And he won’t be relinquishing that title in 2021-22.
The three-time NBA champion will make a league-high $45,780,966 in base salary this season (via Spotrac). The contract that’s kept him as the NBA’s highest earner is a five-year, $201.16 million designated veteran player extension he signed in July of 2017.
Curry is in the final year of that “supermax” deal, but he’s already locked down his next contract of four years and $215.35 million. With that deal, he’s currently projected to become the NBA’s first $50-million-per-year player in 2023-24 and will be making just shy of $60 million in the final year of it at age 37. Curry will also clear $400 million in career earnings by the time it’s up.
So who are the top earners behind Curry?
John Wall and James Harden went from being tied for the fourth-highest salary last season to tied for the second-highest this year at $44,310,840. Both guards signed four-year, $171.13 million designated veteran player extensions in July of 2017. Of course, they’re no longer with the teams they inked those deals with, as Wall has gone from Washington to Houston and Harden from Houston to Brooklyn. Wall and Harden each have a player option worth $47.37 million for next season, but only Wall is likely to accept it since he wouldn’t fetch anything close to that figure on the open market.
A pair of Los Angeles Lakers trail Wall and Harden. New Laker Russell Westbrook, who was traded for Wall ahead of last season, has the fourth-highest salary at $44,211,146. Following his 2016-17 MVP season, Westbrook signed a five-year, supermax contract worth $206.8 million with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has a player option for $47.1 million next season, and like Wall, it’d be surprising if he didn’t pick it up.
The King comes in at fifth with a salary of $41,180,544. After initially joining L.A. on a four-year deal, LeBron James re-upped with the Lakers on a two-year, $85.66 million extension before the 2020-21 campaign. The next time he’ll be eligible to hit free agency is in the summer of 2023.
Kevin Durant is the sixth and final player who will earn at least $40 million in 2021-22 with a salary of $40,918,900. KD had the ability to become a free agent next offseason, but opted to re-sign with Brooklyn in August on a four-year, $194.22 million extension.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Los Angeles Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard round out the top 10, each with a salary of $39,344,900. All four players are starting a new contract this season.
Jayson Tatum is the first Boston Celtic to appear on the list of highest-paid players. Tatum is seeing a big bump in his salary this season as his five-year, $163 million rookie-scale extension kicks in. After making $9.9 million last season, the former No. 3 overall pick will earn $28.1 million this year. That figure is tied for 35th overall with Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, all of whom are 2017 draft class members and signed max extensions last November like Tatum.
Fellow Celtics Al Horford and Jaylen Brown aren’t too far behind Tatum. Horford left the Celtics for the rival Philadelphia 76ers in the summer of 2019 on a four-year, $109 million pact. Two years later, he’s back in Boston where he’ll make $27 million, the 39th-highest salary in the league. He has one additional year left on his deal, which is partially guaranteed for $14.5 million. Meanwhile, Brown is in the second season of a four-year, $106 million rookie extension and will take home $24,830,357, the 42nd-highest salary.
Who are the highest-paid NBA players for 2021-22?
Here’s a look at the 50 highest-paid players for this season, all of whom will make at least $20 million in base salary:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: $45,780,966
T-2. James Harden, Brooklyn Nets: $44,310,840
T-2. John Wall, Houston Rockets: $44,310,840
4. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers: $44,211,146
5. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: $41,180,544
6. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets: $40,918,900
T-7. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: $39,344,900
T-7. Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers: $39,344,900
T-7. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers: $39,344,900
T-7. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: $39,344,900
11. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors: $37,980,720
12. Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat: $36,016,200
13. Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers: $35,995,950
14. Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: $35,500,000
15. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers: $35,361,360
16. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz: $35,344,828
17. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets: $34,916,200
18. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards: $34,502,129
T-19. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors: $33,003,936
T-19. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers: $33,003,936
T-21. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves: $31,650,600
T-21. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: $31,650,600
T-21. Kristaps Porzingis, Dallas Mavericks: $31,650,600
T-24. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: $31,579,390
T-24. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors: $31,579,390
26. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers: $31,258,256
27. C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers: $30,864,198
28. Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns: $30,800,000
29. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: $30,510,423
30. Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks: $30,133,333
31. D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves: $30,013,500
32. Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets: $29,925,000
T-33. Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets: $29,467,800
T-33. Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans: $29,467,800
T-35. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: $29,467,800
T-35. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings: $29,467,800
T-35. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: $29,467,800
T-35. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat: $29,467,800
39. Al Horford, Boston Celtics: $27,000,000
40. Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat: $26,984,128
42. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics: $24,830,357
43. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors: $24,026,712
44. Nikola Vucevic, Chicago Bulls: $24,000,000
45. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks: $23,000,000
46. Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings: $22,477,272
47. Malcolm Brogdon, Indiana Pacers: $21,700,000
48. Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks: $21,306,816
49. Mike Conley, Utah Jazz: $21,000,000
50. Gary Harris, Orlando Magic: $20,482,143
You can check out the full list here.