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EuroLeague Basketball Salary [Average Player Salaries, Highest Paid, Team Budgets]


EuroLeague Basketball salary [chart]

 

Player Salary Ranges

$150,000 - $5.4M USD/per year

Team Budget Salary Ranges

$3.1M - $22.4M/yr

Most Commonly Reported Player Salary

$400,000 – $800,000 USD/yr

Lowest Reported Player Salary

$150,000 USD/mth

MAX Player Salary

$5.4M USD/yr

Average Team Budget

$10.9M/yr

Lowest Team Budget

$7.3M USD/yr

MAX Team Budget

$22.4M/yr

Sources Referenced
[Players, Coaches, Media, Scouts]

Twenty (20)

Source : Josecolorado.com, Professional Basketball Players Survey Data [2022]


Euroleague salary

EuroLeague basketball salaries are amongst the highest in the world as players typically will make US$400k - $800k/per year.

The best players earn US$2 Million - US$5.4 Million/per year - more than even some NBA players earn.



On the lower end:

Teams with lower budgets have player salaries hovering around approximately $150k - $500k/per year.

That makes the EuroLeague the best-paying overseas basketball league in all of Europe.

In fact:

Only does the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) pay more on average to its top-tier players.

Based on our overseas basketball study that looked at over 100+ leagues worldwide, the EuroLeague is in the highest pay grade in the world - defined as ELITE.


EuroLeague Basketball salaries are some of the highest in all of overseas basketball.

EuroLeague Basketball salaries are some of the highest in all of overseas basketball.



EuroLeague Basketball

Remember though, the EuroLeague is not actually its own domestic league so to speak.

It is a European competition consisting of the best club teams from different countries/pro leagues in Europe.

That’s why salaries - and team budgets (we’ll get there) - are so high.

It would be like if you cherry-picked the highest-paying teams in all of Asia.


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Imagine a league where you put the best-paying teams from money markets such as Japan, South Korea and China’s together into a single competition.

Salaries would be inflated as well.

That’s what the EuroLeague does.


highest paid overseas basketball player

EuroLeaguer and FC Barcelona Basquet player, Nikola Mirotic, is believed to be the highest paid overseas basketball player at approximately US$5.4Million/per year according to reports.


Nikola Mirotic is the highest paid overseas basketball player in the world.


What’s more however:

In 2020, Mirotic signed an extension through June 30, 2025.

That means it’s highly likely Mirotic will remain the highest paid player in overseas basketball - and the EuroLeague - for many years to come.



His closest competition?

Former NBA players Lance Stephenson and Kenneth Faried both pulled in US$4million/per year playing in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

In the EuroLeague, All-League players such as Shane Larkin and Vasilje Micic are both reported to have cracked the US$3million/yr mark.



Highest paid EuroLeague basketball players [chart]

 

Highest paid EuroLeague Basketball Players (2021 – 2022 season)

Player name

Player salary

1 Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona)

US$5.4M/yr

2 Shane Larkin (Efes)

US$3.5M/yr

3 Vasilje Micic (Efes)

US$3.1 M/yr

4 Nikola Milutinov (CKSA)

US$2.5M/yr

5 Jan Vesely (Fenerbahce)

US$2.5M/yr

6 Nicolo Melli (Olimpia Milano

US$2.2

7 Walter Tavares (Real Madrid)

US$2.1M/yr

8 Toko Shengelia (Moscow)

US$2M/yr

9 Nano de Colo (Fenerbahce)

US$1.9M/yr

10 Nick Calathes (Barcelona)

US$1.8M/yr

Data provided by: Basketnews & EuroHoops.net



Important note here:

Unlike in the NBA - where media reports gross income (before taxes) - top-level European clubs will usually pay the taxes right off the salary.

That means these are “take-home” totals!



Unsurprisingly:

Turkey, Spain and Russia dominate the top-5 highest-paid EuroLeague players with all of the players playing in one of the countries.

Based on various reports, it appears as though there are at least a handful of other players who have hit million-dollar status playing in the EuroLeague.

Some other notable names include:

  • Kostas Sloukas (Olympiacos)

  • Cory Higgins (FC Barcelona Basquet)

  • Sergio Rodgriguez (Olimpia Milano)

  • Malcolm Delaney (Olimpia Milano)

Each of them are estimated to be making somewhere between US$1.7 - $1.8 Million/per year.


Euroleague salary cap

While the EuroLeague announced its minimum club budget is set at US$7.3 Million/per year (€7M), there is no salary cap limit per team.

