Lists of Highest-Paid NBA Shooting Guards From 1988-2023

Lists of Highest-Paid NBA Shooting Guards From 1988-2023
Lists of Highest-Paid NBA Shooting Guards From 1988-2023

A comprehensive analysis of the highest-paid shooting guards in the NBA from 1988 to 2023 , highlighting players such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The annual salary of players is one of the most significant distinctions between the NBA of the past and the league of today. Just thirty years ago, a max contract was a player earning $1 million per season, akin to Magic Johnson, who led the NBA in point guard salaries at the time. Today, the best NBA point guards earn over $30 million annually in contracts worth $250 million. This is the extent to which the game has evolved financially.

As we did previously with point guards, we will now examine the last thirty-plus seasons of NBA basketball to determine the highest-paid shooting guards in each of those seasons. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, among others, have led the NBA in pay and aptitude from the shooting guard position for most seasons. There are additional individuals among the highest-paid shooting guards in the NBA. It is now time to determine who they are.

From 1988 to 2023, these are the highest-paid NBA shooting guards:

Season 1987-88 – Michael Jordan – $850,000

Michael Jordan’s 1987-88 season as the NBA’s highest-paid shooting guard is one he will never forget. Michael Jordan would perform for the Chicago Bulls as if he were more valuable than any other NBA player despite earning less than $1 million. Jordan would average 35.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 3.2 steals per game, winning both the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

In the wake of his scoring and steals titles, the Bulls would win 50 games and enter the postseason against the Cleveland Cavaliers with some momentum. The series would extend to five games, with Jordan and the Bulls winning Game 5 by a score of 107-101. Jordan averaged 45.2 points per contest, 5.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Bulls would face the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons, who would physically and mentally dominate the Bulls. Jordan would average 27,4 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game. However, the Bulls would be unable to manage the physicality, and the Pistons would defeat Chicago in five games.

Season 1988-89 – Michael Jordan – $2,000,000

Michael Jordan would again be the highest-paid shooting guard in the NBA 1989, earning $2 million. Patrick Ewing, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Robert Parish were the four highest-paid players in the NBA during that season. Kevin Duckworth would earn $2 million for the season, tying him for fifth place with Jordan.

Individually, Jordan’s season would be outstanding once again. In 81 games played, he averaged 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 2.9 steals while shooting 53.8% from the field. The Bulls would win 47 games and again enter the Eastern Conference quarterfinals as one of the best teams. This time, the Bulls would breeze through the Cavaliers and Knicks in the first two rounds to set up a rematch with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The 1989 Eastern Conference Finals were another physically taxing series for both teams, with the Pistons allowing Jordan no space to operate as he usually would. Despite his averages of 29.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars led the Pistons to an NBA championship victory over the Bulls in six games.

1989-90 Season – Michael Jordan – $2.5 million

Michael Jordan would be the highest-paid shooting guard in the NBA for the third consecutive season, with a salary increase to $2.5 million during the 1989-90 season. He was ranked sixth in the NBA, following Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Jordan would play all 82 games and capture his fourth straight scoring title with 33.6 points per game on 52.6% shooting.

After winning 55 games, the Bulls dominated the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds of the playoffs, losing only two games between the two series. At the time, the Detroit Pistons, the NBA’s finest team, awaited the Bulls for a rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The series would resemble a heavyweight boxing match more than a postseason series, as the Pistons would launch an assault on Jordan and the Bulls that would border on assault. Despite Jordan’s average of 32.1 points per game in the series, the Pistons won Game 7 with a score of 93-74 to advance to their third consecutive NBA Finals and claim their second consecutive championship.

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Season 1990-1991 – Michael Jordan – $2.5 million

When the 1990-1991 NBA season rolled around, Michael Jordan was widely regarded as the league’s most gifted player. However, he had yet to defeat Eastern Conference powerhouses such as the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. In 1991, all of this was about to change, and a new era in the NBA was on the horizon.

Jordan’s salary of $2.5 million linked him with Robert Parish for the eighth-highest in the NBA. Jordan would more than earn his salary by averaging 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game while winning his second MVP award. The Bulls would enter the NBA postseason as heavy favorites after winning 61 games.

The Bulls would go 11-1 in 12 games across their first three series to earn their first-ever journey to the NBA Finals. In the championship series, Jordan and the Bulls would face off against Magic Johnson and the Lakers, a series that Jordan and the Bulls would dominate. The Bulls defeated the Lakers in just five games, with Jordan being named Finals MVP for the first time after averaging 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 11.4 assists, 2.8 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game.

Season 1991-92: Reggie Lewis: $3,340,000

In the 1991-92 NBA season, the Boston Celtics’ Reggie Lewis would surpass Jordan as the highest-paid shooting guard. Lewis, with a salary of $3.34 million, would be the fourth-highest-paid player in the NBA, while Jordan, with a salary of $3.25 million, would be directly behind him in fifth place. During the 1991-1992 season, only his teammates Kevin McHale, Hot Rod Williams, and the now-retired Larry Bird would earn more than him.

1992 Lewis would have his best season, averaging 20.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game to achieve his first and only All-Star appearance. The Boston Celtics would qualify for the NBA postseason by winning 51 games. In the first round, Lewis would help Boston sweep the Indiana Pacers with a team-leading 27.7 points and 2.3 thefts per game.

In the next round, Lewis and the Boston Celtics would not fare as well against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lewis and Boston’s championship aspirations were dashed in Game 7 of a hard-fought and seven-game series, despite the fact that the series would go the distance. Lewis averaged 28.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.4 steals per game against Cleveland. Still, it was not enough to defeat the Cavaliers, who ultimately lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Chicago Bulls.

Season 1992-1993 – Michael Jordan – $4,000,000

After winning his second consecutive NBA championship and Finals MVP in 1992, Michael Jordan’s salary as the highest-paid shooting guard in the NBA increased to $4 million. Jordan would become the second-highest-paid athlete in the NBA, trailing only David Robinson, who earned $5,720,000 per year, if his salary were to increase.

Jordan would again lead the Bulls to the promised land like the previous two seasons. He captured his eighth straight scoring title, averaging 32.6 points per game, adding 6.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and a league-leading 2.8 steals per game. They would win 57 games and again enter the NBA postseason as heavy favorites.

In the NBA Finals, the Bulls would face MVP Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns after going 11-2 in their first 13 playoff games. Jordan would shatter an NBA record by averaging 41.0 points per game in the Finals’ highest-scoring series for a single player. The Bulls defeated the Suns in six games and became the first team since the Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s to three-peat as NBA champions. Jordan would win his third consecutive Finals Most Valuable Player award but retire before the 1994 season after his father was horrifically killed during the offseason.

Season 1993-1994 – Michael Jordan – $4,000,000

Michael Jordan was the highest-paid shooting guard during the 1993-1994 season, earning $4 million, despite being retired and focusing on baseball. Jordan, along with Ron Harper and Robert Parish, was the season’s fifth highest-paid player despite not playing a single game.

The only players to earn more than the $4 million Jordan was receiving would be David Robinson, Buck Williams, John Williams, and Vlade Divac. In his absence, the Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, won the NBA championship, marking the first time since 1989-90 that the champions were not the Chicago Bulls.

Season 1994-1995 – Michael Jordan – $3,850,000

Michael Jordan would begin the 1994-95 season retired for the second consecutive year, but he would continue to be the highest-paid shooting guard in the league. His $3.85 million salary is rated 16th in the NBA. Magic Johnson was the highest-paid player in the NBA with a $14.66 million salary, over $7 million more than the next highest-paid player.

Jordan would return to the Bulls for 17 regular-season games, helping them qualify for the NBA postseason with a 47-35 record. Jordan led the team to a five-game victory over the Charlotte Hornets in their first-round series, averaging 32,3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.

The upcoming series between the Bulls, Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway, and the Orlando Magic would be challenging. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they could not match Orlando’s physicality and overall potential, and they were eliminated in six games, their earliest playoff exit with Jordan on the court since 1988.

Season 1995-1996 – Clyde Drexler – $9,810,000

Clyde Drexler of the Houston Rockets would become the highest-paid shooting guard in the NBA beginning with the 1995-96 season. Drexler would be the second-highest-paid NBA player, trailing only Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks, who earned $18.7 million.

Drexler was now a member of the Houston Rockets after being acquired by them during the 1994-95 season and assisting them in winning the NBA title that year. Drexler averaged 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game in 1996, making him an All-Star. The Rockets would win 48 games and have momentum heading into the NBA postseason.

