There’s no denying that NBA players make a lot of money. And for the entertainment they provide, some would argue that it make sense to pay these players millions. Of course, not many would agree, but that’s a whole other topic. Here are the 14 active players with the highest career earnings in the NBA right now.
NOTE: The pictures used were from the players’ most successful/highest earning years/teams.
14. Chris Bosh, PF Miami Heat – $141,002,722
Bosh has played 12 seasons in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat. He’s been relatively healthy, until his 2014-15 season was cut short due to a blood clot in his lung. He had his highest earning season this year at $20.6 million.
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13. LeBron James, SF Cleveland Cavaliers – $146,673,342
In 12 NBA seasons, LeBron James, the greatest player in the world, has never been the highest paid player on his team. He’s played with the Cavaliers and Heat, with guys like Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade, but was never the number one paid player on the team. He signed the a deal for the same amount as Bosh this season at $20.6 million, except he signed for two-years with an option for the second instead of a full, five-year contract like Bosh. James is projected to make even more next season with the NBA’s salary cap increase.
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12. Vince Carter, SG Memphis Grizzlies – $150,735,555
Vince Carter has played 17 solid seasons with the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks, and now the Grizzlies. He’s made $150 million over his career and made $17.5 million in 2010-11 during his tenure with the Suns, marking the most he’s gotten paid in a single year.
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11. Zach Randolph, PF Memphis Grizzlies – $152,597,245
Randolph has bounced around the league early on due to his attitude. Thankfully, he matured, and his full potential is being used now with the Grizzlies after playing for three teams in the Blazers, Knicks and Clippers in three consecutive years. He earned the most money last year in 2013-14 at $18.2 million.
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10. Carmelo Anthony, SF New York Knicks – $153,686,279
Melo had good seasons with the Nuggets early in his career, making the playoffs often, but always falling short. It seems that has followed him to New York, where his Knicks simply can’t get good enough to win. Melo still makes $22.4 million this year in the first of his five year, nearly max contract.
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9. Pau Gasol, PF Chicago Bulls – $160,050,855
Pau Gasol started his career in Memphis, and worked his way up the ladder to become on the best and most versatile big-men in the NBA. His great play helped the Lakers win two championships, but he struggled under coach Mike D’Antoni during his highest paid years in 2012-13 and 2013-14 where he made $19 million and 19.3 million, respectively. Now with the Bulls, he’s taken a huge pay but at $7 million, but he has a chance to win championships in Chicago.
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8. Amar’e Stoudemire, PF Dallas Mavericks – $160,129,705
Amar’e Stoudemire was made to be a huge player on both ends of the floor during his time with the Suns, the team that drafted him. He moved on to the Knicks to try and win himself while also signing a five-year, $99.7 million contract with the Suns as part of a sign-and-trade with the Knicks. It turned out to be a huge mistake as Stoudemire suffered some knee injuries early in his tenure with the Knicks, and he simply hasn’t been the same since.
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7. Elton Brand, PF Atlanta Hawks – $164,010,403
Brand was drafted by the Bulls, but made a name for himself playing with the Clippers. He suffered a ruptured Achilles in 2007-08, and was never really the same after that. He made $13.7 million for the Sixers in 2011-12, $2.1 million for the Mavericks and the other $16.1 million from the Sixers in 2012-13, before dropping off to $4 million in 2013-14.
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6. Joe Johnson, SG Brooklyn Nets – $170,232,905
Joe Johnson was a quiet player with the Celtics and Suns early on, but his career picked up with the Hawks in 2005-06. He would become a star player, but couldn’t lead his team past the first or second rounds. He was traded to the Nets after signing a ridiculous, six-year, $123.7 million contract with the Hawks and not living up to expectations. Still he’s made quite a lot of money for a player that hasn’t made much playoff noise.
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5. Paul Pierce, SF Washington Wizards – $187,132,032
Pierce played 15 seasons with the Celtics and wanted to end it there. Which is why the world was shocked when he and Garnett were traded to the Nets in July of 2013. Pierce made a lot of his money during his good years. His highest paid season was in 2009-10 when he made $19.8 million with the Celtics.
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4. Dirk Nowitzki, PF Dallas Mavericks – $208,313,028
Dirk spent his whole career with the Mavericks and they have rewarded him big-time. He’s made over $200 million for his career and over $20 in his last two seasons before 2014-15, where he took a pay cut for the good of the team and made ‘just’ $7.9 million.
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3. Tim Duncan, PF San Antonio Spurs – $230,381,050
Duncan has spent his whole career with one team as well, the San Antonio Spurs. He’s made his big bucks at $230 million for his 18-year career and also won five NBA championships to go with it. Duncan has just had a marvelous career, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
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2. Kobe Bryant, SG Los Angeles Lakers – $298,312,307
Bryant has had some questionable contracts of late, especially when he’s played less than half of the season in both of those high paying seasons. He’s the second best shooting guard behind Michael Jordan, and has made more than $20 million each of the last six seasons, including the 2013-2014 season when Bryant made $30.5 million off of his contract alone. The Lakers simply have too much money and decided to spend it all on Bryant as a token of their appreciation for all that he’s done for the franchise.
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1. Kevin Garnett, PF Minnesota Timberwolves- $323,326,371
Garnett has made quite a career of himself through a fifth of a century now. He joins New York Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez as the only professional athletes in North American sports to eclipse the $300 million mark. K.G. actually had two contracts worth more than $100 million each during his now 20-year career. He has made at least $20 million seven seasons in his career, including $28 million in 2003-2004 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team he’s now leaning towards ending his career with.