Find out which centers in the league will earn the most money during the 2023-2024 season and assess the impact those players will have on the league.
The role of being in the middle position has been significantly reimagined in recent years. Centers were once regarded as the game’s most powerful force. Still, modern expectations call for them to be more versatile than ever, combining conventional post-play with more modern abilities such as shooting from beyond the arc and playmaking. The financial mechanics of the sport have also evolved alongside the game as it has progressed. This article takes a deep dive into the business side of the NBA and examines the highest-paid centers for the 2023–24 season.
The 2023–2024 NBA season will be remembered as the beginning of a new age of highly paid, multi-talented centers that alter the center’s role in the game. Not only are these players dominating attention on the court, but they are also securing hefty contracts that represent the value that they provide to their respective organizations. This group of players includes both established All-Stars and up-and-coming prospects. The highest-paid power forwards in the NBA is a beautiful sign that bigger players are vital in today’s game. Similarly, the highest-paid centers in the NBA are the centers that make the most money.
10. Myles Turner – $20,975,000
Myles Turner has set a goal for the year 2024 of being an NBA All-Star, and if he is successful in reaching that goal, his pay will be more than adequate for the Indiana Pacers franchise. After capturing two blocks titles and averaging 2.3 blocks per game during the previous season, the big man earned about $21 million in 2024. He is considered one of the finest shot-blockers in the NBA. While doing so, Turner has a three-point shooting percentage of 35.3% from the traditional center position.
Although his scoring totals may not match some other centers, the Pacers have found him to be a beneficial asset due to his defensive efforts and ability to block shots. Because of his exceptional defensive qualities and their impact on the game, Turner remains a distinctive figure among the highest-paid centers. The key for the Pacers is to figure out how to sustain the development of their franchise player, Tyrese Haliburton because if they do that, the rest of the team will fall into place.
9. Draymond Green – $22,321,429
Draymond Green may not have the title of a traditional center, but he is a one-of-a-kind and precious piece of the puzzle for the Golden State Warriors. His salary for the 2023-24 season is set to be $22,321,429, and he will receive that amount. The Warriors recognize his essential position as a versatile center who contributes to the game in a variety of ways, and this is reflected in the terms of his deal. Even though he is getting close to his 34th birthday, his basketball IQ, leadership, and versatility as a defender make him an irreplaceable asset for the Warriors.
In addition, the ever-changing nature of the center position in the modern NBA is reflected in the fact that Draymond Green is currently one of the highest-paid players. Even though he does not conform to the conventional profile of a center, his deal highlights the trend in the league toward positionless basketball and the significance of players who can influence the game in more ways than scoring points. Golden State decided to pay Draymond Green rather than keep Jordan Poole, and as a result, the seasoned player will play an essential role in the Warriors’ new “small ball” lineup, featuring the rookie Chris Paul.
8. Brook Lopez – $25,000,000
The Milwaukee Bucks have shown their appreciation for the services that Brook Lopez has made to their championship-winning squad by awarding him a contract. Lopez is recognized for his ability to block shots, shooting from beyond the arc, and presence in the paint to provide defensive support. Because of his flexible game, he can stretch the floor when he is on offense and provide critical rim protection when he is on defense. Even though Lopez is 35 years old and has 15 years of experience under his belt, his compensation reflects the importance of seasoned centers capable of excelling in a variety of elements of the game.
Lopez shot 37.4% from outside the arc and finished the season with 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game on average. The seasoned veteran’s play on defense, particularly his ability to block shots, was so impressive in 2023 that he was considered a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Even though he is growing older, the former No. 10 overall choice is still a formidable defensive force in the paint, and even though the $25 million deal might not be worth it in the long run, it might be in the short term.
7. Domantas Sabonis – $28,000,000
Domantas Sabonis’s agreement emphasizes the value of his diversified skill set and his role as a vital player for his team, even though his contract may not be as lucrative as some of the top earners in the league. The excellent rebounding abilities, scoring versatility in the post, and playmaking skills that Sabonis possesses as a center has made him a household name. The Sacramento Kings center, who led his club to the playoffs in 2023 while averaging 19.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game, posted those numbers that season.
Sabonis is still a significant figure among the highest-paid centers in the league, both in terms of his compensation and his expanding role on the court. This is true even though Sabonis’s role has been evolving. As a modern-day big who can run and pass, Sabonis is in the conversation for becoming a top-five center in the world, and his pay is relatively team-friendly when considering that aspect. The 6’11” big man starts at center even though he can fill the power forward post.
