The National Basketball Association is different than the National Football League in that the NBA does not have a hard salary cap that restricts how much organizations can and cannot spend on player salaries each and every season. While there are penalties for clubs and owners who go over the cap, those willing to spend and spend big can, theoretically, “buy” rosters capable of contending for championships whenever they want. Add in that the NBA salary caps are expected to only rise over the foreseeable future, and you have the type of atmosphere that is perfect for value deals paid to players who are worth way more than their contracts and also a plethora of players who are paid way too much considering what they offer to their employers as of the spring of 2017.
It should come as no surprise to those who are faithful NBA fans that multiple members of the New York Knicks are spotlighted as players being paid way too much heading into the summer months, free agency and the upcoming draft. The Knicks are a disaster minus one star who, ironically, isn't being paid enough, but those who continue to spend their money on the club can hang onto the hope that the team will eventually build around that young player who could help lead the team back to the playoffs. Meanwhile, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player continues to be a bargain for his club, although he's about to be paid what he has rightfully earned for all that he has accomplished over the past several seasons.
15 Too Much: Austin Rivers, $11,000,000 Cap Hit
All jokes aside about alleged nepotism and the fact that Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers plays for his father, head coach Doc Rivers, the 24-year-old is earning above his value when you compare him to other players at the position. One does have to wonder what Rivers' role would be if he were to find himself playing for a different franchise in the fall of 2017, something he probably doesn't have to worry about because of his current situation.
14 Not Enough: Kristaps Porzingis, $4,317,720 Cap Hit
New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis continues to be a bargain and great value for what is, unfortunately, one of the worst franchises in the league at the moment. The good news for those who passionately follow the Knicks is that Porzingis is signed up through the end of the decade, meaning the club doesn't have to worry about losing or paying him anytime soon.
13 Too Much: J.R. Smith, $12,800,000 Cap Hit
To fully appreciate and understand why the Cleveland Cavaliers pay what the franchise pays for guard J.R. Smith, one must realize that Superstar LeBron James is a big fan of “Swish” and also that Smith has found a true home in Northeast Ohio.
12 Not Enough: Klay Thompson, $16,663,575 Cap Hit
It's possible some, even followers of the Golden State Warriors, manage to take Klay Thompson for granted. Thompson is a steal for the Warriors when you contemplate what he's able to provide for the club on offense, and he's arguably the team's most underrated asset because of the fact that he plays in a lineup filled with All Stars and multiple athletes who will likely be inducted into the hall of fame at some point after 2030 if not sooner.
11 Too Much: Timofey Mozgov, $16,000,000 Cap Hit
Timofey Mozgov is one of several individuals currently playing in the NBA who owe LeBron James for his contract. Mogzov is a big man who can, occasionally, have a huge game underneath the rim, but the fact that he is somehow on a deal that will see him make a total of $64 million from the Los Angeles Lakers is downright astonishing.
10 Not Enough: Nikola Jokic, $1,358,500 Cap Hit
The Denver Nuggets found a gem when the club acquired center Nikola Jokic in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. Denver isn't anywhere near making life rough for the likes of the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs quite yet, but the Nuggets are moving in the right direction with a star such as Jokic in the lineup on such a comfortable deal.
9 Too Much: Dwyane Wade, $23,200,000 Cap Hit
As soon as the Chicago Bulls decided to offer Dwyane Wade a contract worth over $23 million, it felt as if the franchise was, more so, paying a player for his recognizable name and for what he used to be than for what he could do for the team during the 2016-17 season.
8 Not Enough: Isaiah Thomas, $6,587,132 Cap hit
The Boston Celtics appear to be on the verge of giving the Cleveland Cavaliers a real fight in the battle for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, and guard Isaiah Thomas is the main reason why that is the case. Thomas will be paid by the Celtics soon, perhaps even as quickly as this summer if the club wants to show it is dedicated to him remaining happy and in Boston up through the remainder of the next decade.
7 Too Much: Harrison Barnes, $22,116,750 Cap Hit
Much like with Timofey Mozgov, Harrison Barnes is a player who, deservedly, cashed in on a deal largely because he was fortunate enough to find himself on a team that, no disrespect meant, was filled with bigger and better stars. Let's take a look at what the Golden State Warriors did after Barnes put pen to paper on a deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
6 Not Enough: John Wall, $16,957,900 Cap Hit
We're not sure there's a way Washington Wizards guard John Wall could be paid too much money in today's NBA. Wall is, at absolute worst, one of the top-three players at the position in the Eastern Conference, and he's a player who is set to be on a reasonable deal for the next several seasons until the Wizards or some other team is going to break the bank for his services.
5 Too Much: Joakim Noah, $17,000,000 Cap Hit
Maybe it isn't fair that physical limitations, injury setbacks and the fact that he has had to play at the same time as LeBron James have all prevented Joakim Noah from ever participating in the NBA Finals. With that said, just about every smart basketball mind out there realized the New York Knicks investing so much money on Noah before the start of the 2016-17 season was, at best, a massive mistake.
4 Not Enough: Jimmy Butler, $17,552,209 Cap Hit
There's little doubt Jimmy Butler is a top-value player for any team in the NBA, let alone for a Chicago Bulls side that needs to do whatever it takes to keep Butler happy for years to come. That may be easier said than done for a variety of reasons even if the salary cap is only going to rise in the future.
3 Too Much: Brook Lopez, $21,165,675 Cap Hit
So much about the fact that the Brooklyn Nets are paying this amount of money to Brook Lopez is unfathomable. Admittedly, Lopez deserves better than to play for a team that is only looking toward a future that, more likely than not, will not include him, but that doesn't mean the Nets are not paying Lopez way too much money at the moment.
2 Not Enough: Stephen Curry, $12,112,359 Cap Hit
We went back and forth on whether or not to include the two-time NBA MVP if only because he's going to strike it rich and sign a contract that will probably be worth over $200 million in guaranteed money during the summer months. Still, this piece is for the season that is about to conclude, and, thus, Stephen Curry has to be on any list of NBA players who aren't paid enough money as of the typing of this sentence.
1 Too Much: Carmelo Anthony, $26,243,760 Cap Hit
Anybody out there who wonders if the New York Knicks paid Carmelo Anthony way too much money via his last contract should realize the Knicks are essentially begging him to willingly move on from the franchise, preferably via a trade, during the summer. It wouldn't be a surprise to see team president Phil Jackson fly to wherever LeBron James spends his offseason to offer James whatever he wants to convince him to convince the Cavaliers to make an offer for Anthony.
James has made it known he wants to play with Anthony before the two retire, and the Knicks need somebody to take him away from the Garden. All things considered, Anthony's contract has to be up there among the very worst in recent NBA memory.
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