NBA players make a lot of money, something fans and pundits around the world are well aware of. But considering how difficult it is to make the NBA, it makes sense why the most talented basketball players earn a ton of money and benefits in the social sphere. But because the game has changed so much and external circumstances such as age and health play a role in players' careers, a lot of players are taking massive pay cuts.
Thanks to the great work by HoopsHype, we are aware of the biggest pay cuts that NBA players are facing in the 2022 season. The piece shares the salary of each player and the percentage cut they are taking due to age, injury, and attrition. Here are the 10 players who are taking the biggest pay hits over the 2021-2022 season.
10. Chris Paul (Phoenix): -$10,558,814
From $41,358,814 in 2020-21 to $30,800,000 in 2021-22 (-25.53 percent)
Chris Paul was making an insane amount of money over the past few seasons because the Houston Rockets felt he was the answer alongside James Harden in their championship race. Paul was a solid player for Houston, although he would only average 58 games per season for them. Since then, Paul has averaged 70 games per season over 2 years.
But the biggest reason Paul is facing a pay cut is because of his age. The future Hall of Famer is 36 years old and mid-way through the season, he will hit 37. That means it does not make sense to pay Chris Paul over $40 million per year at this stage, because decline will happen whether the Phoenix Suns like it or not.
9. Andre Iguodala (Golden State): -$12,358,309
From $15,000,000 in 2020-21 to $2,641,691 in 2021-22 (-82.39 percent)
Andre Iguodala is no longer the same player that won Finals MVP in 2015, but he is still a locker room leader and a professional veteran that will improve any team he is on. That is why the Miami Heat snatched up the veteran despite the fact he was making 8 figures in salary. But this upcoming season, that will change.
Iguodala returned to the Golden State Warriors at a very affordable salary, to allow the franchise to build around Stephen Curry and the returning Klay Thompson. Iguodala will be 38 years old at some point during the 2022 season, so his 82.39% salary cut makes a ton of sense for the player and for the team.
8. Steven Adams (Memphis): -$12,519,524
From $29,592,695 in 2020-21 to $17,073,171 in 2021-22 (-42.31 percent)
Steven Adams looked like a franchise center for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but an immediate rebuild killed that from happening. The team traded the likes of Paul George and Russell Westbrook, which meant any other player was expendable in the long run including Steven Adams.
The New Zealand native appeared in 58 games for the Pelicans but was traded again to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jonas Valanciunas. Adams faces a little over a 40% salary cut because he had a relatively poor season last year (7.6 PPG) and cannot space the floor that well. Still, Adams is a powerhouse in the paint and will still earn 8 figures in the 2022 season. The big man can still improve his production because at 28 years old, he has a lot in the tank.
7. Cody Zeller (Portland): -$13,026,089
From $15,415,730 in 2020-21 to $2,389,641 in 2021-22 (-84.50 percent)
Cody Zeller can run the floor well, rebound, and hustles hard during every minute he is on the court. The 29-year old is a solid center who can start or come off the bench for teams, having played his entire career with the Charlotte Hornets. But the center is also facing a massive pay cut.
Zeller will make a little over $2 million this upcoming season because he only appeared in 20.9 MPG last year. A center who cannot space the floor is not worth as much in today’s game, and only appearing in 48 games does not help his bank account either. Zeller has time to correct those aspects because he has a few years left of his prime.
6. James Johnson (Brooklyn): -$13,405,409
From $16,047,100 in 2020-21 to $2,641,691 in 2021-22 (-83.54 percent)
James Johnson is a role player that teams love to have because he embraces challenges and does not back down from any player. Solid defensively, Johnson can play both forward spots and has does a great job at adapting to the modern game.
But the 34-year old veteran is facing a massive pay cut of upwards of $13 million. Johnson is clearly in the final stages of his career and cannot play over 28 MPG anymore, but as a backup enforcer, he is a great addition for the Brooklyn Nets at an affordable deal.
5. Mike Conley (Utah): -$13,502,132
From $34,502,132 in 2020-21 to $21,000,000 in 2021-22 (-39.13 percent)
Mike Conley was one of the most overpaid players in recent history when the Memphis Grizzlies signed him to a $153 million deal. That number is actually quite normal in today’s game but that was groundbreaking at the time, even for a consistent starter like Conley was. But the point guard is making much less next season.
The Utah Jazz re-signed their 33-year old All-Star because along with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, the team feels like they have a championship roster. Conley had a career year averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.0 APG on 41.2% shooting from three, so he is certainly worth $21 million to try to get the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals.
4. Gorgui Dieng (Atlanta): -$13,587,688
From $17,587,688 in 2020-21 to $4,000,000 in 2021-22 (-77.26 percent)
Gorgui Dieng has been a solid big man for the majority of his career, but there is no way he was ever worth $17 million. That is how much the Senegalese national was getting paid, but not anymore. The backup big man will make $4 million in 2022 because the 31-year old only averaged 6.8 PPG and 3.7 RPG last season.
The Hawks signed the big man to the team to further improve their ridiculous depth, and Dieng should play some nice minutes behind starting center Clint Capela. Dieng averaged 42.9% from three last season so he can space the floor nicely, so joining a championship contender was not a bad idea for him.
3. Victor Oladipo (Miami): -$18,610,359
From $21,000,000 in 2020-21 to $2,389,641 in 2021-22 (-88.62 percent)
It is a shame Victor Oladipo cannot stay healthy because he is a bonafide All-Star worth over $20 million when he is playing like himself. But last season was a disaster for Oladipo, a player who only appeared in 33 games with 3 different teams. To make matters worse, Oladipo shot 40.8% from the field before deciding to shut himself down in favor of surgery.
That is obviously the main reason the 2-time All-Star is taking a whopping 88.62% pay cut because there are doubts that he will appear at all next season. Oladipo’s appearance for the Miami Heat will be considered a plus in 2022 because the team is not expecting him to be healthy at all.
2. Otto Porter (Golden State): -$26,099,598
From $28,489,239 in 2020-21 to $2,389,641 in 2021-22 (-91.61 percent)
The Washington Wizards tried to keep a contender in place when they signed Otto Porter to a massive deal worth over $20 million per year. They had John Wall and Bradley Beal at the time and were a solid team in the Eastern Conference for years.
Since then, Porter has been a solid starter in the NBA as a two-way wing and a consistent three-point shooter. But two injury-plagued seasons have left the 28-year old with little option but to sign a veteran's minimum with the Golden State Warriors.
1. Andre Drummond (Philadelphia): -$26,350,237
From $28,751,774 in 2020-21 to $2,401,537 in 2021-22 (-91.65 percent)
No player is taking a bigger salary hit in the NBA than Andre Drummond. The big man has averaged a double-double for 8 straight seasons yet is being reserved to a veteran's minimum salary. That is how much the game has changed for good and bad.
Drummond is a 2-time All-Star at only 28 years of age but has to play his way to earning another big contract once again. Drummond cannot space the floor at all and struggles from the free-throw line, but career averages of 14.5 PPG and 13.7 RPG should certainly warrant a bigger paycheck over the next few years of the center's career.