Though being an NBA player seems to be the perfect career, the many benefits of the job do come with an incredible amount of hard work. Spending hours traveling and being away from home for days at a time, the daily grind of the NBA life should not go unnoticed. While the giant salaries for great players seems a little excessive at times, the money being made is definitely, but not always, as you will soon see, earned.
NBA franchises spend millions of dollars on player salaries. Ranging from the minimum of $507,336 to over $30 million, we have seen it all in the NBA. In the 2016 NBA season, many players were definitely overpaid for their play on the court. On the other hand, many players deserved the money they made, possibly even deserving more, based on all the contributions they've made on the court.
Many different factors can come into play while looking at a player's deserving salary. Maybe a player took a pay cut to join a more talented team, or maybe a younger player burst onto the scene faster than his salary could rise, ultimately making him a very worthy player. However, many so-called superstars in the league are being paid way too much, as the millions of dollars being thrown their way is just not justifiable based on what they brought to the team.
In this article, we will be looking at the top NBA salaries, who deserves their pay and who doesn't. Choosing 15 of some of the top salaries in the NBA, we will be determining eight NBA players who deserve their pay cut, and seven players who do not.
As always, feel free to leave any comments below about your thoughts or any other players you think would fit the list.
15 Does: Kevin Durant - $20,158,622
Kevin Durant is no doubt one of the best players in the league. With the combination of guard skills and center-like height, Durant is just unstoppable. Getting paid just over $20 milion in 2016, the money is justified, as KD helped the Thunder push the Warriors to the brink of elimination in the Western Conference Finals. Durant will undoubtedly receive a max contract this summer when he hits the free agent market and he's definitely worth it.
14 Doesn't: Derrick Rose - $20,093,064
Derrick Rose is no longer the MVP talented point guard he was years ago, but he is still getting paid like he is. Rose couldn't help get the Bulls to the playoffs this year, which is very disappointing to the Bulls considering they're paying him like he's a total superstar. I think it's time for Derrick Rose to start getting paid for his abilities now, not for his abilities from years earlier. His salary will actually rise to over $21 million next season which will hamper the Bulls.
13 Does: Chris Paul - $21,468,695
The ideal point guard, Chris Paul is one of the best guards in the entire league. The Clippers are a big market, so the $20-plus million Paul is making is justifiable. Looking to finally make it to the finals next season, the Clippers are hoping the money they are spending is worthwhile. The Clippers may be the dominant team in L.A. right now, but they have yet to get past the second round since acquiring Chris Paul.
12 Doesn't: Carmelo Anthony - $22,875,000
Melo was paid the third highest in the NBA in 2016, which is just kind of of ridiculous in my opinion. Carmelo is a great scorer, but the money New York is spending on him is just not right, as he has yet to lead their team anywhere close to the finals for years. With Anthony starting to age now, hopefully the Knicks come to their senses a bit, offering Melo much less in this coming offseason. It's obvious the one-man show isn't working in the Big Apple.
11 Does: Kawhi Leonard - $16,407,500
The Spurs are getting a total steal with how much they are paying Leonard. The back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year is undoubtedly one of the most valuable players in the league. A perfect team player, Leonard will soon be the lone face of the franchise once the original Spurs' "big three" retire, so hopefully Leonard earns some more dough in the years to come. It will be up to him to preserve the winning tradition the Spurs have earned.
10 Doesn't: Enes Kanter - $16,407,500
This one is just a little confusing to me. The Thunder are paying center Enes Kanter like a superstar, yet they do not consistently play him, as he comes off the bench here and there when they need him. Kanter is a great scorer, and the Thunder know that, but I just don't know why Kanter isn't the starting center for the Thunder, considering how much they are paying him. That extra money could be spent trying to ensure KD doesn't leave OKC.
9 Does: Russell Westbrook - $16,744,218
Russell Westbrook is the best overall point guard in the NBA. Being able to score, rebound, pass, and play incredible defense, it just doesn't get any better than Westbrook. With the ability Westbrook has shown in the past year or so, he will be able to raise his pay significantly during the next negotiation period. If Durant leaves, Westbrook would be the Thunder's only true superstar meaning he could easily negotiate his way to a max contract.
8 Doesn't: Dwight Howard - $22,359,364
Boy did Houston spend a lot of money to bring in Howard to the Rockets. Howard is not nearly worth the money he is getting, and he has not been able to assist James Harden very much, as the Rockets quickly lost to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs this year. Again, this is an example of a team paying for a player's history, not his current abilities. Howard is most likely going to leave Houston and it may actually be in the Rockets' best interest.
7 Does: Stephen Curry - $11,370,786
Steph Curry is the most dominating player in the league right now. Not only is he the back-to-back MVP, but Curry is so much more than just the best player in the league. His merchandise sales have definitely surpassed his salary, making him a very valuable player for the Warriors. Leading his team to the best record in NBA history this year, Stephen Curry can really do no wrong right now. He deserves a huge raise in his next deal.
6 Doesn't: Chris Bosh - $22,192,730
Chris Bosh is a great player, but the fact that he couldn't finish out the season with the Heat was a big blow to the Miami franchise, especially because of how much they paid him. Bosh's lungs may have ended his career for good, which is such a shame considering Bosh has been one of the best players in the league for years. Whatever happens with his career, the money Bosh made in 2016 was just simply not deserving, even if he was healthy for the whole year.
5 Does: Kyle Lowry - $12,000,000
Kyle Lowry is apart of one of the best backcourts in the NBA with DeMar DeRozan. Putting up a great fight against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Raptors team is excited about their recent successes. Kyle Lowry is a great point guard, who has led the Raptors to many wins over the course of the regular season and the playoffs. The Raptors value Lowry greatly, as they paid him a nice $12 million.
4 Doesn't: Joakim Noah - $13,400,000
It's a shame that Joakim Noah only managed to play 29 games this season for the Bulls. What makes it worse for Chicago is that they paid Noah a hefty $13 million this past season. The Bulls may need to reshape their roster soon, and I don't see Joakim making the same amount of money next year at all. Whether the Bulls end up reshaping the roster to go for a rebuild or to build a contender remains to be seen. Either way, Noah simply makes too much for his team to digest.
3 Does: DeMarcus Cousins - $15,851,950
DeMarcus Cousins secured himself as the best center in the league this year with the Kings. With his stock continuing to rise as he continues to dominate centers on a nightly basis, I wouldn't be surprised if Cousins' pay rises significantly in the next few years to come. The Kings still have problems though because even with Cousins, they have not been a dominant team in the league for a long time.
2 Doesn't: Kobe Bryant - $25,000,000
I am aware that Kobe is now retired, but the money he made for his farewell season was just crazy considering he was nowhere near one of the best players in the league. Kobe has been paid the most in the league for years, but at one point, the Lakers should have realized he was not worth the money they were paying him at the end of his career. The Lakers may be a little relieved now that they don't have to spend so much money on the aging Bryant anymore.
1 Does: LeBron James - $22,970,500
I don't even really have to justify my decision with this one. LeBron could still get signed to a team even if he asked for $50 million. However, LeBron is more about winning than he is about the money, which is lucky for the Cavaliers, allowing them to keep other great players such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. LeBron has plenty of money from work outside of the NBA, so his salary will always be digestible. He has been the best in the world after all.