Nikola Mirotic remains the best-paid EuroLeague player for the fourth straight year. He is a single EuroLeague star that earns more than the average NBA player.

Credit: REUTERS-Scanpix, Rodolfo Molina/GettyImages, Alius Koroliovas/GettyImages
Credit REUTERS-Scanpix, Rodolfo Molina/GettyImages, Alius Koroliovas/GettyImages

Nikola Mirotic remains the best-paid EuroLeague player for the fourth straight year. He is a single EuroLeague star that earns more than the average NBA player.

Mike James

Mike  James
Team: AS Monaco
Position: PG, SG
Age: 32
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 84 kg
Birth place: Oregon, United States of America

As BasketNews research reveals, three of the four best-paid EuroLeague players are guards.

Last year, big men signed six of the ten highest-value contracts. But in the 2022-23 season, only three frontcourt stars are listed in the Top 9.

Three players from the Top 10 wear Anadolu Efes Istanbul jersey. While Efes back-to-back Final Four MVP Vasilije Micic, 28, is the youngest player to make the list.

BasketNews present the Top 15 highest-valued EuroLeague players in net salaries (after taxes).

The challenging part of the research

The players salaries are never an easy topic to face.

Unlike the NBA, where everything is transparent and declared down to the last penny, EuroLeague clubs are not obligated to reveal their contracts. So they just don't.

Some EuroLeague teams want more transparency from the league, including an obligation to reveal their players salaries publicly. They think it would make it easier to negotiate with players in the future, knowing their actual contracts.

But so far, teams remain reserved, and many conditions make this top contracts research very complicated.

First of all, players don't prefer to talk about their paychecks. Neither do the clubs. 

If they do, some teams like to reduce the number of their contracts, trying to create an impression that they spend less. Contrary to clubs, some agents exaggerate their deals to position themselves better for future negotiations with different teams.

If that's not enough, every country has a different taxation system, and sometimes the source comes up with information about the GROSS salary, not NET.

Scottie Wilbekin

Scottie  Wilbekin
Scottie  Wilbekin
MIN: 24.45
PTS: 15.6 (51.52%)
REB: 2.8
As: 2.4
ST: 0.6
BL: 0
TO: 1.4
GM: 5

Why it's an issue? For example, Barcelona has two Czech players, Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely. But Satoransky is signed under different taxation conditions because he has already played in Spain for seven years.

Satoransky is taxed as a local resident per the Spanish tax system, so it takes around 48% of his total gross salary. For instance, Jan Vesely is a first-year employee in Spain, and only 15-18% of his salary goes to taxes.

Also, some numbers are provided with bonuses, and some are not. Since it's already very confidential information, finding the clear mark that splits the guaranteed amount and bonuses is even harder.

Since finding the golden mean is challenging, it would be unfair to rank the highest-paid players by sorting them from 1 to 15 by order. Instead, BasketNews offers to go through the unranked list of the biggest EuroLeague contracts for the 2022-23 season.

One player above average NBA salary

Nikola Mirotic has kept the best-paid EuroLeague player status since he arrived in Barcelona in 2019.

He was listed as a €5M star for a few years, but BasketNews sources suggest that his contract could have been readjusted when he signed an extension in 2020.

After his first season of a 3-year contract, Mirotic extended his contract until 2025. That was the time when the former FC Barcelona board offered their biggest stars to switch from lucrative short-term contracts to lower-valued but long-term agreements.

Mirotic is the only EuroLeague player who earns more than the average NBA player.

According to The Hoops Geek, the average salary in the NBA has grown to around $8.5M in the 2021-22 season (with 10-day and two-way contracts excluded). After taxes, it's close to €4.3M net salary.

The huge gap below the Top 3

Anadolu Efes backcourt stars Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin conclude the Top 3.

Larkin makes close to €4M per season. In the summer, he drew interest from the NBA, but Larkin just renewed his contract with Efes for two more years.

Micic makes €3.3M per year and has two years left on his 3-year deal signed in the summer of 2021.

However, with bonuses, his yearly salary could increase to around €3.8M. 

Micic, so far, has been known as a player who tends to make extra money. He won back-to-back EuroLeague titles, became the consecutive Final Four MVP, and won the season MVP award in 2021.

There's a significant gap between the top 3 and the rest of best paid EuroLeague players.

