Imagine you were widely regarded as one of the greatest shooters ever to play basketball. You won an NBA championship; you were a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, you were selected four times to the NBA All-Star, you featured in the All-NBA First Team two times and in the All-NBA Second Team twice as well. Those are just the awards. At 29 years old, you’ve also been an NBA scoring champion, and NBA steals leader, and you are a part of the 50-40-90 club. You also excelled at the college level and were the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball season scoring leader in 2008-09. And that is all without mentioning the records; like your NBA regular season record for made three-pointers, your record for most consecutive regular-season games with a made three-pointer, your record for consecutive playoff games with a made three-pointer, your record for most three-pointers in a single playoffs, your record for most three-pointers made in a game and finally your record for most points scored in an overtime period.
Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, your name is Stephen Curry. With all those accolades, one could easily imagine Curry being one of the highest-paid athletes in all of sports. He certainly is one of the most entertaining ones, so why not give him a huge payout? Well, Curry's salary is not exactly what fans would believe it to be. Despite being a two-time MVP, Curry only has the 80th highest base salary in the league. And get ready because we are going to show you some players who make more money than him that you won’t believe.
15 Reggie Jackson
First on our list is Detroit Pistons’ point guard Reggie Jackson. At 27 years of age, Reggie Jackson is no longer a promising young player like he was when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder behind Russell Westbrook. Now, he is the Pistons’ starting point guard and has been doing a good job. Nevertheless, when you compare his 14.5 points per game average and 5.2 assists to Stephen Curry’s 25.3 points per game and 6.6 assists for the Warriors this season, Jackson is as average as average players come.
And those are just simple stats that will make you wonder how the Pistons’ point guard has a base salary of almost $15 million for the 2016-17 season, while Curry is being paid nothing more than $12,112,359.
14 Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter had arguably his greatest season coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The big man from Turkey averaged 14.3 points per game and almost seven rebounds while shooting a good percentage and providing Oklahoma City with much-needed offense off the bench. Arriving at the NBA when he was only 19 years old, Kanter had a long time to adapt to the league and has become a reliable big man for any team looking to take a step towards the playoffs. Still, is being a good big man and providing good numbers off the bench enough to warrant a salary higher than Curry’s?
It certainly seems to be so on the mind of Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, as he agreed to pay Kanter a base salary of $17,145,838 for the 2016-17 season.
13 Bismack Biyombo
For some people, defense is the name of the game. And that might be the only reason of why Bismack Biyombo is being paid more money than Steph Curry. The power forward from the Democratic Republic of Congo has a base salary of $17 million. His contract with the Orlando Magic also includes $4 million in incentives and a player option in 2019.
Look, we are not here to hate on Biyombo. This guy has more than proved his worth in sheer hustle and hard work in the NBA. He is far from being an offensive force but just had his best offensive season even though that meant scoring six points per game. Still, it almost hurts to believe that a guy coming off the bench for Orlando is getting more money than Steph Curry.
12 Harrison Barnes
Now here is one that might hurt for Golden State fans. Harrison Barnes got a lot of heat from Warriors fans after last season’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals, as there were a few plays were Barnes did not seem like he was aware of all that was going on, or even that he should have been on the court.
What happened, happened, and the Warriors lost the NBA title to the Cavs in heart-wrenching fashion if you’re a Warriors fan. But guess who came out on top of that one? Harrison Barnes.
This small forward out of North Carolina signed a contract with the Dallas Mavericks in which he earned more than $22 million in base salary alone this season. The Mavs might have missed the playoffs, but Barnes sure is enjoying all the money he got from Mark Cuban.
11 Brandon Knight
The difference in this season’s base salary for Brandon Knight and Steph Curry was just in the thousands, as Knight earned almost $500,000 more than Curry. But while the difference in salary was minimal (by NBA standards), the difference in performance was ridiculous. We have given you Curry’s numbers for the season, but it is never too much to remember that he averaged 25.3 points per game for the Warriors in 2016-17. And we have to keep in mind that he had to share the ball with guys like Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Meanwhile, Brandon Knight solidified himself playing off the bench for the Phoenix Suns. He averaged 11 points per game and 2.4 assists per night. Now ask yourself, how in the world does this make any sense?
10 Tyson Chandler
At 29 years old, Curry is not the youngest of guys, but he has shown everybody that he still has a lot of fuel to burn. On the other hand, we have Tyson Chandler. Chandler is a guy who has made a career out of intensity on the defensive end and superb rebounding, not to mention his every day dunks.
At the end of the day, these two made roughly the same amount of money this season, with Chandler earning little over than $300,000 more than Curry. But we have to take into account that these are two guys in opposite phases of their careers. Chandler is on his way out, and while he still managed to put up some good numbers for the Suns, his output is nothing compared to a guy who is leading a team that is favorite to win the NBA championship.
9 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Unless you follow the Charlotte Hornets, the odds are pretty high that you haven’t heard a lot about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist this season. Like we said about Tyson Chandler and Bismack Biyombo, Gilchrist is a defense specialist. He finished this season in Charlotte averaging 9.2 points per game and seven rebounds per outing. His shooting percentages are nothing short of horrendous. This guy shot 47 percent from the field this season and just 11 percent from the three-point line. On the other side, we have a guy like Curry who averaged ten three-point attempts per game and still managed to finish the season shooting 41 percent from behind the arc. But none of that matters financially since Gilchrist made a healthy $13 million this season.