That allows for huge variations in payrolls as clubs such as Real Madrid can afford +US$46 Million/yr.

The average EuroLeague overall team budget is roughly US$23.9M.

European-based BasketNews did a great report on this topic most recently for the 2021 - 2022 EuroLeague season.



A few years earlier in 2019:

French-based publication Basket Le Mag, also did had a breakthrough study on EuroLeague team budgets.

As you can see:

Although the numbers may have shifted slightly, Barcelona and Real Madrid are still leading the pack years later.



Look at those graphics again.

There’s likely something that just popped into your head:

How is it possible Real Madrid has the highest overall budget but not the highest team budget in the competition?

Taxes.

Each country in Europe has a different system and deducts money from its clubs at varying rates.



In other words:

The highest overall budget doesn’t necessarily translate to the highest player budget.

Ultimately:

You, the player, should be most interested in the player budget.

Because that will be what the hoopers are actually receiving.

So in that case…


HIGHEST Euroleague team salary budgets

When it comes to actual player salaries CKSA Moscow is reported to have the highest budget at US$22.4 Million/yr to spend on its EuroLeague roster.

Real Madrid (US$20.4M) and Barcelona (US$20M) are close behind.


EuroLeague Basketball Team Salary Budgets (2021 – 2022)

CKSA

US$22.4 Million/yr

Real Madrid

US$20.4 Million/yr

Barcelona

US$20 Million/yr

Anadolu Efes

US$15.9 Million/yr

Fenerbahce

US$14.3 Million/yr

Zenit

US$12.7 Million/yr

Armani Exchange

US$11.7 Million/yr

Olympiacos

US$9 Million/yr

Maccabi

US$7.4 Million/yr

UNICS

US$6.9 Million/yr

Monaco

US$6.1 Million/yr

Panathinaikos

US$5.8 Million/yr

Bayern Munich

US$5.6 Million/yr

Crevna Zvezda

US$5.5 Million/yr

Zalgiris

US$4.5 Million/yr

ASVEL

US$4.2 Million/yr

ALBA Berlin

US$3.1 Million/yr

Data provided by: BasketNews (2022)


How do you qualify for the EuroLeague?

In the EuroLeague the vast majority of clubs are given “long-term licenses” meaning their spots are secured in the competition for years.

But a handful of teams must battle it out each year to qualify for the competition.

These latter clubs are on an “annual licenses” or two-year licenses (at most).



Because of that, they must re-earn their spot in the tournament each season or be replaced by another incoming team.

Unsurprisingly:

The teams with the deepest pockets are those who hold the long-term licenses.

While the teams with a tighter budget are fighting tooth-and-nail each year to make it and stay.


EuroLeague Teams

EuroLeague Teams (Long-Term Licensed Clubs)

Team Name

League, Country

Anadolu Efes

BSL, Turkey

ASVEL

LNB Pro A, France

Baskonia

ACB, Spain

Bayern Munich

BBL, Germany

CSKA Moscow

VTB, Russia

FC Barcelona Basquet

ACB, Spain

Fenerbahce

BSL, Turkey

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Premier League, Israel

Olimpia Milano

Serie A, Italy

Olympiacos

A1 League, Greece

Panathinaikos

A1 League, Greece

Real Madrid

ACB, Spain

Zalgris

LKL, Lithuania

In total there are 18 clubs each season in the EuroLeague but 13 clubs are “long-term” participants, meaning they compete annually regardless of their performance.

Real Madrid, CKSA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv are some examples.

Real Madrid has the won the most championships to date.

Meanwhile:

As mentioned, the remaining five teams - not long-term licensed clubs - will change from year to year.


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Remember:

This is the biggest and best competition in all of Europe.

And the second best in the world outside of the NBA.

Everyone wants to get in!

But the EuroLeague only wants the best of the best.

So the league is capped at 18 clubs each year.

That’s 12 less than the NBA (30 total).

Competition is stiff and the level of entry is high.


EuroLeague average Salary

Since the EuroLeague has a base group of annual teams, the EuroLeague’s average salary remains fairly consistent over the years for players at roughly US$400K - $800K/per year.

Remember:

This is the collection of the top basketball teams in Europe.

So the average salary is massive.

Noticeably:

It’s more than what it is in each of the team’s own domestic leagues.

For instance:

Even in Spain’s top division (ACB) - where EuroLeague clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid play - the average salary is $250k -$500k/per year.

