Who's made the most money on losing teams? Stephon Marbury and it's not even close

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Who's made the most money on losing teams? Stephon Marbury and it's not even close

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Who's made the most money on losing teams? Stephon Marbury and it's not even close

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Usually, NBA teams have the goal of paying their top athletes boatloads of money in hopes of having those players lead their franchises to the playoffs and beyond. Of course, things don’t always work out that way. Sometimes, injuries take place and get in the way of even the savviest or safest of plans. And other times, the talent on the rest of the roster behind the max-level players isn’t up to par, bringing the team as a whole down.

Below, we break down the 15 players who have earned the most money from teams with losing records.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

15. TYSON CHANDLER

Total years played: 19
Years with losing record: 10
Earnings with losing teams: $85,919,258 ($96,697,515 adjusted to inflation)

He’s made the playoffs nine times and has an NBA title on his resume, but Tyson Chandler has actually spent the majority of his career on losing teams and been paid handsomely during his times on those teams. His three-plus year stint with the Phoenix Suns particularly stands out in that regard.

14. BROOK LOPEZ

Total years played: 11
Years with losing record: 8
Earnings with losing teams: $89,030,768 ($95,624,188)

Floor-spacing center Brook Lopez has been doing a whole lot of winning over the past season and a half, but this is a recent development. Prior to 2018-19 with the Milwaukee Bucks, Lopez had only made the playoffs twice in his career and had actually endured eight losing seasons out of his first 10 as a professional. Those New Jersey and then Brooklyn Nets teams were usually pretty bad.

13. BARON DAVIS

Total years played: 15
Years with losing record: 7
Earnings with losing teams: $91,180,000 ($109,914,185)

Baron Davis was as entertaining a point guard as any during his prime, with solid athleticism and eye-popping ball-handling abilities, with impressive vision as a passer, to boot. He made the playoffs each of the first five years of his career but only made it twice more over the final 10 seasons he spent in the NBA, a byproduct of spending time on struggling Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers teams.

12. ZACH RANDOLPH

Total years played: 18
Years with losing record: 8
Earnings with losing teams: $92,170,939 ($108,543,128)

A cult hero for his time with the Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph won more than he lost in his career, as fewer than half of his 18 career seasons had a losing record attached to them. At his peak, Randolph was earning $17.8 million per season and did so as a member of the successful Grit-and-Grind Grizzlies, who usually performed well in the playoffs.

11. KOBE BRYANT

Total years played: 20
Years with losing record: 4
Earnings with losing teams: $93,128,000 ($104,634,234)

Legendary 2-guard Kobe Bryant only missed the playoffs four times in his illustrious career, once in 2004-05 in the Los Angeles Lakers’ first season without Shaquille O’Neal, and three times at the very end of it when the team was forced to rebuild around Bryant. Regardless, he finds his way fairly high up on this list because in his final three seasons he made a combined $79 million. That’s not to say he wasn’t worth every penny, of course, as Bryant more than earned his fortunes as a player.

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

10. HARRISON BARNES

Total years played: 8
Years with losing record: 4
Earnings with losing teams: $93,483,739 ($96,324,681)

His first four seasons were quite successful as a member of the Golden State Warriors, but after that, Harrison Barnes’ team success has plummeted during his time with the Dallas Mavericks (pre-Luka Doncic) and Sacramento Kings. Barnes recently signed another four-year contract with Sacramento, one worth $85 million, so if they don’t turn things around soon as a franchise, he’ll find his way up even higher on these rankings in the future.

9. JUWAN HOWARD

Total years played: 22
Years with losing record: 11
Earnings with losing teams: $94,640,843 ($136,114,261)

Despite playing for 22 seasons, Juwan Howard only made the playoffs seven times, two of which came at the very end of his career as a deep reserve for the Big 3 Heat. Howard signed one enormous contract in his career, worth seven years and $105 million courtesy of the Wizards. Unfortunately, he only made the playoffs once while with Washington prior to getting traded in the 2000-01 season.

