On our annual list of NBA players with the highest salaries there two teams with two players: The Brooklyn Nets with Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson & Miami Heat with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The rest of the spots are filled by Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard,LeBron James, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose.
Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets – $20,000,000
Lopez begins the first of a three-year, $63 million deal with the Nets, the only team he has ever played for since being drafted in 2008. He averaged 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds for them last season, coming off the bench for 28 of the 72 games he played, not something he’s used. Lopez is a one-time All-Star back in 2013.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat – $20,000,000
It wasn’t easy getting there, but Wade and the Heat eventually agreed to a one-year deal worth $20 million after he opted out from the contract a he signed a year earlier. Wade has been with the Heat his entire career, since 2003, winning three NBA championships. He made his 11th consecutive All-Star game last season, playing in just 62 games and averaging 21.5 points a night, his best since 2011-2012.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – $20,093,000
This is the fourth season in Rose’s five-year, $94.1 million contract. He hasn’t played too much since signing that deal, considering that playing in 51 games last season was considered a comeback year. He was quite inconsistent and inefficient in his big return, averaging 17.7 points per game while shooting 40.5% from the field. Rose has been with the Bulls since 2008, making the All-Star game three times and winning the MVP in 2011.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – $20,158,622
It’s a comeback year for Durant as well. The 2014 MVP played just 27 times due to a number of injuries that derailed his and the Thunder’s season. It’s a contract year for Durant, hitting free agency in 2016. He averaged 25.4 points and 6.6 rebounds last season, making his sixth All-Star game.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – $21,468,696
Paul has been in the NBA since 2005, and is entering his fifth season with the Clippers. His five-year, $107 million deal runs through the 2017-2018 season, although he has a player option on the last one. He averaged 22.1 points and 8.8 assists per game, making his eighth consecutive All-Star game.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat – $22,192,730
Bosh missed quite a lot of time last season because of a blood clot in his lungs, but thankfully he’s fine and ready to start his sixth season with the Heat (has been in the league since 2003). It’s his second season on the five-year deal he signed in 2014. He averaged 21.1 points and 7 rebounds per game before being shut down for the season, making his 10th All-Star game. Bosh is two-time NBA champion with the Heat.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets – $22,359,364
Howard is another star who missed a lot of time last season, playing in just 41 games for the Rockets. He enters his third season since signing a four-year, $87 million deal he signed in 2013 as he left the Lakers for Houston. An 8-time All-Star, Howard averaged 15.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, his lowest numbers since his rookie season. He also played under 30 minutes on average for the first time in his career.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – $22,875,000
Anthony signed a five-year deal with the New York Knicks a year ago which was heavily criticized because of Anthony saying he wants to win championships, and then pulling a 180 and staying on a team without any title hopes for two or three years at least, but for more money, which isn’t a bad reason, but it’s better to be truthful about such things. Anthony averaged 24.2 points per game last season, playing in just 40 games, being another star to miss a big chunk of the season. Anthony is an 8-time All-Star.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers – $22,971,000
James opted out, as expected, of his two year deal with the Cavaliers to sign another two-year deal with one season as an option, which he’ll probably opt out of to cash in on the massive salary cap rise of 2016. James came back to Cleveland last season after being gone four years, and took them to the NBA Finals, losing to the Warriors. He missed 13 games last season, the most he’s ever been out of in his NBA career. He averaged 25.3 points, 6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game, making his 11th All-Star game. He’s a two-time NBA champion and four-time MVP.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets – $24,894,863
Johnson begins his final year of that six-year, $123 million contract he signed with the Atlanta Hawks, before the 2011 strikeout. The Nets have been trying to move him over the last year or so but it’s impossible, until at least the trade deadline. Johnson, a 7-time All-Star, averaged 14.4 points per game last season, his lowest since his second season in the league, back in 2002-2003.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers – $25,000,000
Still the highest paid player in the NBA, and probably for the last time. Bryant is on his second year of the $48 million deal he signed with the Lakers that has probably held the team back more than it helped them. He once again didn’t play too much last season, shut down quite early so he won’t get in the way of tanking, showing up for 35 games. He averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game, getting voted into his 17th All-Star game.