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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Just How Much Have Calipari Players Made in the NBA?


John Calipari often talks of “changing players lives” as his top goal as coach of the University of Kentucky.  What does that actually look like?  Now that he has 4 draft classes (with a 5th right around the corner) in the NBA, just how much wealth have Calipari guys accumulated?  And how much do they have coming in future seasons?  Take a look:

John Wall (4 seasons): $24,050,165 (signed to make $78.78 million more over next 5 seasons)
Demarcus Cousins (4 seasons): $15,800,134 (signed to make $60.97 million more over next 4 seasons)
Patrick Patterson (4 seasons): $8,985,302 (no contract for next season)
Eric Bledsoe (4 seasons): $7,415,553 (no contract for next season)
Daniel Orton (4 seasons): $3,285,056 (no contract for next season)

Enes Kanter (3 seasons): $13,081,920 (signed to make $5.70 million next season)
Brandon Knight (3 seasons): $8,112,840 (signed to make $3.55 million next season)
Josh Harrellson (3 seasons): $1,712,094 (signed to make $0.95 million next season)
Deandre Liggins (3 seasons): $1,287,816 (no contract for next season)

Anthony Davis (2 seasons): $10,520,040 (signed to make $12.68 million more over next 2 seasons)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2 seasons): $9,412,560 (signed to make $11.35 million more over next 2 seasons)
Terrence Jones (2 seasons): $3,036,840 (signed to make $4.11 million more over next 2 seasons)
Marquis Teague (2 seasons): $2,103,120 (signed to make $1.12 million next season)
Doron Lamb (2 seasons): $1,438,872 (signed to make $0.92 million next season)
Darius Miller (2 seasons): $1,262,476 (no contract for next season)

Nerlens Noel (1 season): $3,172,320 (signed to make $11.12 million more over next 3 seasons)
Archie Goodwin (1 season): $1,064,000 (signed to make $4.37 million more over next 3 seasons)

TOTAL: 46 seasons, $115,741,108
FUTURE: 26 seasons, $195.62 million

Depending on how long Calipari stays at Kentucky, I don’t think it will be out of the realm of possibility that Calipari UK guys make over 1 billion dollars in the NBA combined.  This doesn’t take into account Derrick Rose or Marcus Camby, who combined to have made 185.9 million in their careers, with Rose under contract for another 60.3 million over the next 3 years.  And it also doesn’t consider what Anthony Davis and MLG are likely to bring in with their 2nd contracts, which Wall and Cousins prove is where the big money is made.  And let’s not even consider endorsements for many of these guys as well.  Truly staggering numbers.

Cal uses a lot of hyperbole to describe what he is doing at UK, but when he says he is changing young men’s lives, these numbers prove there is nothing exaggerated about that.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

34 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Just How Much Have Calipari Players Made in the NBA?”

  1. buzzard

    Just think if they had stayed in school and got their degree…..

    1. James ramsey's combover

      Tens of hundreds of dollars, guaranteed.

  2. Bledsoe's Biceps

    And yes the endorsement money can be mega bucks too. Wall’s original shoe contract with Reebok, was something like $10 million. If a guy can latch on to a deal or two with companies like Subway, McDonald’s, Gatorade, etc the endorsement money can be crazy.

    1. DangeRuss

      Good point! This article is a recruiting tool in itself!!

  3. Michael F. Jox

    I bet Charlotte wished they were spending that 11 million on something other than MKG right about now.

  4. klassact32

    I think it is a stretch to say Cal is “changing players lives” and I know I will get slammed and that’s okay. There are only two players on that list that Cal truly changed the lives of and that is Josh Harrellson and Deandrea Liggins. I think it is absurd to think that Anthony Davis, John Wall, MKG, Cousins owe their fruits to Cal. The fact is those guys would have made millions without Cal. Harrellson and Liggins can thank Coach Cal, the rest were expected anyway.

    1. Harris

      Yup… I agree

    2. The Loco Pollo

      Tell that to Josh Selby, Samardo Samuels, Renardo Sidney, Lenny Cooke, etc. It takes a lot more than just talent to make it to where those guys are.

      If Cousins went to UAB to play for Mike Davis would he be where he is? Thankfully, we’ll never know. He’d still have the talent but would he have had the discipline, support and everything else that Cal & UK’s staff and connections provided him? Or might he have ended up like those listed above?

    3. Harris

      And the flipside is who knows what Archie Goodwin/Alex Poythress and others who were highly rated out of HS but didn’t do as well as expected, woulda done under another coach…

      Harrison Twins too (Cal admitted he screwed up as much…it took him the whole season to tell Andrew to Pass?!?)

    4. inside info

      On the surface, it would be easy to agree with you. But if you look around college and the NBA at kids that Cal recruited but didn’t get to UK, many of the expected one-and-dones haven’t faired that well. The Cal/UK effect is real.

    5. Laker Cat 18

      CJ Leslie and Shabazz Muhammad are laughing at your comment. So am I. I think we will look back in a couple years and say the same thing about Emmanuel Mudiay.

    6. BobKYCats

      I think Mudiay might be the exception to the “Shabazz” Rule. If you have to play for a coach other than Cal, might as well be Larry Brown.

