Bulls

Where DeRozan, Vucevic rank among highest-paid NBA players

Bulls

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been the NBA’s highest-paid player for the past four seasons.

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.

DeMar DeRozan is the first Chicago Bull to appear on the list of the highest-paid players. The veteran guard left San Antonio for Chicago this past summer on a three-year, $81.9 million pact. DeRozan will make $26 million in the first year of that deal, the 41st-highest salary in the league. Nikola Vucevic is a few spots behind his new Bulls teammate at 44th. The Orlando Magic dealt Vuc at the last trade deadline when he was in the second season of his four-year, $100 million contract. The All-Star center will take home $24 million this season.

There are 56 players who have a higher base salary than Zach LaVine in 2021-22. LaVine is in the final season of a four-year, $78 million deal that pays him $19.5 million annually. But the All-Star guard is less than a year away from a huge payday that will move him up the 2022-23 version of this list.

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

41. DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls: $26,000,000

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.