The Rockets would defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in four games during the first round of the playoffs. As Houston prepared to face the Seattle SuperSonics, Drexler averaged 14.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. On their route to the NBA Finals, the SuperSonics would sweep the Rockets in four games, ending Drexler and Houston’s good fortune.

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Season 1996-97 – Michael Jordan – $30,140,000

Michael Jordan regained the highest-paid shooting guard and highest-paid player in the NBA in 1996, following his fourth NBA championship and fourth Finals MVP award. Jordan would earn $30.14 million in 1996-97, while Horace Grant would earn $14.57 million as the second-highest-paid player.

In 1997, Jordan would have an incredible season, claiming his ninth scoring title while averaging 29.6 points per game and shooting 46.5%. The Bulls would win 69 games in the regular season, but Jordan would lose to Karl Malone for Most Valuable Player honors. However, Michael Jordan would ensure he and his team would have the last word.

The Bulls would go 11-2 through their first 13 postseason games en route to their fifth NBA Finals appearance in seven years. Jordan took it personally when he learned their opponent would be the Utah Jazz, captained by MVP Karl Malone. In the series, Jordan averaged 32.3 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and 1.2 steals per game to secure Chicago’s fifth NBA title and his fifth Finals MVP award as they defeated Utah in six games.

Season 1997-1998 – Michael Jordan – $33,140,000

With a 1998 salary of $33.14 million, Michael Jordan remained the highest-paid shooting guard and NBA player in 1998. Jordan would be the only player in the league to earn more than $30 million for the season and one of only two players to receive at least $20 million.

The 1998 season would be turbulent for the Bulls, but Jordan would win his fifth MVP award by averaging 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per contest. The Bulls would win 62 games and once again enter the NBA postseason as the favorites for a second three-peat as NBA champions.

In the first 14 games of the NBA postseason, the Chicago Bulls went 11-4, including a seven-game Conference Finals series against the Indiana Pacers. Many believed the Utah Jazz would ultimately dethrone the Bulls and Jordan in pursuing a second three-peat in the NBA Finals, where they would meet them again.

This would not occur, as the Bulls would defeat the Jazz in six games. Michael Jordan, averaging 33.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, led the team to victory and won his NBA-record sixth Finals MVP award. Management would disband the Bulls and their championship nucleus after the season, and Michael Jordan would retire again.

Season 1998-1999 – Allan Houston – $7,000,000

The 1998-99 season was unusual for shooting guards and how they were paid now that Michael Jordan was out of the league. Allan Houston of the New York Knicks would take over as the highest-paid player at the position, earning $7 million per season. Only 14 NBA players would earn $10 million or more during the season, ranking Houston’s $7 million salary as the 28th highest in the league.

The 1999 season would be remarkable for the Knicks, although Houston had yet to reach his All-Star status. The Knicks would qualify for the NBA playoffs in a shortened 50-game season by winning 27 games. In their first-round matchup, Houston would win the series against the top-seeded Miami Heat with a game-winning floater in the decisive fifth game.

The Knicks would advance to the NBA Finals, where they would face the Spurs of San Antonio, led by Tim Duncan and David Robinson. With Patrick Ewing incapacitated due to a partially torn Achilles, the Knicks were all but eliminated. Although they would win one game in the series, their offense needed to be improved to overcome the Spurs’, and they would lose in five games. Despite spending over $3.3 billion on player salaries, they have not reached the Finals since.

Season 1999-2000 – Mitch Richmond – $10,000,000

It is difficult to comprehend that Mitch Richmond was the NBA’s highest-paid shooting guard during the 1999–2000 season. In his second season with the Washington Wizards, Richmond was no longer the perennial All-Star he was with the Sacramento Kings in the 1990s. During the 2000 NBA season, Richmond’s $10 million salary was rated 20th, and he was one of 20 players to earn that money.

That season, Richmond was adequate for the Wizards. He would appear in 74 games, averaging 17.4 points per game on 42.6% overall shooting and 38.6% from three-point range. Even with Richmond as their primary scorer, the Wizards were abysmal in 1999-2000, winning only 29 games, finishing seventh in their division, and failing to qualify for the NBA playoffs.

