The 10 highest-paid players in Los Angeles Lakers history



The 10 highest-paid players in Los Angeles Lakers history

boast a rich legacy of talented players who have graced their roster. Unsurprisingly, the team has invested substantial sums in compensating these basketball legends. Presented below is a list of the 10 highest-earning players in Lakers history, featuring some of the sport's most celebrated figures. Be prepared, the leader of this pack is in a league of his own, and his record seems untouchable for the foreseeable future. So, without further ado, let's delve into the details.

1- Kobe Bryant

At the top of the list sits the Lakers' franchise icon, Kobe Bryant, commanding an impressive $328,237,108 in player salary during his tenure in Los Angeles. This figure far surpasses any other player on the list. Early in his career, Bryant was arguably underpaid considering his impact and production. However, the Lakers compensated him generously in the later stages of his career, despite not performing at the same level as his prime. It's worth noting that our Real Value metric indicates that Bryant was appropriately compensated throughout his career, a fitting reflection of his status as a basketball legend and his indelible mark as a Laker.

  • Money per game: $209,602
  • Highest Laker salary: $30,453,000 in 2013-14 (No. 1 in the NBA that season)
  • Lakers stats: 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 44.7 FG% in 20 seasons

2- LeBron James

LeBron James, despite his relatively short time with the Lakers, has already amassed an impressive sum of $197,966,106 in player salary. This may come as a surprise, but the soaring salaries in today's NBA contribute to his high ranking. Even without adjusting for inflation, James holds the second-highest earning record in Lakers history. Undoubtedly, he has proven his worth through his exceptional performance, leading the Lakers to a championship victory in 2019-20 and etching his name in history by breaking the all-time scoring record while proudly wearing the purple and gold.

  • Money per game: $616,716
  • Highest Laker salary: $44,474,988 in 2022-23 (No. 4 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $434,986,078
  • Lakers stats: 27.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 8.0 apg, 1.2 spg, 50.7 FG%, and 34.6 3P% in five seasons

3- Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal, a Hall-of-Famer and one of the biggest free-agent signings in NBA history at the time, had a lucrative stint with the Lakers, earning a substantial $144,749,716 during his tenure in Los Angeles. This places him third on the all-time earnings list for the franchise. However, towards the end of his time with the Lakers, O'Neal found himself embroiled in a dispute over his salary, ultimately leading to a trade demand. The trade to the Miami Heat in 2004 was partly motivated by the fact that O'Neal had signed a three-year, $88.5 million contract extension the previous year, and Lakers owner Jerry Buss believed he was no longer worth that amount, considering his age and alleged lack of commitment to maintaining his physical condition.

  • Money per game: $227,593
  • Highest Laker salary: $24,749,999 in 2003-04 (No. 2 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $292,198,327
  • Lakers stats: 27.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.5 bpg, 57.5 FG%, 53.3 FT% in eight seasons

4- Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis is poised to surpass Shaquille O'Neal in becoming the third highest-paid player in Lakers history, barring any unforeseen in-season trades in 2023-24. The Lakers took a calculated risk when they acquired Davis before the 2019-20 season, offering a significant trade package to the New Orleans Pelicans. However, this move has proven to be highly beneficial for Los Angeles, as Davis has emerged as one of the league's top talents when healthy, excelling as a two-way force. As LeBron James' career eventually begins to wind down, Davis is expected to become the focal point of the Lakers' future plans. It is reported that Davis will sign a substantial contract extension during the upcoming offseason.

  • Money per game: $564,309
  • Highest Laker salary: $37,980,720 in 2022-23 (No. 15 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $227,701,628
  • Lakers stats: 24.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 bpg, 52.4 FG%, 28.1 3P% in four seasons

5- Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol played a pivotal role in the Lakers' back-to-back championships in 2008-09 and 2009-10. His contributions were so significant that there were arguments suggesting he could have been a deserving candidate for the Finals MVP award. Gasol's efficiency as a scorer, reliable rebounding, and underrated playmaking were instrumental in bringing championship glory to Los Angeles. Gasol, who is expected to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the near future, is widely regarded as one of the best trade deadline acquisitions in NBA history. Additionally, he is recognized as one of the top international players of all time, ranking fifth in our assessment of non-American NBA stars.

