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Lute’s recruits: Ex-Cats closing in on $1 billion in NBA salaries

Gilbert Arenas

Gilbert Arenas, despite a troubled career of late, will have made around $160 million in salary when his current contract expires. Photo by Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

When Arizona’s Derrick Williams is selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft — with likely the No. 1 or No. 2 pick — it will start a new era for the Wildcats: He’ll be the first of Sean Miller’s recruits to move on to the next level.

But the meter is still running on Lute Olson’s former players … and that meter has passed three-quarters of a billion dollars in NBA salaries for the more than 30 ex-Cats who have (in many cases) gone from Lute to luxury.

Not counting money from endorsements, appearance fees, autograph shows, camps or any of that other stuff — strictly NBA salary — the grand total is approaching $770 million.

And that doesn’t include the very good living that several former Wildcats have made playing in leagues overseas.

There is still plenty of money on the books, too. Gilbert Arenas, now with the Orlando Magic, is still owed $62 million over the next three seasons, for example. The San Antonio Spurs are on the hook to Richard Jefferson for about $30 million over the next three years.

Andre Iguodala is in the middle of a six-year, $80 million contract. When that runs out after the 2013-14 season, he’ll be 30 years old — in line for another monster contract. In all, 11 former Wildcats were earning in the NBA last season. The meter is still running.

One day, it’s easy to see this all adding up to about $1 billion in NBA salaries for Olson’s players at Arizona.

Here is the breakdown (with current players in bold):

Mike Bibby $106,224,440
Gilbert Arenas $100,634,824
Damon Stoudamire $100,535,041
Richard Jefferson $76,115,034
Jason Terry $74,589,461
Michael Dickerson $46,504,960
Andre Iguodala $44,824,259
Sean Elliott $40,626,666
Chris Mills $37,370,000
Bison Dele $22,159,500
Luke Walton $22,131,977
Channing Frye $17,338,889
Sean Rooks $17,173,000
Steve Kerr $16,119,000
Jud Buechler $11,365,000
Khalid Reeves $9,013,309
Jerryd Bayless $6,429,240
Jordan Hill $5,152,800
Loren Woods $3,468,931
Tom Tolbert $2,919,500
Anthony Cook $2,295,000
Salim Stoudamire $2,187,000
Chase Budinger $1,238,459
Ben Davis $715,847
Hassan Adams $709,881
Miles Simon $672,500
Reggie Geary $492,250
Ed Stokes $272,500
Ray Owes $220,000
A.J. Bramlett $118,974
Mustafa Shakur $89,670
Pete Williams $70,000
Marcus Williams $52,209
Matt Othick $13,000
TOTAL $769,843,121

Sources: I have kept this database for several years, with the main source of information coming from the USA Today salary database and basketball-reference.com, as well as a variety of news stories and Tucson Citizen archives. The USA Today database and basketball-reference.com do not agree in all cases, but the differences are usually minor. Let me know in the comments section or at agimino (at) tucsoncitizen.com — if you see any corrections that need to be made.

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