Lowest paid NBA players (1991-2022)

Posted on 01 November, 2021 by Dimitrije Curcic

This page contains the analysis of the lowest-paid players in the NBA league from 1990-91 to 2021-22 season.

This analysis is part of the most comprehensive research of NBA players salaries, available on this page (link to salaries)

See also: Highest-paid NBA players (link to highest paid)

Lowest paid NBA player by year

  • Demetrius Jackson is the lowest-paid NBA player for the 2021-21 season with $92,857.
  • 16 other NBA players will earn under $1 million in 2022, 14 of whom are rookies.
  • 39 lowest-paid players in 2022 will earn less combined than Steph Curry.
  • From 1991 to 2022, the lowest-paid players in the league earned $311,358 on average.
  • In 2018, Alfonzo McKinnie earned $815,615, making the highest amount for a lowest-paid NBA player over the last 32 seasons.

Season

Player

Position

Team

Salary

2022

Demetrius Jackson

PG

BOS

$92,857

2021

Moritz Wagner

C

ORL

$221,995

2020

Juan Toscano-Anderson

SF

GSW

$350,189

2019

Gary Clark

PF

HOU

$596,873

2018

Alfonzo McKinnie

SF

TOR

$815,615

2017

Bryn Forbes

SG

SAS

$543,471

2016

Aaron Harrison

SG

CHA

$525,093

2015

Langston Galloway

PG

NYK

$235,762

2014

Aron Baynes

C

SAS

$788,872

2013

Patrick Beverley

PG

HOU

$281,377

2012

Lance Thomas

PF

NOP

$328,444

2011

Armon Johnson

PG

POR

$473,604

2010

Anthony Tolliver

PF

GSW

$411,529

2009

Anthony Morrow

SG

GSW

$442,114

2008

Aaron Gray

C

CHI

$427,163

2007

Kelenna Azubuike

SG

GSW

$301,657

2006

Alan Anderson

SF

CHA

$398,762

2005

Andre Barrett

PG

HOU

$385,277

2004

Alex Garcia

SG

SAS

$366,931

2003

Rafer Alston

PG

TOR

$37,344

2002

Alton Ford

PF

PHO

$332,817

2001

A.J. Guyton

PG

CHI

$316,969

2000

Greg Buckner

SG

DAL

$47,647

1999

Cedric Henderson

SF

CLE

$250,000

1998

Scott Brooks

PG

CLE

$50,000

1997

Henry James

PF

ATL

$181,100

1996

Chris Carr

SG

PHO

$200,000

1995

Pat Durham

SF

MIN

$126,000

1994

Antonio Harvey

PF

LAL

$150,000

1993

David Wingate

SF

CHA

$129,000

1992

Paul Graham

SG

ATL

$125,000

1991

Jim Les

PG

SAC

$30,000

NBA players with lowest career earnings

  • During his 5 seasons in the league, Anthony Goldwire earned $911,290 in total, making him the NBA player with the lowest career earnings.
  • 10 other NBA players who spent at least 5 years in the league made under $2 million for a career.
  • 99 lowest-paid NBA players earned less in total than LeBron James did throughout his career.

PLAYER

Seasons

Total earnings

Anthony Goldwire

5

$911,290

Steve Scheffler

5

$1,035,000

Randy Livingston

5

$1,339,200

Jim Les

5

$1,379,000

Anthony Miller

7

$1,551,368

Sean Higgins

5

$1,672,250

Jack Haley

6

$1,697,250

Rafael Addison

5

$1,733,000

Sam Mack

6

$1,877,098

Henry James

5

$1,883,100

 

  • Anthony Goldwire also holds the record as the lowest-paid NBA player when it comes to average salary, earning $182,258 annually.
  • 25 other NBA players earned under $500,000 a year during their careers.
  • 116 NBA players averaged under $1 million per year since 1991.
  • 50 players earned under 10% of the salary cap during their career, leading with Goldwire who earned 3% of the salary during 5 seasons.
  • 89 NBA players combined earned less money calculated in salary cap % than Shaquille O’Neal did for his career.
  • 6 NBA players had average annual earnings under 1% of the salary cap.

Lowest paid NBA players by position

Lowest paid point guards in NBA history

  • Anthony Goldwire is the lowest-paid point guard in the NBA since 1991, earning $911,290 during 5 seasons.
  • 48 point guards in the NBA earned under $10 million for a career.
  • 51 lowest-paid PGs in the NBA earned less money combined than the highest-paid point guard, Chris Paul.