  • Money per game: $230,107
  • Highest Laker salary: $19,285,850 in 2013-14 (No. 8 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $219,784,441
  • Lakers stats: 17.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.0 FG% in seven seasons

6- Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom, ranked sixth on the list of highest-paid Lakers players ever, was beloved by fans in Los Angeles. Standing at 6-foot-10, Odom brought a smooth and stylish presence to the wing. His skill set included shooting, running the pick-and-roll, and finishing at the rim. Despite his size, Odom was also a versatile defender capable of guarding multiple positions. He made a significant impact alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol during the Lakers' championship runs. It's worth noting that Odom joined the Lakers as part of the trade that sent Shaquille O'Neal to Miami, and he endured some lean years on mediocre Lakers teams before accepting a bench role upon Gasol's arrival. It was in that role that he excelled and became an elite Sixth Man.

  • Money per game: $127,400
  • Highest Laker salary: $14,148,596 in 2008-09 (No. 32 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $115,967,658
  • Lakers stats: 13.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.9 bpg, 49.1 FG%, 33.0 3P% in seven seasons

7- Russell Westbrook 

During his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Russell Westbrook era was not considered a resounding success for both Westbrook and the team. However, he did receive significant compensation, earning the highest salary in the NBA in the 2022-23 season while wearing the Lakers' purple and gold uniform. Westbrook's style of play did not mesh well with LeBron James, and there were hints from Westbrook in media interviews that he felt restricted in playing his natural game. It is worth noting that since joining the crosstown rival Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook has performed at a higher level. Nevertheless, in just one and a half seasons with the Lakers, Westbrook became one of the highest-paid players in the franchise's history.

  • Money per game: $578,944
  • Highest Laker salary: $47,080,179 in 2022-23 (No. 1 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $338,836,512
  • Lakers stats: 17.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 7.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.4 FG%, 29.7 3P% in two seasons

8- Luol Deng

The first day of 2016 free agency was notable due to a significant increase in the salary cap for all teams, thanks to a newly signed Collective Bargaining Agreement. This allowed for notable signings, including Kevin Durant joining the already elite Golden State Warriors. However, it also led to several average players receiving massive contracts that summer. Luol Deng, who was not an average player, had previously shown strong form as a small-ball power forward with versatility during his time with the Miami Heat. Unfortunately, his tenure with the Lakers turned out to be a disaster as he struggled to perform and was considered a bust in Los Angeles. In fact, Deng earned most of his money after being waived by the Lakers in 2018, just two years after signing a substantial deal to join the team.

  • Money per game: $1,132,352
  • Highest Laker salary: $18,000,000 in 2016-17 (No. 33 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $163,520,376
  • Lakers stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 apg, 38.7 FG%, 30.9 3P% in two seasons.

9- Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum's prime was unfortunately cut short by injuries, but had he remained healthy, he would rank higher on this list. During his peak with the Lakers, Bynum developed into a dominant presence, capable of recording double-doubles while also showcasing shot-blocking prowess. He played a vital role in the Lakers' back-to-back championship runs in 2009 and 2010. Bynum's career took a downturn when he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the entire 2012-13 season. He only played 26 more games in his NBA career, all in the 2013-14 season, before ultimately leaving the league.

  • Money per game: $107,268
  • Highest Laker salary: $14,900,000 in 2011-12 (No. 27 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $73,460,260
  • Lakers stats: 11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.6 bpg, 56.6 FG% in seven seasons

10- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a quietly solid specialist role player, contributed to the Los Angeles Lakers' championship run in the 2019-20 season. His shooting and defensive skills played a crucial role in the team's hard-fought title victory. Caldwell-Pope remained with the Lakers for one more season before being traded to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal for Russell Westbrook. Following his time with the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope won a second championship as a key contributor to the Denver Nuggets' title victory in the 2022-23 season. Despite a memorable air-ball incident on a potential game-winner against the Golden State Warriors in the 2017-18 season, Caldwell-Pope rebounded nicely in his Lakers career. The incident caused Kobe Bryant and his family to leave the game they were attending before it ended.

  • Money per game: $157,101
  • Highest Laker salary: $17,745,894 in 2017-18 (No. 56 in the NBA that season)
  • Overall career earnings: $49,880,815
  • Lakers stats: 11.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.6 FG%, 37.8 3P% in four seasons

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