Jimmer Fredette plays in the second-highest paying league for the Shanghai Sharks, a team owned by Yao Ming.
According to ESPN’s Outside The Lines, the Sharks began the season with roughly 1,000 fans in attendance. Once Fredette started to show off his scoring, the 5,000-seat arena sold out. In February, he scored 73 points in a game.
After winning the league’s International MVP, one may have assumed he would either try to parlay this into a more lucrative contract or a return to the NBA. He originally made $1.1 million on his first contract overseas.
If he would have signed in the NBA for a minimum deal, his contract would be worth $1.7 million for next season. Fredette will instead earn an estimated $1.8 million in China. He announced he will play on a two-year contract.
While the competition is obviously different, Larkin was one of the top 10 scorers in the Euroleague last season – averaging 18 points per 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Fredette led the Chinese Basketball Association with 37.6 points per game and played 40.5 minutes per game.
Even though it can be like comparing apples and oranges, we looked at some of the salaries former NBA players have earned while playing overseas.
These figures are all estimates based on reports considering international basketball salaries are not readily available. But the hope of this report is to add perspective to the deal Fredette recently signed.
Norris Cole — Shandong Golden Stars
Average Annual Value — $5 million
Cole was signed in October 2016 and was no longer on the roster by December 2016. While he averaged 19.1 points per game, the two-time NBA champion made only nine appearances. He made his return to the United States when he was signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in March 2017.
Donald Sloan — Guangdong Southern Tigers
Average Annual Value — $2.7 million
Sloan has performed extraordinarily well overseas. Last year, he was top-five in assists per game and was also one of the league’s leading scorers. His play has not gone unnoticed, considering the Charlotte Hornets are reportedly scheduled to bring him in for a workout soon.
Andray Blatche — Xianjing Flying Tigers
Average Annual Value — $2.5 million
Not only is his contract one of the largest in the league’s history, he also reportedly has a clause that says he does not have to practice with the team. During the 2014-15 season, he averaged 31.1 points with 14.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. He is a two-time CBA All-Star and won the CBA title in 2017.
Carlos Boozer — Guangdong Southern Tigers
Average Annual Value — $2 million
Sloan was joined by NBA veteran Carlos Boozer last season. Boozer played 50 games for the team and averaged 18.6 points along with a team-high 10.6 rebounds per game. This team also spent $1.2 million to sign French shooting guard Edwin Jackson this offseason. Yi Jianlian, once the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA Draft, is on the roster as well and is considered to be the highest-paid Chinese basketball player.
Jordan Crawford — Tianjin Ronggang
Average annual value — $2 million
Make no mistake, Crawford averaged 43.1 points per game for his team during the 2015-16 season. It’s no surprise he returned to the NBA. He spoke about his decision to play overseas (via ESPN):
“I was intrigued by, of course, the money, and the span of the season. But from a basketball standpoint, I was intrigued because they really rely on you. I wanted to see how good I really was. They want the Americans to be the best players on the floor.”
The Pelicans paid Crawford a total of $1.7 million last season so he actually made more money while in China than he does in America.
Stephon Marbury — $2.0 million
Josh Smith — $1.5 million
Guerschon Yabusele — $1.5 million
Jamaal Franklin — $1.4 million
Emmanuel Mudiay — $1.2 million