how do nba players get paid

How Do NBA Players Get Paid: Understanding NBA Player Salary

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a globally recognized sports league that attracts the best basketball talent from around the world. But have you ever wondered how do NBA players get paid?

I want to break this article down in the most comprehensible way. So let’s focus on the HOW, WHO, and WHEN questions related to NBA players getting paid out.

NBA players are typically paid bi-weekly throughout the year. Their salary is divided into 24 or 26 payments (depending on the number of weeks in the regular season), and they receive a paycheck every other week.

How Do NBA Players Get Paid ?

NBA players primarily earn their income through contracts with their respective teams. These contracts are legally binding agreements that outline the player’s salary, term of employment, and other conditions.

A few more details on the contracts:

  • Rookie Scale Contracts: These are predetermined contracts offered to first-round draft picks, with the salary varying based on draft position. These contracts typically span 2-4 years.
  • Veteran Maximum Contracts: These are offered to veteran players who meet specific criteria, such as years played and All-Star selections. These contracts allow players to earn a significantly higher salary, often exceeding $30 million annually.
  • Standard Contracts: These are more flexible contracts offered to players beyond their rookie deals and those not eligible for veteran maximum contracts. The terms, including salary and duration, are negotiated between the player and the team.

Alternative Streams of Revenue for NBA Players

Outside of contract salaries many players branch out into endorsement deals, appearances, and investments. These types of opportunities allow players to diversify their revenue and capitalize of the connection to the NBA.

Who Pays NBA Players?

You understand that players are paid through contracts, but who signs the checks and pays these players? The NBA? The team? The business or person that owns the team?

While the payment comes from the “Team” who signs the player, it’s important to note that the money for the payment comes from various sources and not the owner’s pockets. Various sources include things including but not limited to jersey sponsorships, ticket sales, broadcasting rights, advertising, and many other businesses and publicly funding entities invested in the league.

In short, everyone invested in (businesses) or willing to spend on the league (fans) will be paying players directly.

how do nba players get paid

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the union representing NBA players, negotiates a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the league that determines how this revenue is shared. This CBA outlines a specific percentage of the total Basketball Related Income (BRI) that goes towards player salaries. Currently, this share is around 49% to 51%, meaning nearly half of the NBA’s revenue goes towards paying players.

Here’s the 2023 Rookie scale for reference.

When Do NBA Players Get Paid ?

NBA players typically receive their salaries in twelve equal monthly installments throughout the year. This means they get paid twice a month, regardless of the season (regular season, playoffs, or offseason).

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the payment schedule:

  • Guaranteed Contracts: Players with guaranteed contracts receive their full monthly salary regardless of their playing status. This includes players on the active roster, injured reserve, or even those waived by the team during the season (up to the guaranteed portion of their contract).
  • Non-Guaranteed Contracts: Players with non-guaranteed contracts only receive their salary if they remain on the team’s roster past a specific date, usually defined within the contract itself. If they are waived before that date, they may not receive their full salary.
  • Preseason: Players with guaranteed contracts receive their regular monthly salary during the preseason. Players on non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed contracts might only receive a portion of their salary or a daily allowance during this period, depending on the specific agreement with the team.

Do Waived NBA Players Get Paid ?

Players are waived typically before the contract finishes out. Guaranteed Money is always paid to players , waived or not.


In the NBA, players’ earnings are determined by a complex system of contracts, salary caps, and incentives. While the potential for wealth is high, players must also navigate the financial challenges associated with professional sports. To secure their financial futures, players often turn to financial advisors, education, and careful planning.

The mystique surrounding the question, how do NBA players get paid , is now lifted. If your’e curious about how much the NBA referees are making, CLICK HERE.