7. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder: $35.86 million
  8. Ben Simmons, Brooklyn Nets: $35.45 million
  9. Jrue Holiday, Portland Trail Blazers: $33.75 million
  10. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: $32.6 million

Shooting guard

highest paid nba players: klay thompson
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  1. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $58.64 million
  2. Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns: $50.20 million
  3. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
  4. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls: $43.03 million
  5. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: $37.98 million
  6. James Harden, Los Angeles Clippers: $34.32 million
  7. C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans: $33.33 million
  8. Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers: $32.6 million
  9. Jordan Poole, Washington Wizards: $32 million
  10. Tyler Herro, Miami Heat: $30 million
  11. Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks: $30 million

Small forward

highest paid nba players: michael porter jr.
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  1. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat: $48.80 million
  2. Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns: $48.55 million
  3. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers: $44.07 million
  4. Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets: $35.86 million
  5. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: $34 million
  6. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans: $31.65 million

Power forward

highest paid nba players: tobias harris
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  1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: $49.50 million
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: $45.64 million
  3. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans: $39.44 million
  4. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers: $36 million
  5. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $34.23 million


NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
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  1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: $58.64 million
  2. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: $55.22 million
  3. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: $53.31 million
  4. Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves: $41 million
  5. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers: $37.98 million

Highest paid NBA players (FAQs)

  • Who is set to become the NBA’s highest paid player? Giannis Antetokounmpo will soon become the NBA’s highest paid player once his recently-signed three-year, $186 million contract extension kicks in.
  • What was Michael Jordan’s salary? This six-time NBA champion earned $33.1 million for the 1997-98 NBA season. It remained the highest salary in the NBA until 2018. The second highest-paid NBA player that season was Patrick Ewing at $20.5 million.
  • What is minimum NBA salary? The minimum salary for a rookie during the 2022-23 season was $953,000. That number increased to $982,000 for 2023-24.
  • Who is the highest paid NBA player by year? Nikola Jokic will earn that mantle in 2023-24 by averaging $54.04 million. Fellow two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry was the highest-paid on a per-year basis in 2022-23, earning $53.84 million.
  • Which NBA player has the highest net worth? LeBron James is said to have a net worth of $1.2 billion, making him the richest current NBA player. The aforementioned Michael Jordan boasts the highest net worth of any player in Association history at $1.7 billion.
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