The highest-paid players in Los Angeles Lakers history

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The Los Angeles Lakers have a long, proud history of elite players rocking their colors, the iconic purple and gold.

As such, it’s only natural that means they will have dolled out a ton of money in salaries to the best players in their history.

Here are the 12 highest-earning players in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers, a lineup featuring some of the sport’s biggest legends. Spoiler alert: No one is catching No. 1 on this list, at least not any time soon.

With so many big names to get to, let’s jump right in.

Kobe Bryant: $328,237,108

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers’ franchise GOAT checks in at No. 1 on this list, as Kobe Bryant earned $328,237,108 in player salary during his time in Los Angeles, the highest mark by far on this list. Relative to impact and production, Bryant was quite underpaid early on in his career, which the Lakers repaid – and then some – late in his career when he was making a monster salary despite not being the same level of player he was in his prime. For what it’s worth, according to our Real Value metric, Bryant was paid exactly as much as he deserved for his career overall – not a surprise considering his icon status as a basketball player and particularly, as a Laker.

Money per game: $209,602
Highest Laker salary:
 $30,453,000 in 2013-14 (No. 1 in the NBA that season)
Lakers stats: 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.4 spg, 44.7 FG% in 20 seasons

More on Kobe Bryant’s earnings

lebron james

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It may come as a bit of a surprise to see LeBron James already so high up on this list considering he hasn’t been a Laker for all that long yet, but NBA salaries are so high these days that the four-time league MVP has already made $197,966,106 in player salary just from his time in Los Angeles. Even without adjusting for inflation, that’s already the second-highest mark in Laker history. James, obviously, has been more than worth it, leading the way for the Lakers to win a championship in 2019-20 and breaking the all-time scoring record while rocking purple and gold in 2022-23.

Money per game: $616,716
Highest Laker salary:
 $44,474,988 in 2022-23 (No. 4 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $434,986,078
Lakers stats: 27.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 8.0 apg, 1.2 spg, 50.7 FG% and 34.6 3P% in five seasons

More on LeBron James’ earnings

Shaquille O’Neal: $144,749,716

shaquille o'neal lakers

ADREES LATIF/AFP via Getty Images

Considered the biggest free-agent signing in NBA history until 2010 when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal raked in big money as a Laker, earning $144,749,716 during his time in Los Angeles, good for third all-time in the franchise’s history. Even so, O’Neal found himself in dispute with the Lakers over pay toward the end of his tenure there, which eventually led to him demanding a trade. Sure, more went into the trade request than that, but part of the reason O’Neal wound up getting traded to Miami in 2004 was that he had just signed a three-year, $88.5 million contract extension the year prior and Lakers owner Jerry Buss didn’t believe he was worth that amount of money anymore, not with O’Neal getting older and refusing to take better care of his body.

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Money per game: $227,593
Highest Laker salary: 
$24,749,999 in 2003-04 (No. 2 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $292,198,327
Lakers stats: 27.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.5 bpg, 57.5 FG%, 53.3 FT% in eight seasons

More on Shaquille O’Neal’s earnings

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Barring an unexpected (and extremely unlikely) in-season trade in 2023-24, Anthony Davis is set to soar past O’Neal for the distinction of being the third highest-paid Laker in franchise history next season. The Lakers took somewhat of a gamble in acquiring Davis before 2019-20, sending the New Orleans Pelicans what appeared to be a huge trade package for the talented big man, but it has paid off handsomely for Los Angles, as Davis is easily a Top 10 player when healthy and one of the game’s top two-way forces. If and when James’ game finally starts to taper off due to age, it’ll be Davis who the Lakers build around next. Davis is reportedly expected to sign a huge extension this offseason.

Money per game: $564,309
Highest Laker salary:
 $37,980,720 in 2022-23 (No. 15 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $227,701,628
Lakers stats: 24.6 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.1 bpg, 52.4 FG%, 28.1 3P% in four seasons

More on Anthony Davis’ earnings

Pau Gasol: $120,116,000

pau gasol lakers

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A pivotal piece in the Lakers’ most recent repeat, back in 2008-09 and 2009-10, there were some who even argued Pau Gasol could have won Finals MVP, as his impact as an efficient scorer, a solid rebounder and underrated playmaker were instrumental in Los Angeles bringing home championship rings. Gasol, set to join the Hall of Fame soon, was one of the best trade deadline acquisitions in league history and is one of the top international players of all time, sitting fifth in our ranking of non-American NBA stars.

Money per game: $230,107
Highest Laker salary:
 $19,285,850 in 2013-14 (No. 8 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $219,784,441
Lakers stats: 17.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg, 52.0 FG% in seven seasons

More on Pau Gasol’s earnings

Lamar Odom: $77,459,717

lamar odom lakers

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Checking in at No. 6 in our list of highest-paid Lakers players ever, Lamar Odom was a fan favorite in Los Angeles, playing with a smooth swagger on the wing, with the ability to shoot, run the pick-and-roll or finish around the basket – all in a 6-foot-10 package. The big lefty was also a versatile defender who could guard multiple positions and made a huge impact toward the Lakers’ repeat, along with Bryant and Gasol. What some might not remember is that Odom actually got to Los Angeles as part of the O’Neal trade to Miami, suffering through some years on mediocre (at best) Laker teams before accepting a bench role upon Gasol’s arrival and becoming an elite Sixth Man.

