Who are the highest paid players in the NBA this season?

Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images) /

While its importance can sometimes be overblown by the casual observer, the NBA salary cap does matter when it comes to winning and losing basketball games. Given that each team has a limit for how much money they can spend (before they are harshly penalized), the best organizations are the ones that get the most bang for their buck (in this case, “bang for their buck” means player production per dollar spent).

With all this in mind, let’s take a look at who the highest-paid players will be in the 2023-24 season. Are any of those players members of the New Orleans Pelicans? And if so, are they “worth” that kind of dough?

Top 10 Highest Salaries in 2023-24 (Team)*

1. LeBron James – 53.4 million (LAL)

2. Stephen Curry – 51.9 million (GSW)

3. Kevin Durant – 47.6 million (PHX)

4. Nikola Jokic – 46.9 million (DEN)

5. Joel Embiid – 46.9 million (PHI)

6. Bradley Beal – 46.7 million (PHX)

7. Damian Lillard – 45.6 million (POR)

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 45.6 million (MIL)

9. Kawhi Leonard – 45.6 million (LAC)

10. Paul George – 45.6 million (LAC)

*Data Provided by Basketball Reference 

With the exception of one glaring outlier, all the players in this top 10 list have an argument for being a top 10 player in the league (or, at the very least, an All-NBA caliber player). The one exception to this statement is, of course, Bradley Beal. He isn’t at that All-NBA level. But if he can stay healthy this year, playing alongside Kevin Durant and Devin Booker could get him back to an All-Star level.

As you can also probably tell, there are no members of the Pelicans on this list. That’s good news for their salary cap status because, as of right now, they don’t have a player playing at that top-10/All-NBA level. Although, if/when he has a healthy season under his belt this year, Zion Williamson will surely reach that level of impact. After all, he was playing like an All-NBA player before a strained hamstring prematurely ended his season last year.

Speaking of Williamson, his salary next season (33.5 million) is only the 29th-highest in the league. He’s got the third-highest number on the team behind CJ McCollum (25th in the league, 35.8 million) and Brandon Ingram (27th, 33.8 million).

McCollum’s salary is a bit higher than one would like, given that he isn’t exactly performing near an All-Star level these days. However, the fact that Ingram and Williamson are getting paid similar rates (with the potential of overperforming their contracts) partially makes up for it.

After those three, their next highest-paid player is Jonas Valanciunas (15.4 million), but his salary is only the 91st highest in the NBA. Then it’s Larry Nance Jr., with the 130th highest (10.4 million).

Next. 5 Pelicans most likely to be traded. dark