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Henry Liao

NBA's Highest-Paid Players

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For the fourth consecutive season, the Los Angeles Lakers’ injured star Kobe Bryant is the highest-salaried player in the U.S. National Basketball Association.

Bryant is making $30,453,805 million during the 2013-14 wars to become only the second player in NBA history to bankroll at least $30 million after Michael Jordan, who did it twice in 1996-97 ($30.1 million) and 1997-98 ($33.1 million) while helping guide the Chicago Bulls to the league championship each time.

Bryant voted by the fans to start for the Western Conference team in next month’s NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans even if he has only played six games so far this season due to health issues.

The 35-year-old guard, however, plans to sit out the Feb. 16 (Feb. 17, Manila time) game, which would have been his 16th overall in his incandescent 18-year pro tenure (he did not suit up in the 2010 classic) – second-most after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 19.

Bryant, the all-time leader scorer in All-Star Game history, and Bob Pettit share the record for the most ASG Most Valuable Player awards at four each.

Following Bryant, German frontliner Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks is the NBA’s second highest-paid player at $22,721,381.

Amar’e Stoudemire of the sad-sack New York Knicks ranks third at $21,679,893, followed by Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets, $21,466,718; and reigning NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks, $21,388,953.

Dwight Howard, who last summer spurned $30 million and an extra year from the Lakers to sign a free-agent contract with the Houston Rockets, is the sixth player to surpass the $20-million salary plateau with $20,513,178.

Rounding out the top 10 on the NBA player salary ladder are Bryant’s Laker mate, Pau Gasol ($19,285,850), and the Big Three of the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat – Chris Bosh ($19,067,500), LeBron James ($19,067,500) and Dwyane Wade ($18,673,000).

Injury-plagued Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers heads the Second Ten with an $18,668,431 stipend, followed by the Nets’ Deron Williams, $18,466,130; the Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, $18,238,333; Sacramento’s Rudy Gay (acquired from Toronto in an in-season trade), $17,888,932; and current NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, $17,832,627.

Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is out for the remainder of the season following surgery on his right knee, but the one-time NBA MVP is guaranteed to take home $17,632,688 this year.

The LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin is right behind Rose with a salary of $16,441,500.

Two players are making $15 million – Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce, $15,333,334, and Chicago’s Carlos Boozer, $15,300,000.

Bunched together at the $14 million level are a dozen players.

These are: Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, $14,878,000; Memphis’ Marc Gasol, $14,860,523; Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (currently injured), $14,693,906; Minnesota’s Kevin Love, $14,693,906; Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez (out for the season), $14,693,906; Phoenix’s Emeka Okafor, $14,487,500; New Orleans’ Eric Gordon, $14,283,844; Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, $14,283,844; Cleveland’s Luol Deng (acquired from Chicago in an in-season trade), $14,275,000; New York’s Tyson Chandler, $14,100,537; Indiana’s Danny Granger, $14,021,788; and Golden State’s Andrew Bogut, $14,000,000.
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