The biggest basketball stars in the NBA may rule the court, but the taxman always brings them down on pay day.

This is hardly likely to invoke much sympathy, but Steven Adams is well short of the four-year$100m man he is reported to be.

ESPN has gone to great lengths to figure out the take home pay for NBA players, although in the case of some like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook it is almost irrelevant considering the enormity of their separate deals with Nike.

Even players lucky enough to live in no-income-tax states still get clobbered when they play in other states.

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Adams is one of the highest paid centres in the game although he doesn't quite make the tip of the rich list - his current US$22.4 per season (NZ$30.7m) "gradually" rises to US $27.5 (US$37.6) at the end of his four year contract.

Most players pay federal state and city taxes, and agent's fees which are generally close to three per cent. At the end of the day they receive about half their gross pay, or in the case of Canada-based players where taxes are higher, closer to 40 per cent.

The ESPN calculations included (in NZ dollars).-

Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
$47,413m Gross Pay
$20,867m Take Home

LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
$45,503m Gross Pay
$22,881m Take Home

Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
$39,240m Gross Pay
$16,470m Take Home

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
$39,003m Gross Pay
$20,197 Take Home

Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder)
$30,699m Gross Pay
$15,964m (Our guesstimate for his Take Home)