It should come as no surprise that salaries in the NBA are extremely high. Given that the salary cap currently sits at $58.679 million and each team only carries 15 players on its roster, the highest paid players in the league are sure to many some serious money. Currently, the average salary in the NBA is $4,212,062, but players in the upper-echelon make much more money than this annually.
The Los Angeles Lakers have made Kobe Bryant the highest paid player in the league. He is due to make $30,453,805 in the 2013-2014 season, which is nearly $8 million more per season than the second most lucrative contract. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Bryant has spent much of the season out of the lineup after tearing his Achilles tendon at the end of the 2012-2013 season and then fracturing his kneecap after he returned to action. It remains to be seen if Kobe will rebound from his injury troubles and live up to his contract.
As one of the best-shooting big men in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki is owed $22,721,381 by the Dallas Mavericks this season. This is another contract that will be extremely difficult to live up to, especially since Nowitzki currently sits below his career averages in points and rebounds. Much like a car owner would look for Mustang upgrades when his vehicle gets old, it might be time for the Mavericks to move on from Nowitzki when his contract expires after the season. While Nowitzki is still a very good player, his days as a dominant force could be behind him.
Perhaps the worst contract in the top five is that of Amar'e Stoudemire, who will receive $21,679,893 from the New York Knicks this season. Stoudemire is only averaging about 19 minutes of play per game. He's also averaging under nine points per game during that time, which really makes him largely ineffective for the season. To make matter worse, Stoudemire has never been regarded as a top defensive player, so his lack of production at the offensive end of the court means that he provides very little value for his team.
You might not expect to see Joe Johnson on this list, but the Brooklyn Nets' shooting guard will make $21,466,718 this year, according to ESPN. Despite the fact that Johnson sits slightly below his career points per game average, you could make the argument that he is playing about as well as could be expected. The problem is that Johnson has never been one of the top five players in the league; therefore, he would be overpaid no matter how well he produced.
Another New York Knick on the top of the pay scale is Carmelo Anthony, who will make $21,388,953 playing basketball this season. The good news for Knicks fans is that Anthony is an elite scorer in the league and is actually scoring more than his career average this season. He is also rebounding well, making him the top player on the team. The problem for the Knicks is that no one else is scoring at a high level, as the team sits near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories.