Skip to main content

Earnings per Minute of the Highest Paid NBA Players in Season 2021/2022

Our latest report focuses on the earnings per minute in one of the most popular sports across the globe – basketball. The sport is most developed in the USA, where the NBA attracts the best players worldwide with its financial appeal and mammoth long-term contracts. SportingPedia‘s team put the 10 players with biggest contracts for the already concluded 21/22 season under the scope. These top players pocketed a combined sum just shy of half a billion dollars. We took into consideration how much time the 10 players spent on the court in the past 12 months to figure out their earnings per minute.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russell Westbrook has the best value for money on the list (skills & contribution not included)
  • There is not a single Big man (Center) on the list
  • Point Guard is the best-paid position, with 5 such players finding a place on the list
  • The list also features 4 Small Forwards and 1 Power Forward
  • NBA Finals MVP Steph Curry took home over $20K for each of the 2,211 minutes he played in the regular season, almost 2 times less than Damian Lillard
  • 2 of the 10 highest-paid NBA players did not play a single minute, as they sat out the season with injuries
  • Only 4 of the players on the list reached the play-offs – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, James Harden & Kevin Durant
  • 70% of the highest-paid 10 players represented teams from the Western Conference

Below you will find the 10 NBA players with the heftiest contracts for 21/22 season, how much time on the court each of them spent and the average amount in USD they were paid per minute of game time. We used data from Statmusе and Spotrac to come up with the list of the players having the most lucrative financial packages.

Earnings per minute
Game time (mins)
Salary for 21/22
John Wall

Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard

Los Angeles Clippers
Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers
Paul George

Los Angeles Clippers
Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant

Brooklyn Nets
Lebron James

Los Angeles Lakers
James Harden

Philadephia 76ers
Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks
Russell Westbrook

Los Angeles Lakers


Right now, the talking point in the NBA is the ongoing Summer League. The Summer League gives teams the chance to watch their freshly-drafted players for the first time in action, while the stars and proven players observe and prepare for another intense season.

The main highlight of the past 75th NBA betting season was the Golden State Warriors’ triumph in six games over the Boston Celtics, with Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguadala and Steph Curry earning their 4th rings, all with the Warriors. Curry began the 21/22 NBA season as the player with the biggest pay check. #30 led the Golden State to their 4th title in the last 7 years and on a personal level earned his first “Bill Russell Finals MVP” award. He’s been twice crowned as the Most Valuable Player across the regular season and finally added the missing piece to his fully-packed trophy case. With a string of dazzling and match winning performances Steph has stirred a discussion whether he deserves a place among the All Time Top 10 after a decade of dominance and after literally changing the way the basketball game is played.

While Curry did everything he was asked, delivering yet another title to the city of San Francisco, some of the players on the list did not justify the large amounts they signed for. Highly criticized for the performances and the numbers he posted in his debut season with the LA Lakers, it turns out that Russell Westbrook had the best dollar per minutes ratio of the highest-earning players in the NBA. Others like Kawhi Leonard and John Wall did not feature even for a single minute, as they had to sit out the whole season with injuries. Find here some of the highest rated sports betting sites where to bet on NBA.

#1 John Wall – PG – Houston Rockets

0 minutes; $44,310,840 contract

Wall collected over $44M for the 21/22 NBA season, but did not record a single minute, as he sat out the campaign with injury. He was last on the court on 21st of April 2021. The 5 time All-Star recently signed a 2 year $13.2 million contract with the LA Lakers for the 22/23 season and will be joining forces with another two players from that list.

#2 Kawhi Leonard – SF – Los Angeles Clippers

0 minutes; $39,344,900 contract

Kawhi missed the entire season because of injury. His latest outing was on June 14th 2021 in the Western Conference semifinals between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz. He underwent a surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee last July and is yet to return to full training.

#0 Damian Lillard – PG – Portland Trail Blazers

$37,258 per minute; 1056 minutes

Damian Lillard endured yet another disappointing season with Portland. He averaged 24 points and 7.3 assists, but played in just 29 games during the regular season after undergoing abdominal surgery in January. The Trail Blazers failed to reach the play-offs, ending with a negative 27-55 balance. Lillard was the highest earner per minute across the entire NBA when breaking down his income to the minutes he was playing.

#13 Paul George – SF – Los Angeles Clippers

$36,532 per minute; 1077 minutes

Paul George was injured for a big part of the regular season and took part in 31 games. The Clippers did make the play-offs, finishing 8th in the Western Conference, but were eliminated in the play-in tournament by the New Orleans Pelicans. PG13 spent 1077 minutes on the court and with his hefty paycheck it means he has pocketed $36,532 per 60 seconds of game time.

#30 – Stephen Curry – PG – Golden State Warriors

$20,706 per minute; 2211 minutes

The now 4 time NBA champion spent 2211 minutes on the court during the regular season. He helped the Warriors enter the playoffs as #3 seed in the West, with a balance of 53-29. He broke the record for most 3 pointers made in NBA’s history, surpassing the one previously held by Ray Allen.

#7 Kevin Durant – SF – Brooklyn Nets

$20,527 per minute; 2047 minutes

KD is reportedly seeking a trade, wanting to put his time in Brooklyn to an end. The Nets were pre-season favorites to win the NBA title, but were swept by Boston in the opening round of the play-offs. Durant’s personal stats were one of the best in the NBA, but more was expected of him. Now KD is in the center of most trade talks, as he is desperately trying to force his way out of Brooklyn.

#23 LeBron James – SF – Los Angeles Lakers

$19,760 per minute; 2084 minutes

LeBron James edged closer to Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s all time record for points scored, but that was all he achieved with the Lakers in 21/22. The franchise failed to reach the play-offs and ended 11th in the West with a 33-49 balance. James is the longest serving active player in the entire NBA and will enter his 20th year as a professional next term.

#1 – James Harden – SG – Philadelphia 76ers

$18,310 per minute; 2420 minutes

The Beard began the season with the Brooklyn Nets but was traded to the 76ers after the All-Star break. He totaled a combined 2420 minutes playing for both franchises across the regular season. The Sixers ended in the 4th place in the Eastern Conference standings, with a record of 51-31.

#34 Giannis Antetokounmpo – PF – Milwaukee Bucks

$17,852 per minute; 2204 minutes

Last season’s MVP saw his Milwaukee defeated 4-3 by the Boston Celtics in the 2nd play-off round of the Eastern Conference. The “Greek Freak” was as reliable as always and concluded the regular season with 29.9 points, making him the 2nd best overall scorer in the league.

#0 Russell Westbrook – PG – Los Angeles Lakers

$16,509 per minute; 2678 minutes

Russ has the best value for money, well if we consider only the salary and the time spent, as his debut season with the Lakers turned into a nightmare. LA failed to make the play-offs, with Westbrook instead of making them better, sending one of his worst seasons on a personal level.