People always care most about how much others make, especially when it involves athletes, like these NBA stars. LeBron James might be the best player in the league, but he isn’t even the highest paid player on the Miami Heat. The Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, have two among the 10 highest paid players in the NBA, while the Lakers, with Gasol, Howard and Bryant, lead the list with 3.
LeBron James, Miami Heat – $17.54 Million
James is on the third year of his contract with the Miami Heat, with an option to opt out after the 2013-2014 season. Needless to say, this is the popular choice for best player in the NBA, with an NBA title, Finals MVP and third regular season MVP from last year to show for it. He averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat – $17.54 Million
Bosh joined the Miami Heat on the same terms as LeBron James, with the same extension and early termination option. His importance and role on this team were magnified last season upon his return from an abdominal injury he suffered from during the postseason, with his return giving the right kind of boost and adjustment to the Heat on their way to win an NBA title. Bosh averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds last season.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – $17.77 Million
Paul is into the final year of his contract, and there are a lot of worried minds in Los Angeles because there’s a good chance he won’t re-sign with this team for two reasons: A disappointing season and feeling a greater chance for success playing for another team; Donald Sterling doesn’t like to pay a lot of money. Paul averaged 19.8 points, 9.1 assists and an NBA-best 2.5 steals per game.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers – $19 Million
Gasol begins the second year of his $57 million extension he signed with the Lakers back in 2009, which began last season. His contract runs out in 2014, and there will be a lot of questions regarding the Lakers and their salary cap once both Gasol and Bryant run theirs out. Gasol had a disappointing postseason for a second straight year, although an excellent showing at the Olympic games and a change of players around him might suggest that it was mostly a mental-motivational problem, gone now that Andrew Bynum is on the East Coast. He averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds last season.
Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers, $19.53 Million
Howard begins the last year of his $83,235,900 for 5 years contract he signed in 2007 with a team he actually wants to re-sign for, unless this Galacticos project the Lakers are running once again will have unforseen problems, which a lot of people are waiting for to happen. Howard missed the playoffs last season and the last 12 games of the regular season with a back injury. He averaged 20.6 points, led the league in rebounding with 14.6 and averaged 2.1 blocks per game.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets – $19.75 Million
The Hawks regretted signing Johnson to a six-year, $123,658,089 contract from the moment that contract was signed. Now the Nets have the $90 million of it to pay, but they did get an All-Star player they really wanted and might be playing next to an elite point guard will give Johnson a bit more time to focus on shooting and scoring instead of ball handling. He averaged 18.8 points per game last season.
Amare Stoudemire, New York Knicks – $19.94 Million
Amare didn’t know he was going to be the number 2 guy for the Knicks when he signed a 5-year, $99.7 million contract with them in 2010, with an option to get out in 2014. Life next to Carmelo Anthony, who takes away a lot of possession from Amare, hasn’t been easy, while injuries and general Knicks problems have hurt his production during his second season with the team. He averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds, missing 19 games last season.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $20.46 Million
Carmelo Anthony begins his first season with more than $20 million in wages, if that actually means something. The most important thing is this is completely Anthony’s team now, after the glitch with Jeremy Lin last season. This means slow, individual basketball and being part of the oldest basketball team in the league. Anthony averaged 22.6 points and 6.3 rebounds last season.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks – $20.9 Million
Nowitzki won’t be a part of the Mavericks lineup for the first 10 games (at least) of the season. This will be his 15th NBA season, all in Dallas, where he pretty much owns every possible record in the books. It’s a new team for Dallas, hoping they can make a contender out of 8 new guys, built around a fading and aging Nowitzki, who averaged 21.6 points and 6.8 rebounds last season.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers – $27.8 Million
No slowing down for the 34 year old Bryant, entering his 17th NBA season. He’ll be going in full force for the NBA titles over the next couple of years, with Michael Jordan in mind. Next year, he’ll actually be making over $30 million on the last season of his contract, before the retirement rumors begin. He averaged 27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists last season.