Jose Colorado

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Israeli Basketball League Salaries (Premier Basketball League, D2 - D5; Complete Breakdown)

Israeli premier basketball league salaries [Chart]


Salary Ranges:

$25,000 – $1.5 Million USD/year

Most Commonly Reported Salary (Imports):

$140,000 - $350,000 USD/yr

Lowest Reported Salary:

$25,000 USD/yr

MAX Salary (Imports):

$1.5 Million USD/yr

MAX Salary (Israeli)

$1.3 Million USD/yr

Sources Referenced [Players, Media, Coaches, Agents]:


Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2021]

How much do overseas basketball players make in israel

The average foreigner in Israel’s Premier Basketball League can expect to make $140,000 - $350,000 USD/per year. Meanwhile, the best Israeli players can expect a similar salary.

Historically, MAX salaries have topped out at roughly $1 million USD/per year.

Both Israeli’s and foreigner players have hit this mark in the past.

Based on our study that reviewed over 100 overseas basketball leagues across the world, Israel’s Premier League ranks in the highest pay grade of professional basketball leagues.

Although it should be noted much of this is due to the deep pockets of one club - Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Pro Basketball Leagues can offer some of the highest salaries in Europe but it is concentrated to the Premier Basketball League.

maccabi TEL aviv basketball salaries

When overseas players think of Israeli pro basketball - one team comes to mind: Maccabi Tel Aviv.

In 2019 it was reported Maccabi Tel Aviv operated on a 23 million team budget ($27 million USD) and a 10 million ($11.6 million USD) payroll - ranking them with the seventh largest budget in all of Europe.

To date, the squad has won:

  • 6x EuroLeague Champions (highest competition in the world outside the NBA)

  • 55x Premier League champs

  • 45x Israeli State Cup champs

  • 9x Israeli League Cups champs

  • 1 Intercontinental Cup

  • 1 Adriatic Championship

It should come as no surprise then that Tel Aviv has also attracted some of the biggest names in Premier League history.

NBA veterans such as: Jordan Farmar, Omar Casspi, Amare Stoudmire and Deni Avdija have all dawned the yellow and blue in the past.

Maccabi Tel Aviv has the largest budget in Israel’s Premier Basketball League.

When it comes to Israel - and all of Europe for that matter - the club offers some of the best:

  • Salaries

  • Competitive experiences (gateway to the NBA)

  • Overall care (sponsorships)

The best players in the Maccabi organization can regularly expect to crack the $1 million USD mark.

But who’s got the biggest bag right now?

The answer may surprise you.

highest paid israel basketball player

While NBA veterans such as Jordan Farmar, Amare Stoudemire and Deni Avdija have all played in the Israeli Premier Basketball League, the highest-paid player currently is American import, Scottie Wilbekin, of Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club.

In 2018 it was reported Wilbekin signed a $4.5 million/three-year deal.

But when considering just Israeli-born players, Omar Casspi is the most famous recent example.

The 10-year NBA veteran signed with Maccabi in 2019 on a $3 million USD/three-year deal.

notable maccabi tel aviv basketball contracts




Team (Year)

Scottie Wilbekin

$4.5 million/3-yr deal ($1.5 million/yr)

Maccabi (2018)

Omar Casspi

$1.3 million/yr ($3mill/3-yr deal)

Maccabi (2019)

Amare Stoudemire

$55k/ mth (500k/yr)

Maccabi (2020)

Chart:, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2021]

What is Deni Avdija’s salary?

And while Omar Casspi may have been the trailblazer of Israeli basketball, Washington Wizard guard, Deni Avdija, is the highest-paid Israeli-born basketball player ever.

The ninth overall pick is currently earning $24.10 million USD via a four-year deal.

Israel premier basketball league average salary

The average basketball salary for a foreigner playing in the Israel Premier Basketball League is roughly $140,000 - $350,000 USD/per year.

But because the Premier League - also known as the Winner League - actively recruits so many American - Israelites, the economic difference between foreigner and national can be quite slim in some cases.

For instance:

In 2018 the Jewish Chronicle reported there were over 30 US - Jewish players playing in Israel’s professional leagues.

That’s almost three entire rosters entirely made of American - Israelites! (assuming each roster has the standard 12-man roster).

