These are the highest paid players in the NBA right now

By Tom Huddleston Jr.

The NBA kicks off a new season on Tuesday night with the defending champion Toronto Raptors taking on the New Orleans Pelicans.

That game will feature one of the NBA’s ten highest-paid players — Toronto’s Kyle Lowry — while two more will face off later on Tuesday in Los Angeles when LeBron James and the Lakers tip off their season against Paul George and the Clippers.

The average NBA player salary is $7.7 million for the season that starts on Tuesday and will run through June 2020. That number is up from an average salary of almost $6.4 million for the previous season, according to Basketball Reference.

NBA salaries continue to rise year to year, and the highest-paid player’s earnings are no exception, as the Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s earnings for the 2019-2020 season are ticking upward to $40.2 million from $37.5 million for the previous season.

Here are the ten highest-paid NBA players for the league’s new season, starting with Curry, according to Spotrac.

1. Stephen Curry, 31, Golden State Warriors: $40.2 million

OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 24: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to the crowd chanting “MVP” during their game against the Washington Wizards at ORACLE Arena on October 24, 2018 in Oakland, California. Curry finished the game with 51 points. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The former MVP, who has won three championships with the Warriors since 2015, signed a five-year contract worth $201.2 million with the team in 2017. The deal pays Curry an average annual salary of more than $40 million, with the annual value eventually increasing to more than $45 million by 2021.

Tied – 2. Russell Westbrook, 30, Houston Rockets: $38.5 million

MIAMI, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 18: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets in action against the Miami Heat during the first half at American Airlines Arena on October 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Houston acquired Westbrook in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in July. The All-Star guard had previously signed a five-year, $206.8 million contract extension with his previous team in 2017 that leaves him tied for the second-best annual salary in 2019 behind Curry, according to Spotrac.

Tied – 2. Chris Paul, 34, Oklahoma City Thunder: $38.5 million

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 20: Athlete and designer Chris Paul attends the FIVE FOUR x Chris Paul Launch Dinner at Catch on June 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for FIVE FOUR)

Chris Paul finds himself tied with Westbrook for second on the ranking of the NBA’s highest-paid players for the second year in a row. In fact, Paul and Westbrook will switch teams for the new NBA season, as the two players were traded for each other in the mega-deal between Houston and Oklahoma City over the summer. Paul’s four-year, $159.7 million contract expires in 2022.

Tied-4. James Harden, 30, Houston Rockets: $38.2 million

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 28: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets calls a play during their game against the Denver Nuggets at the Toyota Center on October 28, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Another former league MVP, Harden is entering his 11th season in the NBA and the first year of a four-year, $171.1 million contract extension he signed with the Rockets in 2017 (the new deal extends a previous contract he signed in 2016 that paid him an average annual salary of $29.5 million).

Tied-4. Kevin Durant, 31, Brooklyn Nets: $38.2 million

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 19: NBA Player and Durant Company/Thirty Five Media Partner Kevin Durant speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017 at Pier 48 on September 19, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Durant left Golden State to sign a four-year contract worth $164.3 million with the Nets in the 2019 off season despite the fact that he’ll miss the entire upcoming season due to a torn Achilles tendon suffered during the 2019 playoffs. He’s set to make over $42 million in the final year of the contract, which expires in 2023.

Tied-4. John Wall, 29, Washington Wizards: $38.2 million

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 16: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards dribbles against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Capital One Arena on December 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Wall is also expected to miss the entire upcoming season due to injury (he also tore an Achilles tendon). Regardless, the Wizards’ All-Star point guard will rank among the league’s highest-paid players for the foreseeable future, thanks to a four-year, $171.1 million contract extension he signed in 2017 that will eventually pay him more than $47 million annually before it expires in 2023.

7. LeBron James, 34, Los Angeles Lakers: $37.4 million

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three pointer during a 104-96 win over the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center on November 29, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The four-time MVP took his talents to the Lakers in 2018, signing a four-year deal worth $153.3 million overall. As CNBC Make It noted at the time, James will have earned more than $387 million in total salary over his career by the time his current contract expires in 2022, which will give him the highest all-time contract earnings in NBA history.

8. Kyle Lowry, 33, Toronto Raptors: $34.9 million

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 27: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the Washington Wizards in the second half during Game Six of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Capital One Arena on April 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Lowry and the Raptors are entering the new season fresh off the franchise’s first-ever NBA championship. The veteran point guard will also see his salary jump a few million dollars from the $31 million he earned in the 2018-2019 season.

9. Blake Griffin, 30, Detroit Pistons: $34.5 million

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 24: Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons poses for a portrait during Media Day at Little Caesars Arena on September 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Griffin was traded from the Clippers to the Detroit Pistons in January 2018, more than a year after he signed a five-year, $171.2 million contract extension that will expire in 2022.

10. Paul George, 29, Los Angeles Clippers: $33 million

PLAYA VISTA, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 29: Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers speaks to the media during the LA Clippers media day at Honey Training Center on September 29, 2019 in Playa Vista, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

The Clippers acquired George in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder in July, taking on the All-Star’s four-year, $136.9 million contract in the process.

Missing from this list of the 10 best-paid NBA stars are both last season’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, who was crowned the NBA Finals MVP in June after winning a championship with Toronto.

Leonard, 28, just missed cracking the top 10, as he’ll make $32.7 million this season from a new three-year contract (worth $103 million overall) he signed with the Clippers in July.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Antetokounmpo will make $25.8 million in the upcoming season (making him just the 41st highest-paid player in the NBA, according to Spotrac) as part of a four-year, $100 million extension he signed with Milwaukee in 2016. He’ll be a free agent in 2021, and Antetokounmpo is already expected to be highly sought after and could land a new deal that would make him among the league’s highest-paid players.

This article first appeared on CNBC and is republished with its permission.

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