Among the most entertaining leagues to watch in sports, the WNBA has built a raucous and supportive fan base over the course of its nearly 30 year existence.
It is the pinnacle of women’s basketball, an environment that has cultivated some of the best players in the game’s history — names like Tamika Catchings, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Candace Parker, among others.
Still, much remains unknown about the league and its finances, particularly in regards to player’s contracts and salaries.
How much do WNBA players make? The Sporting News breaks it down.
How much do WNBA players make?
The average WNBA salary for the 2020-21 season was $120,648, according to Yahoo Finance. There are only 14 players making $200,000 or more, according to Sportrac, headlined by Taurasi, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, who are all earning $228,094. By comparison, 17 NBA players earn $35 million per season, according to ESPN.
WNBA rookie salary scale
The base salary for WNBA rookies varies on when (or if) players were selected in the WNBA Draft. For picks No. 1-4, the base salary is expected to be $72,141 in year one. For picks 5-8, the rookie base salary drops to $69,224. Picks 9-12 will earn $66,306, while second round picks will receive $63,389 in 2022. Third rounders and undrafted rookies will receive $60,471, per HerHoopStats.
The contracts are non-negotiable, except for circumstances involving undrafted rookies, whose contracts can be one or two years.
|Pick||2022||2023||2024||2025 (team option)|
Rookie contracts aren’t protected by league’s CBA, per HerHoopStats, meaning players only receive compensation for the part of the season when they are actually on the roster.
According to HerHoopStats, rookie base salaries increase by three percent year over year, meaning that picks in the 2022 WNBA Draft will receive three percent more than the top four picks in the 2021 draft.
Meanwhile, rookies’ salaries increase by two percent between their first and second season. Drafted rookies receive a 10 percent salary bump between year two and year three of their contract and, if offered a team option in year four, stand to receive another sizable contract boost.
Who is the highest-paid WNBA player?
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd and Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart are the highest-paid players in the WNBA, each earning $228,094, according to Spotrac.
Highest paid WNBA players
|1.||Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury||$228,094|
|2.||Jewell Loyd||Seattle Storm||$228,094|
|3.||Breanna Stewart||Seattle Storm||$228,094|
|4.||DeWanna Bonner||Connecticut Sun||$227,900|
|5.||Skylar Diggins-Smith||Phoenix Mercury||$227,900|
|6.||Brittney Griner||Phoenix Mercury||$227,900|
|7.||Elena Delle Donne||Washington Mystics||$227,900|
|8.||Natasha Howard||New York Liberty||$221,450|
|9.||Tiffany Hayes||Atlanta Dream||$215,000|
|10.||Alyssa Thomas||Connecticut Sun||$206,000|