6. Deandre Ayton – $32,459,438
An emerging star in the NBA’s center position, Deandre Ayton has a contract of $32,459,438 for the 2023-24 season. This places him among the highest-paid centers in the league. Even if his deal might not be as eye-popping as some of the top veterans in the company, it reflects the Portland Trail Blazers‘ faith in his potential and the growing impact he is having on their squad. Ayton was the primary asset that Portland obtained in exchange for giving up superstar Damian Lillard, and the organization is pleased to pay him more than $32 million for the upcoming season.
His contract is an investment in the future of the Trail Blazers alongside Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, and Shaedon Sharpe, and it solidifies his place in the conversation regarding the highest-paid centers in the league as Ayton continues to improve his talents and develop as a player. It would be nice for Ayton to repay Portland if he made the All-Star Team the following year.
5. Bam Adebayo – $32,600,060
Even though Bam Adebayo doesn’t get paid as much as some of his peers, his deal shows that the Miami Heat recognizes his vast potential and importance to their team. Adebayo’s game is known for his flexibility on defense, ability to block shots, and skill in the pick-and-roll game. After Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo was the second most important part of Miami’s run to the Finals last season.
Also, the fact that Bam Adebayo is one of the highest-paid centers shows how the NBA is changing. Players like him are seen as the future of the position more and more. Even though he may not have as many awards as some veterans, the Heat signed him because they think he can become a crucial player for the team. Adebayo has been on two All-Star teams and four All-Defensive teams. This shows that he is a top-five big in the league.
4. Anthony Davis – $40,600,080
Even though Anthony Davis is known for being able to play both power forward and center, his deal shows how important he is to the Los Angeles Lakers as a key inside player. Davis has a unique set of skills that include blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, and scoring, making him a game-changing force on both ends of the court. The Lakers’ lineup is more interesting because he can protect the basket and score from mid-range and beyond the hoop.
His pay shows what he did as a traditional center and how he adapted to how the NBA played as it changed. Davis is not only a key defensive player for the Lakers but also a key offensive option. His deal shows that the team wants to build a championship-level team around him and LeBron James. The money was well spent if the big man can get about 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game like he did last year.
3. Rudy Gobert – $41,000,000
Rudy Gobert’s salary of $41,000,000 for the 2023–24 season shows that he is one of the best defense players and centers in the NBA. Even though he may not be the highest-paid center in the league or even the best-playing center in the company, his deal shows his unique ability to dominate on defense. Gobert averaged 11.6 boards and 1.4 blocks per game in his first season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Gobert is among the highest-paid centers, which is interesting because it shows that the NBA knows how important defensive specialists are in a game that often focuses on scoring. His deal shows that players who do well in defensive categories like blocks and rebounds are highly valued and paid for what they do. Gobert often gets criticized for his high pay, but he is still one of the best defenders in the world, even though he can’t score.
2. Joel Embiid – $47,607,350
Joel Embiid will be the highest-paid center in the NBA in the 2023–24 season. This shows how good he is and how important he is to the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid is one of the best players in the league and makes a massive salary of $47,607,350. He is also critical to the 76ers’ plans to win a title. His size, skill, and ability to do many different things make him a force on both ends of the court. The center won his second scoring title in a row (33.1 points per game) and was named league MVP.
Because of his pay, Embiid is also under a lot of pressure to perform consistently and well during the regular season and in the playoffs. The 76ers are taking a measured risk by putting a lot of money into Embiid, but they expect him to be a game-changer in their quest for an NBA championship. With James Harden probably leaving, Joel needs to keep scoring at a high level to show that he is still a top-five player in the world, even without the league’s leader in assists by his side.
1. Nikola Jokic – $47,607,350
With a salary of $47,607,350 for the 2023–24 season, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid will be the highest-paid centers in the NBA. This is a sign of how far he has come in the NBA. Jokic’s contract shows how good he is and how important he is to the Denver Nuggets as the reigning NBA winner and Finals MVP. As a center, he plays in a new way that combines excellent passing skills, court awareness, and scoring ability. The Nuggets can run their offense through Jokic, like a point center, because he is so versatile. His uncanny ability to set up plays from the high post has made Denver a threat.
The Serbian was the best player in the world in 2023 because he scored 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game while leading Denver to the Finals and helping them win. Jokic’s rise from an unknown international prospect to a top-tier player with a salary on par with the best in the league shows how basketball is changing and how vital versatile big men are becoming. Next year, Denver’s go-to player will continue to show off his superstar skills.
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