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Things to know about the NBA season: Lots of money, lots of talent, lots of stats

NBA teams currently have about $4.8 billion in salary committed to players for this season, meaning the average per team is around $160 million.

Just three seasons ago, only two teams spent more than $160 million.

The total NBA payroll — for now, pending changes based on whatever happens during the season that starts on Tuesday night — is up about 7% over last year, and has risen by 26% over what teams were paying just three years ago.

The teams with the six biggest payrolls going into this season, in order: Golden State, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Miami.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry will have the largest salary for the seventh consecutive season, checking in at just under $52 million. It’ll be the first time an NBA salary tops $50 million (and get used to that, because it’s going to happen a lot more often in the coming years).

Next season, those expected to join Curry in the $50 million a year club are Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Bradley Beal — and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, who is on pace to become the first player to break the $500 million mark in lifetime on-court earnings during the 2024-25 campaign (though James is also widely considered a billionaire already when factoring in his vast off-court empire).


Phoenix’s Kevin Durant enters the season 13th on the all-time scoring list. He could make the top 10 with ease, given that his total of 26,892 points is only 54 away from No. 12 Hakeem Olajuwon, 421 back of No. 11 Elvin Hayes (27,313) and 517 away from No. 10 Moses Malone (27,409).

From there, he’s 1,397 back of No. 9 Carmelo Anthony (28,289) and 1,704 behind No. 8 Shaquille O’Neal (28,596).

Durant is the only player likely to climb into the top 10 this season, and he might be the last for a little while. Philadelphia’s James Harden and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Russell Westbrook are about 3,000 points shy of that club as of now. Golden State’s Stephen Curry could get into the top 10 in about three seasons.

Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard will likely need at least five more seasons if he’s getting to the top 10, and teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo is probably at least six seasons away from having a chance.


— There are 63 players on season-opening rosters who have been in at least one All-Star Game.

— There are 41 players on season-opening rosters who have been picked to at least one All-NBA team.

Credit: AP

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