What’s not listed on the chart is how many years the players played and you also have to consider the inflation of NBA salaries. You might look at Chauncey Billups at #57 and wonder why is he 30 spots ahead of Jordan.
In the 80s, superstars were lucky to make $2 million a year and until Jordan’s massive 2 year $63 million deal in 1995, the NBA’s most marketable players like Shaq were still making less than $5 million a year and a lot of people in Orlando felt Shaq was overpaid. So overpaid that that the Orlando Sentinel ran a poll, results agreed, Shaq leaves for LA, Dynasty happens, flash forward a decade later and the championshipless Magic are trading Shaq 2.0 for players that the people of Orlando have never heard of.
Kind of an ironic considering a good amount of head scratchers on this list is because of the Orlando Magic’s healthy contribution. Rashard Lewis made over $48 million in 3 years while the Wizards had to pick up the rest of the $40 million. The Magic also spent over $44 mil on Tmac and 25 on his two year replacement – Steve Francis. Arenas made an additional $10 million for his 2 years at Orlando.
Juwan Howard needs to send David Falk a great Christmas present everyday for allowing him to make more money than his Fab 5 teammates (Webber & Rose) and fellow 94 draftees which included Glen Robinson, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. Funniest number that pops out when looking at Howard’s salary history is the Nuggests paid him $20 million in 2002 and $52k in 2008. I was about to celebrate and say I made more than Howard in 2008 until I saw that the Twolves paid him $7 million that year and Bobcats chipped in with $928k.
The two names that stick out to me the most are Brian Grant and Theo Ratliff. Thinking back to people complaining that Shaq and Alonzo Mourning could end up making a $100 million then thinking that Theo Ratliff ended up on that list and was paid over $10 million a year by 4 different teams.