8. JOE JOHNSON

Total years played: 19
Years with losing record: 7
Earnings with losing teams: $94,663,379 ($109,405,674)

Only seven of his 19 career seasons were losing ones, but Joe Johnson made so much money those years that he finds himself in the Top 10 of these rankings anyway. Johnson reached the playoffs 13 times in his career, getting as far as the conference finals multiple times. He once signed a six-year, $123.7 million contract, an enormous deal for its time.

7. CARMELO ANTHONY

Total years played: 16
Years with losing record: 5
Earnings with losing teams: $95,935,697 ($100,796,083)

Much is usually made about Carmelo Anthony not being a winning player (whatever that means), but the future Hall-of-Famer has only endured five losing seasons so far in his career and reached the postseason in all of the first 10 years that he was in the NBA. Then, the Melo New York Knicks of the mid-2010s completely fell apart, and Anthony didn’t make the playoffs again until 2017-18 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

6. SHAREEF ABDUR-RAHIM

Total years played: 13
Years with losing record: 12
Earnings with losing teams: $96,221,760 ($135,141,973)

Of the 13 seasons one-time All-Star Shareef Abdur-Rahim spent in the NBA, 12 of them were spent on losing teams, including the then-Vancouver Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and Kings. Abdur-Rahim was part of the last Kings team to make the playoffs in 2005-06, an impressive accomplishment for the player who spent so much of his career on poor squads. Abdur-Rahim never reached $15 million in annual salary, but when you spend so much time on losing teams, it adds up.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

5. KEVIN LOVE

Total years played: 12
Years with losing record: 8
Earnings with losing teams: $96,237,212 ($102,083,758)

Tasked with playing for two pretty dysfunctional organizations in his career, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers, has caused Kevin Love to know losing a lot more than he has known winning as an NBA player. Even so, Love did get to enjoy four years as LeBron James’ teammate, and the duo experienced a whole lot of success over that run, including winning the 2015-16 championship, so it hasn’t been all bad of the floor-spacing big man.

4. RUDY GAY

Total years played: 14
Years with losing record: 10
Earnings with losing teams: $104,417,071 ($113,450,141)

Cursed with spending the start of his career with bad Grizzlies teams and his prime with the tumultuous post-Chris Webber Sacramento Kings, Rudy Gay has only made the playoffs three times in his career, twice with the San Antonio Spurs as a role player. Regardless, Gay had the talent to earn a handsome salary anyway, peaking at nearly $20 million in 2014-15 with the Kings, which is why he ranks so highly on these rankings.

3. ELTON BRAND

Total years played: 19
Years with losing record: 13
Earnings with losing teams: $105,180,654 ($133,520,150)

Elton Brand was an absurd talent before injuries took away his athleticism, earning All-NBA honors in 2005-06 and making two All-Star rosters as well. His talent alone, though, wasn’t enough to help him enjoy much success when he was his teams’ focal point, as he spent the early portion of his career with the post-Michael Jordan Bulls, then enjoying his prime with the Clippers before they got good. Injuries really prevented him from ever finding that peak form with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he spent four seasons after his time in L.A., though he did make the playoffs twice while there.

2. NICOLAS BATUM

Total years played: 12
Years with losing record: 6
Earnings with losing teams: $106,974,931 ($111,383,962)

Well-rounded swingman Nicolas Batum enjoyed a good amount of team success as a member of the Blazers early in his career, but since signing a monstrous five-year, $120 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets, it’s been downhill for him, both individually and as far as winning goes. Batum hasn’t made the playoffs in the last four years and even went so far as to apologize to Hornets fans for failing to deliver on his contract.

1. STEPHON MARBURY

Total years played: 13
Years with losing record: 11
Earnings with losing teams: $136,474,625 ($181,971,511)

Stephon Marbury was a highly popular player in his prime, thanks to his theatrical style and clutch bucket-getting prowess. He made two All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams during that stretch, but that didn’t lead to much team success, as Marbury enjoyed just two winning campaigns in his 13 years as an NBA player. To be fair, he did make the playoffs five times, four of those coming in his prime.

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