In basketball, it’s not just the NBA that counts. While the american league generates billions of dollars every year, other organizations are also able to deliver seven-figure annual incomes to their athletes. The wealthiest clubs of the Old Continent pay their stars up to several million euros net. In the country of Uncle Sam, the lowest salaries start at 898,000 dollars (about 764,000 euros). Knowing that taxes and duties are higher in the United States, and that benefits in kind (accommodation, hotel, plane tickets for the player’s relatives) do not exist in the NBA, it is sometimes better financially for a basketball player to be the star of a big Euroleague team. That being said, let’s get back to the nitty-gritty. According to a survey by Eurohoopes, here are the top ten highest paid basketball players in Europe in 2023:
Naturalized Spanish, this Montenegrin-born interior is the highest paid basketball player in Europe. Euroleague finalist with Barça, Mirotic has earned several million euros each season since returning to the Old Continent in 2019. The former NBA player for the Bulls, Pelicans and Bucks is a star in Spain. His signing in Catalonia had caused much ink to flow in the media.
Larkin chose to become a star in Europe instead of remaining anonymous in the NBA. A whole country has adopted this American elf. Turkish naturalized in 2020, the 18th pick of the 2013 NBA draft has two Turkish championship titles and two Euroleague winner’s trophy to his name. Shake Larkin has broken records for points and baskets scored since joining Efes Istanbul in 2018. Europe’s defenses have yet to find the key to contain him. He exports his talents for over 3 million euros net per year.
Although approached by Oklahoma City in the NBA, Shane Larkin’s teammate has decided to stay in Turkey for at least another season. Elected MVP of the regular season as well as of the Euroleague Final Four, the Serbian rear prefers for the moment to build his legend in the queen European competition. With emoluments of around 300,000 euros net per month in Istanbul, we can understand it. As an NBA rookie, there’s no guarantee he’d make a similar or greater amount across the Atlantic.(Modifié)
Brilliant Serbian playmaker Milos Teodosic has lost some of his genius. Nevertheless, he knew how to perfectly negotiate his contract when he signed for Virtus Bologna. Former star of the Euroleague, having subsequently tried his luck in the NBA without meeting with great success, Teodosic had surprised by signing up for a club competing in the Eurocup at the time. But the very attractive salary he was offered was hard to refuse. We are talking about more than 2 million net euros per season. His skill in playing and passing was previously unmatched in Europe. Nevertheless, Teodosic has aged and suffered from several physical glitches. He is not as dominant as it once was.
VTB League and Euroleague star with CSKA Moscow in recent seasons, Will Clyburn left Russia like many foreign basketball players. Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s flagship summer recruit, the American winger wants to help the Turkish armada win a third consecutive European club title. To attract him in his nets, the Istanbul team took out the checkbook. His annual salary is close to $2 million.
Mike James is the highest paid basketball player in the history of the French basketball league. And from very far away! By extending his contract with AS Monaco Basket last summer, he smashed his own record. For the 2022-2023 season, the fantastic American playmaker will receive a net salary of over 2.1 million euros. A sum that has enough to make more than one jump out of his seat. Nevertheless, his salary is amply justified. James is an exceptional athlete, capable of taking a game on his own to help his team win.
Member of the Italian national team and the Milanese club, Nicolo Melli belongs to the category of the best players in the Euroleague. So he is paid accordingly. His monthly salary is valued at almost 200,000 euros. If we remove the taxes and duties from the salary he received in the NBA, and add the benefits in kind he receives in Europe, namely housing and a vehicle, his income is almost identical.
Star of the Euroleague with the Zenith of Saint-Petersburg in 2020-2021, Kevin Pangos finds European basketball after a year of exile in America. The Canadian playmaker wanted to try his luck in the NBA at all costs. He got what he wanted, signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately for him, Pangos was very little used by the coach. He therefore decided to return to the Old Continent, where many stables were courting him. His choice eventually turned to Milan. With strong financial means, the Italian club offered him a very attractive salary. This one is similar to teammate Nicolo Melli.
The Czech Republic national team star point guard had a six-season NBA career. Transferred twice during the previous exercise, he was clearly losing momentum in the NBA. The native of Prague therefore preferred to return to Europe rather than continue his journey in the United States. By signing with FC Barcelona, Satoransky has secured a very good salary. This is estimated at just over 2 million euros annually.
By signing up for Virtus Bologna, Toko Shengalia has increased his salary. He receives salaries of around 2 million euros per year. A very nice amount! The former Georgian winger of CSKA Moscow is a major basketball player in Europe. He never managed to break into the NBA, or exist in it, during his attempts.
They have left the Top 10 of the best paid basketball players in Europe
In basketball, centimeters in the paint are expensive. From the top of his 7 foot, Nikola Milutinov takes advantage of his rare and advantageous physique to make a very good living. The Serbian center will earn just under 2 million euros this season. Sportingly, this astronomical salary can be justified by the fact that Milutinov was the best rebounder in the Euroleague for two years in a row, before he was injured.
Particularly athletic and powerful, Jan Vesely spent three and a half seasons in the NBA before returning to Europe. The Czech international has been playing at Fenerbahce since 2014. He changed teams during the off-season to team up with his compatriot Tomas Satoransky. By making this change of destination, he even accepted a pay cut. Vesely remains paid very well. The millions of euros he has collected so far allow him to lead the good life.
The Real Madrid colossus has no equal in Europe. This is why he is paid more than 1.5 million dollars per year by the Iberian institution. Both on and off the court, Walter Tavares is impressive physically. A native of Cape Verde, the person concerned is over 220 centimeters tall and weighs nearly 120 kilograms. He was voted the Euroleague’s best defender in 2019 and 2021.
Nando De Colo
Nando De Colo enjoys a superstar status in Europe, while he was relegated to the bench in the NBA. He is also one of the top player of the French national team. With his club, the former Fenerbahce guard was one of the ten highest paid basketball players in Europe in 2021. And this, with an overall salary of 1.6 million euros over twelve months. By joining the ASVEL project for two years, De Colo gave up on a potentially much larger salary abroad. But he will have the leisure to live in France all year round.
Returning to Olympiakos since last season after almost five years at Fenerbahce, Kostas Sloukas feels at home there. Earlier in his career, he had already worn the Athens club shirt for five seasons. This Greek guard combo is a reference to his position in Europe. Being an essential element in coach Geórgios Bartzókas’ system, Sloukas is paid accordingly.
Undrafted in the NBA, Cory Higgins has built his professionnal career in Europe. Quadruple champion of the VTB League, double winner of the Euroleague and crowned Spanish champion in 2021 with Barcelona, the native of Danville has lifted a few trophies. At 33, this experienced American basketball player has a strong value on the market.