Jose Colorado

Helping basketball players achieve their pro dreams.

How Much Do Canadian Basketball Players Make: NBL Canada vs. CEBL [Average salary, team salary cap, highest-paid]

canadian pro basketball PLAYER SALARIES SUMMARY (nblc + cebl):


Monthly Salary Ranges:

$1,600 – $12,000CAD
[$1,300 - $9,500USD]

Most Commonly Reported Monthly Salary:

$2,500 - $4,000CAD
[$2,000 - $3,200USD]

Lowest Reported Monthly Salary:

$1,600CAD [$1,300USD]

MAX Salary:

$12,000CAD [$9,500USD]

Players Surveyed:


Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

How much do canadian basketball players make?

Canadian basketball players in the CEBL and NBLC - Canada’s top professional leagues - can expect to make similar basketball wages.

Average salaries are $2,500 - $4,000CAD ($1,950 - $3,130 USD).

MAX. dollars are $10K -12KCAD ($7,820 - $9,400 USD).

Outside of the NBA (Toronto Raptors) and the NBA G-LEAGUE (Raptors 905), both are considered the top level in Canadian professional basketball.

How much Canadian basketball players make depends on which league they are playing in - the CEBL or the NBL Canada.



NBL Canada Players Salaries [Chart]

Players Salary Ranges

$1,600 - $12,000CAD/per month
($1,250 - $9,300 USD/mth)

Most Commonly Reported Player Salary

$2,700 - $3,500 CAD/mth
($2,100 - $2,700 USD)

Lowest Reported Salary

$1,600 CAD/mth
($1,250 USD)

MAX Player Salary

$12,000 CAD/mth
($9,300 USD)

NBLC Team Budget

$180,000 CAD per team/yr
($142,300 USD)

Sources Referenced
[Players, Coaches, Media, Scouts]

Thirteen (13)

Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

NBL Canada average salary

The NBL Canada’s average basketball salary has remained pretty consistent over the league’s 10-plus year existence.

Players can generally expect to make $2,700 - $3,500 CAD ($2,100 - $ 2,700 USD).


The NBLC launched in 2011.

So to see player salaries remaining steady is pretty impressive.

Not many leagues in Canada have reached 10-plus years of existence - let alone remain consistent in its pay.

So kudos to them on that front.

At the time of its launch there were three key financial numbers for players to consider:

  1. $150,000CAD ($118,500USD) salary cap/per team

  2. 12-man rosters

  3. 6-month seasons

But fast forward to today and it’s a slightly different story:

nbl canada salary cap

According to reports, the NBL Canada team salary cap has now risen from $150,000 ($117,350 USD) to $180,000CAD ($142,300USD).

In addition to that:

In 2022, the NBLC went to a shortened 4-month season with only 4 teams.

It was the league’s first season in multiple years after a multi-year hiatus following the global crisis.


One of the great things for overseas basketball players playing in the NBLC was its lengthy season at 6-8 months (preseason/playoffs included)

But a 4-month season (playoffs/preseason included) has changed that.

Moving forward:

It will be interesting to see if the league can rebound to its traditional form.

NBL Canada minimum player salary

Despite the financial hardships NBL Canada (NBLC) basketball has endured, its minimum player salary remains unchanged at $1,600 CAD/per month ($1,251 USD).

These salaries are typically reserved for hoopers with lower player-profiles coming from small colleges etc.

In my case:

I was offered this amount.

The NBLC minimum basketball salary is $1,600CAD per month.

highest paid nbl canada player

On the high end, the highest paid NBL Canada players (MAX players) can expect to receive $10K - $12K CAD/per month ($7,900 - $9,500USD).


These wages will be reserved for the biggest clubs of the league - most notably the London Lightning and the St. John’s Edge.

And sure enough:

When you consider the Lightning and Edge both have signed the following former NBA players:

…you know they have some SERIOUS CASH FLOW.

