15 Outrageously Underpaid NBA Players

Matt JonesAnalyst IJanuary 10, 2012

15 Outrageously Underpaid NBA Players

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    For the rest of the world, it is difficult to say that making millions of dollars a year could be considered as underpaid. 

    The same cannot be said for players in the NBA.

    Among basketball players in this league, pay ranges from less than $500,00 per season all the way up to the $25 million that Kobe Bryant is owed this year. 

    While the front office of each team would look at this list as a great bargain, the following will show some of the most underpaid players in the league this season. 

    Many of these players are still playing in their rookie contracts but have played their way to already deserving more. 

    Each of them will enjoy a significant increase when they sign their next deals.

    Players are not ranked and are in no particular order.

Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Salary This Season: $1.2 million

    Serge Ibaka is often the forgotten player on the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is also a key player in everything that the Thunder is putting together this season. 

    With great offensive players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Ibaka is not called on to score much and can do the defensive dirty work. 

    After becoming a late first-round draft pick in 2008, Ibaka has proven to be a great asset to the Thunder, especially at his low salary.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Serge Ibaka: All of them except for Royal Ivey, Reggie Jackson, Lazar Hayward

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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    Salary This Season: $3.1 million

    In his first two seasons in the league, Stephen Curry has become a valuable playmaker and solid point guard for the Golden State Warriors. 

    He is off to a rough start this season with a foot injury, but it should not prevent Curry from signing a bigger contract in the future. 

    For his career, he has averaged 17.9 points and nearly six assists per game. 

    Last season, he led the league in free-throw percentage by hitting more than 93 percent. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Stephen Curry: David Lee, Monta Ellis, Kwame Brown, Andris Biedrins, Dorell Wright, Ekpe Udoh 

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Salary This Season: $5.7 million

    It is hard to believe that a player is underpaid at $5.7 million, but Blake Griffin should be making more than everyone on his team except for Chris Paul

    Already named an NBA All-Star in his rookie season, Griffin has helped the Los Angeles Clippers become a better, more exciting team.

    Griffin has averaged a double-double for his career. 

    When the time comes, the Clippers will have to offer Griffin a maximum contract to keep him, because if they don't, another team will. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Blake Griffin: Chris Paul, Mo Williams, DeAndre Jordan, Caron Butler

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Salary This Season: $5.1 million

    Russell Westbrook is one of the most promising young point guards in the league and is a very key player for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    After being the fourth overall selection of the 2008 NBA draft, Westbrook has averaged just better than 17 points and seven assists per game. 

    He does have an offer from the Thunder for $6.7 million for next season. If he continues to play as well as he has in his first four seasons, he will earn a contract than is worth more than that. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Russell Westbrook: Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Salary This Season: $4.6 million

    Kevin Love is on his way to a huge payday, and the Minnesota Timberwolves would be foolish to not have him sign an extension before he hits free agency.

    Last season, Love exploded for 53 consecutive double-doubles and became the first player to average better than 20 points and 15 rebounds in a season since 1983.

    Love is off to a similar start this year and is already the cornerstone of the Timberwolves franchise.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Kevin Love: Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Darko Milicic

Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz

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    Salary This Season: $6.7 million

    Paul Millsap is one of the few players here who is not still on his rookie deal, but is still underpaid for the effort he gives. 

    Millsap, who was a second-round find for the Jazz, is working on his second contract, that the Jazz matched after he signed an offer sheet with the Portland Trail Blazers. 

    His hard-working attitude and rebounding ability will keep him in the league for many years.

    Millsap will get a raise next season and then will negotiate the biggest contract of his career. 

    Jazz fans can only hope that he decides to stay with the team.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Paul Millsap: Al Jefferson, Devin Harris

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    Salary This Season: $6.9 million

    After being the first overall selection by the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft, Derrick Rose has gone on to become the Rookie of the Year and the league's youngest ever Most Valuable Player in just three full seasons.

    Now in his fourth season, the lightning-quick point guard has a good chance to once again lead his team deep into the playoffs and contend for an NBA Championship.

