The center position has been undiminished in recent years as the NBA changed its style of playing. The arrival of the 3-point revolution made a lot of people think that traditional big men were expired and they’re not necessary to win a championship.
Well, things have continued evolving and right now we know that having a reliable center is very important for every team in the association. If you take a look at some contracts around the league, you know that some teams have really high expectations for certain players who play at the 5. Instagram account Sogbasketball recently got to work and broke down the biggest contracts in the NBA for centers, listing 30 big men in the competition from the highest to the least-paid.
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At the top of the top, we find Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert ($41 million), who signed the largest contract for a center back in January. The Frenchman inked a five-year, $205 million with the Jazz, getting a lot of reactions after that, including Shaq O’Neal’s infamous comments on that. Gobert is followed by Karl-Anthony Towns ($31.7 million) of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a player who is still trying to lift his team to the next level.
Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic rank 4th and 5th on this list, respectively, earning $29.6M and $25.5M with the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets. Curiously, these two are considered the most talented centers in the league at this moment, as they are part of the MVP conversation in the first half of the season. The top 5 is closed by Andre Drummond, one of the best rebounders in the league.
There are teams with two centers on this list, including the Memphis Grizzlies (Gorgui Dieng and Jonas Valanciunas), and the Washington Wizards (Thomas Bryant and Robin Lopez). The least-paid player on the list is Wendell Carter of the Chicago Bulls, making $5.5 million this year, over $35 million less than the No. 1 ranked, Rudy Gobert.
It’s interesting to see that some of these players make big money. For instance, Gobert makes as much money as the 2nd-highest-paid point guard in the league, Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns. Times have changed and the four first players on this list are considered the best of the best in their position, although some have had better seasons than others. The center position isn’t dead yet and this is the prime sample of that.