Season 2000-01 – Reggie Miller – $10,670,000

During his NBA career, in addition to being one of the best three-point snipers in NBA history, Reggie Miller was also handsomely compensated. Miller and the Pacers were fresh off their first and only appearance in the NBA Finals during the 2000-2001 season. Miller’s $10.67 million salary in 2000-01 would rank 22nd overall in the NBA for that season and was just marginally ahead of Allen Iverson’s $10.14 million for shooting guards.

Miller played 81 games in 2001 and averaged 18.9 points per game, shooting 44.0% overall and 36.6% from the three-point range. The Indiana Pacers would conclude the season with a 41-41 record, just qualifying for the postseason. When Indiana confronted the 76ers in the first round, their quest for another trip to the NBA Finals was foiled. Allen Iverson, the league MVP, would eradicate the Indiana Pacers in just four games, although Reggie Miller scored 31.3 points per game in the series.

Season 2001-02 – Allan Houston – $12,750,000

During the 2002 NBA season, Allan Houston remained the league’s highest-paid shooting guard. Houston’s salary of $12.75 million ranked eleventh in the NBA, with only 15 players earning at least $12 million per season.

Houston would play 77 games during the 2001-02 season and average 20,4 points per game on 43.7% shooting overall and 39.3% from three. However, under coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Don Chaney, the Knicks would conclude with only 30 victories and fail to qualify for the NBA playoffs. Houston, who had made back-to-back All-Star teams, was the team’s primary scorer and finished second among starters in three-point shooting behind Mark Jackson.

Season 2002-03 – Allan Houston – $14,343,750

In 2002-03, Allan Houston was the ninth-highest-paid player in the NBA after signing an enormous contract extension that most New York Knicks fans consider one of the worst in franchise history. That season, Houston was one of only nine athletes in the league to earn at least $14 million.

Houston would appear in all 82 games for the fourth time in his career in 2002-03. His 2002-03 season would be even more fruitful than his previous year, averaging 22.5 points per game on 44.5% overall shooting and 39.6% from three-point range. Under Don Chaney, the Knicks would only marginally progress to 37 victories and once again miss the NBA playoffs entirely. Houston again led the Knicks in scoring, but it was not enough to get his team back into the playoffs.

Season 2003-04 – Allan Houston – $15,935,000

Allan Houston’s salary would increase by one more rung in 2003-04, tying him with Chris Webber of the Kings for fifth-highest in the NBA. Only Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal, Dikembe Mutombo, and Rasheed Wallace would earn more than Houston during the season, but as it turns out, the Knicks would be grossly overpaying.

This season would be the first indication of Houston’s declining health, specifically in his knees. As he averaged 18.9 points per game on 43.5% shooting, Houston would be limited to just 50 contests for the year. However, the Knicks would progress as a team and qualify for the NBA playoffs with a record of 39-43. In the first round of the playoffs, the New York Knicks were routed by the Brooklyn Nets in four games. Due to knee problems, Houston would not make a single postseason appearance.

Season 2004-05 – Allan Houston – $17,531,250

In 2004-05, Allan Houston’s contract increased to $17.53 million, making him the third-highest-paid player in the NBA, much to the chagrin of Knicks fans and team executives. Houston’s salary was now only exceeded by Shaq’s $27.7 million and Dikembe Mutombo’s $19.5 million for that season.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, Houston was finished as an NBA player, making only 20 appearances and averaging 11.9 points per game. The Knicks would take a significant step back and win only 33 games, missing the postseason for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Regarding Houston, this would be the last time we ever saw him on the court, as he retired at 33.

Season 2005-2006 – Allan Houston – $19,125,000

Even though Allan Houston did not play during the 2005-06 season, the Knicks still owed him substantial money. His salary of $19.13 million for the season made him the second-highest-paid NBA player, trailing only Shaquille O’Neal’s $20 million. Under Coach Larry Brown, the Knicks finished with an overall record of 23-59, and their most outstanding player, Stephon Marbury, could not get along with Brown. The Knicks’ struggles would only worsen as they attempted to reconstitute and return to winning ways.

Season 2006-07 – Kobe Bryant – $17,718,750

During the 2006-07 NBA season, Kobe Bryant would eventually surpass Allan Houston as the highest-paid shooting guard in the league. Bryant was now the center of attention for the Lakers, as Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade resided in South Beach and were pursuing an NBA championship.