    Rose does not have to worry about getting a raise next season, as he has already signed a five-year extension with the Bulls worth $94.8 million that will begin next year. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Derek Rose: Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah

Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets

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    Salary This Season: $3 million

    Even though he has started this season off with a foot injury, Brook Lopez has proven that he is worth more than $3 million for the New Jersey Nets. 

    During his first three years in the league, he has averaged just better than 17 points and seven rebounds per game. 

    He has proven to be a very good center in the NBA, and his play has shown that he deserves to make more than all other players on his team, except for Deron Williams. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Brook Lopez: Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Kris Humphries, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro

Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

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    Salary This Season: $3.8 million

    As the key player that David Stern wanted in return for the Chris Paul trade, Eric Gordon has a lot of pressure on him to perform well in New Orleans. 

    Since becoming the seventh overall selection of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008, Gordon has averaged 18.1 points per game for his career. 

    He stands to make a substantial raise and will no doubt look for more than the $5.1 million qualifying offer he has on the table. 

    Even with that, he would be the fourth highest-paid player on his team.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Eric Gordon: Chris Kaman, Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack.

Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

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    Salary This Season: $2.5 million

    Roy Hibbert is one of the most promising young big men in the league and has quietly put together a nice career for the Indiana Pacers. 

    Hibbert was drafted in the 17th position by the Toronto Raptors in 2008 and traded to the Pacers for Nathan Jawai and Jermaine O'Neal.

    Hibbert has improved his averages every season since he has been in the league and is a big part of future plans for the Pacers. 

    He is currently averaging 14.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Roy Hibbert: Danny Granger, David West, Jeff Foster, Dahntay Jones

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Salary This Season: $2.4 million

    After spending a year in Italy to get around draft rules, Jennings joined the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009 and wasted no time showing off his scoring ability. 

    In an early-season game, Jennings scored 55 points in three quarters of play for the most points scored by a rookie sine 1968.

    Since that time, Jennings has played well for the Bucks and has put up 15.3 points and 5.3 assists per game.

    He will no doubt sign a much bigger contract at the end of next season. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Brandon Jennings: Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson, Beno Udrih, Drew Gooden, Luc Mbah a Moute, Carlos Delfino, Shaun Livingston, Ersan Ilyasova

Landry Fields, New York Knicks

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    Salary This Season: $788,000

    Landry Fields was a second-round pick of the New York Knicks before last season—but did not play like one.

    Fields was named as the NBA Rookie of the Month twice last year and was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team at the end of the season. 

    His playing time has dipped slightly this year, but he is still playing well and is an asset to the Knicks. 

    If he continues to play well, he will get a significant raise for next season. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Landry Fields: All of them except for Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson, Jeremy Lin

Chase Budinger, Houston Rockets

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    Salary This Season: $884,000

    Chase Budinger is another second-round selection who has played better and contributed more to his team than was originally expected. 

    The Houston Rockets signed Budinger to a three-year contract worth less than $3 million and have seen the benefits of that. 

    Budinger is a solid outside shooter and athletic forward who has found his way into the Rockets rotation. 

    He has a qualifying offer for next season that is still less than $1 million, but his play has shown that he deserves more.

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Chase Budinger: All of them except for Jeff Adrien

Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets

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    Salary This Season: $1.6 million

    Speedy point guard Ty Lawson is becoming a very good player for the Denver Nuggets and has seen his minutes jump to more than 33 per game this season. 

    He is off to a great start this year, averaging 16.4 points and six assists per game. 

    The Nuggets have him signed through next season, but he will receive a big raise after that. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than Ty Lawson: All of them except for Kenneth Faried, DeMarre Carroll

DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs

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    Salary This Season: $986,000

    DeJuan Blair is the hardest-working player on the San Antonio Spurs, and it shows with the rebounds and garbage points that he gets as a result of his strong effort. 

    He is a tough rebounder who plays nicely alongside Tim Duncan.

    Since falling to the second round in the 2009 NBA Draft, Blair has seen his numbers increase each season and is currently in a starting role for the Spurs. 

    He will break the $1 million mark next season, but it is going  to take a lot more than that to keep him around for the long term. 

    Teammates Who Are Paid More Than DeJuan Blair: All of them except for Gary Neal, Danny Green, Ike Diogu

    Statistical information found at:


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