And because many of these players are plucked from the NCAA system (mid to high-major levels), their salaries in overseas basketball will be reflected as such (i.e. they will earn a lot).

Israel’s Premier Basketball League regularly looks to recruit and pay the top US -Jewish players large basketball salaries.

One renowned Israeli agent says the top US - Jewish players can earn up to $140,000 USD/per year (after taxes).


If you are a part of the league’s powerhouses such as Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem, $300,000+ USD/per year is not out of the equation.

In other words:

A decent chunk of nationals in the Premier League are able to command salaries comparable or even greater than foreigner players.

Talk about a great incentive to work on your game and follow your hoop dreams back to the motherland if you are Jewish!

But understand something:

Just because nationals can cash out in this league, that does not mean (a.) they will and (b.) it will be easy.

Yes, Maccabi has won 81 per cent of the Premier League’s championships since it was founded in 1955.

But the Premier League is still very competitive on each club.

Consider its roster structure:

  • Seven imports allowed per squad

  • Two Israelites must be on the court at all times

  • No limit on naturalized Israelites (i.e. US - Jewish players)

That last point is very important.

It means, in theory, a squad could be comprised of nearly all Americans when you consider the addition of Jewish - Americans.

Yes, many would technically be “nationals” since they hold Israeli citizenship.

But in reality they would be playing at an import level having developed, learned and trained in a North American basketball system.

That makes the overall competition level of the league much higher.

Israeli basketball pays well but the competition level is fierce with many overseas players wanting to join.

But it gets tougher.

For over 30 years it has become common practice in Israel for American (African-Americans) imports to be converted to Judaism.

This way they don’t count against the import quota and can gain Israeli citizenship.

Usually, these players don’t have any bloodline or connection to Israel other than having put in the work for years as an import in the country.

Nonetheless, many players fall in love with the Israeli way of life and will go to great depths to gain their citizenship to play as a national.

There was even a great book written on the topic that explored this phenomenon.

At the time of this writing, there are currently 103 Americans in Israel’s pro ranks.

Do you think some of them will eventually become Jewish?


It’s wild as far as budgets go. I’d estimate 90 per cent of 1st and 2nd division budgets are devoted to Americans - whether imports, US - Jewish players or converted Americans.
— Former Liga Leumit Player (2nd division)


It’s a dog fight to prove yourself worthy in this league - even as a national!

And as reported by Israeli financial newspaper Globes, the bulk of the money will going to foreigners (i.e. imports in disguise, high-level D1 nationals etc.)

But with EuroLeague opportunities knocking, everybody wants a piece of the pie.

Keep your game sharp and be sure to use the proper method of communicating when contacting overseas teams here.

israeli basketball league salaries (d2 - d5)

If you’re unable to cut it in Israel’s top league then there are still some other options.

Overseas basketball players in Israeli’s 2nd division - Liga Leumit - can expect roughly $50,000 per/year as an import player while the top Israelites usually fall between $40k - $50k USD range.

Others can expect between $2,000 USD - $6,500 USD/per month when playing in the second division and below.

Of course, the lower the division you’re in - the less likely you’ll be seeing that type of money.

In Liga Leumit (2nd division) there are currently two spots allowed for foreigners.

But after this, opportunities dry up for imports.

That’s because from the third division and below only Israelites are allowed.

Here’s how the Israeli basketball tier-system works:




Imports allowed

Premier League

1st Division


Liga Leumit

2nd Division


Liga Artzit

3rd Division


Liga Alef

4th Division


Liga Bet

5th Division


Chart: [2021]

So unlike in many other European countries where professional opportunities remain for foreigners in the lower ranks, you’ll be out of luck in Israel if you’re unable to crack the first two divisions.

But if you’re fortunate enough to have Israeli citizenship, you can still make a decent buck especially when considering what you may be getting in many other European markets.


So there you have it.

Israel’s professional basketball leagues from the Premier Basketball League all the way to the fifth division (Liga Bet).

While the money for overseas basketball players may be concentrated in a select few teams here, there is still a great opportunity to make a decent buck league-wide.

Just remember, it will be tough!

Did I miss anything?
Do you have any questions about the Israeli Premier Basketball League?
Drop them in the comments below!

Jose Colorado is a 6-year professional basketball player helping others achieve their dreams of pro basketball with a proven and tested approach to overseas basketball.