NBA salaries are based on market value, and, for the most part, are relative. A weak free agent class typically over values certain players (re: Rashard Lewis). Similarly, longevity increases max contract value, thus explaining why LeBron James can be ranked behind players like Joe Johnson. So when you read the following list – big shoutout to @warriorsworld on this – which chronicles the top 25 career NBA salaries, don’t look at it as a barometer of the greatest players. Rather, see it as the ultimate expression of the NBA as a business, in which certain players have taken advantage of their situation to cash in as much as possible.
(Note: active contracts are factored in.)
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25. Steve Nash – $146,736,620
He may have racked up two MVPs and held the title of the NBAs best point guard for a number of years, but Steve Nash is not one of the 25 greatest players ever. Still, the money feels well deserved for Nash, especially when he toiled in Phoenix despite their anti-winning salary cap ways without complaint.
24. LeBron James – $149,745,913
LeBron James has at least two more contracts left in him, so expect him to top this list by the time it’s all said and done. But for now, he can take his almost $150 million and NBA ring and smile.
23. Stephon Marbury – $151,115,945
We all remember that final season in New York, when Mike D’Antoni left him on the bench as Marbury raked in $20+ million. Marbury was a very good player in his day, but there’s no question that he’s made much more than he’s ever deserved.
22. Juwan Howard – $151,465,633
The last standing member of the Fab Five, Howard finally got his ring in 2012. Clearly that was the only thing missing, considering the money he’s made over his career.
21. Rashard Lewis – $152,580,678
Nope. We won’t get started.