Some National Basketball League of Canada teams have enough money to sign former NBA players such as Glen Davis.

cebl salary [chart]


CEBL Salary [Chart]

Players Salary Ranges

$500 - $1,500CAD/per game
($400 - $1,190 USD/gm)

Most Commonly Reported Player Salary

$700.00 CAD/gm
($553.00 USD)

Lowest Reported Salary

$500.00 CAD/gm
($400.00 USD)

MAX Player Salary

$1,500 CAD/gm
($1,190 USD)

CEBL Team Budget

$8,000 CAD per team/gm
($6,250 USD)

Sources Referenced
[Players, Coaches, Media, Scouts]

Thirteen (13)

Source :, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]

How much do cebl players make?

With the CEBL’s TEAM salary cap set at $8,000CAD ($6,250USD)/per game, players generally receive between $500 - $1,500CAD/per game ($400 - $1,190USD).

Make sure you read that again.

Because the CEBL does things different.

Unlike the NBLC - and many other professional leagues in the world - the CEBL actually operates on a Per-Game-Payment-Basis.

This is a HUGE distinction.

Typically this is how it works:

Come game day there is a final 10-man roster.

That includes:

  • 6 Canadians

  • 3 imports/foreigners (although not all teams use the 3 import slots)

  • 1 International Import


Although 10 players are selected come GAME TIME, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team will have 10 players leading up to games.


There will usually be 10-15 players practicing each week with everyone battling for a roster spot come game time.

That includes the mandatory inclusion of a U Sports player (Canadian university system).

So if you aren’t selected for the final 10-man roster come game time due to:

  • Injury

  • Personal reasons

  • Coach’s decision



In theory:

You could be training, lifting weights and practicing for:

  • Days

  • Weeks

  • Months

  • The entire season (unlikely)

…and never actually get paid if you aren’t selected for the Game-Time roster!

It does get a little better though:


There are usually 4-7 games/per month.

So you will multiple opportunities to crack the roster.


Even if you don’t make the Game-Day roster usually there will be something - financially - for your efforts.

Stipends are common.

They help to offset the costs of training with the team, including:

  • Gas

  • Food money

  • Lodging

But it won’t be much.

In my personal experience:

When I was negotiating with a club in the CEBL - as long as I was still on the practice unit, I would receive $100.00 CAD/per game ($80USD) for each match that had passed.

Not exactly an overwhelming offer.

So the question then becomes two-fold:



If you answered YES to both of those then the CEBL can actually be a pretty sweet gig.

If not or you’re on the bubble - it can get a little dicey.

CEBL Average Basketball salary

According to reports, the CEBL average basketball salary is listed at roughly $700CAD/per game ($553USD).

Expanded out to an entire month’s work that would be $2,800 - $4,900 CAD/per month ($2,212 - $3,871 USD/per month).

But remember:

These numbers are under the assumption the player participated in each game possible.

Should they get injured, passed up for another player etc. then it would be lower since they wouldn’t get paid for that match missed.

CEBL minimum basketball salary

For lower-profile overseas basketball players, the CEBL minimum salary is $500.00 CAD/per game ($395USD).

That’s where I found myself.

Coming from a smaller college with mid-low tier professional experience, I was offered this amount with The Fraser Valley Bandits.

CEBL basketball salaries range from $500 - $1,500 per game.

Now expand that out to a month:

It would be $2,000 - $3,500 CAD/per month ($1,580 - $2,765 USD).

Also consider CEBL teams generally cover:

  • Housing

  • Food

  • Travel

That means you’re taking everything home.

Assuming you’ve got another income stream going for you outside of basketball - as I’ve always recommended - this isn’t a bad pay day.

The salary - even at the end of the bench - compares favourably to many of the other leagues in the Americas.

highest paid cebl players

Based on reports, the highest-paid CEBL players receive the MAX amount at $1,500CAD/per game ($1,190USD).

Stretched out to an entire month, the CEBL’s best players earn $6,000 - $10,500 CAD/per month ($4,760 - 8,300USD).

