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How often do NBA Players get paid?

basketball paid

NBA players are some of the highest paid athletes when comparing them to the “big four” sports in North America.

For those wondering, the “big four” sports are Baseball (MLB), Basketball (NBA), Football (NFL) and Hockey (NHL).

As for how much an NBA player can take home each month, we are looking at 7-figures for the cream-of-the-crop, even after taxes. 

We’re talking about players such as Steph Curry, Lebron James, Damian Lillard and others. 

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between NBA players and the league not only dictates the maximum and minimum salaries, but also the compensation plan over the course of the year.

Keep in mind that player contracts are fully guaranteed, even if the player sustains a sport-related injury. 

And they may also include signing bonuses.

So, then…

How Often do NBA Players get Paid?

NBA players get paid twice monthly throughout their annual contract. The money is proportionally paid to their accounts on the 1st and 15th of every month. The only exception to the amount is if the player negotiated a signing bonus, which is paid in lump at the onset of the deal.

In other words, players officially get paid their bonuses at the start of the new fiscal year (in July). 

The remainder of the contract is paid bi-monthly every single month, even during the off-season. 

With the average NBA salary coming it at just under $10 million USD per year ($9,662,447 for the 2022-23 Season), here is a breakdown for how much the average player takes home. Assuming no lump bonus payments.

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How much do NBA players make a month?

$805,204 USD per month

How much do NBA players make a week?

$185,816 USD per week

How much do NBA players make per game?

$117,835 USD per game

How much do NBA players make per minute?

$2,455 USD per minute played

How do NBA players get paid? (income tax)

Players have the option to receive payment via check or direct deposit into their bank accounts.

Note that players are taxed like everyone else on their income, however the deductions are structured differently.

As expected, they pay both state and federal taxes like everyone else. Since the minimum salary is greater than $1 million USD, the federal tax falls in the highest bracket.

State taxes vary from state to state.

But there is another tax only NBA players are subjected to, known as the jock tax. Basically, it’s an income tax which visitors to a city or state who make money in that jurisdiction.

So, if you’re performing at a public venue and are not a local resident, you’re subject to the tax. 

The jock tax amounts to 3% of the total player income.

While the jock tax is not exclusive to pro athletes, it is usually charged to high profile and wealthy individuals.

Advanced Payments

Another option that NBA players have is to get payment in advance. The advanced payment can only be made for signed contracts within the new fiscal year.

The way it works is that a private lender provides the money to the player against the value of their contract. The money can be used to pay bills, down payment on a house, business investment and more.

There are limitations to the type of pay advances, but players still have great flexibility if needed so.

Do NBA Players get paid in the playoffs?

NBA players extra money if their respective teams make the playoffs. Prior to the post season, the NBA collects prize money dedicated to team playoff bonuses.

On average, the per player prize money is a small fraction of the total money they earn from their contract, even for those making base salary.

In the 2021-22 NBA season, that total prize money amounted to $22 million, shared amongst 16 team finalists. That money is then split between all the players on the team.

The further your team makes it through the playoff rounds, the more money will be earned.

The NBA champions will get paid slightly more than the runner up.

That year, the Golden State Warriors collectively earned just over $3.5 million USD.

Final Thoughts

The NBA payment schedule has many similarities and differences to other professional leagues.

One major difference is that NBA salaries are paid throughout the entire fiscal year, while other leagues (such as the NHL) only pay their players during the regular season.

Meanwhile, the bonus pay and the bi-monthly payments is something the NHL and NBA share in common.

However, the exact dates for the bi-monthly varies from league to league. The NHL pays mid-month and end of month, while the MLB pays on the 20th and 30th of each month.

In the end, getting paid consistently throughout the year seems like the better option.

Knowing that the money will be deposited each and every month makes for a better budgeting plan. 

And given that the NBA salaries is one of the highest in pro sports makes the deposits that much sweeter.