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Average NBA Salary: Ultimate Guide (2023)

In this post, I take a detailed look at the average NBA salary.

We all know that NBA superstars make a ridiculous amount of money. For example, Steph Curry made $48 million in the 2022-2023 season!

But, what about the typical player? How much do they make? Is it even close to Steph?

In 2022-2023, the average NBA salary was approximately $8,000,000.

Read on to learn more about:

  • Average NBA salary details
  • The median and mode salaries
  • Salary distribution
  • Salary by position
  • Salary by age
  • and more interesting facts…

Let’s get started!

What is the average NBA salary?

Kevon Looney made $8 million last season, approximately the average NBA salary.

The average NBA salary was $7,929,218 for the 2022-2023 season.

This number was derived from data from hoopshype.com

The data includes players on two-way contracts, 10-day contracts, etc, so it is skewed a bit lower. There were a total of 573 players in the dataset.

If we only count players that made at least the full minimum salary ($1,017,781), then the average salary bumps up to $9,789,012. There were a total of 455 players in this dataset.

This still includes some players who don’t actually play, but are still on team payroll (e.g. Eric Bledsoe).

How does this compare to previous years? Let’s take a look:

Previous seasons’ average salaries

Here is a chart of the average and median NBA salaries from 1990 to 2023.

YearAverageMedian
90/91$833,901$650,000
91/92$964,705$750,000
92/93$1,069,779$825,000
93/94$1,299,518$1,100,000
94/95$1,432,342$1,100,000
95/96$1,605,904$1,155,000
96/97$1,936,195$1,235,000
97/98$2,136,336$1,327,005
98/99$2,510,853$1,622,440
99/00$2,546,767$1,527,560
00/01$3,304,929$2,200,000
01/02$3,463,517$2,328,438
02/03$3,702,468$2,298,840
03/04$3,684,160$2,034,720
04/05$3,773,688$2,176,400
05/06$3,961,305$2,500,000
06/07$3,917,887$2,201,640
07/08$4,400,601$2,636,696
08/09$4,692,348$2,886,760
09/10$4,633,963$2,829,644
10/11$4,413,547$2,630,503
11/12$4,354,508$2,500,000
12/13$4,274,056$2,516,480
13/14$4,305,050$2,500,000
14/15$4,293,243$2,325,680
15/16$4,708,117$2,647,980
16/17$5,442,311$2,898,000
17/18$5,728,105$2,363,460
18/19$6,256,553$2,530,560
19/20$6,922,103$2,731,713
20/21$6,756,353$2,926,620
21/22$6,312,084$2,389,641
22/23$7,929,218$3,212,076

From the data, you can see that average salaries have increased over 850% since the 1990-1991 season! How much has your salary increased since then? 😂

The biggest increases were in 2001, 2016, and the recent 2022-23 season. These were all due to large increases in the salary cap.

There is not much reliable data for seasons before 1990, but we can assume salaries have skyrocketed even higher the further we go back.

What is the Median NBA Salary?

Jeremy Socahn of the San Antonio Spurs made the median salary in 2022-2023

Math review 🤓:
The “median” is the middle value in a group of numbers.
If you put all the salaries in order from lowest to highest, the median salary is the number in the middle (or the average of the two middle numbers for an even amount of numbers).

Sometimes the median is a better measure than the mean, because it shows a “typical” salary if there are extreme highs or lows that could skew the average up or down (like in the NBA).

In the NBA, the median salary was $5,063,520 for the 2022-2023 season.

This is over $4,700,000 lower than the average (i.e. “mean”) salary! This is caused by the big name players like Steph Curry, and LeBron James who make over 40 times the minimum salary.

Most Common NBA Salary

UD is still getting paid.

The most frequent (i.e. the “mode”) NBA salary was $1,836,090 for the 2022-23 season.

A total of 32 players made this amount. This includes guys like Taj Gibson, Austin Rivers, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Schröder, Andre Iguodala, and the big OG Udonis Haslem.

It’s quite a big difference between the average NBA salary of nearly $8 million.

Let’s see why this is the case:

Distribution of Salaries in the NBA

As you may have noticed, there is a huge difference between the mathematical “average” (i.e. mean) NBA salary, the median salary, and the most frequent (i.e. mode) salary. If you look at this distribution chart, you’ll see why:

As we can see from the above chart, the majority of players still make much less than the average salary. More than half of the players make less than $5 million. It’s the few superstars making $30-$40 million that really skew the average up.

