Los Angeles Lakers center Kobe Bryant is a rare exception to the NBA’s rule that the salary cap only affects players who are still under contract.
The Lakers’ superstar has made more than $1.3 billion over his eight-year career, including $2.3 million in his first year of free agency, the most in NBA history, and a record for a center, according to NBA records.
But he is only one of more than 100 players in the league whose salary has soared since the start of the lockout-shortened season, according, according ESPN Stats & Info.
In the first quarter of this season, the NBA averaged $1,979 per game.
By the second quarter, it had risen to $2,075.
In the third quarter, the league averaged $2 (the first $1 of each quarter).
And by the fourth quarter, its average was $2 per game, according the NBA.
While Bryant’s salary hasn’t soared, it has skyrocketed in the first three months of this year, according league records.
Bryant made $3.4 million during the first nine months of the year, and he has been paid a record $3 million per quarter since the beginning of the season.
In comparison, Kobe’s next-highest average salary was $1 million in the second half of the 2016-17 season.
According to a report from ESPN, Bryant’s average of $1 billion per quarter in 2017-18 would be more than double the $500 million in NBA records set in 2015-16.
Kobe Bryant’s earnings rose in the last three months alone.
Source: ESPN Stats&Info/NBA.com/statsAnd that is a long way from the $1 trillion he made last season.
In 2015-18, the Lakers finished the regular season with a payroll of $68 million, according Basketball Reference.
That was only $1 more than they would have made if Bryant had made the league’s minimum salary of $7.5 million.
But by the time the NBA adjusted the league salary cap to bring it in line with the NBA average in 2017, Bryant had already made $1bn over the previous nine seasons.
In a statement to the Associated Press, a Lakers spokesman said the team was “confident that we can continue to grow our revenue streams” and would announce “a comprehensive plan for fiscal year 2019.”
The Lakers are one of just four teams to have a $3 billion or more payroll in the past 10 seasons, according a report by Forbes.
And the Lakers have only one other player earning $2 billion or less: Pau Gasol.
Other players who made more money than Bryant this year include the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka ($2.2 billion), Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan ($1.9 billion) and Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry ($1 billion).