Italy’s Serie A - where EuroLeague club Olimpia Milano plays - is $150k - $350k/per year.


Is NBA better than EuroLeague

While no one will dispute the NBA as the best league in the world, EuroLeague opponents have proven to be a worthy opponent consistently over the years as multiple clubs have defeated NBA teams dating back to the 1970s.

The most famous example came in a dream match-up in 2010.

That was between FC Barcelona - the EuroLeague champs - and the Los Angeles Lakers - the NBA champs.



Amazingly, it was actually Barcelona who pulled out the tight win 92-88 against Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in Barcelona, Spain.

A few other memorable EuroLeague wins over NBA clubs:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv beats Toronto Raptors (105 - 103, Oct.16, 2005)

  • Real Madrid beats Oklahoma City Thunder (142 - 137, Oct.3, 2016)

  • Fenerbahce beats Brooklyn Nets (101 - 96, Oct.5, 2015)


luka doncic euroleague

Perhaps the most famous EuroLeaguer ever is Luka Doncic. Despite winning the EuroLeague championship and MVP at just 18-years old, American critics still questioned his potential at the next level.

Fast forward a few years later:

Doncic is one of the most exciting up-and-coming young stars in the NBA.

Perhaps Luka Magic could serve as a great pioneer for the EuroLeague moving forward.



If more casual NBA fans wandered over to the league to see the “next doncic,” that would only help the league more.

Interesting side note for Doncic:

The youngster made his debut in the EuroLeague just two months after turning 16-years old.

But prior to that he was already playing professionally and moving up the ranks in the Spanish professional basketball system.

This just proves the point again - there is no age limit in overseas basketball.

As long as a team sees value in you, you can:

  • Earn a contract

  • Begin playing professionally

  • Begin earning money

  • Begin moving up the ladder

If you wanted some personalized direction on how to get started, feel free to reach out so we could discuss further.


Luka Doncic is likely the most famous EuroLeague basketball player ever.


Euroleague basketball tryouts

Because the EuroLeague is such a high-level competition, EuroLeague basketball tryouts won’t be available to overseas basketball players.

Instead, the best way to get into the competition is through club promotion via the EuroCup (2nd-tier).

Here’s how the European club competition pyramid goes:

  • EuroLeague (Best club competition)

  • EuroCup (2nd-best)

  • Basketball Champions League (3rd-best)

  • FIBA Europe Cup (4th-best)

As I’ve mentioned in other posts - and witnessed first-hand when I was playing professionally in Germany:

Europe is famous for its tier system structure where teams and players can get promoted - or demoted - on an annual basis.

The EuroLeague is no different.



EuroLeague clubs finds its players through specific agents, scouting and trusted connections.

Not the other way around.

Remember:

These are high-level clubs and internationally known players.

So unless that is you (doubt you would be reading this if it was), then you’ll have to get creative and go through the promotion system.

Here’s how I’ve seen it done before in an 8-step plan:


  1. Begin with a lower-level team in Europe

  2. Put up stats, win, network and get promoted to a higher division

  3. Stay in that specific country for a few years

  4. Try to get to highest level possible in that specific country

  5. While playing, attempt to spend as much time in Europe as possible in off-seasons to potentially explore dual nationality

  6. Become a national citizen if you have spent enough time in that country

  7. Once you have established a name for yourself in that country, latch onto a team that is set to compete in the FIBA Europe Cup or Basketball Champion’s League

  8. Try to win the competition and move-up


Is it easy?

No.

Is it a quick fix?

Not at all.

Is it doable?

Absolutely.

I’ve seen multiple peers of mine move up from the Basketball Champions League to the EuroCup in a matter of years.

Almost all of them followed the recipe above.

And even if you fall short - who cares.

Just think about it:

Once you get to the higher levels - whether that is the EuroLeague or EuroCup - more sponsorships, money and exposure will present itself.


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Essentially:

If you have any of those competitions on your resume you will set both financially and contract wise for years.

But this is not an easy task.

After all, these are some of the best overseas basketball competitions in world.

Great players and challenges await.


CONCLUSION

So there you have it.

The best in overseas basketball salaries - the EuroLeague.

With the top clubs in European basketball clamoring to play in the competition, average wages are inflated and the player-care comes top-notch.

EuroLeague basketball is truly in a league of its own with its multi-million dollar team budgets and the top European clubs.


What surprised you most about EuroLeague basketball salaries?
Comment 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.



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