Bryant would be the seventh highest-paid player in the NBA during that season and one of only nine players to earn at least $17 million. Bryant did everything he could for the Lakers, securing his second consecutive scoring title with an average of 31.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. In the remarkable season, Kobe led the Lakers to 42 victories and into the NBA playoffs.

Bryant and the Lakers would face the NBA’s finest offense, the Phoenix Suns, led by MVP Steve Nash, in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers fought valiantly but only managed to win one game as the Suns dominated the series, five games to one. Bryant led the Lakers with 32.8 points per game on 46.2% shooting, while Lamar Odom was the only teammate to average at least 10.0 points per game in support. Yes, you attempt to win a playoff series with such performance.

Season 2007-08 – Kobe Bryant – $19,490,625

After winning consecutive scoring titles in 2006 and 2007, Bryant shifted gears during the 2007-08 season. Bryant, the seventh-highest-paid player in the NBA, won his first and only MVP award by averaging 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to 57 victories.

After acquiring Pau Gasol at the NBA trade deadline, the Lakers were on a roll and cruised to the NBA Finals with a 12-3 record through their first three postseason series. Their postseason performance set up a grudge match with the Boston Celtics, led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, in the NBA Finals.

Bryant would average 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.7 steals per game throughout the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, the Lakers could not match the potency of the Celtics’ Big Three and were eliminated in six games, while Paul Pierce was named Finals MVP. It was Bryant’s second defeat in the NBA Finals, but it would not be his last appearance on the NBA’s biggest stage.

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Season 2008-09 – Kobe Bryant – $21,262,500

Kobe Bryant remained the NBA’s highest-paid shooting guard with a 2008-09 salary of $21.3 million, despite his MVP season and Finals loss. He was now the fourth-highest-paid NBA player and one of nine to earn at least $20 million annually. Bryant’s $21.3 million salary ranked fourth in the NBA, behind Jason Kidd, Jermaine O’Neal, and Kevin Garnett.

During the season, Bryant averaged 26.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game while participating in all 82 contests. The Lakers were bound for the NBA playoffs with full steam, having won 65 games. In their first three series, the Lakers went 12-6, including a seven-game marathon against the Rockets in the second round.

Bryant and the Lakers would face Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. Bryant would dominate Orlando in the series as the Lakers cruised to their first NBA championship since 2002. Bryant would win Finals MVP for the first time in his career with averages of 32,4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks.

2009-10 Season – Tracy McGrady – $23,239,562

Tracy McGrady was a shadow of the high-flying and electrifying player he once was by the start of the 2009-10 season. His knee and back problems had completely overtaken his body, leaving us with little of the player he once was. McGrady was now the highest-paid player in the NBA, earning $23.24 million in the final year of an enormous contract with the Rockets.

McGrady could only make six appearances with the Rockets before being traded to the Knicks in a three-team transaction. McGrady would participate in only 24 games for the Knicks, who had their problems and won only 29 games. In 2010, McGrady averaged 9.4 points per game for New York while shooting 38.9% from the field, a far cry from the scoring titles he won earlier in his career.

Season 2010-2011 – Kobe Bryant – $24,806,250

Kobe Bryant would reclaim his title as the league’s highest-paid shooting guard one year after winning consecutive NBA titles. Not only would he assume that position, but his $24.8 million salary would make him the highest-paid player in the NBA and the only player to earn at least $20 million for the season.

Kobe Bryant played in all 82 games during the regular season and averaged 25.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. The Lakers would win 57 games and the Pacific Division for the fourth consecutive season. The Lakers’ wheels would fall off in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ aspirations for a three-peat were dashed when they were swept in four games by the Dallas Mavericks as their frustrations boiled over.

Season 2011-12 – Kobe Bryant – $25,244,493

During the 2012 NBA season, Kobe Bryant was the highest-paid shooting guard with a salary of $25.24 million. He earned roughly $4 million more than Vince Carter and Kevin Garnett, the second and third-highest-paid players in the NBA, respectively.

Bryant would average 27.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in 58 games during the 2012 season due to injury. The Lakers would secure a spot in the NBA playoffs by winning 41 games during the 66-game season. Bryant would average 29.1 points per game as the Lakers defeated the Nuggets in seven games in the first round of the playoffs. In the second round, the eventual Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers in five games.