When it comes to these salaries:

Essentially three types of CEBL players would receive this:

  • Former NBA players

  • Former NBA G-Leaguers

  • Canadian National Team Players

Here are a few examples of suspected MAX players in the CEBL:

CEBL Players in the NBA


Most recent CEBL Team

Former NBA teams

Briante Weber

Hamilton Honey Badgers

Warriors, Heat, Grizzlies, Hornets, Rockets

Kris Joseph

Ottawa BlackJacks

Celtics, Nets

Xavier Rathan-Meyes

Scarborough Shooting Stars

Memphis Grizzlies

Xavier Moon

Edmonton Stingers

Los Angeles Clippers

Lindell Wigginton

Hamilton Honey Badgers

Milwaukee Bucks

Javin DeLaurier

Niagara River Lions

Milwaukee Bucks

Cat Barber

Guelph Nighthawks

Atlanta Hawks

Xavier Sneed

Niagara River Lions


j cole basketball contract

As an American-born player, rapper J.Cole famously occupied one of three import spots for the Scarborough Shooting Stars in the 2021 - 2022 CEBL season.

Usually imports are amongst the highest-paid players on each team.

But in this case:

It is uncertain how much J.Cole was actually making.

At 37-years old and with very minimal basketball experience, it’s clear J.Cole’s addition to the league was more a publicity stunt than anything.


  • He played - and contributed - minimally as an import

  • Imports are usually required to be amongst the team leaders

  • Cole and Scarborough parted ways after five games

With that mind:

It’s very possible the Shooting Stars and Cole worked out a deal below the higher dollars typically associated with many of the league’s imports.

After all:

Cole’s net value is estimated to be in the hundreds of million.

Something tells me he wasn’t exactly sweating over missing out on a couple thousand.

This way:

Cole could live out his hoops dream while promoting his signature hoop sneaker with Puma (link below if interested).

And the CEBL could grow its visibility worldwide.


j cole basketball stats [chart]

J.Cole Basketball Stats (Career)

Team, League (Year)

Points Per Game (FG%)

Minutes Per Game (MPG)

Patroits BBC, BAL (2021)

1.67 PPG (28.6 FG%)

15.2 MPG

Scarborough Shooting Stars, CEBL (2022)

2.40 PPG (50 FG%)

9.9 MPG

WHICh canadian basketball leaGUE IS BETTER?

The NBLC and the CEBL are two leagues designed for entirely different purposes - and it shows.

On the one hand:

The NBLC provides a traditional “winter season” with the schedule running approximately 6-7 months from November - April/May.

Although again:

That wasn’t the case in 2022.

Meanwhile the CEBL is purposely designed as an exclusive short “summer league”.


It is meant for ELITE Canadians to come home after their European seasons have finished and earn a bit of cash.

So - in theory - the NBLC would have the edge in consistency and a longer, steadier pay cheque, right?

Not quite.

The NBLC is notorious for being a revolving door.

Players come, players go.

And because the league isn’t FIBA-certified (doesn’t require a letter of clearance from FIBA for players to change leagues), it’s really the Wild West when it comes to player transactions.

Just look at how many players were:

  • Waived

  • Traded

  • Cut

  • Signed

…in a single week!

Photo credit: NBLC

The advantage when looking at the NBLC?


Because the league permits 6 import players per club - whereas the CEBL only allows 3 - there should be more opportunities for Non-Canadians (Americans) in this competition.

The CEBL in contrast is a league “made for Canadians, by Canadians.”

They take pride in this.

So they purposely want fewer foreigners and more high-level nationals.

The fact the CEBL can already match the NBLC in salaries just a few years into its existence is a testament to the hard work and national support the league has received.

Unlike the NBLC, the CEBL is FIBA-certified.

Because of that, the CEBL is able to compete in the Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA).

This is very important to consider for hoopers.

The BCLA brings together the best club teams in all of the
Americas for a single competition.

It’s a very high-profile opportunity with lots of eyeballs watching.

If I had to choose between the two:

The CEBL is the definite winner:

  • More sponsorships

  • More money

  • More high-profile people backing it (connections)

  • FIBA-certified

  • Regional tournaments (BCLA)

  • Trending upwards


So there you have it.

Two leagues with different payment structures, purposes and value-systems.

But in the end:

The NBLC and CEBL both allow Canadian - and overseas - basketball players the opportunity to earn a healthy basketball salary depending on your situation.

The best case scenario for overseas basketball players?

Play in both and stack your money.

What have your experiences been like in the NBLC or the CEBL?
Got any questions?
Let me know in the comments below!

Jose Colorado, professional basketball player, talks overseas basketball scams.

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.