NBA Players to Split $34 Million for 2024 Playoff Bonuses

NBA players have the highest salaries in U.S. pro sports by a wide margin. The same holds true come playoff time.

Players on NBA playoff teams will divvy up $33.7 million this season, with each team receiving a chunk based on how far their teams go. The team payouts will range from $452,708—roughly $30,000 per player based on a 15-player roster—to potentially $12.1 million ($804,000 per player) for the NBA champion.

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Teams earn more for each round they advance, and the NBA also factors in regular season standings in its playoff pool, with an added bonus for the best record among all 30 teams. The Celtics are the No. 1 seed and finished the season 64-18, so their players will have an $804,000 payday if they win the title.

Clubs that finished as the seventh or eighth seed do not receive any bonuses for their regular season records, and players on those teams would earn $698,000 if they made a historic run to lift the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. The Houston Rockets in 1995 were the lowest-seeded team to win the NBA Finals as a six seed.

Teams do not earn anything for the play-in tournament beyond their regular season salaries, which are typically paid out over 12 months.

The Celtics are the betting favorites at +145, according to DraftKings. Boston is also shooting to break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for most NBA titles all-time. They are knotted at 17, and the Lakers are a long shot as the seventh seed in the West at +2000.

The NBA playoff pool is up 25% over last year, with the uptick a result of the new collective bargaining that went into effect for the 2023-24 season. The CBA reads: “A Player Playoff Pool for each Salary Cap Year in an amount equal to the greater of: (i) $31,014,350 multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is BRI for the Salary Cap Year immediately preceding the then-current Salary Cap Year and the denominator of which is BRI for the 2021-22 Salary Cap Year, and (ii) the amount of the Player Playoff Pool for the immediately preceding Salary Cap Year.”

Playoff bonuses are up between 12% and 17% for each round, except for the NBA champion whose payout was boosted 79% to $8.55 million, up from $4.78 million.

The amount NBA players earn in the playoffs is much higher than those in the NFL, NHL and MLB. The NFL uses part of the playoff gate revenue to fund its player postseason pool. Players earned $45,500 to $50,500 during the first two weeks of this year’s playoffs, per their CBA. Player paychecks jumped to $73,000 for the conference championship games. The Super Bowl was worth $164,000 for each player on the winning team and $89,000 for ones on the losing side. The maximum a player could earn during the playoffs was $338,000.

The MLB playoff pool, also culled from playoff ticket revenue, was $107.8 million last year. The Texas Rangers, which captured their first World Series in franchise history, split up $38.8 million among the players, with each receiving $506,000.

The NHL playoff pool is $22 million this season, up 4.8% from last year. The Vegas Golden Knights shared $6.07 million in 2023, while the runner-up Florida Panthers got $3.61 million. The rest of the NHL playoff breakdown included $1.97 million for teams that lost in the conference finals, $820,313 for those out in the semifinals, and $410,156 for each team that fell in the first round.

The average NBA salary is more than $10 million, led by Stephen Curry at $51.9 million. Forty-two NBA players earned at least $30 million in salary this season before incentives, including Kristaps Porziņģis ($36 million), Jrue Holiday ($35 million) and Jayson Tatum ($32.6 million) on the Celtics. The playoffs serve as pocket change for those guys. But a pair of players on their playoff roster, Jaden Springer and Sam Hauser, earned less than $2 million this season. An 18th Celtics title would bump each of their seasonal pay more than 40%.

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