Speaking of superstars, let’s see who gets paid the most:

Who Are the Highest-Paid NBA Players? Maximum Salaries

John Wall was the 3rd highest paid player last season, even though he was waived in Feb.

The 10 highest paid NBA players in the 2022-2023 season were:

  1. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors): $48,070,014
  2. Russell Westbrook (LA Clippers): $47,559,433
  3. John Wall (Houston Rockets): $47,345,760
  4. LeBron James (LA Lakers): $44,474,988
  5. Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns): $44,119,845
  6. Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards): $43,279,250
  7. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers): $42,492,492
  8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): $42,492,492
  9. Paul George (LA Clippers): $42,492,492
  10. Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers): $42,492,492

Together, the top 10 players make nearly $445 million! That’s a crazy amount of money. What if they all got together and bought their own team?

In comparison, the bottom 10 players make just under $11 million.

Maximum Salary

There is actually a “maximum” salary a player can earn based on the salary cap. Here are the general rules:

NBA ExperienceDefined maximum salary2017-182018-192019-202020-212021-222022-23
0 – 625% of cap$24,773,250$25,467,250$27,285,000$27,285,000$28,103,500$30,913,750
7 – 930% of cap$29,727,900$30,560,700$32,742,000$32,742,000$33,724,200$37,096,500
10+35% of cap$34,682,550$35,654,150$38,199,000$38,199,000$39,344,900$43,279,250

There are some exceptions to the rules, which allows a player to make a bit more than the maximum. That’s how Steph Curry is making $48 million per year ($5 million over maximum). Check out the CBA FAQ website for details.

Now, let’s see how this compares to the lowest paid players:

Who are the lowest paid NBA Players?

The minimum NBA salary in 2022-2023 was $1,017,781.

This doesn’t include G League two-way players, Exhibit 10s, 10-days, and other temporary contracts who make far less money.

According to my data, there were six players making the minimum salary last season:

  1. Jaden Hardy (Dallas Mavericks)
  2. Josh Minott (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  3. Max Christie (LA Lakers)
  4. Ryan Rollins (Golden State Warriors)
  5. Jabari Walker (Portland Trail Blazers)
  6. Tyrese Martin (Atlanta Hawks)

They are all rookies, since the minimum a player can make is based on their years of experience in the NBA. Here is a full chart:

Minimum NBA Salary by Experience (2022-2023)

Years of ExperienceSalary
0$1,017,781
1$1,637,966
2$1,836,090
3$1,902,133
4$1,968,175
5$2,133,278
6$2,298,385
7$2,463,490
8$2,628,597
9$2,641,682
10+$2,905,851

Average NBA Salary by Position

Do point guards get paid more? Or centers? Let’s see how salary breaks down by position!

Some players have multiple positions, so I have taken the liberty to put each player in only one position, which skews the data a bit.

I have also only used players making at least the full minimum salary (i.e. no 10-day contract players, etc.).

According to my data, point guards get paid the most on average, at nearly $13 million. Shooting guards get paid the least at just over $8 million. Small forwards have the highest median salary, at just over $5.2 million.

Here are some more details:

Point Guards

Steph Curry shoots threes, and gets PAID.

The average salary for NBA point guards in the 2022-2023 season was $12,935,024.

The median salary was $5,121,951.

The highest paid PG was Steph Curry, making $48,070,014.

Shooting Guards

Bradley Beal grinning his way to the bank.

The average salary for NBA shooting guards in the 2022-2023 season was $8,342,751.

The median salary was $5,004,817.

The highest paid SG was Bradley Beal, making $43,279,250.

Small Forwards

“We get PAID how much?” – Paul George to Kawhi Leonard, probably.

The average salary for NBA small forwards in the 2022-2023 season was $9,693,414.

The median salary was $4,958,080.

The highest paid SF was Paul George, making $42,492,492. His teammate Kawhi Leonard also makes $42,492,492, and is also technically a SF.

Power Forwards

The “King” can build his own castle with all those checks.

The average salary for NBA power forwards in the 2022-2023 season was $9,527,804.

The median salary was $5,254,140.