  • Goldwire is the lowest-paid point guard in the league when it comes to average salary with $182,258 annually.
  • 23 point guards earned less than $1 million per year since 1991.
  • 4 of those 23 played more than 10 seasons in the NBA.
  • 11 point guards earned under 10% of the salary cap for their whole career.
  • 3 of them earned under 1% of the cap annually.

Lowest paid shooting guards in NBA history

  • Von Wafer is the lowest-paid shooting guard in the NBA since 1991, with career earnings of $2.93 million.
  • 39 shooting guards in the NBA earned under $10 million for their career.
  • 40 of them earned less combined that highest-paid shooting guard in NBA history, James Harden.

  • Mitchell Butler earned $506,472 per year over his 8 years in the league, making him a shooting guard with the lowest average annual salary in the league history.
  • 15 other SGs earned under $1 million per year during their careers.
  • 2 of them played in the league for more than 10 seasons.
  • 9 NBA shooting guards earned under 10% of the salary cap for a career, leading with Damion Lee with 4%.
  • Damion Lee is the only shooting guard in NBA history with average annual earnings under 1% of the salary cap.

Lowest paid small forwards in NBA history

  • Sean Higgins leads the list of lowest-paid small forwards in the NBA since the 1990-91 season, earning $1.67 million over his 5 years in the league.
  • 40 NBA small forwards made under $10 million for a career.
  • 52 lowest-paid SFs in the NBA earned less combined for a whole career than the highest-paid small forward in the NBA history, LeBron James.

  • Sam Mack is a SF with the lowest average annual salary in the NBA, earning $312,850 per year during 6 seasons.
  • 19 small forwards averaged under $1 million per year in the NBA.
  • 12 of them earned under 10% of the salary cap during their career, with Rodney Buford topping the list with 4%.

Lowest paid power forwards in NBA history

  • With $1.55 million earned over 7 years in the NBA, Anthony Miller is the lowest-paid power forward in the league since 1991.
  • 50 NBA power forward earned under $10 million during their NBA career.
  • 53 lowest-paid power forwards earned less combined than the highest-paid power forward, Kevin Garnett.

  • Anthony Miller also leads the list of lowes paid NBA power forwards when it comes to average salary, earning $221,624 per year.
  • 33 PFs averaged under $1 million per year for their career.
  • Jeff Adrien earned 5.6% of the salary cap for his career, the lowest among NBA power forwards.
  • 10 other players earned under 10% of the cap throughout their careers.

Lowest paid centers in NBA history

  • Steve Scheffler earned $1.04 million in total during his 5 NBA seasons, making him the lowest-paid center in NBA since 1991.
  • 35 centers in the NBA earned under $10 million for their careers.
  • 45 lowest-paid centers in league history earned less than the highest-paid center, Shaquille O’Neal.

  • Steve Scheffler also leads the list of lowest-paid centers when it comes to average salary, earning $207,000 per year.
  • 25 centers averaged under $1 million annually during their NBA career.
  • Only 7 NBA centers earned under 10% of the salary cap for a career.

Lowest paid NBA players by points scored

  • In the 2020-21 season, Moritz Wagner earned $175 for every point scored in a season, which is the lowest amount earned per point.
  • Khem Birch is the only other player who earned under $1,000 per point in 2021.
  • Jim Less earned only $76 for each of his 395 points scored in 55 games in the 1990-91 season, the lowest all time.
  • 597 NBA players made less per point score combined than a player who earned the most per point in league history, Andris Biedriņš in 2013.
  • In 1991, Vernon Maxwell earned $179 for each of 1,379 points scored while playing all 82 games. This is the lowest earned amount per point scored for a player who played all games in a season.
  • Anthony Goldwire earned $682 for each point scored during his NBA career, the lowest since 1991.
  • 29 lowest-paid player per point earned less combined than highest-earning NBA player per point scored, Michael Stewart.

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Author
Dimitrije Curcic
Dimitrije Curcic

Dimitrije Curcic has been playing basketball for over 22 years. Like Manu Ginobili, he’s a left-hander whose moves led him to a better career-shooting percentage than the Argentine himself. After playing professionally for 10 years, Dimitrije moved to coaching for two seasons before he became a basketball statistician for StatScore, and FanSided contributor for the San Antonio Spurs. Dimitrije loves to tell hoop stories through numbers and graphics and has been featured on Fansided, FiveThirtyEight, Eurohoops, and TalkBasket among the others.