The 10 Highest-Paid NBA Players Today

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers warms up prior to facing the Denver Nuggets.

As one of the highest-paid NBA players, LeBron James is all smiles. | Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Whether it’s from a hefty salary or an abundance of endorsements, the highest-paid NBA players are pulling in some serious bank. That much we all know. However, what you might not know are the specifics. Fortunately, that’s about to change. Thanks to Forbes’s Kurt Badenhausen, we now know all about the league’s highest-paid players. And to be honest, even we were a bit taken aback by the information:

Forbes’ earnings figures include salaries for the 2016–17 season and estimates on off-court income between June 2016 and June 2017. Off-court income includes endorsements, licensing, royalties, appearances and media deals. The top 10 players will earn $449 million this season, up 15% compared to the 10 top-earners last year. Their cumulative paychecks are split almost evenly between salaries and endorsements.

Of course, as it is in all pro sports, some individuals find themselves earning a fair amount more than others. In the case of the NBA, here’s a look at the 10 players who will get paid the most in 2017.

10. Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving gets back on defense.

Kyrie Irving has serious game. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Total earnings: $30.6 million

Thanks a sweet handle and an undeniable clutch gene, Kyrie Irving has established himself as one of the game’s premier point guards. As a result, he’s been able to capitalize both on and off the court. Aside from the $17.6 million the Cavs are paying him this season, the former Dukie is taking in a cool $13 million in endorsement money. With $30.6 million in total earnings, Uncle Drew holds steady at No. 10 on the NBA’s highest-paid players list.

9. Chris Paul

Chris Paul tries to keep the situation under control.

Chris Paul remains the key to the Los Angeles Clippers’ success. | Harry How/Getty Images

Total earnings: $30.9 million

Chris Paul is one of the best floor generals money can buy. The Clippers know this, which is why they’re paying him $22.9 million this season. However, they’re not the only ones, as CP3 is pulling in another $8 million courtesy of endorsement deals with companies like Spalding, State Farm, Fan Duel, and Nike’s Jordan Brand. Although Paul is probably not used to coming in ninth place in anything, making $30.9 million is nothing to be embarrassed.

8. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony reacts to knocking down a shot.

Carmelo Anthony has a knack for scoring. | Elsa/Getty Images

Total earnings: $32.6 million

Carmelo Anthony may go his whole career without ever winning a title, but as one of basketball’s most gifted scorers, he still pulls in top dollar. This year, thanks to sweet deals with companies like Nike’s Jordan Brand, Anthony is raking in $8 million in endorsement money. Add that to the $24.6 million the Knicks pay him in salary, and Melo is sitting pretty with $32.6 million in total earnings.

7. Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball against the Boston Celtics.

Derrick Rose looks to make a play. | Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Total earnings: $35.3 million

We’ll always be left wondering how good Derrick Rose could have been had he not suffered a string of unfortunate injuries. And yet, while the New York Knicks point guard’s standing among the game’s elite took a hit, the former MVP’s bank account has not. Rose is making $21.3 million in salary this year and raking in $14 million in endorsement money, making him the seventh highest-paid NBA player in 2017.

6. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade reacts to hitting a three.

Dwyane Wade is drilling threes in Chicago. | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Total earnings: $36.2 million

Although Dwyane Wade left Miami for the Windy City, the move certainly hasn’t hurt his bank account. This season, the Bulls are paying him a salary of $23.2 million. Couple that with the $13 million he’s earning through endorsements making his total earnings for the season $36.2 million  and it’s clear Flash is still sitting pretty.

5. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook brings the ball up the court.

Russell Westbrook works hard for his money. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Total earnings: $41.5 million

Ever since KD’s departure this past summer, Russell Westbrook has been nothing short of a one-man wrecking crew. The Brodie has the Thunder in playoff contention, while averaging a triple-double for the season and doing whatever it takes to earn his money. And it’s a lot of money — $41.5 million in total earnings to be exact. When it comes to Westbrook, it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the show.

4. James Harden

James Harden reacts to a made basket against the Pacers.

James Harden reacts to the play. | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Total earnings: $46.5 million

Not only is Houston Rockets superstar James Harden getting paid — $26.5 million in salary — for dropping buckets and dimes, he’s reaping plenty of rewards off the hardwood as well. Thanks to his dealings with companies like NBA 2K, Stance, New Era, and of course, Adidas (hello, $200 million deal), Harden has increased his off-court earnings to $20 million. This makes one thing abundantly clear: At $46.5 million in total earnings, The Beard gets paid.

3. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry warms up prior to a game against the Cavs.

Stephen Curry is money. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Total earnings: $47.1 million

By superstar standards, Stephen Curry’s 2016–17 salary of $12.1 million is actually insulting. But don’t worry, the Baby-Faced Assassin is more than making up for it in endorsement money. Thanks to deals with everyone from Chase to Under Armour, the two-time MVP is set to pull in $35 million in off-court earnings, giving him $47.1 million in total earnings this year.

2. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant reacts during a game against the Cavs.

It’s good to be Kevin Durant. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Total earnings: $62.5 million

With total earnings of $62.5 million, Kevin Durant comes in at No. 2 on the list of the NBA’s highest-paid players in 2016. And if you think that’s impressive, just wait until you see how it’s all broken down. Aside from his $26.5 million salary with the Golden State Warriors, KD’s partnership with the app Acorns, as well as deals with companies like Sparkling Ice, BBVA, Beats, and Nike (worth upwards of $300 million), has helped him pull in $36 million in endorsement money alone. Clearly Durant’s shot isn’t the only thing unstoppable about him.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James warms up before a game.

It’s all about LeBron. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Total earnings: $86 million

Long live the King.

If you think LeBron James’s $31 million salary — the highest in the NBA this season — is massive, just wait until you hear about his off-the-court ventures. That’s where his royalty really shines. The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar works with everyone from Intel to Verizon, has a production company (SpringHill Entertainment), a multi-platform media company (Uninterrupted), dealings with Fenway Sports Management, and a major investment in the assembly-line pizza franchise, Blaze. And of course, we can’t forget about his new “lifetime” deal with Nike — something that no one else in history has ever had. All in all, James will see $55 million in endorsements, taking his total 2017 earnings to $86 million. This proves once again — to anyone who didn’t already know it — that it’s good to be the King.

Statistics courtesy of Forbes and Spotrac.

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