Season 2012-13 – Kobe Bryant – $27,849,000

Bryant returned in 2013 to play 78 games for the Lakers, who urgently needed him to compete after he missed 24 games in 2012. Bryant was once again the highest-paid athlete in the NBA, earning nearly $27.9 million for the year. He averaged 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game during the regular season. It would be the last time Bryant exhibited his genuine peak form for an entire season.

The Lakers would win 45 games and qualify for the NBA postseason behind Bryant’s brilliant performance. The Lakers would face the eventual Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Due to Bryant’s injury, they would be without him for the series, and they were promptly eliminated from the postseason in four games. Unfortunately, Kobe Bryant would never again be a playoff participant for the NBA.

Season 2013-14 – Kobe Bryant – $30,451,000

Kobe Bryant would continue to be the highest-paid shooting guard and player in the NBA in 2014. Kobe was the only NBA player to earn more than $30 million in salary annually. Bryant was the only player in the NBA to reach over $25 million for the 2014 season, with the closest salary to his being Dirk Nowitzki’s 22.7 million.

Bryant and the Lakers would have a disappointing season. Bryant, who endured an Achilles tear after the 2012-13 season, would be limited to just six games in 2013-14. Due to these circumstances, Head Coach Mike D’Antoni’s Lakers would be limited to 27 victories this season, with Pau Gasol and Jodie Meeks as their leading scorers.

2014-15 Season – Kobe Bryant – $23,500,000

Due to Bryant’s inability to remain healthy for any time that could be considered meaningful, most of us fans knew that the end was nigh for him despite the optimism of his doctors and himself. Only Bryant and Joe Johnson would earn more than $23 million during the 2015 NBA season, with Bryant remaining the highest-paid player with $23.5 million in total compensation.

At 36, Bryant would be limited to just 35 games due to recurring injuries. Without a healthy Kobe, the Lakers would have an even worse season than in previous years, winning just 21 games. Bryant was the only player on the Lakers roster to average at least 15.0 points per game in 2014-2015, averaging 22.9 points per game in 35 games.

Season 2015-16 – Kobe Bryant – $25,000,000

During his final season in the NBA, Kobe Bryant established himself as a financial and on-court icon. Bryant received a farewell reserved for legends as the only player in the league to earn $25 million. The Lakers remained one of the league’s worst teams despite their efforts to give Bryant one final magical season.

With only 17 victories, this was not feasible, so they had to settle for the individual magic Kobe Bryant could provide. Bryant averaged 17.6 points per game in 66 games for the struggling Lakers, but his finest moment occurred in his final game at the Staples Center. As we bid farewell to one of the finest players ever to grace an NBA court, Kobe Bryant capped his career with a 60-point performance and a victory over the Utah Jazz.

Season 2016-17 – DeMar DeRozan – $26,540,100

The 2016–17 season marked the commencement of a steady increase in player salaries, which have now reached astronomical levels. DeMar DeRozan was the highest-paid shooting guard as a member of the Toronto Raptors, earning $26.54 million. During that season, DeRozan led the Raptors to the third-best record in the Eastern Conference (51-31), making him All-Star honors.

During the regular season, DeRozan averaged 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game as the Raptors put together one of their finest campaigns in franchise history. The Raptors would look magnificent against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. With DeRozan’s 23.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game, they would advance to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.

Despite their impressive appearance, the Raptors had no chance against LeBron James and his Cavaliers, who promptly dispatched them in four games. DeRozan did everything he could to keep the series close, but he labored from the field, shooting 42.6% overall and averaging 20.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.

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Season 2017-18 – James Harden – $28,299,376

James Harden would assume his legitimate position as the NBA’s highest-paid shooting guard during the 2018 campaign. He was tied with reigning MVP Russell Westbrook as the eighth-highest-paid player in the NBA, which was a warning of what was to come.

Harden would average 30,4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game while on an MVP rampage. As he led the Rockets to 65 victories and the top berth in the Western Conference playoffs, Harden would capture his first scoring title and the MVP award. Harden would lead the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals by winning a five-game series against the Timberwolves and Jazz in the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs.

Harden would lead the Rockets to a 3-2 series advantage over the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals. The Rockets’ hopes of upsetting the Warriors were dashed by Klay Thompson’s performance in Game 6 and a complete collapse in Game 7, as they lost in seven games and were eliminated by the eventual NBA champions.

