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Top 5 richest NBA player contracts

GM Otis Smith Lewis, Coach Van Gundy
Rashard Lewiss contract consisted of a 6-year deal worth $126 million
Suresh Kumar Damodharan

When Magic Johnson signed a 25-year deal worth $25 million in 1981, it was the richest contract ever signed at the time. Since then, the NBA has grown and the contracts have bulked up due to the globalization and popularity of basketball.An NBA contract is lucrative and an athlete’s dream because it promises guaranteed money. Unlike most of the other professional sports, a basketball player earns the money pledged to him irrespective of the team he plays for or performance or even if he is inactive/ injured.Often the contracts include a player option and a team option, which gives the flexibility to both the parties to decide if they would like to continue with each other at a certain point. But the cool part is that the player would be paid the money irrespective of whether he takes the court or not once he signs an NBA contract.The top players usually sign the maximum possible deals within the salary cap. And in this edition we will count down the top 5 richest contracts signed by NBA players over the years, by ascending order of value*Updated as of 2015-16 NBA season

#5 Rashard Lewis

GM Otis Smith Lewis, Coach Van Gundy
Rashard Lewiss contract consisted of a 6-year deal worth $126 million

When Rashard Lewis signed a 6-year$126 million deal, he entered his name in the top 5 richest contracts in NBA. In the summer of 2007, Orlando Magicacquired R. Lewis in a sign and trade deal with the Supersonics ( aka Thunder after they moved to Oklahoma).

Lewis was the high flying forward and scorer who was the last piece of the puzzle the Magic hoped would help bring a title to Orlando. He joined all-star center Dwight Howard and Vince Carter to be a dominant force in the eastern conference. The team was coached by Stan Van Gundy and they had amazing marksman in JJ Reddick and Ryan Anderson.

Lewis played a major role when the Magics reached the NBA finals in 2009. But he did not turn out to be the player the Magics expected.

With injuries and deteriorating scoring, Lewis was sent to the Washington Wizards to play out his contract. Nevertheless, he made his money andwas the owner of a high paying contract.

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#4 Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett at Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Garnetts was making $126 million at the Timberwolves over 6 years

Kevin Garnett,drafted right out of high school, played out his rookie contract and immediatelyTimberwolves offered him the richest NBA contract extensionin the 1997-98 season. Hewas set to make $126 millionover 6 years.

He was the true definitiion of face of the franchisein Minnesota, taking the lesser known Timberwolves to the playoffs, a division championship while also personally going on to pick up an MVP award in 2004.

KG signed multiple contracts worth more than $100 million with the Boston Celtics following this deal. He has now returned to Minnesota after winning achampionship with the Celtics.

Being one of the longest active players, Garnetts professional NBA career is slowlydrawing towards an end.He is one of thoseunique players who holds a special place in the hearts of fans oftwo NBA franchises.

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#3 Jermaine O\'Neal

Jermaine O'Neal at Indiana Pacers
ONeal joined the Pacers on a 7-year-deal worth $126 million

Jermaine ONeal emerged in the NBA during a time whendrafting high school players wasa trend. He played18 seasons in the NBA for several teams but his best years were in Indiana.

ONeal joined the Indiana Pacers on a 7-yeardealworth $126million, whichwas considered by many to beone of the worst $100 million dealsinprofessional sports.

Despite being a vital part of the Indiana team in the early 2000s, ONeal was aninjury-prone player whoproved to be a liability in the later part of his career.

This is a typical case where an NBA teampaid for potential and not for performace.

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#2 Kobe Bryant

La Lakers' Kobe Bryant
Kobes 7-year contract extension with the Lakers in 2004 was worth $136.4 million

In 2004, Kobe Bryant signed 7-year contract extension worth $136.4 million with the Los Angeles Lakers. This was when the Lakers decided to go with Kobe as their franchise player after trading Shaq to Miami for Lamar Odom and company.

At the time of signing, it was the richest contract signed by anNBA player. And it was theright price for the right player.

In the following years Kobe made consecutive All-Star teams, became the league MVP and most importantly brought two NBA championships to the franchise.Subsequently, after the contract ended,Kobe went on to signtwo more contracts with Lakers worth more than $120 million.

There was huge speculation when Kobe last signed a two-year deal worth$48.5 million dollars, with many claimingthat it would be his last two years in the league.

With a chip on his shoulder andESPN rankinghim as the 93rd best NBA playerin the top 100, it would be hard to imagine Kobe retiring anytime soon.

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#1 Anthony Davis

New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis’ contract extension is worth $145 million over 5 years

The youngest guy of the group is the highest paid of the lot. And when the salary cap increases in the coming years, it will not be surprising if he is dethroned.

In the summer of 2015, Anthony Davis signed the richest NBA contract on-record to stay with the New Orleans Pelicans for five more years. The deal was worth $145 million over 5 years with added bonuses if he makes the All-NBA team, becomes the league MVP or an NBA Champion.

It only took Davis five years to go from nobody to the highest paid NBA player and an MVP candidate. His rise to stardom was fast and he is proving that he is worthy of every accolade he has recieved so far.

Davis is the modern-day Garnett and the Pelicans recognized his talent, deciding that he would be the player to take them to great heights.

Will New Orleans be able to hold on to him when the big teams come looking for a franchise player is a big question. But overall, the league believes this deal would be a steal given that the salary cap is increasing with each passing year.

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Edited by Staff Editor

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