The NBA is incredibly popular around the world, not only because of its high level of competitiveness and star-studded athleticism, but also because of its fascinating history filled with spectacular events and facts. This competition is full of incredible stats figures, records, and trivia, with fans constantly on the lookout for new information about their favorite teams and players.
The magnitude of the latest NBA contracts is a hot topic, and for a good reason: players are making enormous sums based on their total contract size. With the generations of Jordan and Lebron behind us, there’s a new pantheon of NBA gods that naturally secured the most lucrative contracts. So, which players currently have the biggest NBA contract? Let’s check them out.
Relevant NBA Stats and Facts
- In the 2021–22 season, Stephen Curry holds the highest NBA salary of $45,780,966.
- The Golden State Warriors have the highest overall salary cap of $184,024,769 for the 2021–22 season.
- The salary cap in the NBA for the 2021–22 season is $112.4 million, with a $136.6 million luxury tax.
- LeBron James has earned $431,859,107 over 20 seasons, making him the highest-paid NBA player of all time.
- The NBA’s estimated salary cap for the 2022–23 season will be $122 million, which is an 8.5% increase from the previous season.
- The NBA’s projected luxury tax for the 2022–23 season will be $149 million, which is a 9.1% increase from the previous season.
1. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Contract: $264,000,000 five-year super-max extension
Annual average salary (current): $52,800,000
On July 1st, 2022, the Joker was offered the biggest contract in NBA history: a five-year super-max extension worth a cool $264 million. This comes to no surprise as Jokic snatched the MVP award two years in a row, averaging 26.7 points on 57.5 percent shooting, 12.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists in the previous two seasons.
The Denver Nuggets selected Jokic in the 2014 NBA draft, when he received the nickname “the Joker”. Jokic has the most triple-doubles in Europe, and he’s in the top 10 on the NBA’s all-time list for triple-doubles. When it comes to the 2027-28 season, Nikola Jokic will have the $60-million-worth player option available.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Contract: $228,200,420 over five years
Annual average salary: $45,640,084
In December 2020, the Greek Freak inked a five-year, $228 million contract extension, making it the biggest NBA contract ever (until Jokic’s gets formalized). Antetokounmpo, who is a two-time MVP, broke Russell Westbrook’s previous contract record with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Antetokounmpo began playing for the Athens-based Filathlitikos senior team in 2011 before being picked by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2013 NBA draft. The Bucks are many people’s favorite team, having won the 2021 NBA championship.
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Contract: $215,353,664 over four years
Annual average salary: $53,838,416
Steph Curry, one of the greatest shooters of all time, has signed a club-record contract with the Golden State Warriors. The parties agreed to spend a total of $215 million over the next four years under the new deal.
He returned from injury during the 2020–21 season and was one of the leading candidates for MVP, but Jokic ultimately defeated him. The Golden State Warriors selected Curry in the 2009 NBA Draft. He now stands among the highest-paid NBA players currently.
4. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Contract: $212,280,000 over five years
Average annual salary: $42,456,000
Luka Doncic is considered one of Europe’s best NBA exports, and the Dallas Mavericks player just agreed to extend his basketball contract with the team for more than $200 million over five years.
Doncic, who had great success in Europe with Union Olimpija and Real Madrid, was picked by the Atlanta Hawks in 2018 and then immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he was named an NBA All-Star every year from 2020 to 2022.
5. Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Contract: $206,794,070 over five years
Average annual salary: $41,358,814
Westbrook became one of only two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a single season in 2017, the same year he earned the league MVP award. His streak continued; for the fourth time in five seasons, Westbrook averaged a triple-double in 2020–21, making him the player with the most triple-doubles in NBA history, passing Oscar Robertson, and earning him one of the top NBA contracts.
The Seattle SuperSonics selected him in the 2008 NBA draft. He moved to the Houston Rockets in 2019, where he spent one season before being dealt to the Washington Wizards in 2020. He was traded to the Lakers after one season with the Wizards.
6. Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Contract: $205,000,002 over five years
Average annual salary: $41,000,000
In 2020, Gobert and the Jazz agreed to a five-year, $205 million contract. It’s the biggest contract in the NBA for a center, and he’ll be the league’s 16th-highest-paid player next season. He is regarded as one of the top rim protectors in the NBA.
Gobert was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the NBA draft in June of 2013. After the draft, he was soon traded to the Utah Jazz.
7. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Contract: $195,921,600 over four years
Average annual salary: $48,980,400
Joel Embiid has committed to the 76ers for the long haul. The great center agreed to a supermax contract extension among new NBA contracts, keeping him in Philadelphia until the 2026–27 NBA season.
Embiid’s new four-year agreement will pay him almost $196 million over four years, with a player option in the final season. After being named in the All-NBA second team for the 2020–21 season, Embiid is eligible for a supermax deal. Embiid declared for the 2014 NBA draft on April 9, 2014. The Philadelphia 76ers selected him with the third overall choice.
8. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Contract: $194,219,320 over four years
Average annual salary: $48,554,830
Durant won two NBA championships and was named Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors before joining the Brooklyn Nets. Durant signed a four-year, $164 million contract with the Nets in June of 2019, after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. That injury caused him to miss the whole 2019–20 season.
The Seattle SuperSonics selected Durant with the second overall choice in the NBA draft in 2007. Durant is one of the highest-paid basketball players in the world, and off the court as well.
9. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Contract: $189,903,600 over five years
Average annual salary: $37,980,720
Thompson missed the whole 2019–20 season after tearing his ACL in the NBA Finals. Despite this, he was given a five-year, $190 million contract in July of 2019. Thompson then suffered another injury, which forced him to miss the whole 2020–21 season as well. Thompson returned to the field in January 2022 following a roughly 31-month layoff, all the while reaping the financial benefits of one of the most expensive NBA contracts.
Klay Thompson has been one of the top guards in the NBA since being picked by the Golden State Warriors in 2011. Thompson and Stephen Curry gained the nickname the “Splash Brothers” when they set an NBA record with 484 combined three-pointers in one season in 2014.
10. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Contract: $189,903,600 over five years
Average Annual Salary: $37,980,720
In 2017, Davis was awarded the NBA All-Star Game MVP. In 2019, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Right after LeBron James agreed to a two-year contract extension, Davis committed to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2024–25 season with a $85 million deal extension.
After leaving college to join the NBA, Davis was selected first in the 2012 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans (previously known as the New Orleans Hornets).
In the NBA, when looking at the highest-paid players and contracts, it’s safe to assume that the majority of those at the top of the list are still active, as is the case with our list. Antetokounmpo currently holds the record for the biggest NBA contract, but Jokic will soon surpass him. The NBA is transforming rapidly, and we can state with near certainty that some new players will be at the top of rankings within a decade or two.
How do max contracts work in the NBA?
Under the guidelines of the NBA players’ salary cap structure, a max contract is basically the most money a team may spend on a player. The 25% salary rule states that players who have played in the NBA for six years or less can earn more than 25% of the salary cap, or 105% of the previous season’s salary. Another example of a max NBA contract is one that provides players 30% of the team’s wage cap, commonly referred to as the “Derrick Rose rule.”
Are all NBA contracts fully guaranteed?
NBA players’ full contracts are guaranteed for the duration of the whole season from the instant they are signed. This is also the case with MLB players, but not for NFL players.
What is the over-38 rule?
Over-38 contracts are contracts covering four seasons or more for players who are 38 years old, or players who will turn 38 during the contract’s duration. These contracts affect the salary cap for players.
What is the biggest NBA contract ever?
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks inked a five-year, $228 million contract extension in 2020, making it the most expensive active contract in NBA history. However, it seems that Nikola Jokic will break this record in the upcoming season.