Former Kentucky Wildcats serve as the faces of several NBA franchises, and as the face of a franchise, you’re entitled to big-money contracts.
In the nine seasons at Kentucky, John Calipari-coached players have totaled more than $1.5 billion in NBA contracts. In just the 2018-19 season alone, former Wildcats will make almost $190 million.
While they aren’t at the top of the payroll, these are the highest-earning former Wildcats in the NBA.
For the 2018-19 season, Davis will be bringing in the most amount of money among Kentucky players. He’ll make nearly $25.5 million, equaling players like Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond. That amount will grow to $27 million for the 2019-20 season before Davis can utilize his player option to opt out and potentially sign what will be the league’s largest contract ever in the summer of 2020.
The 2019-20 season will be the first year of Wall’s massive four-year, $170 million extension with the Washington Wizards, in which he will earn $37.8 million in the first year. By the time he reaches his player option in 2022, Wall’s annual earning will top out at nearly $44 million. That would currently rank as the fifth-highest salary in the entire NBA.
This summer, Karl-Anthony Towns signed the most recent large-scale contract in the NBA when he agreed to a five-year $190 million extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The extension will kick in for the 2019-2020 season, and will net an average salary of $38 million a year. Town has been every pit the prodigy that warranted him being draft top overall in 2015, and got a max deal because of it.
The 2019 season will also be the first of Booker’s five-year, $153 million max contract with the Phoenix Suns. He will earn $27.25 million that year, and in the final year of his contract in the 2023-2024 season, Booker will be making just under $36 million. After averaging 24.9 points per game in just his 3rd NBA season, he will be living lavishly in Phoenix for the long foreseeable future.
The next-largest current contract among Kentucky players is Kanter’s $18.6 million contract that expires after this upcoming season with the New York Knicks. Based on how well he’s played in New York, his next contract could pay him over $20 million annually.
Bledsoe’s $15 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks also expires after this upcoming season. He too is in for a big payday next year, though he’s a little harder to project. His current 25.53 PER this season would be the highest of his career, so he may be able to get $20+ million in his next contract as well.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is making $13 million with the Hornets this season. He’s slated to earn that amount again in 2019-20, but he has a player option for next year he can opt out of if he thinks he’ll get a bigger payday.