To put it in perspective, when Curry was his age, the Golden State guard made a little more than $2.5 million in a season.
8 Jordan Clarkson
The Lakers have a bright future ahead of them. They already have two future all-stars in both guard positions with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Now with the prospect of adding Lonzo Ball to the mix, they could have one of the best backcourts in the league before anybody else even realizes it. But all of that is beside the point. We’re here to talk about Jordan Clarkson’s contract. After two years of making less than $1 million in each season, this kid out of Missouri got a huge payday by the Lakers, which was enough for him to pass Steph Curry in terms of base salary.
All the power to Jordan, who managed to average 14.7 points per game coming off the bench mostly this season. But does he really deserve to get more money than Steph right away?
7 Marvin Williams
This one is tough to understand. At 30 years old, Marvin Williams has never been anybody’s first choice of a starting small forward or power forward. This is a guy who spent his 11 years in the league playing mostly as a starter, but putting up the same kinds of numbers players off the bench did. This season, playing with the Charlotte Hornets, Williams had good numbers, finishing with 11.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. But still, those are not the numbers fans were expecting out of a starting small forward in this league. With guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward and the list goes on; the small forward position is usually one from which a lot of the team’s scoring comes from. But then again, for some people defense is the name of the game.
6 Evan Turner
Evan Turner is a guy who came into the NBA with a ridiculous amount of hype around him. A second pick out of Ohio State University, this guy was supposed to have one of the best mid-range games the NBA would ever see, and he was seen as someone who would be able to pull in regular triple-doubles. Think about it. There was a real debate over whether he or John Wall would be the number one pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Luckily for Washington, they picked Wall.
Ever since then, Turner has been trying to turn his career around and become a protagonist somewhere. Unfortunately for him, it has yet to happen. Nevertheless, that promise from the draft still seems to be enough for him to earn really good salaries. This season he got paid way more than Steph Curry with a base salary of $16,393,443.
5 DeMarre Carroll
DeMarre Carroll fitted in well with the Toronto Raptors and played his role exactly as his coach wanted him to. From the beginning of his career, everybody knew this guy was going to be a role player everywhere he went, which turned out to be the truth. A vigorous and tall forward at 6’8” 215 pounds, Carroll is an average player across the board. Take his effective field-goal percentage this season as a marker; he nailed that at 50 percent. His averages across the board are 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, one assist, 1.1 steals and 0.4 blocks per game. That is as average as they come. But in the NBA, it pays out for some guys to be exactly that, consistent and average players.
The problem is that it shouldn’t be enough to get you a bigger contract than a two-time league MVP. For comparison sake, Carroll’s salary was over $14 million this season.
4 Allen Crabbe
Most of the guys on this list at least have an explanation of why they should get good contracts, even though none of them should get paid more than a two-time MVP. That is not the case with Allen Crabbe. This is a guy who in his fourth season as a professional player has yet to break into a starting lineup or even put up numbers that would warrant such a thing.
Sure, he has the good excuse of being a shooting guard in Portland, which means that to be a starter he would have to be better than either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum. But despite having that excuse, we have to take into account that Crabbe is a guy who averaged 10.7 points per game and only 1.2 assists while playing over 28 minutes every night. Fair or not, this guy’s base salary is nothing less than $18.5 million.
3 Evan Fournier
Fournier has been a pleasant surprise for the Orlando Magic this season. It might not have been a breakout year, but it was a solid season for this French guard. He finished the year averaging 17.2 points per game with 3.1 rebounds and three assists to go along with it. He quickly became a protagonist in Orlando and should improve when next season rolls around.
But we have to think to ourselves: at 24 years old with those numbers, does this guy really deserve to earn $17 million per year while one of the best players in the game is being paid a staggering $12 million? This just makes one wonder how much money Curry is going to make when he hits free agency or when Golden State finally decides to offer him an extension.
2 Timofey Mozgov
Seven footers are not easy to come by, so as a rule of thumb when these guys can play even if it is just a little bit of basketball, they get paid pretty well. So here we will pose the question: how well does Timofey Mozgov play the game of basketball?
Is he good enough for the Lakers to confidently say that they made a good deal when they decided to pay this guy $16 million a year? The answer is probably not.
Mozgov is great at occupying space, but that is about it. Some people would argue he’s a good rebounder, but he only averaged 4.9 rebounds per game with the Lakers this season even though he was a starter. If one thing is for certain, it is that he should not be getting more money than Steph Curry.
1 Ian Mahinmi
This might just be the basketball equivalent of making a bad decision at a drunken night out. After eight years in the NBA, Ian Mahinmi has yet to prove he is a player who should be in this league. During all this time he had one year where he solidified himself as a starter with the Indiana Pacers. In the 2015-16 season, he averaged 9.3 points per game and 7.1 rebounds, which might have been what the lead the Washington Wizards to make the huge mistake of giving this guy a big contract during free agency. They picked up the French center with a contract worth $64 million over four years. How ridiculous is that? The return to their investment was that Mahinmi played only 31 games this season, none of them as a starter, and averaged 5.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
This is by far the most unbelievable case of a player who has a more lucrative contract than Steph Curry. What were you thinking Wizards?