Salary Per Minute of NBA's Highest Paid Stars

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2012

Salary Per Minute of NBA's Highest Paid Stars

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    We got to wondering, how much per minute do some of the biggest stars in the NBA make? Of course, when you come up with a question like that, you can only do one thing—figure out the answer. So of course, that's what we did. 

    Now there is a major point of distinction here, we're talking about "stars," not players. I really had no interest in writing yet another article about how amnestied players like Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas are overpaid. 

    So I looked at the 10 highest paid players who had made an All-Star game in the last two years and then simply calculated how much money they made a minute this year.

    Admittedly, you can argue that they put in more "minutes" when you account for all the travel time, practice time and even time on the bench. Of course, that's only partly true. If a player gets suspended for a game, he loses the commensurate portion of his salary.

    Therefore technically you can argue that they are only paid for the actual games and the rest is free. 

    So anyway, in the order of how much they make a minute, here are the 10 highest paid stars in the NBA. Think you can guess who's first?

Pau Gasol

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    Check out the expression on Pau's face in that picture. If he looked like that all the time, the Lakers would never lose. That's intense!

    Pau Gasol made $18.7 million this year and played 2,430 minutes at $7,695 per minute. That's not bad. Probably most of us don't make that in a month. 

    Gasol had 8.3 win shares this year too, which is the most of anyone on this list, but he was only 10th in the NBA. 

Deron Willams

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    I don't get why players wear glasses when they are trying to look smart. It does't make you look smart, it makes you look near-sighted. Why do you want to look near-sighted? That's certainly not smart!

    But I digress. Deron Williams is the lowest paid player on this list, making just 16.4 million this year, but because injuries kept him out of a lot of games, he made $9,750 per minute. Next year, though, he'll get a pay bump form someone. 

    I mean, $8,204 a minute is enough to put the bread on the table, but seriously, how is a man supposed to find the money for the butter off that kind of pittance? He needs some assistance. 

    Speaking of which, he made $25,478 per assist. That's a lot of dimes!

Joe Johnson

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    Some people might argue that Joe Johnson is not a star. His six NBA All-Star games would have you believe otherwise. Is he worth the $18.0 million he made this year? I suppose it's all a matter of perspective. 

    He made $8,462 a minute last year. Or, another way of looking at it, he made $19,334 per shot attempt, or $42,553 per shot made. 

    You know that game where you say, "Will you give me $50,000 if I make this shot?" Johnson pretty much plays that game every other night. 

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard made $8,647 a minute this year. That's a lot of money for a guy who changes his mind more often than he changes his clothes. 

    Of course, he takes a lot of abuse for that money too. He took 572 free throw attempts last year, which is less that four minutes per free throw attempt. That's $31,293 per free throw attempt. 

    That's just foul!

Dirk Nowitzki

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    Dirk Nowitzki could be a weird sort of inspiration for LeBron James. At this time last year Nowitzki had the reputation of being a player who shrinks in the clutch. Now suddenly he's one of the most clutch payers in the game. 

    All you have to do is pick up a team and carry it all the way to the promised land on your back, and you too can be called "clutch," Mr. James. 

    Nowitzki is making $9,187  a minute this year. He has made $160 million in his career. That is one seriously expensive ring. 

Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony made $18.5 million this year. That's a tidy sum of cash. It comes out to $9,861 a minute. His wife, LaLa's meager $9 million worth is just a little "extra" money. Maybe they just use her income for vacationing?

    Anthony has a propensity for making huge shots with the game on the line. This year he sank four of them, including a pair of threes against the Bulls. That's only $4.6 million per game-winning shot.

    So the next time someone says he has a million-dollar shot, tell him, no, he has a $4.6 million shot. 

Kobe Bryant

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    You can admit it, you thought he was going to be first, right? I know I did. After all, he is the league's highest paid player, at $25 million per year. Yet he played enough minutes that he's not the highest per minute player. In fact, he's only fourth. 

    He is the first one on our list to break the $10,000 club, though. He made $11,200 a minute last year. With 776 missed field goal attempts this year, Kobe led the league in that department.  That comes out to $32,808 per missed shot. 

    To be fair, he made one or two as well. He just didn't get paid for those. 

Kevin Garnett

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    Kevin Garnett was the third highest paid player per minute last year, as he made $21.2 million and played 1,864 minutes. That comes out $11,373 per minute. 

    However, if you consider it in a certain light, it's not that much money. Consider that he actually swears at an opposing player once every five seconds. Suddenly he's getting paid $947.75 per curse word, or $236.93 per letter. 

    I mean, who is a guy supposed to eat off of less than 250 bucks? No wonder he's always in such a bad mood!

Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Two teams have two representatives on this list, the Lakers and the Knicks. In terms of per minute play, the oft-injured Amare Stoudemire made a whopping $11,795 per minute last year. I think next year STAT is going to stand for Stupidly Totals Arm Terribly, but I'm not sure.

    You do have to wonder if they made him reimburse them for the fire hydrant case. 

    Stoudemire had 83 dunks this year. That means he made $219,277 per dunk. Dollars to donuts! 

Tim Duncan

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    Tim Duncan made $13,035 per minute this year, making him the highest paid player in the NBA in terms of "per minute" play. Just like Kobe Bryant, though, it doesn't matter how much you pay him, he's worth every dime. 

    The question I've been mulling over is this: If Duncan and the Spurs win it all, which is looking entirely possible right now, who is the greater player, Kobe or Duncan?

    Kobe has made $221 million in his career, and yeah, that's a lot of money. 

    Duncan has made "only" $204 million. 

    Right now Kobe has a career return of one ring for every $44.2 million.

    Duncan's have come at the price of $51 million. If he wins though, it's only $4.8 a "ship." 

    Of course, this is entirely meaningless in the grand scheme of things, and is for entertainment purposes only. On the other hand, when you put Duncan in perspective, there's no reason he shouldn't be right up there with Bryant in the G.O.A.T. conversation.