By Brian Reed
The NBA labor agreement is far from resolved and the first two weeks of the regular season have already been cancelled.
Although it is hard to call this group of 10 multi-millionaires victims, it is also difficult to imagine losing a paycheck that amounts to an unfathomable fortune every two weeks. With that in mind, here are the 10 players who will miss out on the most money as the lockout lingers.
Methodology: During the 1998-99 lockout, players lost pay based upon games missed. So, if a player missed one game due to the lockout, it would have cost him 1/82nd of his salary. However, since all players have slightly different schedules, we calculated pay on a paycheck basis.
Players are only paid during the regular season and receive checks bi-weekly for work that occurs the previous two weeks. The 2011-12 NBA season was supposed to have started on Nov. 1 and end on April 18. During the course of the season, that can be divided into 13 bi-weekly paychecks. The numbers were calculated by equally dividing each player's 2011-12 salary 13 times to find what they earn every two weeks during the season.
10. Joe Johnson
Hawks, $1,387,582.54 per paycheck: Atlanta's $119 million man Johnson was one of the surprisingly large signings in 2010 and has been pointed out as an example why so many NBA teams are suffering financially. Even if the lockout makes Johnson suffer a bit this year, the future looks good. The contract will pay Johnson $18,038,573 in 2011 and increase from there through 2015 when he will earn $24.9 million.
9. Amar'e Stoudemire
Knicks, $1,401,361.92 per paycheck: Stoudemire is likely eager to get back on the court to jel with the new Knicks team that was swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The series was particularly hard for Stoudemire who played through injuries with disappointing results. Unfortunately, the cancelled preseason jeopardizes the jelling process with his teammates and he's facing a cut into his $18,217,705 salary.
8. Carmelo Anthony
Knicks, $1,423,076.92 per paycheck: Since arriving from Denver, Anthony signed an extension with the Knicks and will make $18.5 million this season. Nice new neighborhood.
7. Pau Gasol
Lakers, $1,439,550 per paycheck: Sure, Gasol could spend the lockout performing surgery in his native Spain, but he is still unlikely to pull in the kind of cash he would make playing basketball. He is set to bankroll $18,714,150 this season, or $1.44 million per paycheck.
6. Dirk Nowitzki
Mavericks, $1,468,682.54 per paycheck: The lockout has to have put a damper on the celebratory summer for the reigning NBA Finals MVP and the champion Mavericks. The champs will lose momentum with the cancelled preseason, and losing the nearly $1.5 million Nowitzki earns every paycheck from his $19,092,873 annual salary has to hurt too.
5. Gilbert Arenas
Magic, $1,482,254.46 per paycheck: 2010 was a tough year for Arenas. He was traded to the Magic for Rashard Lewis after a troubled stint in Washington where he pleaded guilty of felony weapons charges, was suspended indefinitely by the NBA and spent 30 days in a halfway house. However, earning almost $1.5 million a paycheck and $19,269,308 annually has to take off a bit of the sting.
4. Kevin Garnett
Celtics, $1,630,769.23 per paycheck: Garnett will likely be chomping at the bit to avenge last season's disappointing playoff loss to the Heat. While his numbers have dipped a bit in recent years, Garnett is still one of the most dominant power forwards in the game and his $21.2 million salary this season shows how much he means to the franchise. Yet, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, speculation is already bouncing around about Garnett's future with the Celtics. The quicker the lockout can end, the quicker Garnett can silence critics and prove he is worthy of his $1.63 million bi-weekly paychecks.
3. Tim Duncan
Spurs, $1,638,461.54 per paycheck: Duncan didn't exercise the Early Termination Option (ETO) in his contract that would have made him a free agent. Smart move. With Duncan's paltry averages last season -- 13.4 points and 8.9 rebounds -- he probably wouldn't command $21.3 million on the open market. He has one year left on his contract.
2. Rashard Lewis
Wizards, $1,704,000 per paycheck: Lewis signed a massive six-year, $118 million contract with the Magic in but was later traded to the Wizards for another player on the list, Gilbert Arenas. With two years left on his contract, Lewis is due $22,152,000 this season, so a lockout would be as disappointing to Lewis as his averages of 11.7 points and 5.1 rebounds last season were for the Wizards.
1. Kobe Bryant
Lakers, $1,941,846.15 per paycheck: Bryant is widely regarded as the best player in the league and he is paid accordingly. Last April he signed a three-year, $83.5 million extension that will continue to make him the highest paid player in the NBA. He also raked in $25 million endorsements last year, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt to miss out on an almost $2 million paycheck every two weeks.
Note: Vince Carter has an $18 million team option on his contract, but is expected to be bought out for $4 million by the Suns, making him an unrestricted free agent.
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