The Most Expensive Basketball Players of the National Olympic Team

People whose Olympic prize money goes on the pocket expenses.


Shane Lawal


The Nigerian team faces problems typical of African national team, since the federation refuses to pay for the expensive insurance. Therefore, the team’s well-paid players – Al-Farouq Aminu and Festus Ezeli, both earning 15 million in total as the Portland Trail Blazers members, frequently skip games. In their absence Shane Lawal takes the place of the wealthiest Nigerian basketball player. Well, it is a pity given that the center has already crashed out of the tournament due to the injury.


Yi Jianlian


As it is known, money is regularly pumped into Chinese sport industry, and this summer is no exception – the salaries of Yi Jianlian and Li Gen in the CBA have almost doubled. Moreover, Jianlian’s income nearly reached NBA’s level (maybe not this year’s, but last one’s). However, China has brought a very young team to Rio, while the majority of local basketball stars stayed at home, earning millions in the Chinese Basketball Association (Sun Yue, Liu Wei) every year.   


Milos Teodosic


The richest NBA Serbians – Boban Marjanović and Nemanja Bjelica are out of Olympics, thus, the CSKA defender takes the position of the highest-paid Serbian basketball player. The third and last Serbian NBA player in the ranking – Nikola Jokić so far has relatively low salary. Last summer Jokić signed an agreement with Denver Nuggets for a period of four years.  


Leandro Barbosa


Another team that has to deal without its richest basketball player, since Tiago Splitter cannot represent the team at a home Olympics due to the injury. Three leading basketball players are in the NBA, and this summer all of them have signed new contracts. These Brazilian players seem to be pretty modest. Huertas could have been easily pushed out of the top 3 by Anderson Varejao or Lucas Nogueira, or Bruno Caboclo, especially given that they earn a little bit more than half a million. However, these players are not included in the list of the Olympic athletes.


Mario Hezonja


Šarić confounded critics not only on the sports field, becoming a new European basketball superstar rapidly, but also outside it. He could have stayed in Europe for another year and signed a huge contract with NBA in 2017, but Šarić kept his promise and accepted the rookie contract. Therefore, in the ranking of the highest salaries he takes the third place, being preceded by Hezonja and Bogdanović.  


Jonas Valančiūnas


Apart from Donatas Motiejūnas, who still does not have a contract, three other NBA representatives are currently playing for Lithuania. Meanwhile Jonas Valančiūnas earns more than his nationals all together. 


Manu Ginobili


Manu Ginóbili earns more than all his team members. CAC decided to thank the veteran for the past financial sacrifices, adding few millions to his income, since it did not affect a vacant place in the salary ranking. Both Manu and Scola joined the national team without valid contracts, although within the modern basketball industry athletes prefer not to risk with their salaries even for the sake of Olympics.


Andrew Bogut



Given the salaries of Australian athletes, it seems odd that before the tournament they were regarded as outsiders, and everyone was surprised about their two victories at the beginning of the Olympics. According to the total earning amount within NBA, Australians are surpassed only by Americans, French, Spaniards and Canadians. On the basis of the average salary figures, Australians are ahead of Canadians who do not take part in Rio Olympics. Although, none of the veterans refused to play for the national team.


Pau Gasol


Expensive does not always mean strong. The total salary of the Spaniards within the Olympic team, including such players as Sergio Rodríguez (6.8), Álex Abrines (6), Nikola Mirotić (5.8), equals to 70 million dollars. However, this rich old team lost their first two matches and now wonder how to reach the third position in the group.


Nicolas Batum


Another problematic team with multimillionaires. Many French basketball players have signed new contracts with the NBA this summer and refused to play in the qualifying tournament. Vincent Collet got offended and did not invite them to the Olympic Games. The first game showed that the presence of Evan Fournier, Ian Mahinmi and Joakim Noah would be helpful. The highly-paid French players perform a bit better than a random reserve player in the national team of Venezuela.


Kevin Durant


The total cost of the United States national team, it’s even hard to imagine, is 235 million. It exceeds the salary cap of NBA 2.5 times. Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan, who signed the maximum contracts in July, share the first two places in the ranking. Only one player earns less than 15 million per year – Kyle Lowry; he will go to the free agent market next year. Is it a “dream-team”? Well, definitely it is a “green team”.


It was complicated to find any information about salaries of Venezuelan basketball players. The most expensive player and the only team representative in Europe is Gregory Vargas, who will get around 200 thousand as the  SLUC Nancy Basket member.


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