NBA Salary: The 10 Highest-Paid NBA Players for 2023-24 and the average salary earned

NBA Salary: The 10 Highest-Paid NBA Players for 2023-24 and the average salary earned

NBA Salary: The 10 Highest-Paid NBA Players for 2023-24 and the average salary earned

Kolawole Babatunde 14:27 - 29.05.2024

The NBA Salary is the average-highest among any sport in the world, which helps them attract the best basketball talents around the globe.

In this article, Pulse Sports reveals the top 10 NBA salary earners, while also answering frequently asked questions about salary in the NBA.

Top 10 highest-paid NBA players for 2023–24

1. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors, Point Guard) - $51,915,615

Steph Curry in action for the Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry is the highest-paid player in the NBA for the 2023–24 season. His four-year contract extension in 2021 worth $215 million with the Golden State Warriors lands him a salary of $51.9 million. This hefty sum puts him at the top of the league's earners, reflecting his talent and star power.

2. Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns, Power Forward) - $47,649,433

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant's salary for the 2023-24 season with the Phoenix Suns comes in sixth place. While exact figures can vary slightly depending on sources, most of these sources put Durant’s salary at $47.6 million. This is an increase from the $46.4 million he earned previously, as his contract increases year-to-year.

3. LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers, Small Forward) - $47,607,350

LeBron James is the only Billionaire player in the NBA as of 2024 || Credit: Imago

LeBron James is considered one of the most marketable athletes globally, and his endorsement deals with major brands like Nike are incredibly lucrative. Estimates suggest his total earnings for the 2023–24 season, including endorsements, reached a staggering $117.6 million, making him the NBA's top earner overall.

However, his salary with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2023-24 season is not the highest in the NBA, as he earns $47.6 million according to several sources. 

4. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets, Center) - $47,607,350

Nikola Jokic plays for Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA for the 2023-24 season. He signed a massive contract extension with the Denver Nuggets in 2022, locking him in for several years.

His exact salary for this season is reported to be around $47.6 million per various sources. This makes him one of the top earners on the Denver Nuggets and places him among the league's elite in terms of compensation.

5. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers, Center) - $46,900,000

Joel Embiid | imago images

Joel Embiid earned $46.9 million for the 2023-24 NBA season with the Philadelphia 76ers, placing him among the league's elite earners, showing he is one of the best players in the league.

Embiid's contract is structured for increasing salaries, so he will likely make an even higher amount in the upcoming 2024-25 season.

6. Bradley Beal (Phoenix Suns, Shooting Guard) - $46,741,590

Bradley Beal. Credit: X

Bradley Beal is signed to a hefty contract by the Phoenix Suns. For the 2023-24 season, his salary lands him among the league's elite earners at roughly $46.7 million, putting him in the top 10 for highest-paid players this season.

It's worth noting his contract is a multi-year deal, so he will continue to be a major financial piece for the Suns moving forward.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks, Power Forward) - $45,640,084

Giannis Antetokounmpo plays for Milwaukee Bucks || Imago

Giannis Antetokounmpo's salary for the 2023–24 NBA season with the Milwaukee Bucks was $45.64 million USD. He signed a five-year contract extension in December 2020 worth a total of $228.2 million. However, the salary increases throughout the deal, and it’s important to note that for the 2024–25 season, his salary will jump to $48.8 million.

8. Damian Lillard (Milwaukee Bucks, Point Guard) - $45,640,084

It is back-to-back for Damian Lillard as he wins the NBA All-Star 3-point contest.
Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard's salary for the 2023-24 season with the Milwaukee Bucks was $45.6 million.  This figure comes from his recent contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers, before he was traded to the Bucks. His contract is for four years with two years remaining, so he will also earn $48.7 million next season. This makes him one of the highest-paid players in the NBA.

9. Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers, Small Forward) - $45,640,084

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA for the 2023-24 season. He signed a three-year contract extension with the LA Clippers in 2021, locking him in for a significant salary.

For the 2023-24 season specifically, Kawhi earned  $45,640,084, but he will make even more in the following years as his pay increases through his contract.

10. Paul George (LA Clippers, Forward) - $45,640,084

Paul George

Paul George's salary for the 2023-24 NBA season was a hefty $45,640,084 and he comes in at number 10 on this list.

This salary came from a lucrative four-year contract he signed with the LA Clippers in 2020. The contract guarantees him a significant sum each year, with his salary increasing slightly throughout the duration.

NBA Salary Average 

The average NBA salary for the 2023-24 season was around $8.6 million according to various sources. It's important to note that this is just an average, and salaries vary significantly depending on experience, star power, and position.

Superstars like Stephen Curry pull in over $50 million annually, while rookie contracts typically start much lower. The salary cap also plays a role, limiting the total amount a team can spend on players.

Who has the highest NBA salary? 

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the NBA player with the highest salary for the 2023-24 season. He makes a cool $51.9 million on the court alone playing as a point guard.

NBA Salary Minimum

The NBA minimum salary for the 2023-2024 season surpassed $1.1million, making it the first time ever it surpassed the $1 million mark.

What is the current NBA Salary cap?

The NBA salary cap for the current season, 2023-24 was set at $136 million, representing an increase from previous years. This allows teams a set amount of money to spend on player salaries. However, it's a soft cap, meaning teams can exceed it by paying a luxury tax.

How NBA Salary caps work?

NBA salary caps limit how much a team can spend on players. It aims for competitive balance by preventing big-market teams from buying all the stars. The cap is a set amount based on league revenue, not a hard limit. Teams can exceed it using exceptions, like re-signing their own players or signing rookies. This puts them in "luxury tax" territory, meaning they pay a penalty for going over.

Can NBA teams exceed the Salary Cap?  

Yes, NBA teams can exceed the salary cap under certain conditions. It's called a "soft cap" compared to the stricter "hard cap" in leagues like the NFL. Exceptions allow teams to go over the limit, like re-signing their own players or using special allowances for veterans. This fosters team continuity and fan loyalty. There is a penalty, though, called the luxury tax, for exceeding a higher threshold within the soft cap.

Will the NBA Salary cap go up? 

Yes, the NBA salary cap is projected to increase for the 2024-25 season, but by a smaller margin than recent years. Initial estimates were around $142 million, but it's been adjusted slightly lower to $141 million. This represents a 3.6% increase from the prior season.

NBA Salary for rookies

Rookie salaries in the NBA depend on draft position. The top pick gets the most, with salaries decreasing as you go down the rounds. The first overall pick can expect around $10 million annually, while later picks might land deals closer to $2 million. These are guaranteed contracts for multiple years, with increases built-in.

NBA Salary vs WNBA

The NBA and WNBA salary gap is huge. The average NBA player makes a whopping $8.6 million, while the average WNBA player earns around $102,751, with the difference being as a result of the varying revenues. The NBA generates billions, while the WNBA brings in millions. WNBA players are fighting for a fairer share, but their current structure distributes less of the revenue pool to salaries compared to the NBA.