    7. jpbky2

      By changing peoples lives it means more than what they are making in the NBA. By playing at Kentucky, they got to play on the biggest stage of college basketball and learn how to handle the media, how to handle stardom and that is hard to obtain just coming out of high school. The most important and very much overlooked part is Cal’s guidance for those guys on how to handle their money. I know the financial advisor for several of those guys and they will be set for life. How many times do you read a NBA player going bankrupt or not having any money? (i.e. Antoine Walker) Also, do you think that any of those guys can get a job in Lexington, Kentucky tomorrow if they needed one? Those are all good people and Cal has even mentored them on giving back to the community and to charity. Those are some great ambassadors for the University of Kentucky even without a degree.

    8. The Loco Pollo

      @Harris – Archie & Poythress were highly regarded but not top 3 “cant miss” kinda guys like Wall, Cousins, AD & MKG & guys I listed which were the examples given that would’ve succeeded regardless.

      I don’t think Archie would have gotten drafted in the 1st rd after one year if he went anywhere other than UK. He’ll have a very good NBA career. He’s one of the youngest in the league and the Suns love how he plays and is developing. Poythress will have a solid NBA career if he plays aggressively with confidence all the time.

    9. Fred

      What about Darius Miller? I don’t think he makes near as much without Cal. Also, I think the potential number would be higher if some players listened to Cal and stayed. Daniel Orton is prime example of this. I think Doron Lamb and Archie Goodwin would be like that too.

      I also don’t think that Eric Bledsoe gets the showcase at another school like at UK.

      I don’t buy into the mentality that Cal just rolls the ball out there.

  5. Mack

    It would be interesting to do the research for the same 5 year period for the other National Champions to determine how they compare.

  6. Hollahollaholla

    Wow, Orton left a lot on the table by leaving, he could have made 3x that with another year or two at UK.

    1. The Loco Pollo

      Not really. His knee was much worse than anyone knew. He got guaranteed money when he could. Didn’t even play his first year in the NBA because of his knee, so another year at UK he may not have even played.

  7. typofinder

    Who is “MLG?”

  8. AY

    i am not a big fan of the NBA. Glad they are making money but I care more about cats bball than I do about the NBA and how much they are making.

  9. Bigger Blue

    Cal does such a great job raising money for disasters and other causes, imagine if he talked to all his NBA kids and got them to each donate 3% of their salary to set up a scholarship fund or foundation to addressproblems right here in KY (where they got positioned to make that money) like poverty, education attainment, etc.?

  10. Beavis606

    MKG is the best example of the good side of OAD. He is a horrible NBA player and would have been exposed with a second year at UK.

    1. jmfatz47

      Everyone seems to forget how much MKG brings to the table aside from offense. Yes, he needs to develop his shot, but the defense and intangibles he brings are what meshes teams closer together. It’s insane to write MKG off as a “horrible” NBA player. Ask a true Charlotte fan what they think.

      Here is a good read about why MKG is gonna be great:

      http://www.nj.com/nets/index.ssf/2014/02/michael_kidd-gilchrist_budding_in_second_nba_season_with_bobcats.html

    2. JohnnyCatm

      Even that linked article spells out that MKG could still become a bust. Like Noel, the team is throwing every resource in trying to “save” their pick. Personally, I think MKG is a good solid role player, not horrible, but will never be a star. In fact, I seriously doubt he is nothing more than a 5th starter or solid bench guy who is constantly matched up as the designated defensive stopper.

      The whole world will get a nice view of MKG when his Bobcats play Miami in the first round of the playoffs and MKG is pegged to be the primary defender on Lebron. Remember however, it was against MKG and Charlotte that Lebron dropped 62 on earlier in the year.

    3. The Loco Pollo

      Don’t forget that MKG is only 20. Even in his 2nd year he’s the 4th youngest guy in the league. If a 20 yr old has to guard LeBron, can you name another one you’d choose over him?

      MKG will never be a bust. He may never be a superstar but he brings a lot to the table that championship teams need. If/when he gets out of Charlotte, he’ll be a key piece to a winning team. Hell, even Charlotte has improved immensely since his arrival, even if that can’t entirely be attributed to him, but he helps.

  11. John

    That is a little bit of a stretch. Almost every single one of those players would be making that money if they played for IUPUI for one year. He is not developing talent. Without the one and done rule, most of those guys never step foot on a college campus and make nearly the same amount of money.

  12. CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

    MLG = Martin Luther Gilchrist

  13. BNClay

    Don’t know about the other guys, but Bledsoe is about to break the bank in free agency. Pat pat will probably also get a decent contract. But Liggens, Miller, Orton, don’t know about those guys.

    1. JohnnyCatm

      He wont sign a max deal. Nice player, but look for Eric to be in the 5-6 million range annually. Not too shabby, but no where near Jon Wall money.

  14. bbn4life

    I think you guys are reading too much into this statement. I don’t believe Cal is trying to take credit and implying that John Wall or AD would not have gotten millions if they had gone elsewhere. It is their hard work and talent that got them the millions. BBN probably helps with more fans and therefore endorsement opportunities. But UK/Cal is more of a facilitator. What I will give Cal credit for is not trying to convince a lottery pick to stay when it is in their best interest to cash in.

    1. John

      Who has convinced a lottery pick to stay? Are you saying Russ Smith was a lottery pick? Are you kidding?

  15. Planocat

    Maybe they could all chip in for the new Rupp renovation

  16. pr

    Please! bledsoe is a baller. He will get a max contract. You are crazy if you thiink bledsoe is just decent. Please someone who knows bball comment on this….

    1. Michael F. Jox

      He will not get a max deal. There. He’s not even the best guard on the Suns.