It has been an amazing year for U.S. basketball and many players got an opportunity to shine, mostly on the court, but some also did so outside the National Basketball Association (NBA). Players have leveraged their abilities not only to earn a name for themselves but also to turn quite a bit of profit for their efforts playing at the highest competitive level of basketball possible.
1. Stephen Curry – $201 Million for the Golden Boy
Looking for a player who really makes headlines? You will certainly want to start with the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry whose five-year contract worth $201 million is the largest in NBA history.
The playoffs were tough for Curry in the 2018/2019 season, but he shone brighter than expected when he had to take over Kevin Durant and lead his team to yet another title. Curry was criticized by the press for failing to live up to his potential, but those decisive last games proved that coach Steve Kerr knew what he was doing all along.
2. LeBron James – All Over the Place and $153.3 Million Worth
LeBron James has definitely been around these days changing quite a few squads and finally sticking to his guns with the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a six-year contract worth $153.3 million. Was it worth it?
Many agree so, although the Lakers showed a weak game during the season that even their valuable LeBron couldn’t turn around. Finishing fourth in the Western Conference wasn’t great, but James seems to be confident about his team’s chances in the upcoming season.
3. Russell Westbrook – $206.8 Million for a Guard of Steel
Playing defense in the NBA is perhaps the toughest job you could have. Stopping a skilled player without fouling them is nearly impossible and for Russel Westbrook, this is the perfect position in the competition. Playing clean basketball, Westbrook has definitely been a much useful addition to Oklahoma City Thunder.
His contract is also one of the NBA’s largest and has cost the team $206.8 million. Will Oklahoma City Thunder have a better season in 2020 without their star guard? That remains to be seen. Westbrook has moved to Houston Rocket.
4. Blake Griffin – Can You Stop an Offense That Costs $171.2 Million?
When you go further down the conference’s rankings, you might think that there are no gems to be found, but Blake Griffin has proven his worth time and again. He costs the Detroit Pistons a pretty penny at $171.2 million and so far, he has been doing quite well to earn it.
The Pistons had a cat-and-mouse season playing against a strong competition all throughout the season scoring a win after a loss until the very end. Well, 41-41 isn’t too bad a score after all.
5. Chris Paul – A Rocket Worth $159.7 Million
Chris Paul is playing for none other than the Houston Rockets, the team to come head-to-head with the Golden State Warriors in those emotion-rich closing moments of the season. The rivalry was quite noticeable with James Harden being one of the most emotional players. Paul did his fair share in the GSW saga, but his team was ultimately defeated.
He did play well as a point guard though, causing a lot of trouble for the Warriors who struggled to score and only bested the Rockets with a very slim advantage in the shots.
6. Gordon Hayward – The Celtics $127.8 Million Player
Gordon Hayward is worth every penny. He played convincingly for the Boston Celtics this season. Filling in the shoes of a small forward, Hayward was where his team needed him, assisting in offense and pitching in defense whenever necessary.
With the Celtics falling a little behind this season, you might think that Hayward wasn’t doing enough, but the truth is that he performed quite well. At $31 million a year, he is definitely a pricey contribution to the team, but one that is worth it nevertheless.
7. Kyle Lowry – Another $100 Million Rocket
The Houston Rockets definitely have a lot of well-paid talent. The team isn’t sparing a dime on recruiting great players and Kyle Lowry is definitely one of those players that can make all the difference.
Even though he is a little short for a point guard, Lowry has been doing a great job. Admittedly, facing off Curry has been tough this season but then again any close interaction with an opponent ended with another attack stopped. True, Lowry isn’t an insurmountable obstacle on the court, but he does play well enough to guarantee the backbone of the Rockets’ defense.
8. James Harden – Short Fuse Worth $118 Million
You would think that the Rockets are taking too much of this piece, but the simple fact is that the team is definitely paying a lot for its players. James Harden is an iconic player who isn’t all that expensive when you come to think about it, but still commands a pretty dollar.
Worth $30.4 million a year, Harden is definitely one of the highest-priced players out there and he is worth it. He has been the most scoring player on several occasions, and in the time of crunch, too. Harden kept his cool despite taking an injury to the eye in the games against GSW earlier in 2019.
9. Kevin Durant – $30 Million a Year, 2-Year Contract
Kevin Durant had to go in the most important time of the 2018/2019 competition, leaving his team in the finals due to injury. It wasn’t easy for him to watch his team go it alone, but Durant’s $61.5 million was worth it.
Before Curry had to replace Durant, Kevin was dominating, scoring the most points with each game and leading his team to victory.
10. DeMar DeRozan – Second Largest Deal in the NBA, $139 Million
The San Antonio’s Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan definitely fetches a pretty price. It’s understandable though. The promising player played as the backbone of his team on more than one occasion. Yes, DeRozan costs some money, but he is definitely worth it.