Watch out Russell Coutts - Steven Adams has your number when it comes to the tag of New Zealand's richest sports star.

Coutts is currently king of the Kiwi sporting castle with an estimated earning power of $13 million a year via his status as head of America's Cup holders Oracle.

But his time at the top of the table is rapidly looking limited.

Once Adams completes the final year of his rookie NBA contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder this time next year, the budding basketball superstar will soar to the top of the list - and then by some.


Various experts are predicting Adams will earn anywhere from $20 to $30 million annually in his new deal. Those numbers are up on previous projections as a result of Adams' high profile team-mate Kevin Durant bailing out of the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors in a move that will free up even more money for the Kiwi should he stay in Oklahoma.

Adams, currently on a $2.8m a season deal, was ranked No. 4 on the Herald's "Rich List" revealed in October last year.

Having made his riches over two decades' involvement in the America's Cup, Coutts has built up an impressive property portfolio in New Zealand including his most recent project - a 667sq m mega-mansion on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Coutts also owns an apartment in Takapuna worth over $1 million and several properties in the South Island, including three neighbouring titles in rural Queenstown which include his private golf course.

The top five comprised a yachting old salt, Adams, a Premier League star, a petrolhead and our most revered All Black.

Recently retired Richie McCaw came in at 5th with $2.5m earnings per year.

McCaw had a playing contract with New Zealand Rugby worth around $1m but added to his income through lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals with the likes of Adidas, Versatile Homes, Westpac and Fonterra. His off-field earnings are collectively thought to be worth $1.5m. Without the playing fee, it will be interesting to see if McCaw retains top 5 status this year.

Adams became an instant millionaire last year when he was picked up by the Thunder in the 12th round of the NBA draft two years ago.

The 21-year-old had a listed salary of $2.6 million for his first season, which increased to $2.7 million next year for the second of his guaranteed seasons. His growing status is also drawing endorsement deals with the likes of Powerade.

Scott Dixon was number 3 on last year's Rich List with estimated winnings of $11 million annually.

His income is derived from three streams - his driver's salary for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, a 50 per cent share of prize money and sponsorship/endorsement deals. Among the brands Dixon lends his name to are Oakley and Swiss luxury watch brand Louis Moinet.

This year marks Dixon's 13th year with Target Chip Ganassi, and he holds the distinction of being the most successful active Indy Car driver with 34 victories.

Dixon, wife Emma and their two daughters are based in Indiana. His website lists his coolest new acquisition as a home on Lake Geist, where waterfront properties are worth upwards of US$2 million ($2.57 million).

The couple also have a home in London and a holiday pad in Mount Maunganui.

All Whites captain Winston Reid was No. 2 behind Coutts with an estimated $12m earnings per season courtesy of his English Premier League club West Ham United.

Reid owns an apartment in a Canary Wharf, London, tower block. Apartments in this part of London begin at around £1.5 million.

Current New Zealand sporting rich list

1 Russell Coutts (sailing)

2 Winston Reid (football)

3 Scott Dixon (IndyCar)

4. Lydia Ko (Golf)

5 Dan Carter (rugby)

6 Steven Adams (basketball)

7 Richie McCaw (rugby)