What retired NBA players are still getting paid by their old teams?
A lot of NBA players are famous for landing colossal contracts, and some are able to negotiate deals that get them paid even after they stop playing.
Being an NBA player is a lucrative career, with the minimum salary currently sitting at over a million dollars per year. Superstars of course, pocket much more than that, Steph Curry, James Harden, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James, for example, are all earning more than $40 million for the 2022-23 NBA season.
While these giant paychecks are impressive, also noteworthy are players who have received salaries even after they’ve retired from the league, due to having guaranteed contracts. Here are some athletes who have raked it in without lifting a finger.
Chris Bosh last played with the Miami Heat in the 2015-16 season. He was forced to retire due to recurring blood clots, which the NBA ruled to be a career-ending condition. Although this was a disappointing end to an outstanding career, getting inducted into the Hall of Fame last year must have provided some consolation. The Heat owed him $52 million after he retired, and is compensating him $8.67 million for the 2021-22 season. This is the last chunk of the amount left on his contract.
The Los Angeles Lakers originally signed Luol Deng to a four-year, $72 million contract in 2016. They didn’t get much return on investment, though. They paid him for five years without him seeing action. The Lakers waived him in 2018, and he took home $5 million per season after that time.
Monta Ellis last played with the Indiana Pacers in the 2016-17 season. He was still owed $11.2 million on his contract after he was waived. He has been paid five years without setting foot on the hardcourt, but his last paycheck comes from the 2021-22 season.
Kevin Garnett played 21 seasons in the NBA and announced his retirement in 2016. He had a stellar career with great contributions to the Minnesota Timberwolves as well as the Boston Celtics, which he helped win the 2008 NBA Championship. He was getting paid by the Celtics way after he retired because of the way he structured his contract. Both parties agreed that he would receive $35 million over seven years after his retirement.
Timofey Mozgov never played for the Orlando Magic after he was traded to them in 2018, but they have been paying him for the past four years. Orlando owed him $16.7 million when they waived him due to a knee injury, and his contract also ended after the 2021-22 season.
Joakim Noah only played 53 games for the New York Knicks and left them in 2018, but they have paid his salary since then. They had signed him to a $72 million contract, with the last payment of $6.4 million being handed out this year.
The Washington Wizards signed Andrew Nicholson to a four-year, $26 million deal in 2016, but was swapped to the Brooklyn Nets and then to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017. He was then waived by the Trail Blazers just a month after acquiring him, but this stretched the rest of his contract to seven seasons. This meant that he would be paid $2.8 million each year through the 2023-2024 season.
Larry Sanders’ NBA career ended at the tender age of 26. His time at the league had been beset by personal problems, which included battling anxiety and depression. Sanders has received $1.9 million each year from the Milwaukee Bucks since he stopped playing for them in the 2014-15 season, with the last payout coming this year.