Season 2018-19  – James Harden – $30,570,000

James Harden remained the NBA’s highest-paid shooting guard in 2019 with a $30.57 million salary. In 2018-2019, he was the eighth-highest-paid player in the NBA and one of only 11 players to earn $30 million. Harden’s salary was once again merited after he won his second consecutive scoring title and the first 35.0 points per game season since Kobe Bryant in 2006.

In 2018-2019, Harden would average 36.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game. As a result, the Rockets would capture 53 victories and the fourth berth in the Western Conference playoffs. The Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs to set up a rematch with the Warriors from the Conference Finals of the previous season.

Houston’s attempt to dethrone the defending champions resulted in another arduous series. Despite Harden’s 34.8 points and 5.5 assists, the Rockets could not withstand Golden State’s offensive attack and lost in six games. This signified another incredible season by Harden that fell far short of their goals.

Season 2019-20 – James Harden – $38,199,000

James Harden remained the highest-paid shooting guard in the NBA during the 2020 season, earning $38.2 million. Together with John Wall, he was the fourth highest-paid player in the NBA that season. Only Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook exceeded the compensation of Harden and Wall.

Harden would play 68 games for the Rockets in 2020, averaging 34.3 points per game on 44.4% overall shooting and 35.5% three-point shooting to win his third consecutive scoring title. Once again, the Rockets were bound toward the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Western Conference as the NBA restarted their season in a bubble format after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harden’s 29.7 points and 8.0 assists led the Rockets to victory in a seven-game series against the Thunder, in which they were forced to fight for survival. The subsequent series against the Lakers would be considerably less competitive, as Los Angeles would only lose one game, eliminate Houston in five games, and claim the NBA championship.

2020-21 Season – James Harden – $41,254,920

Regarding the highest-paid players at the time, the salaries at the summit of the NBA remained unchanged from the previous season. Harden was again tied with John Wall for the fourth-highest salary in the NBA in 2021, earning $41.25 million. Harden played only eight games for the Houston Rockets before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, where he joined Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form a super team.

Harden played only 36 games for Brooklyn that season, averaging 24.6 points and 10.9 assists per game despite the hoopla surrounding the team. The Nets would win 48 of 72 games to claim the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After defeating the Boston Celtics in a five-game series, Brooklyn advanced to face the Milwaukee Bucks.

Injuries to Harden and Irving limited them to four games in the series, which they lost in seven games. The Big # in Brooklyn had failed to meet their and everyone else’s expectations, but as we all know, Brooklyn’s problems were beginning.

Season 2021-22 – James Harden – $44,310,840

James Harden’s salary increased to $44.3 million in 2022, making him the second-highest-paid player in the NBA. Harden’s salary for 2022 was second only to Stephen Curry’s $45.8 million and was matched by John Walla of the Houston Rockets.

The 2022 season was another turbulent one for Harden, as his relationship with the Brooklyn Nets reached a breaking point. After only 44 games with the Brooklyn Nets, Harden demanded a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 assists in 21 games. With 51 victories under their credit, the Sixers entered the NBA playoffs, hoping that Harden could help them advance past the second round.

There needs to be more than these objectives for Philadelphia. After defeating the Raptors in six games in the first round, the 76ers would meet their match with the Miami Heat in the second round. Despite the efforts of Harden and Embiid, the Heat eliminated the Sixers in six games to end yet another season in the City of Brotherly Love.

Season 2022-23 – Bradley Beal – $43,279,250

Before I go into detail about Bradley Beal, browse this list to see how much the highest-paid shooting guards in the NBA have increased their salaries over the past 33 years. Beal was the sixth-highest-paid NBA player in 2022-23, earning $43.3 million, despite being the seventh-highest-paid player overall.

Not only did Beal have one of the most lucrative contracts in the league, but he was also one of the few players in NBA history to have a no-trade clause. After playing only 40 games in 2022, Beal would be limited to 50 games in 2023 for the Wizards in Washington, precipitating a steep decline toward the bottom of the league.

Beal averaged 23.2 points and 5.4 assists per game, shooting 50.6% overall and 36.5% from beyond the arc in those 50 games. Washington finished the season with just 35 victories and missed out on both the NBA playoffs and an opportunity to qualify through the Play-In Tournament. Beal waived his no-trade clause during the offseason to create a new big three in Phoenix with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.

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