Money per game: $164,457
Highest Laker salary:
 $14,148,596 in 2008-09 (No. 32 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $115,967,658
Lakers stats: 13.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 0.9 bpg, 49.1 FG%, 33.0 3P% in seven seasons

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More on Lamar Odom’s earnings

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Russell Westbrook era in Los Angeles wasn’t a rousing success either for him or the team but he did get well-compensated during his time there, earning the top salary in the NBA in 2022-23 when he was wearing the purple-and-gold uniform. Westbrook’s style of play didn’t mesh well with James’ and Westbrook would hint that he wasn’t being allowed to play like himself when he’d talk to the media. Maybe there was a hint of truth to that, as Westbrook has performed at a much higher level since joining the crosstown rival Los Angeles Clippers. Regardless, in just one season and a half with the Lakers, Westbrook became one of the highest-paid players in the franchise’s history.

Money per game: $578,944
Highest Laker salary:
 $47,080,179 in 2022-23 (No. 1 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $338,836,512
Lakers stats: 17.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 7.2 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.4 FG%, 29.7 3P% in two seasons

More on Russell Westbrook’s earnings

Luol Deng: $64,544,067

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The first day of 2016 free agency was one for the ages. A freshly signed Collective Bargaining Agreement saw a huge spike in salary cap for every team (that’s what allowed Kevin Durant to be able to join an already-elite Golden State Warriors squad, by the way), which led to several very average players getting massive deals that summer. Luol Deng, a proper player, was not average by any means. He had just regained very solid form the season prior with the Miami Heat as a small-ball power forward with versatility. But that was before his time with the Lakers, which wound up being a disaster as the former Duke standout was a total bust in Los Angeles. Things were so bad that he made most of his money after being waived by the team in 2018, just two years after signing the massive deal to join the Lakers.

Money per game: $1,132,352
Highest Laker salary:
 $18,000,000 in 2016-17 (No. 33 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $163,520,376
Lakers stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 apg, 38.7 FG%, 30.9 3P% in two seasons.

More on Luol Deng’s earnings

Andrew Bynum: $49,987,258

Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images

Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images

Had injuries not cut his prime short, Andrew Bynum would rank higher on this list, as the big man turned into a proper double-double threat with shot-blocking prowess during his peak with the Lakers, a span that included Bynum playing a vital role on the team’s back-to-back 2009 and 2010 championship runs. It’s a shame how Bynum’s career turned out, as he had just hit All-Star status in 2011-12, earning 2nd Team All-NBA honors that campaign, too. However, he would go on to miss the entire 2012-13 season with a knee injury, only playing 26 more games in his NBA career, all in 2013-14, before his time in the Association was up.

Money per game: $107,268
Highest Laker salary:
 $14,900,000 in 2011-12 (No. 27 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $73,460,260
Lakers stats: 11.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.6 bpg, 56.6 FG% in seven seasons

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More on Andrew Bynum’s earnings

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: $49,958,196

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Quietly one of the more solid Laker specialist role players in recent history, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope won the first championship of his career in Los Angeles, helping the 2019-20 squad earn a hard-fought ring thanks to his shooting and defense. Caldwell-Pope would spend one more season in Los Angeles before being sent to the Washington Wizards as part of the Westbrook trade. Since then, Caldwell-Pope has won a second championship, playing a similar role during the Denver Nuggets’ 2022-23 title victory. Caldwell-Pope rebounded nicely in his Laker career after famously air-balling a potential game-winner against Golden State back in 2017-18, causing Kobe Bryant and his family to get up and leave before the game he was attending ended.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=461095137926011

Money per game: $157,101
Highest Laker salary: 
$17,745,894 in 2017-18 (No. 56 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $49,880,815
Lakers stats: 11.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 43.6 FG%, 37.8 3P% in four seasons

More on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s earnings

Brian Grant: $42,417,734

Brian Grant, Los Angeles Lakers

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Along with Odom, veteran big man Brian Grant was part of the trade package that the Lakers received in exchange for O’Neal back in 2004. His Laker career didn’t go quite as well as Odom’s, however, and Los Angeles was forced to amnesty the then-33-year-old during the 2005 offseason, clearing the remaining money owed to him from its books and making Grant a free agent. Part of the reason Grant’s Laker career went so poorly was due to lingering injuries, which we would find out later were related to his early-onset Parkinson’s disease, an unfortunate end to what was a quite solid NBA career for Grant.

Money per game: $614,749
Highest Laker salary:
 $14,848,080 in 2006-07 (No. 24 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $109,842,052
Lakers stats: 3.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.3 bpg, 49.3 FG% in one season

More on Brian Grant’s earnings

Derek Fisher: $37,509,167

Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

Floor general Derek Fisher finds himself on this list thanks to his longevity with the Lakers rather than some large annual salary he earned in Los Angeles. In fact, Fisher never finished a season in the Top 150 of player salaries as a member of the Lakers. Still, Fisher was a winner, hitting multiple huge shots while a member of the purple and gold, contributing to five championships during his time in Los Angeles. Who can forget Fisher’s legendary game-winning shot with 0.4 seconds left on the clock that took place in Game 5 of the second-round matchup between the Lakers and San Antonio Spurs back in 2004, a series the Lakers would go on to win in six? Or how about his game-tying – and game-winning – threes in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic to help the Lakers go up 3-1 in the series? Fisher isn’t talked about as much today but he had some enormous moments during his Lakers tenure.

Money per game: $33,853
Highest Laker salary:
 $5,048,000 in 2009-10 (No. 152 in the NBA that season)
Overall career earnings: $64,160,721
Lakers stats: 7.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.1 spg, 40.2 FG%, 37.5 3P% in 13 seasons

More on Derek Fisher’s earnings

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype

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