The highest paid PF was LeBron James, making $44,474,988.

Kevin Durant is not far behind, making $44,119,845.

Centers

“Who cares if I can’t shoot, I got PAID!” – Rudy Gobert, probably

The average salary for NBA centers in the 2022-2023 season was $8,967,095.

The median salary was $5,004,817.

The highest paid center was Rudy Gobert, making $38,172,414.

NBA salaries by Player Age

Rookies and young players generally make less than vets, but let’s see how big the gap really is.

I have grouped the ages in buckets of 4 years, just because it works out nicely that way.

AgeAverage SalaryMedian SalaryNo. of Players
19-22$4,094,674$3,144,900110
23-26$8,764,558$3,901,399153
27-30$12,253,097$9,077,500110
31-34$17,434,942$12,080,37363
35-38$12,511,458$6,184,50017
39-42$1,836,090$1,836,0902
* Shout out to Andre Iguodala and Udonis Haslem — keep collecting them cheques!

As you can see from the basic table, it really pays to stick around in the NBA. The highest paid players are in the 31-34 age range. They make four times as much as 19-22 year olds.

All NBA Salaries Combined (2022-2023)

Just for fun, I added together all the salaries made in the 2022-2023 season.

The total of all NBA salaries combined was $4,454,000,402.

That’s 4.4 BILLION dollars.

💰💰💰💰

Other NBA Salary FAQ

Are NBA players paid weekly or monthly?

NBA players are paid semi-monthly.

From the official CBA:

For Standard NBA Contracts, unless otherwise provided in Exhibit 1 or Exhibit 1A, such Compensation shall be paid in twenty-four (24) equal semi-monthly payments beginning with the first of said payments on November 15th of each year covered by this Contract (“contract year”) and continuing with such payments on the first and fifteenth of each month until said Compensation is paid in full.

Do NBA players get paid in the offseason?

Yes, players get paid in the offseason.

For standard NBA contracts, players receive equal payments twice per month, every month of the year (see previous question).

How much is a 10 day contract in the NBA?

A 10-day contract is negotiable, but can not be less than the minimum allowed player salary. According to the CBA:

The salary provided for by a 10-Day Contract shall not be less than the Minimum Player Salary.

The Minimum Player Salary is then pro-rated by number of contract days (e.g. 10) divided by the number of days in the NBA regular season (i.e. 173 days — Oct. 18, 2022 to April 9, 2023).

Here’s the official contract jargon:

… with respect to a 10-Day Contract, the Minimum Annual Salary called for under Article II, Section 6(a) multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of days covered by the Contract and the denominator of which is the total number of days of that NBA Regular Season.

The “Minimum Player Salary” depends on the salary cap and number of years of experience the player has in the NBA. For the recent 2022-2023 season, these were the minimums:

Years of ExperienceSalary
0$1,017,781
1$1,637,966
2$1,836,090
3$1,902,133
4$1,968,175
5$2,133,278
6$2,298,385
7$2,463,490
8$2,628,597
9$2,641,682
10+$2,905,851

For example, if a player with 3 years of NBA experience plays an entire 10-day contract, they will make $109,949.88. (10/173 * $1,902,133)

Not bad!

Click here for more info about 10 day contracts

How much is the NBA rookie salary?

Rookies that are drafted in the first round get paid based on the official Rookie Scale. Basically, higher draft picks get paid more.

Drafted rookies can actually be paid as much as 120%, or as as little as 80% of the amount listed in the Rookie Scale.

So, the first pick can actually have a salary of $11,055,120, and the 30th pick can make as little as $1,462,640.

Salaries of non 1st round picks varies greatly. Some rookies are signed as G League two-way players, or Exhibit 10 players. See G League Salary page for more info.

How much is NBA per diem?

You can eat a lot of McDonald’s with $156 per day.

The official meal expense allowance for the upcoming 2023-2024 season is $156 per day.

This amount will be adjusted (up or down) every year based on inflation (i.e. the CPI-U — “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers” ).

Here’s a handy inflation calculator

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What do you think of NBA salaries?

Who is the most underpaid player? Overpaid?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Larry Lee

Larry Lee

Larry is a basketball addict, and the founder of Hoop Dojo. He started Hoop Dojo to share his love of the game and help the next generation reach their full potential.