Fenerbahce Istanbul newcomer Scottie Wilbekin gets closest to the Top 3 earning around €2.4M per season.

The Turkish powerhouse paid a buyout to Maccabi (reportedly over €1M) to bring one of the top EuroLeague scorers to Istanbul.

Wilbekin, 29, joined them on a 3-year contract.

A €2M club

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan's big man Nicolo Melli makes around €2M per season, and he's the highest-paid player on Ettore Messina's team. However, that's the amount that doesn't include bonuses.

Melli, 31, still has two years left on his deal.

EuroLeague star Mike James is a €2M player in Monaco, including all bonuses.

James became the highest-paid player in the French basketball league ever. And he's expected to keep this status until his contract ends in 2024.

His buddy from Anadolu Efes, Will Clyburn, earns around €2M. He joined the back-to-back champions on a two-year deal.

Nick Calathes also has to be included in the €2M club. His situation is unique because two EuroLeague clubs pay him.

Since he received solid compensation from FC Barcelona for contract termination, Fenerbahce paid less for the first year of the two-year deal. But in total, Calathes makes around €2M per season.

Real Madrid giant Walter Tavares should make a list as well.

He signed a five-year contract in 2019. Per BasketNews sources, his estimated average salary is €1.7M.

As BasketNews sources suggest, Tavares might have a salary climb each season, which might get him into the €2M zone this year.

Best of the rest

Few EuroLeague stars are inches away from making €2M and Top 10 this season.

Two marquee Milan signings, Kevin Pangos and Brandon Davies, will earn around €1.8M per season (before bonuses). They're both signed for two years.

According to sources, Barcelona signings from the Czech Republic, Jan Vesely, and Tomas Satoransky, are around this mark.

According to Ugur Ozan Sulak of Socrates, Vesely is expected to make around €1.8M. A 32-year-old center joined Barcelona until 2025.

Barcelona might have spent less on Vesely's first-year salary than Satoransky due to the taxation advantage (check the explanation above). Per BasketNews sources, Satoransky gets around €1.7M for this season. His contract goes through the 2025-2026 season.

Olympiacos floor generals Kostas Sloukas and FC Barcelona scorer Cory Higgins also belong to this group. They make around €1.8M. Sloukas is on an expiring contract this year, while Higgins signed through 2024.

Tornike Shengelia and Marco Belinelli, two of the highest-paid Virtus Bologna players, tie to complete the Top 15. They both will make around €1.7M (bonuses excluded).

Belinelli is on an expiring 3-year contract, while Toko's deal goes through 2023-2024.

Many players are coming off Spanish or Italian teams in this category due to taxation differences.

For instance, a €1M net player for Spanish and Italian teams costs close to €1.5M gross. In Germany and France, taxes are even higher.

It's also important to mention the part of the gross salaries that impacts the US players' taxation. For example, technically, a €500k salary in Spain or Germany for the US player is equivalent to €800k in Turkey.

Why? When the US player comes home, he has to declare his income. Spanish, German, and French clubs pay around 50% of taxes, which is very close to most US regions.

But suppose they play in Turkey, Monaco, or other areas with team-friendly taxation. In that case, players must cover the difference between the taxation in their home state and the country they played in.

So, for example, if Turkish clubs pay 20% of taxes, the player in the US should cover the rest 30%.

Best paid EuroLeague players

Player Club Estimated salary
Nikola Mirotic FC Barcelona ~€5M
Shane Larkin Anadolu Efes Istanbul ~€4M
Vasilije Micic Anadolu Efes Istanbul €3.3M
Scottie Wilbekin Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul ~€2.4M
Nicolo Melli EA7 Emporio Armani Milan ~€2M
Mike James AS Monaco ~€2M
Will Clyburn Anadolu Efes Istanbul ~€2M
Nick Calathes Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul ~€2M
Walter Tavares Real Madrid ~€2M
Kevin Pangos EA7 Emporio Armani Milan ~€1.8M
Brandon Davies EA7 Emporio Armani Milan ~1.8M
Jan Vesely FC Barcelona ~1.8M
Kostas Sloukas Olympiacos Piraeus ~1.8M
Cory Higgins FC Barcelona ~€1.8M
Tomas Satoransky FC Barcelona ~€1.7M
Tornike Shengelia Virtus Segafredo Bologna ~€1.7M
Marco Belinelli Virtus Segafredo Bologna ~€1.7M

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