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Professional Teams: Who Pays the Most?

If you have ever wondered which sports pay their players the most money, then wonder no further. ESPN has come out with a ranking of the top 200 professional teams ranked by average player salary. 

200 Best-Paying Teams in the World | ESPN

What I find to be most interesting is that this ranking list does dispel some of the assumptions I had long held about pro teams. For example, I always thought that Major League Baseball would on average pay its players the most money by virtue of the fact that they do not have a salary cap. However, if you look at the list you can see that of the top 20 teams, four of them are baseball teams and seven are NBA teams.

I've extracted a few of the more interesting teams here.

Ranking Team Average Salary
4 Los Angeles Lakers $6,540,690
9 Denver Nuggets $5,990,174
18 Houston Rockets $4,972,115
21 Dallas Mavericks $4,882,757
50 OKC Thunder $3,863,639
  • The fact that the Lakers are tops in the NBA is not surprising, although it is surprising that no other team is ranked higher except Euro soccer teams.
  • I'm not sure when exactly the study was done, but seeing Denver at #9 is somewhat striking and I wonder if the ranking included Carmelo Anthony and his current $17 million per year contract. If their ranking takes into account 'Melo's trade, does that change the public perception of how the Nuggets are seen as just a group of role players?
  • Daryl Morey, GM of the Rockets, has been long-touted as one of the more intelligent GM's when it comes to player valuation. To contrast, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is often seen as a billionaire eager to part with his money. And yet, based on these statistics, the Rockets spend more on average per player than the Mavs.