To the shock of absolutely nobody, nine of the top 10 highest NBA players for the upcoming 2012-13 season play in either Los Angeles, New York or Miami. We all knew the NBA isn’t exactly the flagship league for parity — OK, it’s where monetary fairness goes to die a slow, painful death — but just in case you needed reaffirmation, click here for the full list of the NBA’s top 50 highest paid athletes, and read on for some interesting tidbits from the list.
-This list only includes basketball salaries. You can throw endorsements by the wayside.
-Clocking in at No. 1 is…drum roll, please…Kobe Bean Bryant. The Black Mamba will reel in a cool $27,849,149 next season. With a paycheck like that, it’s hard to fathom how Lakeland keeps all those other pretty good players on the payroll. You know, the two-time MVP? The three-time Defensive POY? Pau Gasol (he’s got accomplishments too, they just don’t hit as hard)? Apparently the Lakers do pretty well for themselves though. Who knew?
-Rounding out the top 10 (in order): Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Chris Paul and Chris Bosh and LeBron James in a tie for 10th. That’s three Lakers, two Knickerbockers, two Heat, one Clipper, one Net and one Maverick. Only the top three top out over $20 mil with LeBron bringing it up the rear making roughly $10 million less than Olympic teammate Bryant.
-You won’t find a member of the Thunder until Kevin Durant at 15, of the Bulls until Derrick Rose at 18 and of the Spurs until Manu Ginobili at 22. That’s last year’s Western Conference champs and the respective No. 1 seeds of the East and West, and apparently none of them are paying any of their players top-10 coin. I get that the Thunder are young and their big three will get their due in due time, but the Bulls and especially the Spurs are value hounds, who, thanks mostly to great coaching, find ways to consistently win without superstar-laden rosters. Good to know retail isn’t the only way to win in the NBA today.
-On the other end of the spectrum, the Knicks seem to win the title of the NBA’s most overvalued team. You’d think that when the NBA’s third and fourth highest paid players are on the same team, they can do more in two years than win just one stinking playoff game. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, the two haven’t quite gelled the way you’d have hoped, and after years of playing purposefully terrible basketball under Isaiah Thomas — where your best players were at one time Nate Robinson and David Lee — just to eventually get under the cap an reel in true talent, it’s hard to keep playing the waiting game. Mo’ money, mo’ problems at MSG.
-The biggest steal on the list sits five from the bottom in Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo was but a mere “game manager” with the championship Celtics of 2008, on the outside of the Big Three looking in, but since has come into his own in a major way. A top-five point guard and arguably the best passer in the game today, Rondo is the youthful glue on an aging Celtics squad. Now $11,000,000 is certainly not a steal, but if we’re assigning real value to the guys on this list, Rondo would be up near the top.
Oh, and Bosh, James and Dwyane Wade are all bunched together. Real cute, guys.