While many players certainly did make a lot of money this past free agency, many of their deals don’t take effect until 2016-2017. And, once the cap booms by that time, their contracts won’t even look as big, more so when you compare them to the money these players will receive coming into the 2015 NBA Regular Season.
10 – Blake Griffin – Power Forward – Loss Angeles Clippers – $18.9 Million
By Verse Photography (Flickr: 20131118 ClippersvGrizzles31) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Hate him or love him, Blake Griffin deserves his massive contract. He’s a walking highlight reel who’s managed to transcend his creative athleticism to become one of the better all-around power forwards around the league. Proof of this is his stat line this recent playoffs – 25.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game.
09 – Derrick Rose – Point Guard – Chicago Bulls – $20 Million
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Derrick Rose) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Plagued by injuries over the past three years, Derrick Rose is a rare talent who can mesmerize crowds, make his teammates better and almost single-handedly make Chicago a legitimate threat to the crowd. Though, he can do that only IF and WHEN he’s healthy.
08 – Deron Williams – Point Guard – Brooklyn Nets – $21 Million
By Keith Allison (Flickr: Deron Williams) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
About four or five years ago, Deron Williams was neck-and-heck against Chris Paul for the title of the league’s best point guard, which may be why Deron got his new payday. Fast forward to today, however, Deron no longer has half the confidence that he once had and plagued by injuries, has become a shell of his former self.
07 – Kevin Durant – Small Forward – Oklahoma City Thunder – $21.2 Million
By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Kevin Durant alone makes the Oklahoma City Thunder a playoff team in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. And, when paired with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, OKC becomes a legitimate title contender. Now, if only those three could stay healthy and log plenty of minutes this coming season.
06 – Chris Paul – Point Guard – Los Angeles Clippers – $21.5 Million
By Verse Photography (Flickr: 20131118 ClippersvGrizzles41) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
At $21.5 million, you could say that Chris Paul is the biggest earning little man in the NBA and looking at his stats, you’d see that Paul is worth every penny. Rarely missing a game, Paul has been the NBA’s assists leader for the second straight season at 10.2 per game and his defensive chops are amazing to boot, averaging 1.9 steals a game.
05 – Chris Bosh – Power Forward – Miami Heat – $22.1 Million
By Flickr user Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Chris Bosh may not be what you’d consider as a superstar in its truest sense, but his willingness to concede and to do things that don’t show up in the stat sheet make him one in my eyes. Having earned his 10th straight appearance after putting up averages of 21.1 points and 7.0 rebounds a game, it’s a shame that a life-threatening blood clot shut him down halfway throughout the season.
04 – Dwight Howard – Center – Houston Rockets – $22.4 Million
By Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (Dwight Howard) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
What is it with big men and missing time these days? Howard missed half of last season with a knee injury and seemed iffy at times when he came back. A full offseason of rest should give his knees time to heal and make him more than ready for another title push with MVP-runner up James Harden.
03 – Carmelo Anthony – Small Forward – New York Knicks – $22.9 Million
By Keith Allison (Flickr: Carmelo Anthony) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
When healthy, Carmelo and his incredible scoring abilities alone can propel the New York Knicks to the eight seed in the much more forgiving Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen last season as he played in only 40 games due to a knee injury. His many months of rest should do him well and make it easier for him to help the Knicks bounce back from the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
02 – Joe Johnson – Shooting Guard – Brooklyn Nets – $24.9 Million
By Keith Allison (Flickr: Joe Johnson) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Probably one of the most ridiculous contracts on this list, Johnson has always been average at best. He’s on the last year of the $123 million deal he signed with Atlanta many years ago and should be on another team before the February trade deadline as his expiring deal could help teams who’re preparing cap space for the upcoming 2016 free agency period.
01 – Kobe Bryant – Shooting Guard – Los Angeles Lakers – $25 Million
By Keith Allison (Flickr: Kobe Bryant) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Kobe may not have earned his recent contract stats-wise, but he’s more than earned it based on his body of work. He’s a future first ballot hall of famer and has dedicated his whole career to making sure that the Los Angeles Lakers are always in the thick of the title race. Look for him to try to make an impact (or at least, die trying) this upcoming season, which could very well be his last.